“Rapunzel” by Molly Greene (#BookReview)

Last Updated on: April 1st, 2019

book cover for Rapunzel (a book by Molly Greene)

Rapunzel, by Molly Greene,was not on my list of books to read until I read the review of fellow freelancer, Jeri Walker-Bickett. She indicated that it had elements found in Fifty Shades Of Grey, which she also has critiqued, didn’t like, but which I actually loved. (Sue me, all you FSOG haters!)

However, it seems that Jeri and I have completely different personal preferences! I will admit that I did not read her review of Fifty Shades of Grey until after reading Rapunzel. If I had, I would have learned that the two of us definitely don’t like the same types of books!

I read Molly’s book on the Kobo my sister gave me and enjoyed reading on this reader. It’s much easier than holding a novel, as it’s not as heavy and is more portable. It fits into my purse more easily than a bulky novel does! However, I like making notes as I go (yes, I often deface my books – they’re MINE) and like flipping back to certain pages, so e-readers have their disadvantages, too. 🙁

But I’m not here to debate the use of e-readers; I’m here to offer up my book review of Rapunzel.

My book review of Rapunzel

Rapunzel has its good and bad points. Overlooking the edits that need to be made (I can never turn off my inner editor, regardless of what I do), I have to say that I only moderately enjoyed the story, and have rated it as a 2-star book (out of 5) on Goodreads, with this review:

This novel has some good points,but more negative ones exist. I was very disappointed with the lack of resolution at the end, and I would not recommend wasting time reading this novel when so many other great books are out there to be read! I’ll be providing a more in-depth critique on Wording Well (my new website) and will be re-thinking my offers of “trading a book for a review” in the future. However, authors can be assured that they will get the truth from me, even if it hurts. 🙁

My Critique

The two main characters  of Rapunzel are women. One is a lawyer-turned-investigator whose speech mannerisms do not reflect that of a former lawyer, and the other is a freelancer who is portrayed as a bit ditzy at times. The two characters, respectively, are Gen/Genny/Genevieve and Cambria/Bree. Gen’s three names are used within the first few pages of the book, and I should have taken this “red flag” as an indicator that this book was in need of some improvement. Alas, I plowed through until the end, where numerous plot twists were left unresolved.

Once I was finished reading this book, I asked myself if perhaps the reason I was disappointed in this book was because of my new experience of reading it on the Kobo. Unfortunately, the way in which I read it has absolutely nothing to do with the plot, the writing, or the negative feelings that plagued me afterward.

I think my biggest problem is that I’ve never had to write a negative review before! I’m the type of person who doesn’t like hurting others’ feelings, and I really didn’t want to hurt Molly Greene’s. I then considered the feelings of all of the people who follow my reviews and the people who read my blog posts. In staying true to myself and keeping with my ability to report the facts, I would have to say that I wouldn’t recommend this book, even though it had a few good points.

The negative stuff:

  • Gen/Genny/Genevieve > we are introduced to the same character using three different names within the first few pages. A bit much! I don’t even recall what she looks like, but I recall this!
  • For a lawyer-turned-investigator, Gen uses simple language. Lawyers speak in their own argot, but this is not reflected in her speech. At all.
  • Cambria/Bree > The subplot of her flirtiness should be refined. Taylor and Eric each have interactions with her, but Eric’s is not believable.
  • Many contradictions and discrepancies occur.  At one point in the book, in Chapter 7, the characters are discussing a diner called Sam’s. The characters mention that  “their view of the water was worth the price of the meal” and to me, this indicates a swanky place, but then when they entered Sam’s, the busboy’s actions and words indicate that Sam’s is a bit of a dive. This also contradicts what one would expect from a neighbourhood in which real estate is worth millions, as a plain, less-than-stellar eatery like Sam’s doesn’t really fit with the scenario.
  • There are way too many unanswered questions at the end, and the author even goes so far as to  state this. What’s more is that the final climactic scene abruptly ends, further compounding this issue. With two officers and an investigator as some of the major players in this book, I expected more “solving” done. The final scenes end with Bree and Garcia together in a relationship, with no mention of how they started dating. The huge jump in time to get from being practically strangers to lovers is simply not believable.
  • It is not believable that Gen handled her break-up with such ease. Where are the hysterics? Gen seems to have few thoughts and feelings regarding this event.
  • General edits need to be made. Sometimes words were missing, which made particular sentences difficult to read. 

