An interesting book. Very interesting. And different. It begins in modern times, with this garden designer traveling to an island off the coast of Fra...moreAn interesting book. Very interesting. And different. It begins in modern times, with this garden designer traveling to an island off the coast of France to restore a memorial garden. But things go wrong on the boat there, immediately giving the story a sinister feel and it certainly sucked me in and grabbed my attention. A man just...walks...overboard.
Yes, you read that right.
And then it gets better with things missing and a very strange old lady...and something about this old lady tells me there's something shocking to come.
The modern story felt almost like a horror, at least to me...then it suddenly goes back to the war, to a blind girl who has a way with perfume and uses her skills--both knowingly and unknowingly--to aid the French Resistance, Americans, and British.
I think she was my favorite. I really didn't want her part to end. She is so brave and handles her disability in an admirable way. I wish I'd handled my own so maturely so quickly.
And then it switches again, to a woman operative in England and the people she knows and the people she watches go to France on covert missions. And at 75% I still couldn't see how these three stories tied together. I only saw one common denominator: a radio operative. It was at this point that I began to get impatient. I like some clues, at least.
And then it concluded, leaving me confused on a few points, namely one, and I can't reveal what it is without spoiling the book, so... But I kept asking, "But why is she...." And though I loved the blind girl's story best of all, I am left wondering how exactly it ties into the other two. There's no connection beyond a brief scene at the end. The blind girl and the others were two ships barely passing in the night. Surely they could have been tied in better than that?
I broke my "no dukes, no rakes, no rogues" rule and read this novel the last few days. I was drawn in by the cover and the author's solid reputation f...moreI broke my "no dukes, no rakes, no rogues" rule and read this novel the last few days. I was drawn in by the cover and the author's solid reputation for being talented. Being a huge Downton Abbey fan, I was pleasantly delighted by the Dowager in this story. Every time she spoke or tapped away with her cane, I pictured the Dowager, a delicate, aged eyebrow arched, as she looks at whomever she's speaking to as if they're an imbecile...and in this case, they rather are.
The main story follows Matilda, the middle child of a well-to-do family with no interest in marrying. Instead, she wishes to open an orphanage and sets about doing just that... Meanwhile, a handsome duke seeking a wife falls (against his own wishes!) for her. They argue incessantly. There's scandal, scorching kisses, more arguing, rumors, more scandal...
Soon the entire family is involved in some way with the so-called scandal or with attempting to convince the Duke and Matilda to marry.
And as I said above, for me the Dowager just took the cake. She is by far the most delightful character in the story and kept me laughing. And I love a good laugh, even more so when I'm not expecting it.
I enjoyed this "charming" story. It's lighthearted, funny, and we all need a read like that every now and then. My only quibble? It keeps its distance from the characters. You always feel as though you are watching them, not living within in them. There's not a lot of emotion coming from the characters, even though we know they're arguing and whatnot.
I bailed at 19%. I didn't even make it to her flying days. The first 19% is just "Ben, I miss you. Ben, why couldn't you talk to your parents? Ben, I...moreI bailed at 19%. I didn't even make it to her flying days. The first 19% is just "Ben, I miss you. Ben, why couldn't you talk to your parents? Ben, I want to get married! Ben, I wish I was with you... Ben, Ben.."
You get the picture. Just not for me. It's driving me insane, all this stupid pining for the spineless Ben. (less)