Feb 08, 11
Read from June 15, 2010 to February 03, 2011
Where do I even begin. I both like and hate this book.
From a purely writing standpoint, it is well-written. But the author doesn't want one drop of his years of Dickens research to go to waste - which is a shame, really, because 100-200 pages of this 700 something page book could have easily been cut. And I think that self-indulgence got in the way of what could have been an amazing book.
Simmons does a great job of building an era in my mind and seamlessly weaves the real-life stories of Dickens and Wilkie into his fictional premise. He is also brilliant in building the tension and the suspense; there are parts where I could almost hold my breath in waiting for the next moment. But in my mind, the ending greatly disappoints and leaves many questions (not the good kind) and a rather sour taste in my mouth.
Huge disclaimer is that this book took me 6-9 months to read (which is unheard of for me). In some ways, I was finishing because I committed so much time - my attitude could also be part to blame, and I began to attack it as a chore. Which in and of itself could be some sort of verdict of the book.
If you are a huge Dickens or Wilkie fan, it is a must read. Otherwise, I would keep searching for something more.