I really liked the premise of the book and I had high hopes that I would really enjoy it. However, I enjoyed the beginning of the story more than the rest of the novel. A large chunk of the novel, especially the middle, was a bit dull and frustrating. The writing style was also inconsistent in my opinion, it was at times smooth and nice but at other times stilted and slow. Overall the writing style was difficult to like, although I could understand some part of it was due to the book being set in the present and Helen being from 130 years before.
I enjoyed the first chapters where we were becoming familiar with Helen and trying to understand how Billy can see her. The twist with Billy/James' body was interesting at first but grew stale for me especially with the quick-to-love scenario. I think this was in large part due to the direction the author chose to take, especially the family Helen ends up with. Had the author made some different decisions the book would have been more successful in my opinion.
And why the extreme families? Billy’s is shady, violent and at least at one time drug/alcohol filled. Then there is Jenny/Helen’s, which is extreme prim and “proper” religious (she might as well have been in prison). Helen had made some mentions of God and praying etc. in the beginning of the novel but they were easy to ignore. However, when the ultra religious family came into play I found it difficult to tolerate. While the family may not be a typical Christian one, there are families out there like Jenny's and it makes it all the more mind-numbing to read.
Overall I was disappointed by A Certain Slant of Light. Minus the religious element and the eventual staleness of the plot, I think the author could have been more successful for a reader like me.