Book Review: A Lovely, Indecent Departure by Steven Lee Gilbert

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A Lovely Indecent DepartureJulie | DWF Photo
Local author Steven Lee Gilbert recently published his first novel, A Lovely Indecent Departure. This family drama revolves around 5 year old Oliver and his parents’ desperation to hold onto him in the wake of a custody battle. When Oliver’s father, Evan, is given custody, he does everything in his power to limit his ex-wife Anna’s access to their son. Desperate to be with Oliver, Anna enlists the help of relatives in Italy to abduct him. But life in Italy is anything but serene as Anna knows Evan will stop at nothing to get him back.

This is a truly heartbreaking novel as we see the situation from the perspective of both Anna and Evan, as well as the local sheriff, Monroe, who was responsible for finding Oliver and returning him to this father. When a child is abducted, even when it is by a parent, it is wrong in many ways. But while the law may say that Anna is a criminal, Gilbert shows the situation from her viewpoint and reveals that she has a very good reason for her actions. As we learn more about Evan and his extremely controlling nature, it seems perhaps the courts don’t know what’s in the best interest of the child.

This is a very emotional story; Gilbert did an excellent job of highlighting each character’s emotions. Anna’s desperation and fear are palpable. Evan’s frustration and overwhelming need to win are consistent throughout the novel. Monroe’s voice, while not nearly as powerful as the others, is still infused with emotion about his relationships and his conflicting feelings about his role in this family drama.

A Lovely Indecent Departure would be an excellent choice for book clubs.



Julie lives in Wake County and is mom to two kids: a preschooler and a 2nd grader. She enjoys reading a wide range of books, and shares her reviews here and on her blog ( She can also be found on Twitter @MyBookRetreat

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Posted by on September 28, 2012. Filed under Books. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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