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The Art of Devotion

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  179 ratings  ·  72 reviews
In the tradition of bestselling authors Ian McEwan and Anne Enright, Samantha Bruce-Benjamin’s brilliant and timeless debut unveils the dark side of human nature as four women share the poignant tale of love, obsession, and ultimate betrayal that binds them forever.

Have we all not wished to keep forever the one person we love the most?

The secluded beaches of a sun-drenched
Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published (first published May 19th 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,069)
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Tara Chevrestt
I hate doing this... The author probably spent years writing this debut novel, put a lovely cover on it, got my attention, and well.. I hated it and am now telling the world I hated it and why... but I gotta be honest.

First of all, the story takes place in the 1940s for the most part, but I would not classify it as historical because there is nothing whatsoever historical about it. It's just a story, a family torn apart story and they just happen to live in the 1940s. There is no detail whatsoev
This book is going to be the biggest hit for book clubs. I honestly don't know how to even write my reading experience. But I'll try. For you.

The story is unique because it is told in four distinct voices thus four perspectives. Each voice adding more to the story. I found myself leaning more sympathetically to each character after the chapter she wrote. And then I would change my mind as I was pulled through another voice and new information.

The book begins with a simple story and ends with a
I recently stayed at a hotel where they leave three complimentary novels on your nightstand, novels you are welcome to take home with you... so I did. I knew from the fifth page or so that I would hate this book. But I kept reading it anyway because it was free and there's something wrong with me. This is the kind of book in which every character has some horrible secret, and just when you've come to terms with those horrible, ridiculous secrets, you realize that you've been duped. Because guess ...more
Julie Smith (Knitting and Sundries)
This review was initially posted on my blog: Knitting and Sundries

AND I wish there were a 1/2 star designation on Good Reads, as I gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars! :)

In this book, you are taken into a world of privilege and serenity through the voices of 4 women:

* Sophie - mother to Adora and Sebastian
* Adora - married to Oliver
* Miranda - married to James who is a good friend of Oliver's, mother of Genevieve
* Genevieve (Gigi) - who reveres Adora and thinks more of her than of her own mother

We ar
Brande Waldron
In Samantha Bruce-Benjamin's debut novel, The Art of Devotion is truly intriguing as the story spans almost 20 years as the lives of one family and their friends are torn apart by scandal and secrets. Lies so deep they cut to the heart of 4 women and slowly destroy them from the inside out.

Four POV’s that converge over time with Sophia, a widow trying to raise her daughter Adora and her son Sebastian who share a scandalous relationship that is ultimately quite disturbing. Three generations of w
Suzanne (Chick with Books) Yester
The Art of Devotion by Samantha Bruce-Benjamin is haunting... The prose is beautifully rendered on the page, like a love letter written to the reader... The women who fill the pages of The Art of Devotion struggle for your empathy as each reveals their hidden fears, betrayals, hopes and obsessions... and by the end of the story, their story, we are swept up into their lives.

The novel itself is unique in that the story is told from four points of view. Sophie, Adora, Miranda and Genevieve are the
Sara Broome
I so desperately loved this book. The writing is unfathomably beautiful and the way in which Samantha Bruce-Benjamin so perfectly handles four different points of view kept me gripped until the final page. I simply couldn't put it down. It's a book about universal emotions, but set on an island in the Mediterranean Sea in the 1920s and 30s, so it's like escaping into another world. But the language the author uses, and the way in which she constructs sentences, and her insights into human emotio ...more
Mary (BookHounds)
It really reminded me a lot of a Jodi Picoult story in how it unfolds and the unique take on each situation by the characters. Each one of them has a secret and they are all related. I really found it fascinating how the book unfolds. This really isn't really historical fiction although it does mostly take place during the 1940's. I really felt as though I was reading the private diaries of these characters. I really recommend this one and wish I could described it better. It is just one of thos ...more
The first thing I noticed about The Art of Devotion was the beauty of the text -- the language is so lyrical. Other reviewers have mentioned how the writing is almost poetic. It certainly flows so well.

