Reviews of Failed Moments
Some reviewers loved the history…
A Must Read for the Historical Fiction Lover – One of the Best Yet!!!
—Angelyze364Click To Read The Full Review!
I have recommended it to a few of my friends and compared it in some ways to “The Five People You Meet In Heaven” by Mitch Albom. The characters draw the reader in and invites them to think about how this compares to ones own life and how our actions will affect our afterlife. I was very impressed with the historical accuracy as well.
Very impressive writing and story line. I look forward to future publications from this great newly published author.
My love is historical fiction so I was very excited to …
—AprilClick To Read The Full Review!
This is the author’s literary debut and is based on the exactly this `what if’ concept – having the possibility to correct wrongs or change life by going back in time and doing things differently.
The story is solid, the writing excellent and the novel is labeled `historical fiction’.
The reason I was so confused is there was no synopsis for my copy and it is put best by another reviewer by this: What if the only way to survive your life is to go back in history and right the wrongs of two other men’s lives? If I had understood this right away it would have made it much easier to begin reading. Once you understand this concept the book flows right on along.
Patrick Walsh, a day trader by occupation and a daydreamer by disposition, time travels from modern day New York City back to 1790, French Caribbean: biracial plantation owner Patrice Beaumont is known as a “kinder” slave master, but his trusted friend reminds him that is no cause for pride. He claims to be committed to ending slavery, but his actions don’t back-up his words. Is being the “best of the worst” all he’s capable of? And to 1863, New York City: Giant Irish street fighter Patrick Allen is days away from battling it out with a similarly oversized Black fighter, when the Draft Riots ignite dangerous racial conflicts around the city. Never one to take sides outside the ring or join a fight he can’t win, he steers clear of the angry mobs. So when he stumbles on a lynching in progress, who can expect him to do anything more than look away?’
I truly thought the writing was solid and the story very unique and thoughtful. Great attention was given to the details that make the story come alive. The hero of the story is also accompanied by a very colorful, interesting character in her own right, his aunt. She serves different roles to help him learn his lesson and make the right choices to he can move on to the afterlife.
I loved how the story wasn’t about anyone incredibly important, but just someone that was there in situations where they could choose to help others or help themselves and it puts a magnifying glass on your own life when you think you are going along making meaningless decisions. Our lives all intersect and we should try to think about others we meet each day and if we may help them in some way or how our choices will affect others. Truly inspiring.
The only reason I didn’t give it five stars is that the layout is confusing and people may give up to early and miss this great story. I received an Advanced Copy of this book and asked to write an honest review.
An Amazing Historical Fiction! Definitely Read.
—ADropofInkReviewsClick To Read The Full Review!
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. It was absolutely terrific.
One thing I found you have to watch out for is this. When I originally read this amazing book, there was an odd typo that kept appearing in my copy. I contacted the author regarding it and he was positive it wasn’t there, so I looked again. You know what? He was right! For some reason, my first copy of the Kindle book had flaws introduced into it somehow. When I re-loaded it and looked again, those errors were gone. As this was in a span of 2 days, I can only say that it was a flaw in the digital rendering of the Kindle app itself as the file hadn’t changed any.
—DottyClick To Read The Full Review!
Patrick Walsh is an ordinary man who is given a chance to change his life. He will come face to face with men he was in the past and has the opportunity to change the course of that life. Along the way he is guided by his Aunt who also plays a part in his and her life change.
You won’t be sorry you purchased this book.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated in any way not was I obligated to give a positive review.
—BrianClick To Read The Full Review!
The stories themselves are very interesting, informative and excellent reading, especially for history buffs. For non-history aficionados the stories are compelling enough to stand on their own and entertain.
The book itself is well written, making you want to continue reading. The tool the author uses to guide us from the present to the past is a unique approach to travelling in time. There is even a hint of philosophy and morals for those who require purpose in their reading.
A highwayscribery Book Report
—Stephen SicilianoClick To Read The Full Review!
