A Book Review of Til Death Do Us Part, by Stephanie Ayers
This action-packed, engrossing novella follows the journey of that most coveted and notorious emblems of everlasting love—the Tiffany diamond engagement ring. The ring was offered, refused, disposed of, scrounged, smuggled, re-gifted, stolen more than once, sold, bought, and finally accepted, as I flipped pages on the edge of my seat (or swiped through them on my Kindle). Unhappy with a current possessor of the treasure? Not to worry, because this story turns on a dime and there’s no time for disappointment. Ayers leads the reader down twists of fate, through catastrophic events, and even turns us into voyeurs of a raunchy scene between an unlikely prostitute and her overly kinky john, all at breakneck speed.
After the first couple changes of hand, I suspected fantastical coincidence, yet soon realized that Ayers was likely alluding to something larger. Call it the Hand of Fate, or God’s Will. Think, “There are no accidents.” Whatever your chosen metaphysical paradigm, most of us have felt at times that our little worlds are ruled by something more powerful than ourselves and sensed that, oddly, everything is somehow connected. The fate of the ring is inevitable from the beginning.
Who knows? Perhaps the details of our own life plot lines are more intertwined than we understand from our limited, individual viewpoints. Omniscient third-person narration helps us see the bigger picture, and Ayers displays a talent for rapidly embodying wildly different characters, slipping between varying frames of reference. I love when an author does this well, so that a reader understands a certain scenario through the eyes of one personality, then receives a completely different view from the mind of another. For example, the first few pages of “Til Death…” are sugary-sweet, life through the rose-colored glasses of a man deeply in love. He gushes over the girl of his dreams, remembers precious moments between the two of them, and plans to surprise her with a public proposal of marriage in a fairytale setting. Just when I was beginning to wonder what I had gotten myself into, perspective shifts to the object of his affection—a woman who does not share in the fool’s fantasy. He may be a little crazy, in fact.
There are only a few smatterings of romantic sentiment throughout the rest of the story, even though the tale revolves around a Tiffany engagement ring. In fact, the title partnered with the ominous cover art (a diamond ring splattered with blood), would lead a prospective reader to believe Ayers’ tale is a sinister one. There is no lack of death or violence, however, we are actually returned to a place of intense love and undying commitment at the close of this dizzying romp.
Not that you will be forced to think too hard about deeper meanings in the this swift, highly entertaining read. The story flows quickly, but the author spends just the right amount of time on rich imagery and concrete description, so that you believe it all without missing a beat. Let Stephanie Ayers hijack your mind and enjoy the ride from the passenger seat. Just make sure you have an hour or two to read without interruption, because you won’t be able to put this book down until she weaves her tale through your brain and out the other side!