Just as I was adjusting to the language, I was drawn to the glamourous and rarified circles that the characters lived in. Much like I loved reading about the characters that F. Scott Fitzgerald would come up with (think: Great Gatsby, short stories with titles like A Diamond as Big as the Ritz!),
A debut novel about a disturbing family history. In the first half of the 20th century, a wealthy family grows up on an enchanting island in the Mediterranean. Like most literary families with a perfect facade, this one hides some dark secrets. Sophie is a widow, raising her daughter Adora and her son Sebastian. Adora and Sebastian are unnervingly close, and their unnatural relationship is the source of whispers around town. Adora grows up to become the unofficial queen of the island, with all t ...more
From My Blog...[return][return]The Art of Devotion by Samantha Bruce-Benjamin is an alluring, and at times heart wrenching, narrative told by four women; Sophie, Adora, Genevieve, and Miranda, spanning the years 1919-1940. What unfolds in this novel of beautiful, and at times, lyrical prose is an interwoven story from the perspective of four women and how they played their parts, interacted and the lies and deceptions that bound them together. The Art of Devotion is an extremely vivid novel, fil ...more
I wrote this review for my blog, 100 Stars or Less. See full post here: or scroll down to read just the essentials:

Where do I start with this book? The writing is beautiful and it has a very distinct voice. The story is told from the perspective of four very different women during the summers of the 1920s to 1940’s. We know that some sort of tragedy occurred during this time period but we aren’t given the whole picture. In this way we are taken on a journe
The Art of Devotion is the debut novel of Ms. Bruce-Benjamin. The reader is introduced to Sophie and her children Adora and Sebastian. Their story spans across two decades and is filled with secrets, lies, betrayal and deceit.

The book is narrated in alternating voices: Sophie, Adora, Miranda (Genevieve’s mother) and Genevieve. It begins with Genevieve’s wedding preparations, the year is 1940. The reader is then transported back in time through a series of flashbacks that reveal the history of So
I love period novels like this -this one mostly takes place between 1919-38. But what I mostly enjoyed about it was how the narrative is told between all four women (Sophie, Adora, Genevieve, and Miranda), giving you the story through their perspective made this quite the experience. Riddled with secrets, deceit, intrigue, jealousy and betrayal you can't help but to love/hate these women. Just when I thought I had it all figured out ... yea, I didn't. This happened more than once. It really had ...more
It took me a few chapters to get use the writing style (who is who) once I got comfortable with that, I really enjoyed the story. The author's writing is just beautiful and even relaxing,and yet the story is intense and emotional. You will feel for all of the women knowing that all of them suffer with what they did or what they now wish they had done .Perhaps just a few words of kindness could have help to ease a life time of sorrow, and love may have eased a cold summer girls heart.
Liz Nix
There is no way to properly describe this book and why it is interesting. You just have to read the whole thing.

I am a fair-weather avid reader (I get excited about reading and discussing books for a while and then move on to another hobby) and I'm glad I read this while in an avid phase. It was a bit long and drawn out in the middle, but I think it all came together so well at the end.

The writing style was slow, but pretty (forgive me, I'm no literary genius). I like books that read a little
Apr 12, 2011 Leah rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Leah by: Viluna Jennings
The Art of Devotion is a beautiful and heartbreaking story about love, relationships, lies, and as the title suggests, unwavering devotion. Set on a Mediterranean island, it's told through the eyes of four women and spans a time period from the 1920s-1940.

The story revolves around Adora, a beautiful and wealthy island socialite still haunted by the death of her brother, Sebastian, who drowned at the tender age of 20. Adora's mother, Sophie, blames Adora for Sebastian's demise and remains estrang
Cecilia Solis-sublette
I picked up this book because it was a little different and the plot sounded interesting. A story told through the voices of four women across three generations. Cool. Well, the book is quite surreal through its read. I think that is one of its charms. It takes place in a Mediterranean island. The characters and too rich and too beautiful to be true - with names like Sebastian, Miranda, Genevieve and Titania to boot. But, of course, the point is that all of this surrealism is illusory as the dec ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Isabelle Allen
I read this book some weeks ago as part of a Hampton Jitney giveaway for the 4th July weekend. I didn't expect anything at all. Then I read it. I cannot rave about this enough. It took about 25 pages for me to get used the changing narrators - there are four different women who tell this story and the pov shifts frequently between them - but when I did I couldn't put it down. The twists are unbelievable, you will never ever see what the author has planned for each character and the setting this ...more
Carla Ford
With each chapter, a little more is revealed, up to the very end! Told from the perspectives of the four main female characters, the mystery builds from the first chapter as each woman relates a little of the story. The setting is an island in the Mediterranean Sea, and the descriptions of the beaches and the ocean paint such a vivid picture that you can close your eyes and feel the sunshine and hear the waves crash into the shore. Amidst this beauty is a tale of obsession that begins with Adora ...more
I received this book as part of a giveaway for a book discussion on Good Reads. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the book. Whenever you find yourself ingnoring your everyday life/duties in order to keep reading a book, you know it's good!

