Book Review: Historical Fiction

Review: The Help

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The Help
The Help by Kathryn Stockett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book at least 4 years ago, before I began to more consistently use Goodreads… and now I’m going back to ensure I have some level of a review for everything I read. It’s only fair… if the author took the time to write it, and I found a few hours to read it… I should share my views so others can decide if it’s a good book for them.

That said… did anyone not love or like this book? I’ll have to check out some other people’s reviews… And I wonder how many people just watched the movie… Oh well… I’ll keep this review short and not in my usual format, as probably everyone I’m friends with on here has already read it! ­čÖé

The only reason I’m not giving it a 5 is because I felt like some of the stories needed a better or stronger ending. I truly think it is a fantastic book, and it makes you really think about what happened in the not-so-distant past… and probably still happening in some parts of the country today. Scary thoughts, but in the end, at least the right people got something back they deserved, even if it wasn’t as much as it should have been.

The characters are very clear and strong. And when there are upwards of 10 to 12 supporting or lead female characters, an author has to spend a tremendous amount of time creating distinct pictures in a readers mind. Stockett did a great job with this task. Each and every one shows you a different personality: leaders and followers, movers and shakers, smart and silly, strong and weak, tolerant and intolerant, thirsty for all the world has to offer and content to stay the same for an entire lifetime.

When a writer can shuffle this many people throughout a story, they have invested themselves into the book, the characters, the setting, the theme, the future.

I haven’t read anything else by this author, but just thinking about this book, and realizing I haven’t looked at her other works makes me want to run to her profile now and pick one. Perhaps that’s what I’ll go do!



About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

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Review: Nick and Jake: An Epistolary Novel

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Nick and Jake: An Epistolary NovelMy rating: 3 of 5 stars┬áto Jonathan Richards‘s book, Nick and Jake: An Epistolary Novel, published in 2012. I’m not ashamed to admit it, but I had to look up the word “epistolary,” as I had no clue what it meant. Usually I’m good at determining the meaning of a word by breaking it up into smaller words, using my etymological skills; I am either getting old or I just had brain freeze; it shouldn’t have been that hard since it’s Latin and French. Epistolary means “written in the form of letters,” which is exactly how this novel was created.

Why This Book
All hail NetGalley! I liked the cover. I enjoyed the overview. It seemed like something different, once I knew the definition of the word epistolary. It became #9 on my NetGalley reads this year. For those unfamiliar, go check it out at https://netgalley.com, a site where publishers and authors provide an opportunity to win free books in exchange for honest reviews. Family was visiting for the Easter holiday and had just left, so I opened this book on my iPad Kindle Reader and finished it in about 2 hours, as it’s only about 200 pages.

Overview of Story
Nick and Jake work in the newspaper business in the 1950s, but they’ve never met at the beginning of the story. It’s a few years after World War II, where McCarthy’s fear of the Reds and Communism has taken over the country. The head of the CIA and other operatives are working across the world to track down any Communist supporters and arrest them, but if you even said something nice about Russia, or once passed someone on the street who was a Red supporter, you’d be accused yourself. Nick’s accused himself, but gets out of it and leaves for Paris, having nothing but ill-feelings towards the US government despite his love for the US itself. Jake’s already moved to Europe and publishing a newspaper, but they develop a friendship through their columns and words, supporting one another through various personal crises. Nick even gets divorced and re-married during the course of the story. The book is full of other characters, all who seem to be playing each other on different sides in the Red War. You can never quite tell who is being honest and who is a secret agent. But over the course of a few months, a few “stings” are executed to catch the criminals, ending with a bit of freedom and a small surprise or two.

Approach & Style
1. For starters, the book is written in the form of newspaper articles, telegrams and letters. Of the 10 major characters, they lives in the US, Europe and Asia, staying at houses, hotels and with friends. You get to see various post styles and handwriting samples, trying to figure out who is connected to who throughout each section.

