Review: At Her Fingertips by Kellyn Roth (and More Goodies!)
#1 This is a long review, so pull up a chair and grab a bowl of popcorn. You’ll be here awhile. #2 When I read a review, I want substantial information. So I will not skimp on the details. Which may mean some spoilers, so watch out.
What can I say? I think it’s common knowledge by now that I have thoroughly enjoyed Kellyn Roth’s novels and that I view her as an amazing writer, in league with Christian literature’s top authors. Every installment of her Chronicles of Alice and Ivy series was entertaining, deep, unique, and so very well-written.
So naturally I jumped at the chance to beta-read At Her Fingertips and then later to read the ARC (both of which I barely finished in time).
The things that struck me while reading it the first time haven’t changed, but seriously, guys. It’s better the second time around. This novel is without a doubt a five-star read (but I’m unofficially giving it four and a half so that Ivy’s story can get the full five stars)!
First, I just have to say that I absolutely love Roth’s writing style. Now that Alice, one of the POV characters from The Dressmaker’s Secret and the heroine of Becoming Miss Knight, is eighteen years old, Roth’s prose has flourished! In some ways, it’s still seven-year-old Alice talking—because though all of her characters have grown and matured, they haven’t changed a bit—but in others there is this Austen-like slant to her voice that makes every paragraph such a pleasure to read. There’s something about the way Roth writes her characters’ thoughts, intersperses their opinions through a distant third-person perspective, and crafts such deep and witty dialogue that reminds me greatly of Austen.
On top of that, everything else is basically an Austen novel—albeit set almost seventy years in the future—from the pacing to the settings to simply the way the story unfolds.
I love it.
On that note, Roth inspires a lot of thought in AHF. To be honest, she’s done the same with her past novels—which I absolutely adore—but this time we have a message, almost a problem that must be solved. And like Austen, Roth presents multiple points-of-view on the subjects of love and marriage, developing each perspective (from Alice’s and Ivy’s to Nettie’s and Claire’s to Gibson’s and Peter’s) so perfectly that you can’t help but understand everyone’s opinion. In the end, we’re led to mull over what we’ve learned (and all the thought-provoking comments Peter made that could’ve started arguments in their own right) and draw own our conclusion from the outcome of each character.
Make sense? Eh, probably not, but weird philosophical stuff like this is seriously my jam, so I enjoyed it. And I enjoyed listening to Peter put in his two cents—er, pence, I should say—every so often. The man is unceasingly full of wisdom.
I love him.
But have I made it to him yet? No. I’ve still got to talk about Alice and Gibson and Nettie and probably gush a bit about Kirk too.
(Did I mention that this review is going to be really gushy? No? Oh, well, you’ve been warned now.)
Remember what I was saying about Alice not changing? Yeah, let me expound.
So y’all know how Alice was stubborn and didn’t always listen or understand when she was a child? She still the same. Still has the same mannerisms and voice and little nuances that haven’t ever left her—and that’s one of the main things I like about Roth’s characters and just like about how Roth writes in general. I honestly don’t know if I can think back to a single series I’ve read that had characters so vibrant and real in it. From the children to the grandparents, they’re all so well-developed and they retain their individual personalities throughout the entire series! Not to mention, the way the side characters (like Claire and Gibson and Mr. Parker, etc.) are portrayed is just as strong from the perspective’s of other characters as it is or would be from their own.
Without a doubt, Roth is a master with characterization. She never misses a single beat.
Speaking of Alice...have I ever mentioned I don’t like her? Like, at all. There are so many little things—from her personality to her attitudes and actions to her personal views—that I just don’t like. If she were any other author’s character, from any other series, or any other heroine, I’d probably just hate her guts and continue to love on my man Peter.
But she’s Kellyn Roth’s character and she’s Alice Knight (or, well, technically she’s not Alice Knight, she’s really—ach, spoilers; don’t mind me). Therefore, I must love her, because even if I don’t agree with her or like her, I still admire the strength of her character and how well Roth has developed her to the point where I completely understand every aspect of her skewed philosophy, even though I disagree with it. Make sense? She’s perfectly imperfect, and just so unlikable, and yet I can’t help but love her.
As for Peter? AUGH! I mean, every other review that you’ll ever read for this book will be FULL of gushing over Peter, trust me...so I’ll try to keep my own gushing tamped down. Just...Peter was amazing. He was almost perfect, you know, but his being good was an imperfect in and of itself, so therefore he wasn’t entirely perfect—he was just the kind of guy every girl wants in her life, am I right? He was so sweet and awkward, but almost always confident...in a humble, his-assurance-comes-from-God kind of way, not in the least bit arrogant. He was kind and loving and compassionate and helpful and respectful and so wise and perceptive.
Not to mention he’s a writer. And German. And on top of that, American. I mean, does it get any better?
No. No, it doesn’t.
(Speaking of, am I the only one who’s noticed that most fictional Peters are German???)
Unless we’re talking Scottish doctors with questionable pasts or stable boys with even more questionable pasts...but I’ll save the Jordy talk for the next book.
