I wish I had written a review of this before I had read the second two because I feel like my liking of the second two has now skewed my opinion of thI wish I had written a review of this before I had read the second two because I feel like my liking of the second two has now skewed my opinion of this book and is making me remember it better than it actually was.
Don't get me wrong, because I definitely liked it. Enough so that I bought the second one immediately (straight from bed. how'd I live before the kindle!). But this book has some flaws.
Some of the characters are extremely flat, the plot is pretty predictable about 50 pages in, and then suddenly there is a lot more going on than can be handled in the end of the book. It reads like the author bit off more than she could chew. Or that the book was written under a tight deadline.
After reading the second two, which I think flowed much better, I can understand the above flaws. All that stuff DID need to be crammed in the first book, in order for the second two to flow as they did.
All that said, I do recommend this book if only for getting to the rest of the series! The twist on the cinderella story is unique and yet still follows the original tale pretty closely and really well. Given that i read this for my "fairy tale retelling" book club, that fact was a happy requirement. As noted in my other fairy-tale-retelling reviews, I can cut a book a lot of slack in this case given that fairy tales themselves are frequently disjointed, lacking character depth and full of plot holes. :)
this is smack dab in the middle of "it was okay." I probably won't ever read it again which is why it is getting 3 and not 4. but the writing was finethis is smack dab in the middle of "it was okay." I probably won't ever read it again which is why it is getting 3 and not 4. but the writing was fine and the story interesting. I'm not sure what was lacking to keep me from 4 stars - maybe just that I couldn't relate to the main character's issues. Definitely don't regret reading it though because it was an enjoyable read....more
This one started out kind of hard going for me. I just couldn't get in to it. And it has all the elements I usually like -- multiple time streams, mulThis one started out kind of hard going for me. I just couldn't get in to it. And it has all the elements I usually like -- multiple time streams, multiple narrators, enough-truth-to-be-realistic fiction. But it just didn't grab me.
I preserved though and am glad I did because I did end up liking the book. It *is* peppered with multiple narrators, though, so that may be a turn off for some. And not the same narrators - i.e., some times the plot is advanced via chapter that is a "reprint" of a newspaper article or a letter from someone not otherwise "speaking" in the book, etc. So, that is kind of jarring unless you just let yourself go with the flow.
As you can read in the book summary, the plot is mainly split between story lines occurring in the past and the present. The past aspects of the book are hands-down the best part, in my opinion. It's easy to forget at times that this is a book of fiction, because some of the transition narrations *are* things like newspaper articles or a forward to a book written by harriet beacher stowe, etc. To me, however, that little occasional jolt of "oh, wait, this is fiction, that's not a real article" added to the story.
This isn't going to be for everyone both because of style and subject matter but for a randomly-grabbed $2 book from the thrift store, it didn't disappoint....more
This is pretty typical Phillippa Gregory fluff historical fiction. It's historical fiction where the emphasis is on the fiction. Not that there's anytThis is pretty typical Phillippa Gregory fluff historical fiction. It's historical fiction where the emphasis is on the fiction. Not that there's anything wrong with that!
But don't go into it thinking it is going to be meaty with history because it's not. I found the three angles interesting, especially the one of Bess because she's an interesting female figure of that time period in her own right, if you set Mary the Queen of the Scots aside.
So, all in all I certainly enjoyed the book. There is this: I grabbed it off my shelf (from a pile of thrift store purchase-to-read-sometime) because my kindle was dead and I was on my way out the door for 4.5 hours of dog sitting. It was the PERFECT book for 4.5 hours of dog sitting.
Everything happens and nothing happens and it all flows along pretty effortlessly.
Well, I read this right after having read The Paris Wife, which I enjoyed. The Paris Wife is historical fiction and, as such, is, well, fictiony. It rWell, I read this right after having read The Paris Wife, which I enjoyed. The Paris Wife is historical fiction and, as such, is, well, fictiony. It reads as a story. And one you either you enjoy or you don't. I quite liked it. Liked it enough to want to know "more" about Hadley and that's how I got to this book.
This book is biography and so less story. It's tedious in parts. It jumps around too much in parts, in efforts to support and substantiate things being said. It is, overall, pretty soulless.
I'm sure my view on each of these books is tainted by the order in which I read them. However, had I read this book first I never would have been motivated to read The Paris Wife. And if I somehow had gotten around to reading it, I probably would have been disappointed at the fluff job done to all the material covered in Paris Without End: The True Story of Hemingway's First Wife. As it is, I was free to enjoy A Paris Wife for what it was and enjoy this one for what it was. It wasn't the fault of this book that I occasionally had feelings of "c'mon c'mon I already know about this" given it covered the same time periods of the same people.
This book is worth reading on its own, but it did make an interesting "Deeper Look" if you enjoyed the Paris Wife....more
This book was alright. I pretty much read it straight through and consider it more of a lighter read than some of the heavier historical fiction novelThis book was alright. I pretty much read it straight through and consider it more of a lighter read than some of the heavier historical fiction novels I enjoy. The historical details seemed accurate to me and I was caught up in the story because the changing perspectives kept it interesting and I was honestly interested to find out how it all came out because -- unlike some historical periods/people I read about -- I really had no idea.
Bear in mind that this -- again, unlike some other historical fiction -- is pretty completely fictionalized in that, while we do know Franklin had an illegitimate son, we don't know who his mother was. So, aspects of it are pure "good tale".
However, that didn't detract from the book for me and I also learned some stuff about the period -- and about Ben Franklin -- that I didn't know....more
Eh, I thought I read this awhile ago but I guess not! When I went to put away the The 19th Wife, back on the shelf of thrift-store-finds to be read anEh, I thought I read this awhile ago but I guess not! When I went to put away the The 19th Wife, back on the shelf of thrift-store-finds to be read and/or properly shelved, I saw this. I remember I bought it quite awhile ago because I saw it and I meant to give it to a teen for Christmas (and then I apparently forgot about it at Christmas, because I gave her a bunch of other stuff and here it still sits). I remember thinking I had it on the kindle and that I had already read it. But no!
All i can really say is: meh.
I liked it but didn't love it. I think I just never really attached to the main character. Maybe now that The Child is 14, 12 seems very young and the main character seemed young and it all seemed kind of silly.
But the story is engaging enough that I pretty much read it straight through (started it last night, finished it this morning), the writing style was pleasant and I did care about the characters ... just not THAT much.
The premise is good but the world building seemed pretty skimpy. Same with all the "mysteries" which weren't mysterious anymore by the time they were revealed. I can, however, chalk those two things up to the fact that this is straight up YA (and YA for the younger-end, in my opinion; i'd say 5th and 6th grders) so maybe a less life-experienced reader of that age would do less figurin'!
Ends on a giant cliffhanger but, even so, I'm not compelled enough to read the next book unless I also find *it* for $2 bucks. Although, hey, I just went to check if it was lendable on lendle.me and it says "you own it!" under book status. So maybe I DO have all these on the kindle. In that case, I will read the next one when I have some time to kill but I'm not in a rush to read it next.
I'd recommend it for a quick read for anyone who generally reads YA dystopian stuff and for the 5th-6th grade set.
Also this spoiler: (view spoiler)[have some tissues. ain't nothing sadder than when a talking dog dies! (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more