2. The book is full of made-up and real characters… from fictional people in novels like the Great Gatsby to Senator McCarthy and George Bush. It includes Christine Jorgensen, the first person to have a sex-change (man to woman) and various family members of the primary characters who could be gay or are playing gay, including Maurice Chevalier. It’s quite an unusual cast.

3. Humor and satire can be your friends.

Strengths
This is a highly imaginative story, full of facts and fiction. As a reader, if you are familiar with all the books being used as fan fiction, and you know a lot of about the real people involved in Senator McCarthy’s war, you will love this book. It’s very clever and instantly transports you back to the fear-mongering of the 50’s. I am not familiar with the depth from this time period, but reading the transcripts of one “trial,” if that actually happened (the way people were questioned), I’m super ashamed for the US for that behavior. I have a feeling this was not an exaggeration, too.

The writing style is quick and easy, full of different handwriting styles, formats and voices. It’s a fun and quick read, as you maneuver your way through each of the sections to try and figure out who is good and who is bad. The friendship between Nick and Jake is a really strong basis, especially when you realize it was the 50s and one or two of them might be playing the other!


Open Questions & Concerns
1. What was with the obsession with the male body part in this book? I understand the sex-change story-line as that is an important piece of history, but Nick’s obsession with his own member… Jake’s curiosities about surgery, the way it became common conversation in letters… I thought I was reading an entirely different book at a few points.

2. Some of the characters and history were lost on me, as I’m not too familiar with McCarthy other than the basics of the communist war. I also didn’t read all the books being noted in this novel, so I feel like I missed out on some of the clever writing. That’s my fault, not the books… though I think the description and overview could have been more clear, so I knew going into it what I was getting myself into.

Final Thoughts
I wasn’t too keen on the novel when I first started it, but by about 15 minutes in, the quirky and clever writing made it a much easier read. It’s sharp and has good focus. I suspect had I more historical info on what had actually happened, this might have been a 4 out of 5 stars. So if you do, then you should read it. If you don’t… or the discussion of the male body part doesn’t appeal to you (I feel so peculiar putting that in a book review that’s not an erotic or romance book…), then perhaps this isn’t for you. But be warned… it’s an odd one… funny… not dirty at all… just a bit different.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

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Review: The Distant Hours

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The Distant HoursMy rating: 4 of 5 stars┬áto Kate Morton‘s The Distant Hours, a beautifully written and compelling story of sisters, mothers and daughters across two different time periods set in London and rural England.



Why This Book?
I’d read one of her other books, The Forgotten Garden, and fell in love with Kate Morton‘s style, effortless reads and vivid settings and characters. I had to continue absorbing as much of her books as I could, but given they are usually 500+ pages, and quite intense, I have to layer them in every few months. I happened to arrive in my building’s laundry room a few minutes early and perused the library’s bookshelves while waiting for the dryer to complete its cycle. Low an’ behold, there she stood.

Some kind soul had dropped off this book and it beckoned me to depart quickly with it. Well… as soon as I finished getting all my clothes out of the dryer. It sat on my living room’s bookshelves for a few weeks, until I’d seen a review of it this week and decided to move it up on my TBR list. SO GLAD I DID!

Overview of Story
Edie Burchill, a thirty year old book lover working in the publishing industry, recently split from her live-in boyfriend, is visiting her parents one weekend when a letter arrives in the mail, postmarked nearly 50 years ago. Edie’s mother, Meredith, tells her very little, only that it came from one of the Blythe sisters who live at Milderhurst Castle where Meredith stayed as an evacuee during WWII’s German Blitz. Though Edie and her mother aren’t very close, she knows Meredith hasn’t told her the entire story. And when Edie finds herself driving near the castle, and an opportunity to take a tour arises, she jumps on it. Inside Edie meets 85ish twins, Saffy and Percy, who care for their much younger sister, Juniper who is in her early 70s. All is not well with Juniper, who thinks Edie is actually Meredith from nearly 50 years ago. Edie visits local historians, presses her mother’s family and becomes closer to the twin sisters, in hopes she’ll discover what hides behind her mother’s wistful eyes. And as she falls deeper in the story, she learns of a broken engagement, a missing fiancee, a long-lost love, a crazy author, an affair and a few mysterious deaths. Not to mention the mystery of the “mud man” who the sisters’ father, Raymond Blythe, wrote a famous fiction (or was it?) story nearly 70 years before.

