Reviews for PURGATORY

Editorial Reviews

A flawless literary gem.” – Indies Today – December 1, 2021

Andrew O’Connell is a rising star whose talent is equal only to his charm. Hot off the heels of a wildly successful film, he is one of Hollywood’s most desirable actors. The stage of a late-night talk show introduces him to Dr. Kary Ashe. Starting her career in medicine, she reinvented herself and has met with financial success as an author. But this seclusive woman does not relish the limelight. Kary struggles with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and her limitations take a back seat to nothing. Content with her private fortress home and fastidiously observed routine of rest, writing, support groups and more rest, getting wrapped up with a celebrity is way out of her comfort zone. But the heart is treacherous, especially when it comes to a handsome Irishman with an uncanny ability to rekindle feelings lost to a life of difficulties and heartbreak. And drama incarnate comes in the form of Bianca Doyle, a starlet with designs on expanding her resume. A cinematized New Hampshire town isn’t ready for the intensity of emotions that these three dynamic characters spark as their lives become entangled.

Pride’s Children: Purgatory is like a colorful van Gogh painting broken into a 10,000 piece puzzle, waiting to be assembled by eager readers looking for a captivating, contemporary story about love, regret, ambition and obsession. With the outside edges as a guide, this story looks like a straightforward love story with a glitzy backdrop. Closer examination, however, reveals a much more textured and soul-searching novel that serves as a poignant reminder that we are defined by our choices, and that those decisions tend to stay with us. The treatment of an enigmatic and life-altering disorder is honest and meaningful. Rather than a shiny, compact version that might minimize the encompassing nature of an illness, Ehrhardt makes every effort to give readers an unglamorous view of a debilitating health problem that influences every aspect of life. There is so much to love about this elegant and refined masterpiece, an intimate character study of three dynamic individuals who travel in the same circle for a short time, but whose stories and personalities couldn’t be more different. Mature and deliberate, Pride’s Children: Purgatory is a flawless literary gem that takes readers on a lengthy but worthwhile journey. Jennifer Jackson, Reviewer

“…integrity and its impact on life…” – Midwest Book Review

“On one level, Pride’s Children: PURGATORY, the first in a trilogy, is about movie stars, love, and thwarted passions and purposes; but look deeper and you’ll find much more is going on here. A thread of death, resurrection, and revitalization affects each of the characters, along with a focus on abandonment, broken promises, challenging decisions, and the lasting consequences of bad choices.

“From descriptions of filming and the underlying relationships and social encounters of everyone involved (“He’d gotten used to the sense of royal progression whenever he crossed the set. Everyone had a job to do. Equals – but not.”) to expressed values in life (“Children are the most important thing in the world.” Kary’s tone conveyed deep conviction. “Choices have consequences. Nothing else is as crucial as protecting the children.”)… PURGATORY’s real strength lies in Ehrhardt’s ability to take the strings of emotion governing each character’s choices and give them tugs that, in turn, tug at the heartstrings of her readers.

“…fine observations of different perceptions of integrity and its impact on life choices contribute additional facets in a story that is hard to put down.

“Readers of women’s fiction and literature will relish the slow, methodical, involving progression towards change that each of the characters experiences along their paths to being true to themselves and those around them.” Diane Donovan, Senior Reviewer

Reader reviews

Great literary fiction – part 1, – David B. Rose, Amazon and Goodreads reviewer

((How highly can I praise this book without looking like a sycophant?

And, why are we having to wait for the next part of the story???))

Elegant literary fiction which is also literate, modern, gripping, and extraordinarily entertaining, to label the subject matter a ‘love triangle’ would be like daubing the Taj Mahal with graffiti.
Alicia Ehrhardt takes the reader into the persons of Kary, Andrew and Bianca by turns, and uses this approach with consummate skill to construct characters whom one comes to know, ((dare I say this?)) rather better than one knows one’s spouse, or significant other. She does this better than any other author I have yet read. The plot is more than character-driven; there is a sense in which the plot is the characters.

The pace is unhurried, almost meditative at times. By contrast, the tension is considerable, and the reader is kept in suspense all the way to the disappointing end. I have to call it disappointing because Ms. Ehrhardt has clearly planned the whole story across a trilogy, and this is therefore only the first part. Disappointing, because by the time one reaches the end of this first book, one is aching for resolution. ((Well, I was, at least.))

The writing itself is beautiful, witty, and considered. I felt at times that every word had been weighed. Ms. Ehrhardt has created characters of rare power and beauty, whose natures result in relationships of living, breathing complexity. Beside the central three, other characters look quite flat – and yet, they are as developed as most good authors’ central protagonists. The settings and situations are fully realised, being founded upon either the author’s own experience or diligent, exhaustive research. ((I can’t tell which. Ha!))

I cannot recommend this book, this trilogy, highly enough – but not to everyone. This is a book for readers who appreciate literary fiction and a very deeply developed romance with a thoughtful debate on ethics. I believe the pace and the delayed gratification will frustrate many modern romance readers who look for fast-burning romance, titillation, and simple love stories. However, if you are a reader who will appreciate a modern ‘Jane Eyre’, this trilogy is for you.

This book was a feast, and I am quietly stepping into the line for the next one.Amazon reviewer Pat Patterson

“…I found myself turning page after page, and DEVOURING the words, licking my lips figuratively at how delicious they were, and thinking: SHE CAN’T KEEP THIS UP! There is no way she can continue to let me walk around and see and hear and feel what the characters are experiencing; except she did…Kary is CLEARLY a hero, by any criteria you want to apply apart from armed combat, and she is the center of the book. She lives in isolation in New Hampshire, and writes … She has other grief in her life, but she does not share the pain casually.”

I don’t normally read…Amazon reviewer Sophia Nuñez

“…while much of the plot centers on the cautious romance, Pride’s Children is also about a writer’s way of interacting with the world, living with a chronic condition (CFS – when I saw another review mention this, I realized that I couldn’t think of any book I’d read, recently, involving a character with a disability or chronic illness – a significant hole in terms of diversity), and the struggle to remain balanced and kind when new people and routines enter one’s carefully-ordered sanctuary.”

Modern romance, historical fiction, and deep, riveting characters of integrityAuthor Kelly McRae, Amazon review

“Ehrhardt delves into the heart of her characters, imbuing this romance with an integrity often lacking in modern novels of this genre. Each obstacle the characters must over come is treated with depth and intimacy. It’s not gooey (I hate that) but gritty in an intelligent and classy way. That’s another plus, not only is this a work of literature, but it’s set in stark modernity, with heaps of historical flashes and elucidation…Ehrhardt is a unique emerging writer and I yearn for more from these attractive characters, having gotten to know them in such depth, that living without them seems unfair.”

A book to rememberAuthor, blogger, and reviewer Marian Allen

“What it is, is exactly what I want in a book,…immersion in other lives, other personalities, other realities…I stayed up late and ignored my work and read and read and read…I honestly don’t know how to explain the grip this book had on me from the first. I couldn’t stop reading it, and I wanted it never to end. I’ve read other books that affected me this way, but the authors always hurt the spell by tossing a plot bomb in through the window. Ehrhardt may do that before the trilogy is over, but she doesn’t do it in this book. The climax and ending are just as they should be: strong, natural, and satisfactory.”