This is a pretty big book but I read it pretty fast, which is saying something from me. I wouldn't say it's a "can't put it down," but I did look forw...moreThis is a pretty big book but I read it pretty fast, which is saying something from me. I wouldn't say it's a "can't put it down," but I did look forward to reading it and would read it very often, and enjoyed the drama. I don't think she's the best writer, and the characterization is not very nuanced, but I really enjoyed reading it and again, the drama and plot twists and turns. It's a bit like a soap opera, a bit romance-novely at times. I've never actually read a romance novel though so I can't be sure... but the sex scenes were kind of weak and dumb sometimes too. I liked the world the book sweeps you up in, the English royal court. Fun to be swept up in that. Not exactly a deep novel but I did enjoy reading it so much that I would read some of Phillippa Gregory's other stuff. Kind of girlie historical fiction.(less)
I read "My Antonia" as well, and loved that as well. I know it has to do with the way Willa Cather writes, but I love the subject matter. It's like Li...moreI read "My Antonia" as well, and loved that as well. I know it has to do with the way Willa Cather writes, but I love the subject matter. It's like Little House on the Prairie for adults. These books just take me to a place and time and life that I think is so beautiful, but also would be afraid that I couldn't hack it in. This particular book also had some really complicated relationships and situations in it (by the end, I saw that) that were very thought-provoking. Vague, I know. No time.(less)
Another quick read for me. This one actually could have stood to be longer. I felt like it was a rough draft of something REALLY good. I like that it...moreAnother quick read for me. This one actually could have stood to be longer. I felt like it was a rough draft of something REALLY good. I like that it didn't give out too much information and there are still questions I have, things I wonder, but this actually may have given out too little in some ways, too little of the story.
It goes back and forth b/t times and kind of mental locations, which in some cases could be annoying and hard to follow but here it's not. Usually when I am reading something that jumps back and forth between two locations or times or stories, I have one of the two that I like more and look forward to more. But here, I actually really, truly liked both times/locations/stories, and was interested in both of them.
The main character is a lady who, when aging, is going through memory loss, and in her elderly life, her mind is jumping back and forth through time. As we see more of this, the stories (present - she's older, past- in the war) get more and more jumbled up, so in a way, the form echoes the content; but again, it could have been cooler and more striking if it was taken further. It was almost like it was on accident.
I think my statement that it was like a rough draft of something potentially awesome is pretty accurate- like it could have been fleshed out and deepened more. I still liked it, but it could have been taken deeper, further.(less)
I wish I didn't hear so much hype about certain things. I expected this to blow me away. And I did enjoy it, and I was intruiged by the historical asp...moreI wish I didn't hear so much hype about certain things. I expected this to blow me away. And I did enjoy it, and I was intruiged by the historical aspects and by aspects of the plot. There is a however, coming later.
The second half of the book, I enjoyed more. Basically after the whole craziness with the murdering brothers happened, I felt like it picked up for me a bit. I guess when it was more conjecture on the author's part, and less historical showing off, I enjoyed it more.
Especially during the first half I found myself half rolling my eyes at how affected it all seemed. Many times it read like a high school or middle school history text book where they have a little colored box in the lower right corner that says "Voices From The Past" or something, with an illustration of a period girl, and a paragraph telling about her daily life back in the day.
I think the author is probably a stronger non-fiction writer, b/c this book felt, many times, like she was just trying to show us all she knew about this time period and this culture. It felt a bit insincere to me, not genuine. The fictional parts I mean. And it might be partially because I'm familiar with the story more or less (don't be impressed, it's from the musical), but a lot of the book felt like an attempt at integrating the Biblical version with facts about ancient Jewish / goddess worship culture/religion along with some fiction, kind of stirred in as a last thought or something?
The times where I rolled my eyes a bit are the times where she would wax poetic and get all Oprah's book clubby and all "women are so great and myyyyssssttttiiiccaaaal." I like when a book tells me women are so great, don't get me wrong. I just prefer it when that message doesn't hit me over the head. It's all about subtlety.
I just complained a lot but I did enjoy the book for the most part. Reading about what this culture was like, whether it's true or not, was really fascinating, especially having recently had a baby. Quite a different picture. But still nice to be in this fellowship of mothers. I hope I do a good job.(less)
It was interesting to me, being from Chicago. I wasn't sure how much of the story was "true" and how much was fictional, which is a fine thing to not...moreIt was interesting to me, being from Chicago. I wasn't sure how much of the story was "true" and how much was fictional, which is a fine thing to not be sure about seeing that it was a novel, but I kind of wished I knew. I do think I learned a lot about Chicago history that I never knew before, and the World's Fair is pretty interesting.
The thing I didn't like was that the book really felt like it was building up to this big reveal about the main criminal, or some way that he was going to overlap with the other main character. And it never got there. There was not a big reveal (at least not that matched the buildup), there was no overlap that I remember...it was a bit anticlimactic and it seemed like the author didn't care so much about the ending as he did about the rest of the book and researching it. You could definitely feel the researched quality of it, and I'm not sure that's a good thing.(less)
It's a fascinating culture and world this book brings you into. Another book I kept reading and reading and reading. I liked the details and I felt re...moreIt's a fascinating culture and world this book brings you into. Another book I kept reading and reading and reading. I liked the details and I felt really sucked into the world. I HATED the ending, like most sane people, and I hated how the main character acted in relation to her chosen man, and I felt like in the end, it may have been condoning her choices rather than questioning them.(less)