I think, maybe, my expectations were too high. I was expecting too much. I'd read a number of reviews when this book first came out, all singing HalleI think, maybe, my expectations were too high. I was expecting too much. I'd read a number of reviews when this book first came out, all singing Hallelujah Chorus type praises. I should know better than to believe them.
There were a number of things this book did well like Tom's PTSD after returning from the war. That's something that usually gets glossed over in stories set in and after World War I. Instead the author used it, almost made it a character in its own right. You saw it in the decisions Tom made. You felt him struggle with it. I kinda wished the book had delved more into it. But then we probably wouldn't have had time for the soap opera that is Isabel. Her need to be the one to take care of everything and everyone, to have everything, was well sketched. It was like she needed to prove something to everyone. Problem was I was never sure what that something was. I could never quite connect with her as a character because of that. And then there was Hannah. Overly wrought, continuously on the verge of sobbing. Just too much drama. I didn't connect with her any more than I did Isabel. And there was that one section is part 2 that was all Hannah and wow, did I think I was never going to get through it. The story practically came to a stand still.
There were beautiful descriptions of the light, of the processes that were involved with being a keeper. If only the placement of these descriptions hadn't been so clunky. They often took me right out of the story. Better transitions were needed instead of just plopping these things into the narrative where ever.
The ending is what saved the story overall for me. Heartfelt without being too manipulative (though it teetered on the edge of that precipice for a moment or two). The tentative, but still there relationship between Tom and Lucy. was beautiful. It made me wish that the story had just been about them. No Isabel. No Hannah. It's that light that made the pages turn. ...more
Interesting concept. A bit of a Ground Hog Day/Time travel mash up. Most of the characters were likable, but as always there is usually something abouInteresting concept. A bit of a Ground Hog Day/Time travel mash up. Most of the characters were likable, but as always there is usually something about Kate Atkinson's books that just doesn't sit well in my mind. I was pretty ok with most things in the book until the whole Third Reich/picnics with Hitler section. It was too Forest Gump (I kept waiting for Jenny to pop up and tell Ursula to Run!) and pulled me out of the story. From that point on I was mostly reading just to finish.
Also wish they'd cut the last couple of lives/do overs. I didn't think they really added much other than to add some confusions about what the correct direction Ursula's life was supposed to take....more
I thought this would be an easy, fast, interesting reading. Unfortunately only one of those adjectives came true. No big words, no odd sentence structI thought this would be an easy, fast, interesting reading. Unfortunately only one of those adjectives came true. No big words, no odd sentence structure - it was an easy read. Too bad I was continually able to put it down. Why? because nothing happened. Claire obsessed about Jackie Kennedy, when she wasn't fretting over what her ex-lover was doing at that exact minute. Vivien obsessed about her long dead lover actually being alive. I figured out the connection between the 2 about 30 pages or so into the story. Characters were barely 2 dimensional and the plot, what there was of one, was flimsy. Maybe if the author had delved deeper into the characters - their motivations, their struggles with grief - there might have been more to grab onto.
What really got in the way of the story was that the actual text read more like a rough draft, if that. Character names were interchanged haphazzardly, locations were off, and for the love of history, the stock market crash of 1929 happened on a Tuesday. Thus it's referred to as Black Tuesday. Not Black Friday. ...more
Liked this one well enough, though really, really could have done without all the Melusina stuff. Got to the point where just seeing the word caused mLiked this one well enough, though really, really could have done without all the Melusina stuff. Got to the point where just seeing the word caused me to roll my eyes and skim through whatever was italicized. Also not fond of the "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" moments every time Henry Tudor and how he would never be king was mentioned. I know Gregory wrote her Tudor series first. I get it. Stop dropping anvils on my head....more
**spoiler alert** It was a nice story but after hearing/reading so much praise for Hosseini's books I have to say I was disappointed. Instead of being**spoiler alert** It was a nice story but after hearing/reading so much praise for Hosseini's books I have to say I was disappointed. Instead of being immersed in the story, I found myself accurately predicting what was going to happen 50 pages later. Maybe I've read too many books like this one. Maybe I've watched too many soaps. Either way, for awhile I thought I'd read the book before - just change the names. I kept thinking Laila's parents were too perfect. Something had to happen to them; Something had to create drama in her life. Sure enough. Drama provided via death. The moment the man showed up to tell Laila that Tariq was dead all while making a big production of his illness, I practically said out loud "Nope, not dead" and knew that Rasheed had something to do with all of it. Pages later, my prediction was correct.
Also found many of the characters to be rather flimsy and underdeveloped. The big bad of the story was literally big and bad. The damaged but can't go wrong hero was just that. The women were either young and headstrong or old and complacent. No shades of grey.
On the plus side, the story moved rather quickly and did give the reader a glimpse into the culture and war torn world....more
I started out wanting to like this book, but the longer it went on the less I enjoyed it. All Ayla needed was a cape, some tights and a giant yellow AI started out wanting to like this book, but the longer it went on the less I enjoyed it. All Ayla needed was a cape, some tights and a giant yellow A stuck to her chest to complete her superhero status. All of that was over the top. Though not as over the top as her mustache twirling evil nemesis, Broud. His reactions were incredibly predictable and eye roll worthy.
As many other reviews have mentioned, it's obvious that the author did her research (at least the research available when the book was written). And apparently she felt the need to share all of that research with the reader. To the point that it only served to drag out the story more than it needed to be. By the time I got about 1/3 of the way through the book, I was skipping large amounts of prose.
On the plus side I did like Creb (though the whole drug induced telepathy thing was silly)and Iza. ...more
**spoiler alert** I had high hopes for this book starting out - mostly due to the positive reviews I read. Instead I was very disappointed. While I wa**spoiler alert** I had high hopes for this book starting out - mostly due to the positive reviews I read. Instead I was very disappointed. While I was aware of the speculation/accepted views that Dodgson was a pedophile, I was not prepared for that to be what the author used to propel her entire story. I really didn't like how the voice she gave Alice. She wasn't just a sweet, mischievous 7 yr old who had a very large crush on an adult in her life but that she was lusting after him at age 7 and age 11. And then she was a 20 something and then an 80 something woman who had done her best to block out that 7 yr old.
I was confused as to who the narrator was. Was is 80 yr old Alice remembering what happened all those years ago? Or was it Alice as she was at whatever age she was supposed to be during each period of time in her life? 7 yr old Alice sounded exactly like 11 yr old Alice who sounded exactly like 80 year old Alice. Yet most of that didn't read like 80 yr old Alice remembering things.
The two parts that shined (and redeemed this book to 2 stars for me) were the sections with Leo and with Regi. Though I do wish the author had given us a little more background on Regi and Alice's relationship with him....more
A quick, easy read. Liked both David and his father as characters and felt they were the most well drawn in the book. Some of the other though - partiA quick, easy read. Liked both David and his father as characters and felt they were the most well drawn in the book. Some of the other though - particularly the grandfather - were more caricature. The story was simplistic which fit with the idea of a 12 year old being the narrator but it never became anything more than that to me. Instead of being drawn in, I felt like I was watching all the events through the window in the Hayden family living room....more
Beautiful story. Now it's one of my newest recommend to everyone books. Liked Death as a narrator. Most of the time he wasn't for or against. He justBeautiful story. Now it's one of my newest recommend to everyone books. Liked Death as a narrator. Most of the time he wasn't for or against. He just was. But there were small moments - Rudy, Liesel's writing, etc - where he had moments of humanity. ...more