A. Robert Allen’s Failed Moments, is a story of reincarnation – or de-incarnation – woven into a pair of morality plays about race.
Walsh is a resident of current-day Manhattan and one of the lucky ones who gets to live the cool NYC life as portrayed in television and movies. In return, he treats those around him with callow disregard and, as a result, the fates and furies, operating out of luxury Gotham hostelry known as The Boigen, have him shot.
Patrick finds himself in a kind of purgatory where he meets his favorite aunt Grace who explains how she has been a spirit united to his in past lives, sometimes as his mother and sometimes as other. She is going to guide him back to those earlier existences in the hopes he will right the “failed moments” he delivered upon the first time.
If he doesn’t, he gets on bus or an elevator to someplace and who-knows-what-all, but suffice it to say, his life hangs in the balance.
While understanding the need for, and purpose of, the reincarnation device to unite his story and deliver a lesson about responsible action in life’s crucibles, this book’s greatest value is as two distinct looks at race in disparate cultures – 18th Century French St. Domingue (Haiti) and Civil War-era lower Manhattan.
In St. Domingue, Walsh lived in the spirit of Patrice Beaumont, a free man of color in France’s most prosperous colony circa 1789. Beaumont occupies an uneasy place in the rather complicated racial hierarchy of the sugar and coffee producing island and it’s not made any easier by the fact his childhood buddy would become his slave upon assuming operation of his father’s plantation.
Patrice’s (Patrick’s) failed moment came during tense moments in an uprising of slaves and maroons on St. Domingue and to say any more would be to give up the ghost.
Departing St. Domingue, Patrick Walsh is whisked through time and space in the manner of Dickens’s Ebeneezer Scrooge and for much the same reason.
The second stop on his redemption tour is Manhattan’s legendary “Five-Points” district and his second de-incarnation is as Pretty Paddy Allen, a bear of a man with a big heart and the unfortunate problem of being confronted with a racial quandary during the murderous riots that followed institution of the Civil War draft in New York City.
The draft has the Irish terrified they will be thrown at southern cannons as so much trash, all the while newly freed Negroes take their low-paying jobs. The author’s recreation of Manhattan of the time is detailed and even nuanced.
And nuance really is the strong-suit here, because Failed Moments, while about race, is not strictly (sorry) black and white. Allen (the author, not the big Irishman) might have called his story “Blurred Lines,” but that might have caused Pharrell and Robin Thicke to sue him.
Failed Moments moves the conversation about race forward, or at least lays out the posed problems and potential resolutions from a perspective that is not so clean-cut. What would you do?
Failed Moments, could survive perfectly well packaged as two stand-alone novelas of real quality where the genre of historical literature is concerned.
The research and subsequent weaving of the facts into an engaging pair of yarns, that take the reader to a different time and place, are first rate and all you need is a curiosity about those times and places to enjoy them.
—A. ToliverClick To Read The Full Review!
Time travel is the method employed to take the reader to critical points in history where humanitarian rights were in deep peril. It is through the time travel the author reveals how his main character’s inaction changed the course of history, and not in a positive way. The main character is given an opportunity to “do the right thing” and take action when he travels back in time to critical moments. In using this format the author demonstrates for us how we each can be empowered to change our history (the history we are making right now) to be the most positive for humankind if we only elect to “act” (do what is right) when the opportunity presents itself. You will find yourself willing the main character to do what must be done and to do it fearlessly. And you will love finding out how his action changed the course of history.
I was very impressed with the depth of understanding conveyed in the section of the novel that took place in the Caribbean. I have studied the history of Haiti from its pre-republic days through our current days and the author has not spared the most important nuances of the people living in Saint Domingue in the late 1700’s, whether free, enslaved Africans, white French, or mixed French or Spanish descendants. He provides the rich history from several angles which gives the reader a more complete view of what has happened, what all parties think or feel about their circumstances, what they believe is needed to right the situation at hand, and he has woven these perspectives through our main protagonist with the stealth of a true genealogist. I was amazed at how well he spun the story of his fictional characters in close parallel and intertwined with the nonfictional actors we can research and learn more about. I believe a vast amount of research allowed the author the canvas and tools to pull this off. Kudos!!!