Approach & Style
The book alternates time periods every few chapters, showing what happened in 1939-1941 and what is happening currently in the 1990s. Chapters take on different points of view and focus from all of the core characters: Raymond Blythe. His 3 daughters, Saffy, Percy and Juniper. Edie spends time with her parents and her mother’s sister Rita. Mr. Cavill, the missing fiancee, has his own stories and connections, and his family is still looking for him in current time. The stories and characters unfold chapter by chapter, leading readers to discover all the covert relationships and actions that have occurred to bring everything to current times.

Strengths
Kate Morton is quickly becoming my favorite author. Her writing style, though a little exaggerated and too lyrical at times, is astoundingly beautiful. You will always picture the setting, the views and the backdrops. Her choice of words ranges from intoxicating to phenomenal. And her ability to stop the story at just the right moment before switching to a different character or point of view is dazzling. And sometimes, it’s not even a cliffhanger or point of suspense; it’s a mere change to give you a chance to breathe and let your imagination run free for a bit.

The plot is intricate, realistic and intense. You question with each chapter the motivation of the good people and the sentiment of the bad people. You wonder why they make the decision they make, only to find out later, you should never second guess it. I can imagine Morton writes very detailed outlines over several months, determining when to drop certain hints, and when to hold back for a complete and utter shock. She’s clearly writing in a forum and a genre that is well-suited to her strengths.

Open Questions & Concerns
At times, the story is a little too unclear. In 90% of the cases, it works to your advantage as your suspense and thrill increases; however, every so often, it goes a little too far, unravels more than it needs to and opens itself up to a few too many questions that don’t fully find resolution. In particular, with the ending of this one, I wasn’t sure of a connection to make with the delay that happens on the bus (no spoilers here!)… that said, it’s easily forgiven, but this reader wanted it a little more tidied up.

Empathy for the character of Juniper should have been a stronger theme. Readers will feel attached to her, but when you discover what truly happened to her in the end, and how it seems so much could have been prevented, you wonder whether she was just there to suffer. A tweak here and there might have made this a little more acceptable, but then again, reality doesn’t always work that way either. People have a misguided notion they are doing the right thing for the wrong reasons.

Final Thoughts
If you love flowery language, tremendous detail and an ethereal quality in a story, you must read Morton’s books. And this one in particular shows the push/pull between siblings and parents and children, all the things you never know even though you live together for so many years. We are all different people and despite sharing so much in common, our relationships are unique. This books shows us how to question why a sister can control another, how a mother can choose not to truly love her child… and how a man could go crazy over losing so much in a lifetime.

Go into this one expecting a long and intense journey, and you will be pleased. Go into this hoping for a thrilling ride of great leaps and shocks, you will be disappointed. This is not about how dastardly someone has behaved; this is about how people disappoint one another when they least expect to.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

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Review: Abigale Hall

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Abigale Hall
Abigale Hall by Lauren A. Forry

My rating: 3 of 5 stars┬áto Lauren A. Forry‘s Abigale Hall, a mystery and suspense novel I received via NetGalley and Skyhorse Publishing as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in exchange for a fair and honest review. Thank you to both for this opportunity, as I enjoyed the book and have posted a review below.


