So far I’ve written mostly about my first published novel, Without Grace, but actually the first novel I wrote was Of Little Faith, which certainly has its own journey to share. It was the manuscript that began as a memoir, but soon shifted to a short story, but then, over time, it grew into a novel. The first draft was finished in a month and a half, but the finished work took several more years.
Anyway, as I previously shared here, Of Little Faith did have a small publisher…until it didn’t, and I wasn’t sure if it ever would again. However, after reading Without Grace, another small publisher was interested to know if I had any other manuscripts they could consider. I sent them Of Little Faith and they wanted to publish it. Like I stated, it was a small publisher, but very easy to work with — from the editing phase through selecting a book cover. So in 2013 it was published and I secured some events for it. I had a launch at an art studio in Manhattan and then one on Long Island. I also returned to Plattsburgh, New York and did a launch in a hotel conference room with catering there since by then Borders Books, which is where I did an event for my previous novel, had closed. The novel went on to receive some nice reviews, some of which I will share at the end of this article. But, admittedly, I then dropped the ball in promoting it since I began to focus more on my publishing consulting business, as well as opening a bookstore. As stated in my contract, this publisher had the first rights of refusal for my next novel, but when I sent it to her, I never got a reply, which was not like her. I couldn’t help but think maybe she was disappointed that Of Little Faith didn’t get the traction hoped for, but it wasn’t like her to ignore my email. Something wasn’t right. Eventually, I found out what it was: The publisher, tragically, has dementia. Not only was she unable to take on any other books, but she had to close down her publishing house. Okay, calling it a “house” is a stretch, but still, it was a publisher in every sense of the word. Nevertheless, that then left Of Little Faith without a home.
Now, instead of spinning my wheels in an attempt to find a new publisher for it, which would quite likely not happen, I ended up taking the rights back and having it published under my own name but with the same traditional terms. So, here I am, trying to bring back life to this novel, one that feels even more timely, now that our country is being compromised by so much hypocrisy all in the name of religion.
With that in mind, as promised, here are just some of the reviews for Of Little Faith:
The 1960s were tumultuous times, sounding a death knell for those who distorted reality, and those under fire had to make a choice to flee or hide behind the protective shield of denial. Laura, Beth, Eric, and his wife, Jenny, are the children of fundamentalist Christians who believe faith is the center of existence. But they have left two of their children hiding behind secrets that need to be revealed in order for necessary healing to occur. Laura rebels and rejects religion; she wants to have a child by a surrogate father, a desire that sets her apart from almost everyone she knows. However, she is a talented author whose children’s novel has just been accepted for publication with a lucrative deal. Constant tension over the unspoken past builds between the siblings. All of this, however, proceeds unusually with the help of another writer, Peter, and a shocking development.
Reactions by this novel’s readers may depend on one’s beliefs or lack thereof, but it cannot be denied that the essence of compassion is the theme brilliantly shining through this poignant story. The reader’s feelings evolve parallel to those of the characters. Change and honest caring were the by-products of the ´60s, all of which the reader experiences in a wondrous way that remains long after the story and its afterword are finished. Excellent historical fiction and highly recommended! — Historical Novel Society
“A raw yet sensitive portrayal of hypocrisy set against the backdrop of the tumultuous 1960s presents the struggles of a liberal woman in the context of her conservative family and upbringing. Brutally frank and devastatingly real, this exceptional novel explores the dynamics of a dysfunctional family while calling attention to hypocritical behavior. Dredged memories of clergy pedophilia during the 1950s mingle with suppressed sexuality and feminist perceptions of a biblical world. Narrated from the distinctive viewpoints of four protagonists, the story reveals that interpretation of religious structure is highly personal, not a matter of dogma.
Two sisters, a brother, and a sister-in-law cannot agree on whether to sell their childhood home that is occupied by the sibling with a zealous attitude toward fundamentalist religion. Pitted against this woman are her liberal sister, Laura, who wishes to have a child without the entanglement of marriage during a time when it remains unacceptable, and her brother, who is a married minister who remains childless.
Laura, having been molested by a pastor, maintains a straightforward, carefree lifestyle that showcases the flaws of conservative purists who resist change. Through Laura’s eyes, a sincere desire cannot tolerate a “should” or a “must” in a preordained plan; rather, it is the spontaneity of living that enlightens those who seek the guidance of a higher power.
Filled with twists and surprises, this absorbing novel fulfills expectations without giving itself away. The end will astound even the most jaded. Meticulous effort, as well as personal experience, enhances the authenticity of Hoenig’s work, bringing to light a captivating though frightening decade. Women’s rights, the Vietnam War, and civil-rights protests set the backdrop for this engrossing exploration of human character.
Carol Hoenig is president of her own publishing consultant firm and an award-winning author with a gift for insightful storytelling. Her involvement in fundamentalism and later rejection of the church bring to light this sensitive portrayal of a fascinating cast of characters.
*Of Little Faith* delivers a punch to old-school beliefs while spotlighting the period when progress for women battled nightmarish condemnation and self-centered ritual.” –ForeWord Magazine Reviews, Winter Issue
Ever since I read Carol Hoenig’s novel, “Without Grace” and heard that she had another novel in the works, I have been waiting to have the opportunity to read it. “Of Little Faith” is about one family that has been damaged by fundamental religion. My book discussion group actually had the opportunity to read it in manuscript form since we are friends of Carol’s and we ended up talking for a couple of hours about the different points of view that the story brings out. We all agreed that we enjoyed this novel very much and found that it stirred a number of questions that we needed to ask ourselves when it comes to faith. I think this would be a perfect selection for any book discussion group. –Bookgroupy
Two sisters and a brother are bound to a dark past by their shared interest in the family home. Painful memories render them unable to come to an agreement that would open the door to the possibility of healing. Hoenig skillfully shifts between four narrators to tell this gripping story, avoiding excess sentimentality. A real page-turner I found hard to put down. — Anna Jean Mayhew, author of The Dry Grass of August
Serious and heartfelt, and highly readable. — Meredith Sue Willis, author of A Space Apart
As always, thank you for reading my writing journey. To be continued…