In addition, I enjoyed reading the Irish/English perspective of the plight of Irish Catholics in Ireland before they were a part of England and after; and then the Irish American perspective in the pre-Civil War period in New York. I learned some things and found a new area of historical interest for future reading.
The novel is an easy, quick paced read that I’d recommend highly to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and/or time travel. I also think the stories within the novel are interesting even if you are not a fan of either of these genres.
I received a free advanced copy of the ebook for this title in exchange for an honest review.
Entertaining and Thought-provoking Historical Journey
—Jeff S.Click To Read The Full Review!
I know, it sounds more sci-fi or eastern religious-themed than historical fiction. But the author does an impressive job of capturing the flavor and tension of the lives and times of two very different men: an eighteenth-century biracial plantation owner in the French Caribbean and an Irish immigrant in 1863 New York who happens to simultaneously be a street-fighter and a soft-hearted kind of guy. Both characters face a personal crisis set against the immediate backdrop of social unrest. As would be expected, race, class, and religious themes interweave, forcing the characters to action, their choices impregnated with ethical implications.
The story covers a significant amount of literary and historical ground in only 244 pages. On top of the much appreciated history lesson and fluidity of the tale, I also commend the working of a William Blake poem into the mix. Well done!
We unfortunately don’t have the opportunity to change past mistakes. I am reminded, however, that our regrets should propel us to more seriously consider the future effects of today’s decisions.
A tale of redemption for the ages
—Daniela OteroClick To Read The Full Review!
Historical fiction has the unique ability to transport the reader to a time other than their own. A time that actually occurred. Allen succeeds resoundingly in conveying the internal struggle of three men. All connected, not merely by their moniker, but by their decisions and the repercussion of their actions, or lack there of.
Whilst reading the novel, I felt the same cinematic and overpowering surge of emotions I felt whilst reading Anthony Doerr’s novel “All the Light We Cannot See”. With a dash of Marcus Sedgwick’s “Midwinterblood”, one must admit that Allen hit a gold mine here. Interconnected narratives with magical realism and fantasy = Superb.
My God, Frank knows everyone. So his name is Peter- the name suits him,’ Patrick thought.
—Grady HarpClick To Read The Full Review!
Given that exhaustive research and discovery of the complexities of time and change and mutations of thought and lines to which we all are inherent, Allen has created a condensation of all this in this brief but involving and poignant novel. His synopsis serves the book well: `What if the only way to survive your life is to go back in history and right the wrongs of two other men’s lives? Patrick Walsh, a day trader by occupation and a daydreamer by disposition, time travels from modern day New York City back to 1790, French Caribbean: biracial plantation owner Patrice Beaumont is known as a “kinder” slave master, but his trusted friend reminds him that is no cause for pride. He claims to be committed to ending slavery, but his actions don’t back-up his words. Is being the “best of the worst” all he’s capable of? And to 1863, New York City: Giant Irish street fighter Patrick Allen is days away from battling it out with a similarly oversized Black fighter, when the Draft Riots ignite dangerous racial conflicts around the city. Never one to take sides outside the ring or join a fight he can’t win, he steers clear of the angry mobs. So when he stumbles on a lynching in progress, who can expect him to do anything more than look away?’
Reading Failed Moments is the privilege to reminisce about our own ancestry and despite all the current banter about immigration reform; we in America are all immigrants. Allen takes us through that discovery and in doing so has provided a very fine novel. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, May 15
Others loved the thought-provoking themes…
Failed Moments: The Spiritual Side.
—Marie MysticDragonflyClick To Read The Full Review!
I think the racial stands out so much that the spiritual needs some focus. I loved how it touches on reincarnation and the spirit realm. To think that no matter how badly we mess up there is a chance to correct things and continue on. To improve upon ourselves, our lives and those lives of the people around us. Just pay attention and do whats right.
