This was definitely a fun, light read. The little twist at the end was unexpected. I didn't have any idea that that would be the outcome until Colin m...moreThis was definitely a fun, light read. The little twist at the end was unexpected. I didn't have any idea that that would be the outcome until Colin mentioned it to Eloise.
Like most dual stories, I was a bit bored by the present time story line and just wanted to get right back in the historical story line. Somewhere around the middle of the book, however, I stopped rushing through those sections and ended up enjoying them quite a bit. I'm looking forward to seeing where things go in the rest of the series.
My big problem, which ended up knocking a whole star off of my rating, was just how bad of a spy the Purple Gentian was! His entire family knew and near strangers were able to figure it out quite easily? It just wasn't realistic to me at all that a spy (who was supposedly an excellent one at that) would be so open about his identity and easy to figure out. (less)
**spoiler alert** I debated between giving this 4 or 5 stars but finally settled on 5. I think I'd rather give it a 4.5 but that isn't really an optio...more**spoiler alert** I debated between giving this 4 or 5 stars but finally settled on 5. I think I'd rather give it a 4.5 but that isn't really an option.
The plot for the book was really intriguing. I hadn't known about the French police rounding up all of the Jewish families, separating the children from the parents, and finally sending all 4000 children to the gas chambers.
Sarah's whole story was very interesting and throughout the first half of the book I couldn't get enough of her stories. I didn't enjoy the Julia parts at the beginning of the novel. Once the two stories converged though I started liking Julia's story telling out of necessity though I think I really would have appreciated more from Sarah's perspective. I kept hoping that Michel would have been saved by a neighbor or somehow still alive and it was heartbreaking to read what had happened.
I grabbed this at the library not realizing it was Christian lit, which is not my thing. The story line was good enough, though very predictable, but...moreI grabbed this at the library not realizing it was Christian lit, which is not my thing. The story line was good enough, though very predictable, but the book was so preachy. Obviously it's written for a Christian audience so I shouldn't complain so much about that but it did make the book much less enjoyable for me.
I was pleasantly surprised however at how well developed the characters were, especially how strong the women were. However, the whole point of the book was for Grace not to be forced into a marriage, but she ended up somewhat forced into one anyway which put me off the end.(less)
**spoiler alert** This book was beautifully written. It took me a few chapters to get used to the skipping around through time and remembering how eac...more**spoiler alert** This book was beautifully written. It took me a few chapters to get used to the skipping around through time and remembering how each character in each year fit, so I had a hard time getting into the book. However, once I had everyone straight and got used to the skipping back and forth through time I really loved it.
I'm a sucker for fairy tales so that aspect of this story really drew me in. I wasn't expecting to get to read a few of the fairy tales from Eliza's book and I felt like they fit beautifully into the story. It really shows how Eliza was feeling about the events surrounding her rather than the narrator having to come out and tell us every single feeling she has.
Cassandra was by far the most boring of the three women that the book follows. She has a slight mystery that she hints at and then reveals not long after, and the rest of her point of view was not very interesting. Of course it was important because her travelling to learn about Nell and Eliza was essential to the story line and we do find out quite a bit about the larger mystery from Cassandra's point of view. But still, her sections were the sections I enjoyed the least. The romance with Cassandra and Christian was boring and though I knew the author was pushing for it from the start it really felt artificial and I wasn't interested in them getting together.
I loved everything about Eliza's character from the start, and suspected right away that Ivory was in fact her child, but the way that she was so devoted to Rose seemed a little off. Yes, it was clear she loved her very much and would have done quite a bit to make her happy, but it seemed out of character for her to go so far as to sleep with Nathaniel so that she could give her child to her cousin.
I liked the way this mystery was treated too. At first I thought it was pretty obvious that Eliza must have been Nell's mother, as I'm sure the author intended, but then I took her bait on every other solution she threw out. When Rose is introduced I thought it made sense for her to be the mother, then Mary, then we find out it is in fact Eliza.
The ending was so both happy and sad for me. I figured Eliza had been killed but it was still sad to have that confirmed. And Nell never really learned the truth and although the epilogue is there to make us feel better about that it really didn't for me. Mostly I was just sad for Eliza though because I loved her so much.
Also what the hell at Linus. He was incredibly creepy and I thought we would get more insight on that but we didn't. I'm kind of glad about that though.(less)
This book was simply amazing. I connected with each and every character that Follett chose to use as narrators. Whether I loved them or hated them, th...moreThis book was simply amazing. I connected with each and every character that Follett chose to use as narrators. Whether I loved them or hated them, they each seemed real and I laughed with them, cried with them, and wanted to scream at them. Each character was complex including the ones I hated (looking at you William Hamleigh). Yes Phillip was stubborn and set in his (God's?) ways but he also genuinely cared for each and every person who he encountered, even if they had wronged him. Yes William was awful/horrible/evil but Follett also showed that he was insecure, desperately wanted his mother's approval, and fearful of going to hell for his actions.
The secondary characters were hit or miss for me. Some of them felt like they were well fleshed out, like Alfred, but others, like Martha, were mentioned a lot but didn't have any depth whatsoever.
The book seems to be very historically accurate. At several points in the novel I set it aside to go read up on different people/places/events on Wikipedia and Follett's accounts were right along the same lines. I even ended up spoiling something for myself by reading about it on Wikipedia first.
Overall, this book was amazing. I was skeptical about reading it at first since the building of a cathedral sounds really boring to be honest, but I'm so glad I did. This book is easily making it's way onto my favorite of all time shelf. I'm looking forward to reading other works by Follett.(less)
I was absorbed in this book from the first page until the last. I absolutely loved Sophia and Jenny. Sophia seemed believable as a character, as she w...moreI was absorbed in this book from the first page until the last. I absolutely loved Sophia and Jenny. Sophia seemed believable as a character, as she was only 15 her naivete fit perfectly, as did her stubbornness.
I had some problems with the "bad guy" characters since none of them had any depth and were clearly the antagonists I was supposed to root against the entire time. I prefer my villains to have a little more to them that just being flat out evil.
The story was really well paced, though, which let me overlook the characters' depth a bit. I had no idea that the events in the story happened so I didn't know what was going to happen and got to learn a snippet of history in the process of reading it.
The relationship between Sophia and Mr. Charleton was well developed. The last YA romance I read had insta-love so it was refreshing that not only was their relationship not like that at all, but it also wasn't that important of a plot point. Sophia wasn't especially interested in a romance and spent the entire novel avoiding being married off, so it fit that her romance was gradual and ended in a believable place.
Other reviews say that Jensen's other novels are even better so I'll definitely be checking those out.(less)
Entertaining enough but nothing amazing or new. I didn't find the characters all that well developed and the plot followed a generic romance novel pat...moreEntertaining enough but nothing amazing or new. I didn't find the characters all that well developed and the plot followed a generic romance novel pattern.(less)
It started off strong and I rooted for Mary to succeed in getting out of poverty and prostitution but by the middle of book I stopped caring for he...more3.5
It started off strong and I rooted for Mary to succeed in getting out of poverty and prostitution but by the middle of book I stopped caring for her character and the story started to drag. The end was strong again though and pulled it up half a star.(less)