This book was so much fun! This hit on all cylinders with high fashion meeting high tech, mixed in with Gen X and Millennial clashes, big business andThis book was so much fun! This hit on all cylinders with high fashion meeting high tech, mixed in with Gen X and Millennial clashes, big business and big personalities. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it, but the audiobook only made it more entertaining. ...more
**spoiler alert** This was a strange story - Maddie is a wealthy socialite, who in actuality is penniless and totally dependent on her father (who giv**spoiler alert** This was a strange story - Maddie is a wealthy socialite, who in actuality is penniless and totally dependent on her father (who gives her no help) or her husband, who is dependent on his parents (who give him little help). She ends up stuck in Scotland during WWII living in a pub while her husband and his best friend drunkenly gallivant around looking for the Loch Ness monster. Left to her own devices, she has to fend for herself outside of the bubble of luxurious living she is used to and ends up learning to like the simple life.
What a crazy story! I'd love to know how Sara Gruen came up with the premise for this one. I wasn't sure I would actually enjoy it, but I did. It really took me on a ride.
It's hard to write a book review for this, because it's the sort of book I want to sit down with a friend and talk about for 30 minutes. Lucky me, I read it for book club, so I guess I'll get the chance. But I have all sorts of things I want to say and discuss about it, which is a good sign, because it got me engaged.
This book took me to a few places I didn't expect to go. I felt fully absorbed in it and I tore through it. I don't want to give anything away, but I was surprised by the transformation of Maddie, the main character and surprised by the discoveries she has.
Who she is in the beginning of the book is far from who she is by the end of it. I loved seeing her grow from a powerless victim to taking responsibility and stepping into her own strength, making her own choices. She also grows from being self-absorbed to a truly caring loving person. I wanted to slap around Ellis and Hank more than once. I wanted to see more of her relationship with Angus - it felt a little buried until the end, but I also appreciate a subtly building romance, so points for that. It was also lovely the way the book wove in WWII history into the story, bringing out the emotions people felt and the weight of the times.
So all in all I love this book for making me care and taking me on a strange trip.
The writing style was lovely - easy to read, smooth, but still lovely and detailed. The only things that really annoyed me were a few things the author chose to leave undefined.
And... this is where I gabble on about the stuff I'd talk about my friend to at lunch if SHE had read the book too...
The fact that Ellis and Henry have a coin toss to decide who marries Maddie and Ellis is the one who wins. First, this seems a wee bit unbelievable to me. Although she really crafts these characters as two drunken self-important prankster buffoons that you actually believe that if anyone might do it, they might. But it just seems odd. And it seems odd that Maddie doesn't call them out on the carpet about it. Because I, as the reader wanted to do it! I wanted to understand why they did it. Was it really because they had so much "fun" with Maddie that they wanted to keep her part of their "threesome" and the only way to do that was for one of them to marry her before anyone else did?
That's the other aspect that was weird for me - the relationship between Ellis and Henry. It's never implied that they have any romantic feelings for each other, but in my mind that was the only thing that would make sense. But the book makes it pretty clear that Henry likes girls. But maybe Ellis doesn't? (Because his relationship with Maddie is pretty, ummm, impotent?) Maybe Ellis has a thing for Henry? It's implied very subtly as a possibility. So maybe they had an oddly close friendship with one of them harboring feelings for the other? And maybe that's why Ellis is such a nut job because he has these repressed feelings and he's living life pretending to be something he's not? Anyway, it's that vague unclearness that leaves me a little annoyed, but I suppose it's meant to leave the reader room to decide for themselves.
One final note. I LOVED the ending, the beautifully ironic twist that Angus, who is treated by these prejudiced American socialites as a piece of crap because he's running an inn, turns out to be the Laird who owns this beautiful massive manor. And Maddie ends up married to him. But doesn't give a crap about any of that and is just as happy to live in part of it and use the rest as a hospital. Loved that. Not to mention that Maddie gets all of her father's money too. Although in the end, isn't it the perfect dream princess ending - she gets whisked away by the handsome heroic warrior who is also rich and has high status? But hey, we all love our fairy tales, don't we? ...more
I've never read Liane Moriarty, but she is a genius. Genius. A masterful plotter and writer. She's also a masterful manipulator of emotions. A grand sI've never read Liane Moriarty, but she is a genius. Genius. A masterful plotter and writer. She's also a masterful manipulator of emotions. A grand skill in a writer.