For Patrice all he had to do was stand up for what he truly believed in. To believe in his own power and use it for what he cared about, equality.
For Paddy it was to not be selfish, to stay and help the ones he loved. By doing that he was able to become the leader he was meant to be.
Then Patrick himself by reflecting was able to change his present life and become happy and close to his family again.
A truly wonderful story. It really shows the positive power people have if we chose to use it. If there is a next book I look forward to reading it.
Remains in your soul way beyond the last page!
—TM SmithClick To Read The Full Review!
The main character, Patrick Walsh, is confronted with a choice in the very beginning of the story to return to two of his previous lives in order to change the outcome of his current life. It is through those two life changing situations that we learn about historical events dating back to the civil war and the French Caribbean in the late 1700’s. The author does a great job linking historic information to a spiritual supernatural setting.
A. Robert Allen gave me the opportunity to read his book in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my overall opinion of his novel. It is a well-crafted story with a great amount of time given to historic detail. Each chapter flows into the next which entices the reader to continue on to the next part of the story. I rarely ever read a book a second time, but this book may be the exception. A great debut novel by an author to follow in the future. I definitely look forward to his next good read!
Life Lesson Do-Overs
—Marion Marchetto, Author of The Bridgewater ChroniclesClick To Read The Full Review!
During the 1790s Patrick was known as Patrice Beaumont, a gens du coleur plantation owner on St. Domingue (now Haiti). He was considered a ‘kinder’ slave owner but a slave owner still. When faced with the opportunity to stand up for a slave who is very close to him (they were brought up together), Patrice originally failed the test. Will he get it right this time?
During the Civil War Draft Riots of 1863 in New York City, Patrick is known as Patrick Allen. He and his mother came to New York from Ireland after the death of his father. Unknown to his mother, who thinks her son is working at the docks, Patrick is a winning boxer (street-fighter) who is only one match away from the fight of his career. He is backed by the ‘brass’ of Tamanny Hall and he goes by the name of Pretty Paddy, a name his own father used back in Ireland. Paddy is known by all as a gentle giant – he is well over six feet tall and weighs three hundred pounds on any given day. The opponent he is to fight is a black man known as Big Belvy. Belvy is a huge man also, nearly the same height and weight as Paddy but he is considered ‘simple’. His dad has trained him to come out fighting when he hears the bell. But those who have their money on Paddy send a bunch of thugs to soften up Big Belvy and his dad on the night before the big fight. When Paddy comes across the situation, he must make the choice to step back and let things happen, or step in and do the right thing. Will he get it right this time?
When I received this book, I had no idea what to expect but from the very first page I was drawn in and could not put down this book. It is an intriguing premise and a look at race relations through a different lens. The writing is well paced, the characters are so finely drawn that I was immediately pulled into their story. And while there are two mini stories contained in the book the transition between them is well drawn, never vague or jarring.
Kudos to Mr. Allen for a wonderful literary debut! I hope to read more from this author.
Note: I was provided with a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.
I really enjoyed this book with its intriguing concept that if we …
—Glorybe “Penny”Click To Read The Full Review!
The author did a lot of research into periods in history that were so important, then and now, how decisions and conscience are so critical, he discovered that some of his ancestors contributed to these events in time, and was able to introduce them to us as characters in the story. Firstly we see the disgusting period in history where slaves were used as a commodity to improve the white mans lives and finances, then we see how the Irish famine and the difficulties between the Catholics and Protestants overflow into hatred and conflict, which we still see today unfortunately!
Patrick Walsh lies fighting for his life after a tragic accident, in a coma that he may never come out of unless he chooses to! He is flawed in many ways and now is his chance to improve his happiness and his future, Will He??
We get to see man’s inhumanity towards man, its sickening cruelty towards others who are different, who is right? Who has the right to inflict such hardships on others? And if we only did the right things, our whole world could be so different.
I really enjoyed this book, clever story and interesting concepts, it is so unusual and quite complex. It actually causes you to think a bit!
