“A Lifetime of Men” by Ciahnan Darrell

A Lifetime of Men                        

Ciahnan Quinn Darrell
Propertius Press (2020)
ISBN 9781716707933
Reviewed by Jill Rey for Reader Views (11/2020)

Wow, there isn’t a single angle in which “A Lifetime of Men” doesn’t surround you and squeeze out every emotion.

A story within a story, “A Lifetime of Men” follows three distinct females: Bo, Sarah, and Tolan.  Beginning with Tolan stumbling upon a novel in process on her mother’s computer potentially detailing the story behind the elusive scar on her mother’s face.  As Tolan navigates her mother’s story, she can’t help but to begin thinking of it more as a memoir than a work of fiction. Rotating between Tolan’s present day as she works on discovering her identity and sexuality, to Bo’s harsh childhood and impressive adult endeavors, finally wrapping up with Sarah’s story of orphan to lover.  This phenomenal debut impressively rockets to one of my 2020 favorites, as a thought provoking, profoundly enduring read.

Author Ciahnan Quinn Darrell creates three extraordinary women, each with their own multifaceted backgrounds and struggles.  Successfully weaving these exceptionally unique women together, making the reader emotionally aware of their feelings as they grow up and live in hardship.  Readers are left asking all the tough questions right alongside Bo, Sarah, and Tolan as they work to uncover the truth within the story housed between the pages.

“A Lifetime of Men” opens readers eyes to the intricacies and similarities of female relationships as they weather a lifetime full of men.  This read spans from the era of the Great Depression to present day Tolan’s life with her single mother and best friend, Tori.  There is so much heartache, anecdote and strength housed within the pages it is sincerely hard to believe this is Darrell’s debut novel. 

Niched for female readers, given the intricacies of the female relationships, Darrell captures the feminine voice so profoundly.  Effectively piloting through all stages of female emotional growth and maturity.  Each phase of Bo, Sarah and Tolan’s life are splayed out on the page for readers to soak in, consume and treasure.  This surely will not be the last we hear from Darrell in the literary sphere and I cannot wait to see what story is released by this author next, what an astonishing debut.

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