Light Changes Everything by Nancy E. Turner

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Trigger Warning: This novel and review discuss the following:

Goodreads Rating:  2 Stars


Light Changes Everything caught my attention because it sounded like a twist on the modern western, and being a horse girl, I was all about it! However, the further I read, the more I was disappointed.


The novel begins with an introduction to Mary Pearl and her family, who have settled in the Arizona Territory. A proud daughter with aspirations of gaining a college degree in fine art, Mary Pearl convinced her parents to let her attend school in Illinois with her main mount, Duende, even though her mother wants her to stay and get married to a young, rich man named Aubrey. Determined that he’d wait for her, Mary Pearl and her brother bear the ride to the train station and make the two week journey to the college, only to be greeted and treated like an outcast.

Mary Pearl begins to learn how to bridge the gap between the fine women of the east coast and the rugged women of Arizona Territory, and in doing so becomes comfortable at the college. However, the real drama starts when she finds out Aubrey has decided to marry someone else- someone close to Mary Pearl.

Light Changes Everything has such promise, but I think the writing style and lack of character depth really pushed me too far. The pacing is quick, but there’s a lack of transitions throughout, leading to a disjointed read. There’s also a lot of repetition, which gets frustrating. And finally, that lack of depth in each character was just brutal- yes, there was emotional reaction, but it wasn’t really explored. For example, when Aubrey meets Mary Pearl, it’s the first time she’s ever felt anything for a man, so she’s confused about love but decidedly in love with him…? I need more emotion, more realism.

There were a few great scenes though in which I decided Mary Pearl had great potential to be a sassy, strong leading female, but she mostly maintained that static wishy-washy, woman scorned mold.

I hate to tear a book apart, but I have to be honest, Light Changes Everything was a struggle for me to finish, with very little redemption at the end.

Expected Publication Date: January 14, 2019

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

TL/DR: Light Changes Everything by Nancy E. Turner is a modern western about a young woman who leaves the Arizona Territory to attend college in Illinois.

Read it? No.

Recommend it? No.

Buy it? Feel free to buy it and give it a chance yourself- the cover is gorgeous!

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Categories: Book Review, Family Drama, Fiction, Historical, Romance, Western

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