Boucher impresses with debut novel

Lionel Boucher


If you’ve been inspired by the movie Titanic then you’ll definitely fall in love with the heart-warming story of The Obstacle. It is described as a gripping drama and a poignant love story, but what put this book above all others is the message it promotes about the ‘true’ nature of love. Yes, this could be the eagerly anticipated romance novel to come along in some time. And, with the way in which it tackles issues affecting parenthood, difference in status, family problems and poverty faced by so many, it is not hard to see why this book is interesting, and sure to please millions of readers.

In his debut novel, Boucher tells the story of a young woman who is a member of an aristocratic family and falls in love with a middle class man with nothing except dreams. Because of a decision made by her strict father, the young lovers are separated. Against all odds, however, they find a way to get back together. But when she accidentally meets a rich Italian restaurant owner who also happens to be a notorious crime boss, all hell breaks loose and they are soon forced to confront their biggest fear and at the same time fight the temptation that put their long-term relationship to the challenge.

Except for the sensational, romantic tale and movingly tragic events, the book is a look at two seemingly different worlds which tackles head-on the ever debating issue of the existence of true love in a materialistic world. The Obstacle will provide a forum for people to discuss their feelings about wealth, poverty, status , and everlasting love. The manner in which the books deals with all these aspects is enough to inspire each and everyone to rise above life’s obstacles.

Although the subject matter is serious and dramatic, the book is kept from being morose by delightfully romantic moments.

The Obstacle could be one of the best romantic books of our time and the fact that it’s receiving rave reviews, ensures that this is powerful reading material. Although The Obstacle written by the debut South African author Lionel Boucher focused most of the time describing the main characters’ powerful love affair – after a few chapters, the plot thickens and the readers’ attention will be grabbed in such a way that they won’t be able to put the book down. Each follow up chapter is suspenseful and outstanding.

Set In New York, Boucher picked two neighborhoods to depict the extreme difference in the finances of the two lovers. Christine lives in the affluent Long Island neighborhood while Frank live in The Bronx.

Boucher always felt he could write a successful book, but unless he really needed to do it, he would not given it one hundred percent. The catalyst that finally prompted the author to put pen to paper was the blockbuster movie Titanic. ‘After seeing Titanic,’ he says, ‘I was so fascinated by how the film portrays true love that I had to write a love story with a similar background, but with more profundity. I wanted to give it a shot. And I did.’

He also said that the book became his biggest challenge because he didn’t want to create just a good love story that would be of interesting reading, but one that would reside with readers for years to come. In other words, a book that would give people a fresh view of the ‘true’ nature of love.

Boucher creates some happy and even funny moments that keep the book from becoming maudlin, even though the final chapters will certainly bring a number of readers to tears. And most importantly, he has made us one with Frank and Christine, feeling the beat of their hearts as they experience the kind of love we all dream about, but seldom find.

The Obstacle is currently available on Amazon as an e-book. For readers who wants to purchase a hard copy, orders can be made at Amazon or your local library and bookshop.

About the Author

Lionel Boucher began writing The Obstacle in 1999, but because of a very competitive market, he struggled to find success with the publication of it. With determination and hard work, the long-shelved manuscript has now been published to the delight of his fans. His book is described by some as a gripping drama and a poignant love story that breathes new life into the genre that make this no ordinary love story. Boucher’s reply was: “The book is not really philosophical. It’s merely a work of fiction. I don’t know how my readers perceive it, but I do know that while doing research for my book, I was giving myself a liberal education.”

Born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, in 1975, Boucher was forced to drop out of school due to an acute respiratory infection. Determined to get educated, however, he completed his senior year by enrolling at a correspondence college, where he earned his high school diploma. He then studied hotel management while working in the industry as a part-time waiter and bartender.

His talent certainly isn’t limited to writing, though. This seasoned author can also sing, write songs, and act. Music is really his number-one creative passion. But he’d never do it professionally as he has had to go through two critical nose and throat operations that badly affected both his voice and his self-confidence. He reluctantly gave up his music career.

Feeling that he was born for the entertainment industry, he next tried acting and in 1997 joined the Sanderson Drama School. Since that time, he has performed in several plays, including at the prestigious Grahamstown National Arts Festival, where he made his first television appearance. He was also one of the key decision makers of the school and the directors relied on his brilliant creative abilities to help organize forthcoming shows. But just as his acting career was beginning to flourish, problems intervened again as the school closed down due to unforeseen circumstances. After that, he tried out at a few smaller drama schools, but none of them were as successful as Sanderson. Lionel then tried his hand at modeling, and once had the opportunity to meet Giano Franco, the man who discovered Charlize Theron. But that did not turn out very well at all.

Discouraged and broke, Lionel left Port Elizabeth and ended up in Johannesburg where he hoped to find out if he had any luck there by going for auditions for television commercials and soaps. Johannesburg is the entertainment center of South Africa, the mini-Hollywood, as many call it, but it’s mainly where black people live and because of the government’s new policy of black empowerment, he ended up with no luck at all.  Discouraged and on the verge of giving up his artistic dream, he returned to Port Elizabeth, where he did all kinds of odd jobs.

The catalyst that finally prompted him to write a novel was the blockbuster movie Titanic. “After seeing Titanic,” he says, “I was so fascinated by how the film portrays true love that I had to write a love story with a similar background, but with more profundity. I wanted to give it a shot. And I did.”

Initially, he wrote a screenplay and sent it to DreamWorks in Los Angeles. But because of company-imposed submission policies, they declined to read his screenplay.

But he had a story that needed to be told, so he decided to write a novel. He knew that the new direction he wanted to take would be a huge challenge because he had no idea how to write a novel. After taking a short writing course, he was able to master the craft. Another challenge he had to face was the language, as English is his second tongue.

Asked why he chose an American setting for his first novel, Boucher draws an analogy with his failed music career. “If I had the chance to be a singer-songwriter, I’d always be second best if I stayed in South Africa. I would need to go to America to find out if I was really any good to be truly successful. It’s the same with fiction. You have to find the biggest league in the world, and then get in there and compete.”

Having an American editor, he believes, has helped. It has also meant a lot of research on geography and the American culture. “It was a rough road of doubts and insecurities, full of hard work and perseverance,” he recalls.

Many times, due to a lack of resources and endless rejections from literary agents and publishers, he felt like giving up, but he always got the strength to carry on by visualizing the new life he had marked for himself and the satisfaction of knowing that, despite all the misfortunes in his life, he would reach his dream. When he’s not writing, Boucher enjoys exercising, watching movies, and having barbecue with friends. He’s currently writing his second novel.

 Read what satisfied readers say!

The Obstacle, Boucher’s first novel, and what an excellent effort!’ –The Writing School

 The Obstacle has the ability to grab and hold your attention. There is no question but that it will shoot into the top ten’ – Christian Martin, South Africa’s former Provincial Minister of Public Works

‘An entirely absorbing novel. In all respects an outstanding love story’ E.Wise, Librarian

‘This is probably the best romantic book I have ever read…it kept me glued to every page’ – Monique Van der Linden, Third Year Student at the University of South Africa for Bed (bachelors of education)

 ‘Sure to be a blockbuster. Boucher has concocted an amazing tale’ – Jesse February, WIM: Woman International Master in Chess

‘A deeply moving story that brought me to tears in the end, then also, so realistic to my own experience, the message it promotes about the power of love through the whole tragedy is invaluable. This is a must-read book for women who had been disappointed in love and seeks new meaning in’ – Felicity Williams, Entrepreneur


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