Interesting and well-told story. It captured the feeling of 19th century American spiritualism perfectly. The ghostly elements were just creepy enoughInteresting and well-told story. It captured the feeling of 19th century American spiritualism perfectly. The ghostly elements were just creepy enough to work, and the plot had surprising twists. Of course no Southerner can really sympathize with the plight of Northern bankers during the Civil War (new dresses, new wallpaper, servants, food, parties, frivolous picture-taking), so it had that working against it in my reading. I was also frustrated by some of the handwritten letters that appear as part of Jennie's scrapbook, because they're hard to read. But otherwise, as I said, a highly enjoyable book with lots of suspense, chills, and twists, pulled together in a unique visual format....more
I was pretty disappointed in this one, because the concept was so good and the characters weren't bad, but somehow it just dragged and dragged and draI was pretty disappointed in this one, because the concept was so good and the characters weren't bad, but somehow it just dragged and dragged and dragged. With a little help it could have been pretty good, but as it was I was just underwhelmed....more
This is pretty close to a perfect guilty pleasure book. Basically the whole plot revolves around when (not if) Boston and Shelby will sleep together,This is pretty close to a perfect guilty pleasure book. Basically the whole plot revolves around when (not if) Boston and Shelby will sleep together, except with the added bonus of haunted houses and humor. The story begins as Shelby barges into Boston's house, where he's sleeping naked, and this hilariously written comic scene involving a too large (or too small?) hole in the eyelet bed spread. It's funny, the ghost aspect is unique, and the sex scenes are very well written and S-T-E-A-M-Y. If you are looking for a frivolous, naughty, mindless book, this one is great.
*Edit: I forgot to mention the fireworks. No, not those kind, the literal kind! I love fireworks, and though it's not the same as getting to see them in person, I loved that the Fourth of July fireworks display was used to such great effect in the plot. Anyway.*...more
Totally different from The Time Traveler's Wife, but Her Fearful Symmetry shares some of the appeal characteristics – incredibly drawn characters, a sTotally different from The Time Traveler's Wife, but Her Fearful Symmetry shares some of the appeal characteristics – incredibly drawn characters, a strangely believable fantastical/supernatural element, a life-like setting (excuse the pun, at least as it relates to Highgate Cemetery), and a stunningly unique, emotional, slightly tragic, but somehow beautiful story.
Of course, one of the things I love about Niffenegger (and the reason I was beyond disappointed by the film version of TTTW) is her beautiful and literary writing. She has such a way with words. (Consider the pun in the title. Her Fearful Symmetry refers to the strained relationship between a set of twins, as well as the strained relationship between their mother and aunt, also twins. On the other hand, it also refers to some fearful things that happen around Highgate… And the British pronunciation of “cemetery” sounds remarkably like “symmetry.” Just one example of her remarkable command of language.)
The themes of life, death, obsession/compulsion, and the ties that bind people together made it all the more fascinating. On top of that, Niffenegger didn’t conclude the book until she put two, three, four (depending on how you want to count) shocking twists at the ending. The big reveal of the decades-old family secret (a shock in itself) paled in comparison to what happened next. This book will surprise and fascinate you, and the ending (especially the last two sentences) will leave you a little stunned that it’s over. I absolutely loved it....more