This book is fantastic! It is a sweeping tale about love in the 1910s, following both the rise of the film industry and World War I.
There is so muchThis book is fantastic! It is a sweeping tale about love in the 1910s, following both the rise of the film industry and World War I.
There is so much to cover, it's hard to know where to start. Violet is from a wealthy family in the 1910s. Her father is a businessman, and her mother is an invalid. At the start of the book, after a short narrative from her childhood, she is about to marry Maury Rediston, a man from her "set" who has the approval of her family. She doesn't really want to marry him, since she's in love with another man: Jack Sutter, the son of the town gardener. But she goes through with the ceremony, which sets her on a path she never expected.
There is a pretty good-sized cast of characters. Besides the main three in the love triangle, we also have her father Josiah, who is a stubborn old man. We also meet her invalid mother, who has psychological problems that are only just beginning to gain attention in this time period. Violet's parents are rather snobbish, especially her mother, but as we read on in the book we find out a bit more about them. There is a somewhat surprising revelation later in the book that explains a lot about how Violet was raised and how that made her the person she is.
We also meet her new brother-in-law Frazier, aka Tip. Tip is carrying a weighty secret which he has never revealed to anyone, and that secret influences much of his actions throughout the book. He is, what you could call, shiftless. He doesn't do his school work, would rather be out partying and enjoying his life. He's not a businessman like his brother Maury, which becomes very clear very quickly as he settles himself into Violet and Maury's life. He does manage to find his place in the world, what he loves doing above all, but WWI comes along and snatches that away. The impact the War has on him is staggering, both physically and emotionally. His story arc, while somewhat off to the side, is a major one which I found to be very interesting. He actually reminded me a little bit of Salamander from the Deverry series, a performer, always performing for other people to put them at ease. Tip is easily my favorite character of the book. Even though he wasn't the "main" character, I still wish I could have seen what became of him after the end of the book.
Maury is an old fish. I hated him for most of it, but I also pitied him toward the end. But just a little. I found the ending satisfying, although after almost 600 pages it seemed like it happened very quickly. I could have read on for another 10 or 20 pages to get a little bit more closure, but even so it was still a good ending.
Highly recommended! I really loved reading this and recommend it to anyone who likes a complex romance set in a complex historical moment....more
[Disclaimer: I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley.]
Moojie Littleman is a disabled boy desperately in search of a family after losing h[Disclaimer: I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley.]
Moojie Littleman is a disabled boy desperately in search of a family after losing his own, twice. After the death of his mother, and his father going off the deep end, Moojie ends up living with his grandfather, Pappy, on St. Isidore's Farm. He can't walk very well, or at all without his crutches, his hands are pretty useless, he stutters when he speaks, and overall seems like a simpleton. His grandfather treats him like one too. Pappy isn't the nicest of people and Moojie grows to hate him, especially after he meets people that the locals call "the hostiles," and finds that Pappy and the villagers intend to exterminate them. The hostiles end up becoming Moojie's friends, and he desperately longs to go live with them, but he finds he has to learn to live by their Code first. And that proves to be very difficult for a boy who is consumed by despair.
There were moments of brilliance and potential in this book, when I could almost see the beautiful story shining underneath all the muck. But overall, I felt bogged down by irrelevant detail, and a main character who couldn't make progress in any real way until the last 10% of the book. I pitied Moojie more than anything, and felt frustrated with the Light Eaters (as the hostiles called themselves), Ninti especially. She seemed to be the leader, and wanted Moojie to live by a Code she was not willing to enforce on her own people. In the end, the conclusion left me feeling unsatisfied, even though Moojie has changed incredibly in the last few pages.
If we could scrape away at some of the unnecessary stuff, there would be a great book in there. I think there could have been a lot more done with Moojie's "wonders," and even the information about the Light Eaters (it was scant and I don't really even understand what the heck they were all about, even if Moojie figured it out). I'm giving this 3 stars because I see the potential. But it left me wanting more, and not in a good way....more
I liked this book much more than the first one. It had better character development, a little less of the self-pity, and a very dark story line that gI liked this book much more than the first one. It had better character development, a little less of the self-pity, and a very dark story line that grounded it a bit better for me. Don't let book 1 put you off if you are interested in the series (it wasn't bad, just wasn't as good as it could have been)....more