I was disappointed with this effort from McInerney, who I consider one of my favourite writers within the chick-lit/light women's fiction category. It...moreI was disappointed with this effort from McInerney, who I consider one of my favourite writers within the chick-lit/light women's fiction category. It just wasn't convincing - I didn't believe in the characters struggles like I have in the other books I have read by McInerney.
It is not that these struggles were impossible, Ella and her families struggles are incredibly sad, but I felt unmoved by the writing. And moving writing is generally what I love about McInerney! The characters were unconvincing, and their personalities were not thought out. I took issue particularly with the way Jess was written - it felt so absurd that someone could exist in that way. Usually, no matter the character and how unrealistic they may be, McInerney is able to convince me of the opposite.
Overall, I feel that this is a poor effort on McInerney's part, and possibly her publisher's, as I feel she has rushed through this book. There are details missing, things that don't add up and unlike McInerney's usual style, the ending just happens. It is hardly a resolution: one minute they all appear to hate each other, next minute they're "moving on" together (not as if nothing has happened, but certainly without any narrative discussion).
A rushed and unconvincing set of characters and storyline makes for an unhappy loyal reader. (less)
This is the second time I've read this book, and it has lost none of its mystery. It is truly captivating. Kate Morton has a way of writing that compe...moreThis is the second time I've read this book, and it has lost none of its mystery. It is truly captivating. Kate Morton has a way of writing that compels the reader to continue, making them unable to put it down until all the questions are answered. And answered they are, all in due time. It's present in all her books and is something I've not come across with as much success in any other books.
Don't try and work it out. Don't think you've figured it out (I've read it twice and I couldn't pick it). The ending is far greater than your own imagination would have you believe, and yet at the same time it all seems so obvious. The tragedy and sadness of the whole situation is beyond tears, and beyond words. All I know is that I've not felt hatred for a character (who hardly appears, yet overwhelms the text as he does the characters lives) as I do for Raymond Blythe. Its tragic love story and murder mystery, set against the complexities of family and intricacies of time. Some things surprise you (watch Percy, she's the biggest surprise) and others simply shock. All I know for certain however is that Raymond Blythe's actions cause everything. Because of him, so many lives are ruined. Although - its possible you could blame it on his own mother... I've finished it and the complications are still plaguing me. It will make you think, question your morals and consider those ties that bind families so tightly.
Read all of Kate Morton's books - they are addictive. While not a great literary talent, her books are bestsellers for the right reason: she is a storyteller of the highest order. (less)
I want to write a nice review of this book, because I really did enjoy reading it. But the more I think about it, the worse it becomes. At the end of...moreI want to write a nice review of this book, because I really did enjoy reading it. But the more I think about it, the worse it becomes. At the end of the day, I felt so frustrated reading this book with the abrupt switches between characters - I found myself just settling in and finally getting to know a character and suddenly I'd be scrambling to catch up with some other character. It was confusing at times, and incredibly frustrating. This chopping and changing has meant that many things seemed rushed, and others seem to drag on. There were a few things that seemed to be forgotten along the way and other things that were forsaken for more trivial pursuits. The story of Clare - did the author just not feel capable of dealing with her circumstances? Why did we dwell so much on Harriet instead when I just wanted to slap her and say wake up to yourself, you are being ridiculous! And it was this that has formed the basis of my review, rather than the things I liked about it. I just haven't been able to move past it.
Aside from that, and on a more positive note, the characters are diverse and well formed. While their issues may not have been resolved to my liking, Noble has left no detail of their personality untold. You do feel that, as a reader, you understand them. Well, you do eventually once you've gotten over the confusion of the switching.
I loved the book club element too. Its what drew me to the book in the first place, and I wish in some ways more space was devoted to it. I got a few good suggestions for my to-read list as well! (less)