I grabbed this at my library. I love Southern Fiction and the description on the back of the book grabbed my interest. Unfortunately, the book itself...moreI grabbed this at my library. I love Southern Fiction and the description on the back of the book grabbed my interest. Unfortunately, the book itself was lacking.
There are 800 reviews that summarize the plot, so I am not going to do that. All I am going to tell you is that I didn't enjoy this book much.
I do not believe you must always like the main characters of every book you read. That would be boring. Darlene and Carlene were utterly unlikable. The character of Henry was underdeveloped and boring. Nolie was interesting, sweet and likable, but I am pretty sure I never want to read about aprons again thanks to this book. That's saying something because I have a vintage apron fetish and own many. Erik was also rather likable and interesting, but too underdeveloped.
The storyline had promise, but it dragged. Oh! did it drag. The author constantly alluded to major happenings in the past of Carlene and Darlene....things that explained the strain of their relationship. She kept hinting and teasing at it, but it took until the very last pages (about 20-30 pages before the end) for the actual truth and meat of all the consternation to be revealed. And then *poof* everything was tidied up quite quickly. It was a very frustrating read because I found myself rolling my eyes at each chapter just wanting her to make the point already. The rest of the storyline wasn't strong enough to hold you until the past was revealed. The incidents in the past were quite substantial for these sisters and lead to 30 years over emotional distance, jealousy, mistrust and immaturity. I would have liked to have seen this revelation happen earlier so we could see the characters deal with each other and repair their relationship with this new knowledge of past events. But, no. The author had one sister drop a bomb. The other sister also reveals her own long-held secret to the audience. It explains Darlene's jealousy (guilty conscience) and Carlene's reluctance to visit Sycamores while Griff was still alive. You'd expect more discussion, but everything was just tidied up, resolved and the happy endings commenced.
Though the book takes places in the South, it lacked that feel. The author throws in some Summer phrases, a Buttersquash pageant, and a quip or two about the North, but it's not enough to give it a true Southern flavor.
This book is Christian fiction, but it's not heavy-handed or preachy. I am a Christian myself, but I dislike heavy doses of religion or evangelism and I think the author did a perfect job of keeping God's presence known in the book without being overbearing.
I understand she spoke to her vet about the dog breeding bits in the book, but as a veterinary technician, the whole plot with the breeding, whelping and c-section was just....no.
I echo criticism in other reviews that note the sloppy switch from character to character and different points in time. It was confusing at parts. Also, she begins talking about the possibility of OCD for Nolie and has Carlene asking all the townsfolk to stop accepting aprons. That plotline lived for a short moment and then just disappeared without much resolution. That could have gone somewhere.
All in all, it's an easy read, but flawed and not captivating.(less)
This is a pleasant and easy to read book about Honor Bright, a young Quaker who makes the move from England to America.
Once in America, Honor finds h...moreThis is a pleasant and easy to read book about Honor Bright, a young Quaker who makes the move from England to America.
Once in America, Honor finds herself without her sister due to tragedy, married into a family where she doesn't feel like she fits, and a participant in the Underground Railroad. Being a Quaker, she knows that slavery is immoral and she does what she can to help runaways in search of their freedom. Honor comes to a point where she must choose between her lukewarm family or her principals.
I enjoyed this book. The author does a fabulous job of setting the scene and bringing the characters to life, even if they aren't all that in-depth. I feel that this is well-researched and historically accurate. I have seen the same criticism in a few reviews here and on other sites - that Chevalier doesn't spend enough time getting to know most of the runaway slaves. This is true - she really doesn't go into depth with their personal details and stories. I don't think this is a bad thing at all. Honor herself doesn't get a chance to really know these slaves. We know them as she does - in hurried and secretive interactions as she either left food for them or pointed them in the direction of a safe house. She didn't have a chance to go in depth with them as excess time spent with a slave would be a danger to them both. There are a few runaway slaves who she spends a little more time with and, like Honor, we get to learn just a few more details about them.
I gave it five stars for the simple fact that I found it to be quite well-written, captivating and I simply enjoyed it. (less)
Horrible. What a shame. This book centers around a rather serious subject, but the author dropped the ball. There's no depth of character. I didn't ca...moreHorrible. What a shame. This book centers around a rather serious subject, but the author dropped the ball. There's no depth of character. I didn't care for Cassie in the least - I wasn't sympathetic to her. Alex didn't seem...real. The storytelling was very disjointed. Many reviewers have already noted that they felt like they shared Cassie's head injury because they were left feeling dazed and confused in spots. Plenty of authors will travel back in time among various characters and switch between the past and the present day and they do it seamlessly. Not Picoult. Not in this book. Her switches were poorly constructed...usually coming during the brief moment you are actually interested in the story line.
I gave it two stars because the Native American storyline was semi-interesting. (less)