This is not a good representative of Philippa Gregory's usually talented story telling. The main character, Beatrice, is at first refreshingly differe...moreThis is not a good representative of Philippa Gregory's usually talented story telling. The main character, Beatrice, is at first refreshingly different; you can see, for brief moments, SOMETHING of Scarlett O'Hara in her. Scarlett, however, has many many redeeming qualities and Beatrice has none. At first I thought this was a decent read; then I thought it was okay, and kept turning the pages; at this point I am on page 440 out of 648 and I don't know if I can even bother to continue. I am watching a character I do not enjoy or care about systematically destroy everyone around her, with no really driving motivation other than the dull repetitions of "the land" and "passion" and "Wideacre Wideacre Wideacre."
I find the book dully repetitive and the heroine ridiculously shallow and two dimensional. A good portion of the novel reads like a trashy, incestuous romance off a supermarket's bookshelf.
The story is not terribly original; there were parallels to Gone With The Wind, and the diversions from that story line were uninspiring and trashy. Beatrice switches loves of her life with disturbing rapidity and passion, and over and over there are redundant descriptions of how she loves the land. She also tends to love people she cannot have (enter your Ashley character, only it is her brother) and then her Ashley character (again, brother) marries a less pretty but super sweet, kindly woman (okay, so there is the Melanie). Then Beatrice marries a man based on her convenience to hide a situation she is in, and he starts to (at this point in the novel) have an unwavering devotion her sister-in-law (think Rhett & Melanie's relationship). This novel is not creative, not intriguing, and parts are more than just a little sickening.
PS I am not a prudish person, I must point out. I can get through a book about incest, I can understand when people think outside normal patterns, I understand perversity... I have read trashy novels and watched porn... this book still turned my stomach after half-way through, and I can only think of Beatrice with disgust.(less)
I loved Elizabeth Gilbert, and loved this book- but Eat, Pray, Love seekers should definitely read the descriptions. This book is more of a witty diss...moreI loved Elizabeth Gilbert, and loved this book- but Eat, Pray, Love seekers should definitely read the descriptions. This book is more of a witty dissertation on marriage, as it exists across cultures and somewhat across generations. It is a little less journal-like, though the research that is heavily focused on is no less personal; in brief, Liz & Felipe are forced by US immigration to get married, so that Felipe can continue to come to the US. While Eat, Pray, Love deals with the psychological & transforming powers of divorce, Committed is about two skeptical people with two marriages behind them seeking to understand why marriages fail, what marriages truly mean, and what expectations are healthy and not to have in regards to your partner. A few parts of this book made me laugh out loud, but mostly it made me reflect on my marriage and the cultural values placed on it. A few times there have been trains of thoughts in my head about my husband and relationship where little facts and tidbits from this book popped into the conscious flow. It is an important read, especially for anyone getting married or anyone who is married and still pays attention to their marriage!(less)