Story

Rebecca, 12, and Eliza, 17, are orphaned sisters in 1940’s London shortly after the end of WWII, their mother dying from the German Blitz and their father committing suicide after several issues post-war. The girls were awarded to their Aunt Bess, who could barely afford to keep herself above water due to a gambling problem. When she can’t take it anymore, Bess sells them to an elderly man in Wales who needs help around his estate. Rebecca seems to suffer from some emotional problems and needs constant supervision, while Eliza was hoping for a proposal from Peter.
Eliza could live on her own, but won’t let her sister be alone; and then they are both forced to leave without any notification to any friends.

When the sisters arrive, they are taken to Mrs. Pollard who runs the estate; however, both girls quickly learn they will be mistreated far worse than they had been by their Aunt Bess. Eliza begins to hear stories about several missing girls over the last 30 years — who once worked at the estate — but vanished under mysterious circumstances. As Eliza looks out for Rebecca, Rebecca begins to grow more sick and is eventually taken away by Mrs. Pollard to the hospital to get better. Eliza finally meets the master, Mr. Brownewell, who comes from a long line of very peculiar men; however, he seems to carry his own tarnish, as the townspeople suspect he killed his fiancee nearly 30 years ago when he thought she was looking at another man in the wrong way.

Eliza tries to keep things status quo as she searches for the answers, but soon discovers she cannot trust anyone. Eliza also begins to hear and see the ghost of Victoria, Mr. Brownewell’s late fiancee, roaming the halls, claiming to have stolen all the missing girls. Meanwhile, Peter realizes that Eliza has been kidnapped and tries to find her, but many people — all caught up in the macabre game being played — stand in his way, nearly killing him a few times. When he finally finds Eliza, he steps right into a trap set by the villain behind the entire Gothic horror. But who is it? And who will survive…


Strengths

The characters are vivid and intense. And there aren’t a tremendous amount of them, which certainly helps make it a good story. You’ve got Eliza and Rebecca who are the sisters dealing with the situation. Their Aunt Bess plays a role in the send off to Wales. Peter is chasing after Eliza. Peter’s got 3 or 4 people he interacts with on his search. And in Abigale Hall, there are 3 or 4 characters who help run the estate. Plus the ghost or not-so-dead Victoria (you will have to read to find out)!

The estate, Thornecroft, is a beautiful setting but has a ruthless charm about it. Abigale Hall is one of the main rooms / areas, well described, but keeps you guessing whether it’s a good or a bad place to be. The concept of ghosts is used intricately and constantly keeps readers wondering whether or not the characters are loopy or really seeing what they think they are seeing. It helps you stay focused and want to keep reading each chapter to figure it out.


Suggestions

I thought the book was a little longer than it needed to be. It wasn’t repetitive, but at times it felt a little too drawn out. I assume it’s to build the fear factor and the thrill of the chase; however, at times, you want to skim a few sections just to see how far the author was going to take each of the scenes. With a little more editing and focus on key word replacements, I think it could have really put the fear in a few more readers.

All of the characters were just mean. Maybe that’s how it was in the 1940s after the war and in England, but I felt like I just wanted to smack several of them for the way they treated each other; and I’m not even counting the villains in the book. Even the ones who were friends or even just acquaintances felt like they had a bit of a nasty tone about them. It could be totally realistic, but it was a bit of a turn off for me.


Comparisons

At many points in the novel, I kept thinking about the direct comparison to Daphne du Maurier‘s novel Rebecca, and that’s not considering both books have a main character named Rebecca. Both books have sprawling estates with a Gothic haunting ghost; Rebecca has Manderley and Abigale Hall has Plentynunig’s Thornecroft. Both have a very menacing but possibly innocent caretaker. Let’s see a rumble between Mrs. Pollard and Mrs. Danvers!

There are some interesting themes about shoes in this book that made me think of the Wizard of Oz witches… between Dorothy’s shoes and the legs of the witch underneath the home that crashed into Oz, you can’t help but see the comparison when one of the characters in Abigale Hall ends up with a head in the oven and nothing hanging out but a pair of legs.