The author's writing style is very lush and beautiful. I went between not even realizing I was reading to stopping to be impressed by the beauty of the writing.

The Art of Devotion is told through the use of multiple narrators - the 4 women invol

I was one of the lucky ones who received this book for free from the author on The Next Best Book Club (TNBBC). This book not only has one of the most beautiful covers I have ever saw but it s filled will poetry, drama, scandals, twists, turns, and just plain ol' creepy-remarkable. It is told in 4 different voices; Sophie, who is the mother of Adora and Sebastian, Adora, who is the main center of attention who everyone seems to love but is crazy in her own poetic way, Miranda who I did feel sorr
Sarah Jan
Finished this book last night. I was eager to see how it resolved and kept reading waiting to get to that point. But I have to say that I grew confused and tired of all of the reverses in the apparent characters of the individuals involved in the story. I have to say that this family had some sick puppies in it! I don't know, in the end, I just didn't feel a lot for any of them, particularly when Genevieve revealed what she did in the end. What did I learn from this book? I'm not certain - maybe ...more
Mary Blithe
Just buy it. That's all I can say. A friend gave me this to read. This is going to be the most amazing book club pick. It's about four women on an island in the Mediterranean Sea in the twenties and thirties and the stories of who they love and they betrayals of each other. All of the women are so believable and the author does an incredible job of giving insight into them and their motivations in such a human, beautiful way. All of them do things to keep the one they love the most that are horr ...more
I started out quite liking this book. For the first half or so, I would have rated it 4*. It was different from other books I've read b/c there is hardly any dialogue. It's told from the POV of four different women. While I found the different narratives interesting (the author did a great job defining each individual woman's personality), I grew tired of the repetitiveness of each woman's laments/concerns. This book was interesting, although I can't place my finger on why. I feel it would h
Harriet Walters
A seminal and beautiful novel. It was recommended by a friend who had read it, although it is only available in the UK on ebook currently, which is a shame, as I am sure that it would find a wide readership were it to be released in Europe. The author's writing style is such a refreshing relief to all of us tired by minimalistic sentence structure and pared down prose. The author writes beautifully, her prose is incandescent. She doesn't waste words telling the reader what color the tablecloth i ...more
LOVED this book. The language was so lyrical and it pulled me through even though in the beginning I did not know where I was going.

It was almost like being given the stings of a tapestry and weaving an amazingly complex and ever changing pattern. The picture is there in your mind, and you have an idea of how it will present itself, but only to discover you are looking at it from the wrong end... or side... or upside down.

It almost had a Tennessee Williams, Suddenly Last Summer feel. Only with
Melissa Dickinson
This book was such a surprise to me: I didn't know what to expect. Well, it stunned me. Samantha Bruce-Benjamin writes so beautifully, the writing haunts you long after the book is finished. Also, while in the beginning it seems that this is just going to be a nice story about beautiful people, it is astonishing what she does as an author. The plot twists and the truth behind the facade of their lives will blow you away. It really will. It's one of those books that you just have to tell everyone ...more
Loved the story...
Told from the points-of-view of four women in varying time periods in their lives...and centers around the life of Adora and her unusual love towards her brother, Sebastian.

The story is filled with secrets, love, betrayal, obsession, and deceit, and one family's dark and complex history. The story explores the psychological effects and emotional damage within a family led by a matriarch who was tragically widowed too soon.

This book will be great for reading book clubs, so man
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Samantha Bruce-Benjamin was born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she earned a master's degree in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh. A former BBC editor, she began her editorial career at Random House. She divides her time between New York and Edinburgh, where she is currently reading for a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh.
More about Samantha Bruce-Benjamin...
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“It is a dull sensation, your heart breaking, like the sound of a pebble dropping on the sand. Not a shattering, not a tearing apart, there is nothing shrill or grandiose about the sensation. It is merely an internal realization that something treasured you never knew you had is leaving forever.” 177 likes
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