Immersive, amazingly original and the connection you make with the characters are heartfelt and genuine
—Lilaina Osborn at On WritingClick To Read The Full Review!
Failed Moments combined historical fiction with spirituality and just a dash of mystery. The main character Patrick is incredibly flawed at the beginning, and the reader doesn’t every get a good sense of why beyond “people are difficult for him” There is an overwhelming theme of subtlety to the extreme in this book, almost to the point where you feel like an idiot for not understanding what everyone in the books seems to have interpreted from the story. You are left to infer what I think is quite a bit of information but it is nice to read something so well-crafted that doesn’t hold your hand through the narrative.
The story is immersive, your emotions are so closely tied to the characters and their challenges that’s it’s a bit of a roller-coaster while you are reading. Patrick as his spiritual others become the heroes of each mini story within the book and collectively remind you what main character Patrick is trying to do and why he is worth saving in the end. Patrick learns a valuable lesson and the satisfaction you feel when he sees the error of his ways is genuine.
I found a few inconsistencies however. In the beginning when Patrick is told the truth of the soul, he is at unwilling to believe in that or in the fact that his lifestyle was flawed, he is understandably confused and scared at what is happening to him. But then almost seconds later has not only accepted it but is eager to learn what he needs to do to be successful. His character changes too drastically early on for my liking, but it does make more sense as you see his transformation through the novel.
I did love this book, the story was amazingly original and the connection you make with the characters are heartfelt and genuine. It has a great ending that ties the story up nicely and leaves you fully satisfied.
What would you do if you could go back and right the wrongs in your life?
—Cyndi Williams-CurneClick To Read The Full Review!
Excellent read! What a journey we go on!
—GabrielleClick To Read The Full Review!
There are dramatic moments that really build and put the reader on edge, and moments of character triumph that made me smile. I left Failed Moments feeling good, Allen has crafted a real adventure of self – discovery. I thought this story brought unique perspectives on the issues of race, and was creative and enticing. Patrick Walsh, despite his shortcomings is a likeable, relatable man. What a journey we go on with him!
The Story Flowed Perfectly
—NanciClick To Read The Full Review!
Patrick is a successful and very wealthy man, however, besides wealth he has very little else. He lives his life in solitude, no love, no adventures, family he never sees. He goes through the motions of living, just not LIVING. Tragedy unfortunately strikes, and Patrick is put on life support. No one comes to visit him nor does he have anyone to care if he lives or dies.
While he is in a comma, he has an out of body experience and is visited by his favorite Aunt Grace (who is deceased). She informs Patrick that she is there to play a role in helping Patrick to fix the wrongs in his past lives in order to fix and keep his current one. Grace becomes Patrick’s guide as he travels back in time, and helps with the back story of each character. If Patrick does not succeed in righting the wrongs he made, he will not be saved in his current life, and will be reincarnated into a new person, with the hope that his next life will be better.
I didn’t know what to expect when I first received this book, but once I started it, I was hooked. I was taken on a journey from the start of the book until finish. I felt the characters, their pain, the betrayal they felt; as well as the hope. The story flowed perfectly. The book tells both sides of the stories, what he was meant to change and if he changed it. I loved his past stories, Mr. Allen did an incredible job of detail, ensuring the era his goes back in time to fit properly with history.
Once completed I sat and reflected on my own life, the mistakes I made on the way and what changes I would make. I know I can’t go back in time, but it did allow me to think about how I will act in the future.
I definitely recommend this book!
—RosemaryClick To Read The Full Review!
I also am a great lover of historical fiction. Reading this book put me right in the middle of all of Patrick’s worlds. The description of the way things were made it so real, and filled in many historical blanks for me. It made me want to know more details about the different time periods, and that is the best part of reading historical fiction. It actually taught me a lot. I enjoy learning about the past. It just goes to show that no matter the time period, people are basically the same when dealing with matters of integrity and values. I would read this again. As a matter of fact,I have already started and can’t wait to see what little details I may have missed. Excellent read!!
—KACClick To Read The Full Review!