Plus, both the sisters have trouble with their shoes the entire book. Was a little odd!

Not to mention Hansel and Gretel pushing the witch in the oven. So many re-appropriations of fairy tales could be seen.


Final Thoughts

I’m glad I read the book, and there were definitely parts full of horror the creepy factor. I was hoping for a bit more macabre, and the end certainly brings some intensity and major crazy… but it should have pushed the envelope a bit more to truly be a horror book. It’s a good read, but I didn’t think “wow, this is an awesome and scary book.” I’d read another one by this author as the writing flowed well and created memorable characters. But give me something even more gruesome next time!

About Me

For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

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Review: The White Feather Murders

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The White Feather MurdersMy rating: 3 of 5 stars┬áto Rachel McMillan‘s The White Feather Murders, her third historical cozy in the “Herringford and Watts” mystery series. This book was a tough one for me to review as I had a hard time staying focused, but I did like the story-line. Something about it said “keep trying” but ultimately, in the end, I wasn’t too keen on it.


Why This Book?

After joining NetGalley last month, I looked for books I could read immediately through automatic requests, as I needed to increase my review % and receive newer releases I wanted to read. When I saw the description of this book, and the cover, I thought it would be a good new series to read, even though I usually start with Book 1. It landed in my queue and I read it over the last few days.


Story

The book (and I assume the series) takes place in the early 20th century in Toronto, Canada, just prior to England entering World War 1. There is a lot of tension in the air over whether immigrants from Germany and Italy are truly becoming Canadian citizens, or if they are secretly helping their home countries back in Europe. (Sounds familiar, eh?) Everyone was suspected of being an alien enemy!

Merinda Herringford and Jem Watts DeLuca are “lady detectives” who have become popular for solving crimes in the last few years, and they are called in by Miss Mueller, a German-Canadian woman, who fears for her brother’s life. He’s being beaten and harassed because he is German, even though he supports England and Canada in the war. The local police and the Mayor tolerate Merinda and Jem’s investigations, probably more than expected for the time period when women were foolishly not allowed to do much except mind the home and children; however, the corrupt Mayor really thinks both are frustrating and troublesome.

Suddenly, several men they know are found dead with a white feather strewn across their bodies. And then the German boy they were investigating is found dead with the same type of feather. But it’s when a car rams into Merinda and Jem that they realize someone is after them. Their families try to get the ladies to stop investigating, but the women are determined to solve the crime. And in the end, they do. But the path along the way is dangerous and misleading, especially when corruption lurks behind every stone they turn over.


Strengths

The story feels real and the setting is clear. You feel a connection because this happened, even if you don’t hail from Canada.

It’s good to see two female leads, especially in historical fiction. Their actions feel accurately depicted.

The book has several small story arcs supporting the main investigation, which helps create a more robust world to read about.


Why I Struggled

There were too many characters who weren’t properly described or given enough distinction. I often felt confused as to who was on which side, finding myself skimming a few pages now and again to get to the end.

I never connected with the characters. The book felt too plot-driven with little focus on likability for the plight other than knowing it was unfair. I wanted the underdogs to win because that’s just who I am, but it wasn’t the writing that drove me to that conclusion.

I had high hopes but it felt too flat. I would have liked to see more drawn out scenes to help me understand why certain things happened. It was as if in the matter of one page, a body was found, they decided who did it and moved on.

I still don’t understand the end and how the killer just gave up. I won’t give away spoilers, but it must have been an old-fashioned villain’s way of doing things. Not what I expected!


Final Thoughts

Overall, the book had some good parts, and I wanted to like it more. I don’t think I’ll go back and read the rest of the books, but I might check out reviews on each of them, and this one, to see what I am missing. I admit I read more quickly than usual, and didn’t stay invested in it like I normally do. It may have been my fault that I didn’t like it that much.

