Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.
I'm so close to rating this 5 stars! I will maybe up the rating as the year goes on, because thisThanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.
I'm so close to rating this 5 stars! I will maybe up the rating as the year goes on, because this is a really excellent book. It's a struggle to come up with adjectives to describe it, though: I expected a different tone since the gorgeous cover seems more 1920s and that usually means flappers and high-jinks, but the book isn't at all dreary. Even though so much about this story was factually bleak (true story of three sisters who are terrorized by an unscrupulous factory boss after a car accident in 1914 New Jersey), it was exhilarating to read, even tinged with humor at times. I was most struck by how terrifying the situation the Kopp sisters found themselves would be: they were in so many ways completely at the mercy of criminals, but they were resilient and fought in the face of corruption. I'm thrilled that this will be a series....more
Gillian Flynn is so skilled at writing unlikable characters, which is the real draw to anything she writes. The ghostly bits are deliciously creepy buGillian Flynn is so skilled at writing unlikable characters, which is the real draw to anything she writes. The ghostly bits are deliciously creepy but I thought the book as a whole ultimately suffered from the brevity of the short story form. (view spoiler)[ The potential explanations at the end came too fast to really pay off, although the final few sentences were still perfectly unsettling in the way one expects from Flynn. (hide spoiler)]
(Because I know many people who will care: the first part of the book deals with pretty frank depictions of sexual acts, although they're not really graphic. It was used more for humor, but if you want to avoid that, this probably isn't the book for you.)["br"]>["br"]>...more
This was an assigned read for my podcast to get me out of my comfort zone and try out contemporary romance. As anyone who knows me could tell you, I hThis was an assigned read for my podcast to get me out of my comfort zone and try out contemporary romance. As anyone who knows me could tell you, I hate romantic comedies in most forms. I've known too many people with unrealistic expectations of relationships to not feel like chick-lit/rom-coms play into that. I'm 100% guilty of it myself. So it's tricky to rate this because I was consistently entertained by the book, and even found it cute and sweet at times, but other parts made me want to hurl it across the room.
From the very beginning, there were weird lines that seemed to come out of nowhere to interrupt the tone of the book: the first time we meet Annabelle, she's (jokingly) offering sex to a homeless man so he'll move out from underneath her car. And later in the book, a male character tells a woman he's interested in that they'll "get along fine as long as he keeps the dog collar around her neck tight." And she's into it! Stuff like that undermined the things that I thought Susan Elizabeth Phillips did well, like build the relationship slowly and not allowing them to indulge in mutual dislike for very long. I guess she and I have different senses of humor? I did like that most of the parts that frustrated me were at the beginning and that the characters developed out of most problematic behaviors. Annabelle starts out a hot mess compared to Heath's calm and collected demeanor, which is a trope that drives me nuts and infantilizes women, but they moved away from that as the relationship developed. It ended up feeling fairly realistic and I liked that they appreciated each other beyond quirks and good looks.
I know many smart, capable women who love these types of books and I think that's great. I totally understand the appeal of them and find that I like other genres (cozy mysteries) for the same reasons. But with this, I wasn't able to turn off the voices in my head to totally give in to the charm. ...more