The positive points:

  • Patience is the name of one of the characters, and the author uses the play on words to her advantage. I liked seeing the misunderstanding of patience/Patience.
  • I liked the mystery and how it unfolded, even though the author copied Fifty Shades of Grey author, Ms. James, for Bree’s discovery. 
  • More descriptions of the characters are needed to solidify their images in my head, but I enjoyed the interplay between Mack and Gen. If any two characters should get together, it’s these two. I was disappointed when they didn’t, I have to admit.

With some work, Rapunzel could be improved and made into an enjoyable book. I firmly believe that.

UPDATE: Since the publication of this article, Molly Greene has re-published this book under a different name. I hope she edited it beforehand.

Have you ever read a book and then given it a bad review? How did you feel about it? Did you struggle with it (like I did)? Please share your experiences in the comments – if you dare!

Molly Greene is an author, novelist, and blogger who writes about life and the world of self-publishing on her blog.  Her nonfiction titles include Blog It! The author’s guide to building a successful online brand, and an upcoming book of essays, Buy Your Own Roses (2014). Molly is currently working on her third novel, Paint Me Gone; her first two, Rapunzel and Mark of the Loon, are available as ebooks on Amazon (Loon is available at other major online retailers). You can find her on Twitter, GoodreadsFacebook, and Google+.

23 thoughts on ““Rapunzel” by Molly Greene (#BookReview)

  1. …here’s my ‘umble tuppence worth on this … .in the few years that I’ve been involved in this scribbling caper, I’ve received a handful of less than flattering reviews, but I think they are valuable in so many ways.1. it shows the diversity of opinion from readers…not everyone is gonna like what I write or how I wrote it… 2. from reviewers I respect, I learn from critique (not taken as criticism…some folks can’t differentiate these two terms). 3. i NEVER engage in an argument with a reviewer … that’s a no-win stance… keep the faith, m’Lady :)):)
    seumas gallacher recently posted……let the Literary Festival-ities begin!… #TBSU…

  2. Becc says

    All readers have very different likes, so I would think that it would be pretty rare for you and Jeri to agree on these, particularly as you liked that FSOG book. I personally didn’t like that book and possibly would read this one.
    I also like that you both are very honest in your appraisal of the book and that you both had a chance to clarify your opinions. Made for interesting reading.
    Becc recently posted…Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

    • says

      Yes, this is the most controversial piece to ever appear on any of my blogs, Becc!

      You might be the reader who’d give this book a 5-star review. Who knows?

      All I can say now is, “To each his own.”

  3. Hi Lorraine; Well, you are establishing yourself as someone who will give an honest review. This should bring you to the attention of those writers who are truly invested in their craft. I do know that as a blind person the quality of the reader who narrates a book does effect my enjoyment of it. There used to be one reader in particular who ruined several Tom Clansey novels by trying to do accents he wasn’t capable of pulling off. and i will even give a book a chance if it was read by a given narrator say mary heartily margolin for example. And a book doesn’t have to be believable but the characters and story do have to draw you into their world. And being a guy I will admit I would give the book a pass on the facts if it has quality descriptions of sex. wink You know I’m always honest with you sweetie. take care, Max
    maxwell ivey recently posted…My first google video hangout tune in next week

