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Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles: 2000-2016: Full Color Edition by William H. Coles is a gorgeous collection of short stories and novellas, with beautiful illustrations. The characters are exceptional, each featuring a complex protagonist in a challenging situation, from teachers to parents, to the disabled, to mothers, and others. The stories have central themes and situations of conflict that leave readers asking questions about life, human dignity, abuse, murder, hope, loss, family, parenting, and forgiveness. These stories are the finest work from an author who knows so well how to portray human nature in the writing craft.
The “Gift” is one of my best stories and it follows a young girl’s pregnancy and the callousness with which the mother handles the situation, sending her to a nunnery in France where she gives birth. The child turns out to have multiple abnormalities. But this child is “the gift” who eventually changes both the life of the mother and the grandparents. First, the stories are realistic, with characters that are enjoyable and believable. The craft is masterly and the author weaves suspense into the short stories, making them page-turners for readers. It is interesting how much is written in a few pages and how the author builds tension. I am familiar with William H. Coles’ novels, which are enticing and hugely enjoyable, but this collection is composed of pearls that any reader will enjoy and will want to revisit. Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles: 2000-2016: Full Color Edition is a gift for short story lovers and there is so much for readers to enjoy.