From "READERS' FAVORITE" Reviewers

Completed on: March 28, 2016

 

Review Rating: 5 Stars

 

Reviewed By Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers’ Favorite

Only the finest writers can accomplish what Colleen A. Parkinson does in her fascinating historical novel, The Finest Hat in the Whole World. Sometimes, rarely, a reader feels overwhelmingly privileged to read just such a book. To Kill a Mockingbird comes to mind. And there is a reassuring resonance with this major classic to be found in Ms. Parkinson’s book – both in the utterly endearing relationship between the rebellious, once-abused Phena and her devoted Uncle Des with whom she lives, having been abandoned by her stoically indifferent father and her abusive, mentally ill mother – and also in the rarefied atmosphere of its moralistic message.

The year is 1917, the United States is just about to enter the devastating First World War, and Des - who is a bar owner in small town USA - is too old at thirty to be drafted. Due to a situation markedly more complex than it initially seems, 9-year-old Phena is given into the custody of Des. She too is more complex than she at first appears. Their relationship is nothing but complex, but it is based clearly on devotion and adoration, which becomes a primary driving force behind the deep, compelling, twenty-year-long plot development in this masterpiece of writing. Remarkably, even the most difficult plot elements are handled with immeasurable grace and credibility.

Every character in Colleen A. Parkinson’s The Finest Hat in the Whole World is finely drawn and made absolutely real and psychologically credible and intriguing, for the author often elicits individual personality quirks out of experiences subconsciously endured because they happened so long ago, sometimes leaving subtle emotional scars that linger into adulthood. However, what elevates her writing into the realm of truly great fiction – award-winning fiction – is Ms. Parkinson’s flawless ability to evoke a vivid sense of presence through her stunning use of lean but gorgeous prose, crafted as meticulously as one might prune and nurture a perfectly-attended-to, thoroughly stunning victory garden ... or a daughter.

 

 



5-Star Reviews


Reviewed By Arya Fomonyuy for Readers’ Favorite

 

 

The Finest Hat in the Whole World by Colleen A. Parkinson is a captivating story with emotional and psychological depths, a story that looks at the drama in a troubled family. Colleen A. Parkinson creates a story that is both inspirational and motivational, a story that excellently showcases the themes of personal development, despair and hope, family, and what it takes to create meaning. I loved the characters and the fact that they are created to be so human. The setting is wonderful, a historical period dominated by war, the Depression, and other social ills. Desmond Stewart seems to be a symbol of that age. The writing is beautiful and evocative, featuring very insightful and colorful passages, and descriptions that succinctly capture the state of mind of the characters and the seasons of their souls. Well-paced and gripping, The Finest Hat in the Whole World will have readers crying and laughing, feeling utterly entertained and connected with the compelling characters.

 


5-Star Reviews


Reviewed By Rabia Tanveer for Readers’ Favorite

 

 

The Finest Hat in the Whole World by Colleen A. Parkinson is one of those novels that you love on sight.
This is definitely one of the most endearing novels I have ever read. Colleen A. Parkinson’s writing style is very contemporary and a lot like Harper Lee and Mat Johnson! Both of them are gems of contemporary literature and I believe Parkinson has the talent to be named among such a skilled group of writers. Des’s character is very relatable. We all have insecurities and we all are looking for that chance to help us find ourselves. Des is endearing and his relationship with Phena is just incredible. She is the light of his life and he is hers. I simply loved this novel and I could not have wished for a better written novel.

              Tremendously written!


5-Star Reviews


Reviewed By Divine Zape for Readers’ Favorite

 

 

The Finest Hat in the Whole World by Colleen A. Parkinson is a riveting story that explores the themes of family, secrets, personal development, coming of age, and redemption. 
This lyrical, well-told story starts with a powerful line: “Secrets are like moonlight obscured by fog.” The author immediately pulls the reader into the consciousness of the main character, allowing the reader a glimpse into the darkness within him. Colleen A. Parkinson recreates the drama taking place in many troubled homes and she does so with ingenuity and a rare knack for creativity. The story reads so realistically that any reader can relate to it. I enjoyed the characters; they are compelling, each with a burden to carry, and seeing how they evolve throughout the story will be a huge delight to readers. The historical references are masterfully used to add color to the already beautiful setting. The Finest Hat in the Whole World is a title that elicits curiosity, a story that will entertain readers and have them turning the pages, longing to understand the bond between uncle and niece and what becomes of them. It’s a beautifully imagined story told by a masterly hand..

 



5-Star Reviews


 

Reviewed By Sefina Hawke for Readers’ Favorite

 

 

The Finest Hat in the Whole World by Colleen A. Parkinson is a well-written piece of fiction with wonderful use of figurative language. The author did a spectacular job in creating a clear picture of both the characters and the setting in my head. Young Phena quickly became my favorite character; I just loved how realistically she was written. I really loved how Des managed to pull himself out of his depression and loneliness in order to be the adult that Phena desperately needed. This book really touched my heart because I could truly understand the burden Des felt when he gave up on his own life to help his mother, and the way that influenced his own life.


5-Star Reviews


 

Reviewed by Sarah Stuart for Readers' Favorite

 

 

I absolutely loved The Finest Hat in the Whole World. Colleen A. Parkinson has created an extended family who truly step off the pages and live. The result is a character-driven story that makes the reader feel love, hate, sympathy, joy, despair, the power of Our Lord… every emotion that exists: for me, that is the mark of a very talented author. Also, it demonstrates Ms. Parkinson’s deep understanding of human nature and memories of childhood.


Thumbs-Up



Sefina Hawke for Readers’ Favorite: “This book really touched my heart…”

 

 Divine Zape for Readers’ Favorite: “…a story that will entertain readers and have them turning the pages.”

 

Arya Fomonyuy for Readers’ Favorite: “The writing is beautiful and evocative, featuring very insightful and colorful passages, and descriptions that succinctly capture the state of mind of the characters and the seasons of their souls. ...well-paced and gripping, The Finest Hat in the Whole will have readers crying and laughing, feeling utterly entertained and connected with the compelling characters.”

 

Rabia Tanveer“This is definitely one of the most endearing novels I have ever read.”