  4. Naomi Blackburn says

    I must say that I am getting ready to wrap this book up and find your review very confusing. As a Goodreads top 1% book reviewer, I have written well over 2500 book reviews. The critical points that you list in this book contradict one another. For example, regarding the names, I guess you don’t have a nickname, as the characters in the book do. The nicknames aren’t a huge leap so most readers would be able to take the next logical step in identifying the character. Second, I find the comment regarding the character Gen’s language as not being true to a lawyer’s language even though she is truly outside of “courtroom” working as an investigator, where “lawyer speak” would be inappropriate and “frowned upon”. Yet, then you criticize the fact that the author didn’t have Gen’s character throw a hysterical fit when she broke up with her boyfriend. Again, most lawyers and investigators are pretty even-keeled and not easy to fall into hysterical fits. I would have found it unbelievable if Gen would have fallen apart over the break-up.

    Finally, you state that you read this book as a “book reviewer” yet you sent the author a list of questions. I must state that, as a book reviewer, I found this to be rather disturbing and unprofessional. A book review is a review of a COMPLETED, PUBLISHED manuscript. There are no questions to be asked. The book is published. There is no other work to be done. I have had well over 200 authors that I have reviewed their books. I have NEVER asked them to answer questions regarding their writing process. It is irrelevant as to what is needed in a book review. As a BETA READER, I would have a list of questions to ask an author regarding direction, but you were not asked to do a beta read.

    Thanks, Lorraine!

    • says

      Naomi, thank you for your contribution to this discussion. I’m sorry you feel disturbed. You, like me, are entitled to your opinion and feelings.

      I’ve never claimed to be a professional book reviewer. However, others look to me for my opinion and, clearly, I have offered it. The contradictions you mention arose as a result of the author’s contradictions in her book.

      With some work, this book could be great. I think the author rushed the publication process. Perhaps my criticisms were more indicative of a beta reader than a book reviewer. In any event, I merely made suggestions as to how the book could be improved. If it were my book, I would certainly consider improving it and re-publishing it.

      Out of curiosity, did you read Rapunzel?

      • Naomi Blackburn says


        Yes, I have read the book. I state that in the first line of my comment to you. That is also why I commented on your review. I didn’t see the same things that you had stated in your review. I happened to come across your 2 star review and investigated further as I prepare to write my review.

        Professional conduct as a reviewer has nothing to do with whether one writes for a blog, such as both of us, or for the NY Times. While I did find a couple of things with this book, none to the level you have. Particularly, none enough to say that this person shouldn’t be writing. As a professional reviewer (again, you have a blog), one should know the difference between a beta read and a book review. It reflects on all of us poorly when this type of error occurs because indie authors think this type of error could occur with any book blogger. I have written extensively on this topic.

        One other thing that really stood out to me that I am still unclear on from reading your review and comments from others. Did you accuse this author of stealing/copying the storyline for FSOG? To do so without any proof is again-highly unprofessional. Plagiarism or copying a storyline is one of the sleeziest things one can accuse an author of doing.

        Finally, I know the of the person who did the editing on this book. Including traditional publishing, she has an extensive client list/book listing. Her credentials are stellar and if I was to write a book, she would be on the top contenders that I would choose to be sending my manuscript to. Lastly, I would trust her assessment whole-hardheartedly to determine whether my book was ready to go to market or not. It seems Molly did just that. Given the other number of 4/5 stars book reviews and mine which will be 3.5 stars (I tend to be a tough reviewer), it seems like she was dead on.

        Thanks again, Lorraine!

        • says

          I have not accused anyone of stealing! I think you need to get your eyes checked! If you look at the opening lines of this post, you will see that what I said was that Jeri indicated that Rapunzel contained elements found in Fifty Shades Of Grey!

          I do not know the editor of this book. However stellar her credentials, she still missed several things. I pointed out many errors in my emails to Molly. She thanked me for them, too, and agreed that they were overlooked.

