I'd like to give this 2 1/2 stars. Can't quite bring myself to give it only 2, because there were lots of bits and pieces that I enjoyed. However, theI'd like to give this 2 1/2 stars. Can't quite bring myself to give it only 2, because there were lots of bits and pieces that I enjoyed. However, the whole thing does not come together at all. There is a lot of filler, with Mccullough clearly struggling mightily to illustrate connections that are tenuous at best.
McCullough is incredible when it comes to drawing historical figures into the light and making them real and human for today's readers. There were good things here, but he failed to bring it all together into anything meaningful.
A terrific disappointment.
I'm changing my rating to 2 stars after all, because the more I think about it, the more convinced I am that McCullough knew at some point he was turning in something sub par. There's at least as much to dislike here as there is to like. He really needed to go back to the drawing board with this one. There were several good books hiding in here waiting to get out. For example, the friendship between Morse and Cooper would have made a fascinating subject all on it's own. Mary Cassatt's story also had the seeds of something more. I can't quite forgive McCullough for this one.