I'd say this was a page turner, except I listened to it on audiobook. And what's amazing is that she can make this relational women's fiction plot that seems so mundane in the beginning into a page turner. I am amazed by how gently she kept unfolding her characters, gradually leading to several WOW moments, leading to me gasping out loud and talking to myself! Interesting subject matter -- looking at the way women interact with each other, can judge each other based on cliches, can form cliques, only to discover that in the end, they have more in common than they thought.
Her writing style is simple and exceedingly easy to follow, but smooth and never comes across as poorly written. She also has a comic witty tone I love. When I finished this book I knew why it's been so popular, because I was ready to tell a few friends about it right away! Word of mouth is a powerful thing....more
I had trouble getting into this book at first (note, audiobook was the format I consumed it in). The main character was so... neurotic, cringeworthy,I had trouble getting into this book at first (note, audiobook was the format I consumed it in). The main character was so... neurotic, cringeworthy, problematic, hard to like. And the ghost character who came along wasn't that great either, with all her screeching and demands. Luckily I was consuming this on audiobook so I just kind of kept going and the story and the plot built to the point where I was sure it was going to get good... eventually. And eventually it did. The payoff came for me about 3/4 of the way through the book and that was when I was really glad I'd stuck with it. It was a light, fun, silly ride that made me laugh aloud a few times and as an admirer of things vintage, the 1920s aspects were quite fun.If you like neurotic heroines, situational comedies, big messes and ridiculous plot lines you could have fun with this one. I think I may try Sophie Kinsella again....more
This book fits nicely in the vein of light weight rom-com, chick flickery. It brings to life my long time fantasy of starting a cutesy bakery full ofThis book fits nicely in the vein of light weight rom-com, chick flickery. It brings to life my long time fantasy of starting a cutesy bakery full of sugary gorgeous pastries complete with vintage pastel decor. It cantered along at a slow stately pace with plenty of nice characters who had pleasant but not extreme quirks. The main character had her own neuroses to outgrow and challenge, but I never felt like I really got under her skin or she got under mine. And there was the usual love triangle, with the bad boy, the good man, the usual miscommunications and mishaps. But I felt as if I pretty much knew what was going to happen. It didn't surprise me. It was a nice little escape, but not spine-tingling for me. If you like your reading very light and aren't on a diet, this is a good book for you. Ha! All the constant descriptions of baking and pastries and cakes isn't the greatest if you're trying not to eat sugar. ;-)...more
**spoiler alert** I really became enveloped in this story - maybe because I was listening to the audiobook - but I just could not stop reading/listeni**spoiler alert** I really became enveloped in this story - maybe because I was listening to the audiobook - but I just could not stop reading/listening. I felt a constant tension, wondering what would happen next. Well written. It was detailed, descriptive without being heavy handed and literary. It flowed well. It is a hard book to review without doing spoilers. But I have to say a few things, So if you don't want to be spoiled, STOP reading here...
First, if you're a "happy ending" sort of gal, which I generally am, be warned. This is a tragic story. You will be sad and mad. These characters were so real to me that it made it even worse.
