A review of “Where the Light Falls” by Allison & Owen Pataki

by Clark Roush, Ph.D.


“Where the Light Falls” is a can’t-put-it-down new book from the pens of Allison and Owen Pataki. The historical novel about the French Revolution is one of the most engaging reads I’ve experienced. The historical accuracy is stunning, and the fiction was a story quite well told.

The energy begins in the Prologue as the reader experiences the blood-thirsty mob demanding another execution. The portrayal of their blood-lust at La Plaza is riveting, and as the book unfolds, it becomes clear why the book begins this way.

The lives of the two protagonists, Andre and Jean-Luc, are slowly woven among some historical figures of the Revolution. The authors go back and forth between these two stories throughout the book. In so doing, the reader is left completely clear as to who the main antagonists are.

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot because the writing is superb, the plot twists ingenious, and I want you to have the same experience I did in having it unfold before me. You will definitely experience some “I didn’t see that coming” surprises, but each one fits perfectly within the grand scheme of the novel.

The Pataki team utilizes some universal themes: family, career, power, opportunity, and love, but present both the light and dark side of each as the story unfolds. There were moments when I yelled, “NO!”; there were moments I was inspired; there were moments I was angry; and there were moments I cried. The love will warm your heart. The betrayal will break your heart.

One of the aspects I enjoyed was their word choice. The writers do not assume the reader lacks intelligence, yet their words flow beautifully together, and weave a beautiful tapestry of both thought and sound. It has historically accurate information, yet never reads like a traditional history book. The fact and fiction mesh in a manner that effectively keeps the readers interest.

Heroism, treachery, and adventure are laced throughout the book, and I believe you will find the missive thrilling. I was completely caught up in the characters lives – experiencing every emotion along with them. The emotional roller coaster that was a part of this time in history is certainly part of the novel as well.

I believe this is to historical novels what Les Miserables is to musical theatre. This is simply a must read. I have every confidence you’ll thank me for recommending it so highly. It is a wonderful journey to a troubled time and troubled place, but the fictional characters seem so real one cannot help but wonder if the authors stumbled upon a journal rather than making it up. Do yourself a favor and get a hold of this wonderfully written story and get lost in the adventures of Andre and Jean-Luc, their lives, their passions, their loves, their hopes, their dreams, and their enemies.