  5. Casee Marie says

    Hi Lorraine – I was notified of your post through your link back to my site. I’m sorry to see that you didn’t enjoy Rapunzel as much as I did, but I very much appreciate that you linked to my review as an alternate reaction. I think one of the most difficult concepts for us as readers to grasp is the immense subjectivity of fiction, and I’m happy to know that you agree. It’s so true that every reader’s experience of a book is different. I always feel that I’m able to get the most out of books when I step away from equating what I like/dislike to being right/wrong, at least in the broader sense, because so often fiction relies on chemistry. For myself, whenever I don’t jive with a book I tend to attribute it to my being an incompatible reader. There are times when a book just feels like it wasn’t meant for me to read, but obviously that same book will turn around and find a place on someone else’s shelf of favorites. Actually, Fifty Shades is a perfect example of the way readers’ experiences can vary, as we’ve all seen. I have to admit, I was surprised to see comparisons to that novel with Rapunzel because, like you said, they seem to be two very different books. (I haven’t read Fifty Shades and I don’t form opinions on books I haven’t read – obviously! – so I don’t have much to go on, but I’d say the two focus on different relationships in different ways, which seems to also be what you took away from the experience.) I can’t think of any books I’d actually compare Molly’s work to in terms of their style and objective, but I think that’s one of the things I like so much about her writing. I like that she melds genres a little more liberally and maybe more experimentally than most mainstream writers, such as going beyond the time-tested cohesive genre-mixing (i.e. mystery/romance) and into family drama, the relationships between friends, even mixing comedy with suspense. But of course, that sort of thing can jar some readers if they’re looking for books that adhere a little more specifically to one genre. Additionally, I think Gen’s nicknames seemed natural to me largely because Gen first appears in Mark of the Loon where, as I recall, she was in a bit more of a supporting role and her nicknames were rather organically woven in. I can imagine if I hadn’t been familiar with the character from Loon that I would’ve taken a different (and likely not as smooth) approach to her multiple nicknames in the narrative. It’s just another example of how subjective the reading experience is for every reader, as you said. The infinite complexities of art, right?

    Anyway, that was probably more rumination than you cared to read, sorry. Thanks again for your consideration in linking to my review. Happy reading!

    • says

      Hi Casee. Thank you for visiting Wording Well and leaving a comment.

      Obviously I wanted others to know that my opinion of Rapunzel is simply that, MY opinion. By providing alternative opinions and reviews, I am trying to show that my opinion is based on my personal preferences and feelings. Teaching others to think critically for themselves is something I always strive towards.

      That said, it cannot be argued that the ending of Rapunzel does not resolve much (the author herself states this!)
      which goes against the expectations the reader has. The reader who chooses to read to the end of the book naturally expects a resolution! Honestly, were you not just a little disappointed with the author’s lack to achieve this?

  6. says

    Hi Lorraine. Allow me to clarify a few points. My four-star review of Molly Greene’s mystery stated that I sensed a few instances of FSOG deja view in that the main character makes an awkward entrance and the CEO flies his own helicopter. Other than that, Rapunzel bears no other similarities to James’ bestselling book. Yes, I did give FSOG two-stars for various reasons which need not be discussed here. Furthermore, Molly’s book is well-written and fits the conventions of its genre. Of course readers are allowed to disagree on a book’s impact and quality, but I have chosen not to post reviews on my blog of one- or two-star reviews of fellow indie authors (nor do I rarely give five-star reviews). Again, that is a preference. You mention not being able to turn off your inner-editor. As such, I am wary of this review and its approach. When your GoodReads review announced that people should not waste their time reading the book, I am only left to wonder why you would go to such lengths to post the review. My criticism of FSOG is a mere blip on the screen when it comes to that novel’s success. Molly runs an awesome blog and has a devoted following. I wish her much success.
    Jeri recently posted…Jared Holt and Alexander Kyle #AuthorInterview

    • says

      Jeri, the deal I made with Molly was this: she would give me copy of Rapunzel in exchange for a blog post/review on my website about my reading experience. I also indicated to her that I would post a review to Goodreads as well. This should answer your question as to why I “would go to such lengths to post the review.”