Second, while I loved the characters and the humanity and compassion of their journey, the assisted suicide storyline is hard for me because it's not something I morally support. Doesn't mean I'm hateful or judgmental towards people that would want that, but I wondered if this book was trying to campaign for it to be legal and accepted. On the one hand, one of the main characters spent the entire book trying to persuade the other main character not to kill himself. On the other hand, he killed himself in the end and she accepted his choice. So you could say that the book argued against assisted suicide but for loving and accepting the people in your life no matter what. Still, hard subject matter. But really great book. ...more
A fun, very different feel-good read that mashes up Jane Austen and Daddy Long Legs in a modern day romance told in epistolary style. It surprised meA fun, very different feel-good read that mashes up Jane Austen and Daddy Long Legs in a modern day romance told in epistolary style. It surprised me often, especially in the first parts of the book. I didn't see everything coming and that was good. t didn't love everything about it - in some ways it felt like everything wrapped up a little too neatly in a bow perhaps, but it was enjoyable. If you're looking for a clean, lighthearted romance with a down-on-her-luck, literary loving character who grows along the way, you might enjoy this one....more
Well, this was interesting. Especially as I just had my 13th wedding anniversary. I can relate to that sense of looking back over a relationship - howWell, this was interesting. Especially as I just had my 13th wedding anniversary. I can relate to that sense of looking back over a relationship - how did you end up here, where have you been, what mistakes have you made, even if you aren't "perfectly happy" does that mean you shouldn't be together? In the end it was sweetly romantic, with a deep mature, hard won sense of romance - not the easy love at first sight kind. And I have deep respect for that. And the time traveling via landline phone twist was fun and different. As someone of Rainbow Rowell's era, I can relate to this weird sense of looking back over decades and how things have changed. I especially had fun with that in Attachments. The 90s were the days of my youth too.
But for me, this book felt a little bit small, a little bit narrow, insular, almost too personal - a detailed depiction of a personal turning point perhaps - but honestly I didn't love reading it. (Or listening to it - I had the audiobook, and maybe the narrator's flat tone affected that too). The one thing I can say about Rainbow Rowell is she really, really defines her characters - they are specific, they are real - but I almost so real, so specific, that I felt like I didn't belong in Georgie's world - like it was her story and I was eavesdropping and I didn't really enjoy eavesdropping. It felt so centered around the life of a scriptwriter in LA. And while that might sound fun, it didn't really turn out to be fun.
And there it is. For me, it was a little bit of a downer. I will be the first to admit that I like to escape when I read. I like thrills, excitement, laughs, glamour, romance, drama, fantasy. I like fast paced stories. I like things to feel epic. And for me, this main character was a screwed up sad sack who couldn't even dress herself or keep her cell phone charged. She just depressed me. I didn't want to live with her so long. Hopefully her life has improved since the end of the novel, but I guess that is left to my imagination.
I don't want to give it two stars, because I don't think it was a bad book or badly done, just not the book that set my heart aflutter. ...more
I quite enjoyed this little book. I will admit, it's a bit of a fantasy. What's up with all these books about writer's fantasies? The main character,I quite enjoyed this little book. I will admit, it's a bit of a fantasy. What's up with all these books about writer's fantasies? The main character, a madly successful author of historical fiction who can live anywhere she likes in the world, is drawn to a cottage and a tiny coastal village in Scotland for reasons she can't explain. It's a story within a story as she becomes inspired and you read the story she's writing, interspersed with her life in the village. There is romance (of course), drama, history and suspense - and beautiful settings.
I quite enjoyed the journey. Although, somewhere around the middle, it all started feeling a bit too pat. I don't want to give any spoilers away, but there was this pattern that kept repeating over and over. She imagines a scene and then in the next chapter discovers some fact that verifies her imagination.
So yes, it was a bit pat, but it was a nice drift away from reality into a Scottish seaside and a writer's dream....more
To be fair, I should probably say "half-read" or "skim read the second half" - I suppose I wasn't that enchanted with it, which is why I found myselfTo be fair, I should probably say "half-read" or "skim read the second half" - I suppose I wasn't that enchanted with it, which is why I found myself skimming the second half. I can't accuse it of not being decently written. I'd say the writing style is long the lines of women's fiction. Not quite upmarket, but higher than mainstream. I think what got to me, honestly, was just too darn much heartbreak in the beginning. It's the dwelling and dwelling and dwelling on her relationship with her sadly now-passed husband. And I do not mean to be uncompassionate, but as a reader, it's like wanting you to fall in love with a relationship that's never going to happen. Too much time spent on that part before you get to the "provence cure". I also found it slightly annoying that the very first man she meets in Provence - her childhood acquaintance - turns out conveniently to be her new love interest. But I'm not sure if it's fair of me to be annoyed or if that's just one of my personal quirks. If you like women's fiction, give it a try. I'm not the biggest lover of the genre, so I don't know how far I can be trusted....more