On a side note, I watched the “Julie Bowen” episode of “Who Do You Think You Are” this week… as I love my genealogy. And she was researching two ancestors; one from Civil War days and one for WW1 where her great grandfather ran the national office of the American Protective League where they registered “alien enemies.” Reading about it in a book (in Canada) and watching it on TV (in America) happening at the same time nearly a century ago… made me think… we never learn our lessons, do we?

About Me

For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

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Review: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I spent a few weeks every summer in the Catskill Mountains at a resort with my godparents, parents and grandparents. I used to walk around the forest, searching for the headless horsemen. The cottages we always stayed in were either “Rip Van Winkle” or “Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Such good memories on the place and this book. Even before the movie, it launched my thirst for mystery and the hunt!

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Review: House Of Shadows

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House Of ShadowsMy rating: 3 of 5 stars┬áto Nicola Cornick‘s House of Shadows, an ARC I received through NetGalley last week in exchange for an honest review. I realized it takes time to build up a good rating before publishers choose you to read new releases by famous authors, and so I set about choosing books by new authors or unknown authors that I might enjoy. Little did I realize, Cornick has several published series I could have gotten familiar with. While this book’s plot and setting initially attracted me, I feel it could have been stronger in the execution. Let’s get to the deets:


Story

Holly receives a phone call from her 6-year-old niece in the middle of the night, noting her father (Holly’s brother), Ben, has gone missing. Holly takes the long train from London to a distant Oxfordshire town where their family owns an old English home. Ben had been staying there for a few days doing research on the family tree when he disappeared. Holly’s just separated from her fiance and chooses to stay at the country home and search for Ben. As she traces clues, she learns he may have stumbled upon (1) the pearl and (2) the crystal mirror that the Winter Queen of a German duchy, Elizabeth Stuart, of the English Stuarts (Charles and James, Scottish kings) used with her husband, Frederick, as powerful objects to create fire and floods when in their wars. They were originally given to Mary Queen of Scots by her cousin Elizabeth I of England, as a wedding present after being previously stolen from another member of the family. The story is told through three time periods: (1) 1630’s with Elizabeth, (2) 1800s with Lavinia and (3) 2000s with Holly. Somehow they are all connected, and it seems someone used the power of the pearl and the mirror to wreck havoc over the centuries. But how it all comes together, who is related to whom, and what happened to Ben are at the crux of this multi-level story.


Strengths

1. The story is intriguing. Real people (Elizabeth, Frederick, Mary, etc.) are woven with fictional people to create an imaginative story to capture readers attention. You’ll find yourself flipping between the book and Wikipedia trying to figure out which parts are true. Did the pearl exist? Was the affair real? Did she really go on to have 11 children that eventually gave rise to most of the European thrones?

2. The story is very descriptive and you will clearly picture all of the setting and backdrop. It seems quite beautiful. You can separate easily from the views of the house in 2 of the 3 time periods, given it didn’t exist in one of them. The best word I can use is to say it is “pretty.” It sounds like the author has been dreaming of this story for a long time, so kudos to her for bringing it to full fruition.


Suggestions

It felt like something was missing, and the parts that were present didn’t fully line up for me. I love telling stories over multi-time periods, trying to figure out the connections among each of the characters. And some parts of this story handled it well; however, the ending was rushed which felt like I didn’t have time to absorb the consequences of each lie, affair or murder that occurred over the 400 year period. I think there should have been less focus on the current story’s secondary characters (Ben’s potential affair, Holly’s hook-ups, the multiple friends who didn’t really contribute much) and more focus on drawing out the connections among the different families over the years.


Final Thoughts

Given it had some good parts and some so-so parts, I give this one a 3… I’d recommend it for fans of this genre who like things a little open-ended, who like royal and non-royal connections and who love the English countryside.

I’d read a sample of this author’s work again, as the writing and language was good (a little slow at times), but the plot would have to be pretty strong for me to jump on the next one. That said, it is a fair book — just not as good as others in this genre that I’ve read and loved.

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