However, I did just open things up for a Kirk discussion, didn’t I?
I MEAN, Y’ALL. KIRK IS SO PRECIOUS. My heart ached for him the entire novel. I mean, it wasn’t like I wanted him to get with Alice...because she’d tear him to shreds and my baby Kirk needs someone way better (ahem, me), but his heartbreak. AAAAUUUUGH. AND THEN THAT AT THE END. OH. MY. WORD.
Like, after The Dressmaker’s Secret, I didn’t think Roth could possibly conjure up any more plausible plot twists. But she did. AND THE SUSPENSE IS TEN MILLION TIMES WORSE. LIKE, NETTIE AND CLAIRE HAVE A LOOOOOT OF EXPLAINING TO DO!!!!!!!!!!
(I really need to get my caps-lock button under control, don’t I?)
On that note, Nettie was her regular awesome self in this book. If it weren’t for her and Peter… Anyway, she’s marvelous and I love her. End of story.
But I haven’t made it to Gibson yet, have I?
So...the love triangle—or was it a square?—in this was blatantly obvious...but there was always something about Gibson. The first go-round, I fluctuated between liking him and being extremely wary of him (for good reason), until the end, where I flat-out hated his guts. (#nospoilers) The second go-around, I for sure didn’t like him—he’s really not all that likable—but I sensed a lot more potential. He said a lot of things that were either wise or so stupid that I had to pause and think about them, and of course he’s got this nuance that sets him apart from every other man of his ilk...even though he’s still just like every man of his ilk. Make sense?
Eh, I know it doesn’t. Just read the book, for Peter’s sake.
So I say all that to say that I really like how Roth pulled off his character. He was simultaneously the annoying love interest that we all dislike and the multifaceted side character with a story of his own that must be told.
There were other things I wanted to say about this book—I’m sure there were. (I have them written down somewhere...all my thoughts and notes...in the laundry room...which is just soooo far away from my bedroom…) But to be honest, whatever else I could say doesn’t really matter.
What matters is that I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, got a lot of Austen vibes, fell in love with Peter, understood Alice despite it all, want a Kirk story, and can’t wait for Beyond Her Calling!
Oh, and that you should totally buy this book. Like, now. Or yesterday. Yeah, yesterday’s good. Buy At Her Fingertips yesterday.
(Side note: just realized what a good title that is. Fits really well. Not to mention I adore that cover. OH! And I never mentioned Riley. Darn. Well, I loved Riley too. He was great. The End. I mean it this time.)
Disclaimer: A complimentary copy of this book was provided by the publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.
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More From the Tour
Wednesday, July 14th
Introduction Post // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries & Lilacs
Review // Hannah E.M. @ Precious Book Stacks
Thursday, July 15th
Introducing Alice // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries & Lilacs
Interview with Gibson Ashfield // SawyerMarie @ SundropGirls
Review // Kristina Hall, Author
Friday, July 16th
Introducing … Love Interests!? // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries & Lilacs
Interview with Ivy Knight // Grace A. Johnson @ Gabbing with Grace
Review // Jenavieve Rose @ Living Outside the Lines
Saturday, July 17th
Launch Day // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries & Lilacs
Review // Loretta Marchize @ Just Writing
Interview // Vanessa Hall
Sunday, July 18th
Themes // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries & Lilacs
Interview with Alice Knight // Katja L. @ Little Blossoms for Jesus
Monday, July 19th
Siblings // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries & Lilacs
Guest Post // Andrea Cox @ Writing To Inspire
Review // Tara Savanna @ Tower in the Plains
Interview with Nettie Jameson // Ryana Lynn @ Life of Heritage Corner
Tuesday, July 20th
Mothers // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries & Lilacs
Character Spotlight with Peter Strauss // Abigail Kay Harris @ Read Review Rejoice
Wednesday, July 21st
Wrapup Post // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries & Lilacs
Review // Michael Bush @ Tangled Up in Writing
Saturday, July 24th
Giveaway Wrapup // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries & Lilacs
Y'all, oh y'all, oh y'all. Kell is giving away some AMAZING gifts in honor of the release of At Her Fingertips! Be sure to enter here for your chance to win!
About the Author
Kellyn Roth is a Christian historical women’s fiction & romance author from North-Eastern Oregon who has independently published multiple novels, the most notable being The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy series. You should definitely call her Kell.
Kell lives on family-owned property outside an unmemorable but historical town with her parents, two little brothers, arbitrary cat, precious border collies, a dozen cows, and lots of chickens. She also possesses a classic, vintage aesthetic which does not at all speak to her country girl side, but such is life.
When not writing, Kell likes to blog, teach writing to her various students, have day jobs which allow her to keep her car properly insured, and spend lavish amounts of money on Dairy Queen french fries. She also likes to talk about Keira Knightley and her own books way too much.
You can follow Kell her social media accounts (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, MeWe, Goodreads) and at her blog and website! Better yet, sign up for her newsletter to get all kinds of fantastic bookish goodies in your inbox!