I have just finished reading the debut urban fiction novel by Samantha Edward called Underestimated. I'll let you guys in on a little secret. I immediately messaged Samantha using WhatsApp after I reached the end and I typed: "Soooooooooooo I just finished reading Undecided. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!" Yes, I was so excited that I got the name of the book wrong! I'm excited - sue me!
"Underestimated" is, to my mind, one of the first - if not THE first - urban fiction novels written with Barbadian characters in a Barbadian context. It is a welcome detour from books with more traditional themes. I am personally glad to see more Barbadian authors venturing into more genres that are not typically seen - it isn't a romance, it isn't a book of Bajan stories, it isn't poetry. The story line is distinctly Barbadian, with Bajan parlance liberally spoken by most characters without it being overwhelming. I can hear the characters' voices distinctly - the brash Oilerts (yes that's her name), the posh Stacey, the abusive Sky - each character has a tone and mannerism all their own. Definitely strong characters with a plot that compels.
The plot. What can I say about the plot? I'm giving nothing away, but it does the urban fiction genre justice. Definitely action packed with lots and lots of drama - and the climax of the third act would not let me put the book down even though I was reading it at like 3 AM on a Saturday morning. The story drew me along and I was wondering what the hell was gonna happen next. I am tempted to go deeper, but to do so would spoil the surprises.
I am most well known for my erotic writing so no review would be complete without me mentioning the sex scenes. They were well done, even though not as graphically detailed as the ones I would write. That's not a criticism at all - the author has mastered her story and tells it in a way that people who like a bit of edge in their reading would appreciate, even if they would balk at more graphic work.
All in all I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I will say that it is THIS book that made me say I should do a weekly review column on my website - a time commitment that the rest of my schedule screams obscenities at. While I battle my internal demons about whether I have the time to add something ELSE to my schedule, I will leave you with this. People who know me well know what I say when I like something - nay, when I LOVE something. And this, dear reader, is a book that is PassionEndorsed!!!!!!!!!!