      Furthermore, through emails, I gave Molly every opportunity to change my mind about the conclusions I drew and asked to her to elaborate on some of the negative points and concerns I raised.

      The following excerpt from an email to her demonstrates this:

      I have to say, Molly, that I am looking forward to your rationales and responses to these points. If you can defend some of the points I’ve made, I’m open to being swayed into giving you a more positive review than what I would give otherwise.
      I have to stay true to myself and provide my honest opinions for those who follow my reviews. I’m sure you understand.
      I feel bad, too; I know that criticism is never easy to hear. As a writer, I know I that developing a thick skin is easier said than done.

      Molly’s response was this:

      Lorraine, I appreciate the time you took from your busy life to read Rapunzel, and I’m so pleased that you enjoyed parts of it! You’ve been more than generous with your advice throughout this process. I look forward to reading your review based on the feedback you’ve provided.
      Thanks again!

      Jeri, the lack of clarification and response to the points I raised left me with no other choice than to provide my honest feedback and disappointment in my review.

      Not all indie authors are great writers. Some are; some aren’t. Blogging and having a devoted following cannot equate with one’s ability to write an excellent novel. You should know this.

      While I also wish every indie author success, including Molly Greene, I am not going to destroy my own credibility by posting a fluffed-up review or by crowing about how much I loved something I did not. Honesty and integrity are two of my most appealing qualities, and I must maintain these at all costs. It is unfortunate if the feelings of a couple of people get hurt in the process (Molly’s and, perhaps, yours) but I have to stay true to both myself and the readers and followers of this blog as well as my friends and followers on Goodreads.

        • says

          A writer should be able to defend their written work. A writer should also be able to answer questions about it.
          I have no idea why Molly chose to do neither. If you have an inkling, enlighten me. Please.

          • Naomi Blackburn says

            Not to a book reviewer they don’t. To an editor and a beta reader, they do. I must admit that I applaud Molly’s response too. It must have been difficult and scary for her to do so knowing that you controlled a “review” of her book. In my humble opinion, you really crossed a line and put the author in a very bad spot.

            It was inappropriate for you to ask her to defend her work. That was not your role as a book reviewer. In all seriousness, Lorraine, and I do mean this with the best of intentions. If you don’t understand the differences between the roles of a beta reader, editor and a book reviewer (as you commented in your response to me), I would encourage you to learn the difference BEFORE doing any other book reviews.

            • says

              I do know the difference, Naomi. I was merely offering some free feedback to Molly Greene about this book. I caught things others obviously didn’t.

              I’m not a professional reviewer; I am a reader offering an opinion. It is still my opinion that there are so many other great books out there to read. I have been a beta reader and an editor for other books. My opinion is usually respected and I’m always complimented for having a good eye.

              The lesson I have learned from this whole fiasco is to trust my gut. I should’ve stopped reading the book at the end of the first chapter. However, because I am a person of my word, I kept up my end of the deal Molly and I made.

              • Naomi Blackburn says

                So, if you say that you are not a “professional reviewer” but simply a reader that is even the more reason why Molly should not have to defend her writing style to you.

                I see only one other book that you have identified yourself as being an “beta reader”/manuscript evaluation on that went to editing. Have there been more? One would assume that you would list those too. I actually wrote a piece on things getting by editors that have resulted in KDP notices and the slacking quality of editing in books today.So the fact that you picked up on other errors doesn’t shock me, saddens me, but doesn’t shock me.

                • says

                  I’ve been a beta reader for a couple of Jen J. Danna’s books and Melissa Bowersock’s Stone’s Ghost, which I also edited.

                  Don’t get me started on the shoddy editing that is happening more often than not nowadays! It saddens me, too, Naomi.

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