Linda C's Reviews > The Crimson Rooms

The Crimson Rooms by Katharine McMahon
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May 21, 2010

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Read in May, 2010

Yet another book that started out strong, and then tapered off into a mess of mediocrity. Very disappointing. While Katherin McMahon is clearly a gifted writer, her characters were flat and lifeless. The heroine, Evelyn, was as repressed at the end of the book as she was at the beginning. Although I was initially cheering for Evelyn to break free of her obnoxious relatives and throw off the mantle of dutiful daughter, she was unable to do so. I kept waiting for her to cut her hair and even that didn't happen.

Although she did, apparently, come to terms with the human failings of the idolized dead brother, she refused to do so with her lover, and, in fact, sent him packing, literally and figuratively. Given the realities of post-WWI Britain, i.e. far more women than men of the marrying age, combined with Evelyne's age (30), it was hard to believe that she would not accept some character failings in her lover so that she could have the life and family that she longed for.

Living vicariously through her newphew was going to be just that, living vicariously. To be fair, McMahon did a terrific job describing the stifling post WWI society, and its effects on an intelligent woman.

My bet would be that the newphew acquires a step father at some point, and Evelyn returns to life with Mother and Aunt Prudence, dutifully living out her days wearing her shapeless clothes, hair coiled under her hat, church on Sunday being the highlight of the week.

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Jennifer I totally agree with you about the comment that Evelyn will end up back at her mother's house eventually. I just kept feeling that she was too uptight about her career and wouldn't be able to compromise. Also, you are dead on about her keeping her brother alive vicariously through her nephew.

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