Hannah's Reviews > Up Close

Up Close by Henriette Gyland
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it was ok
bookshelves: british-isles, mystery

Okay, this is definitely on of those books in which I wish, wish, WISH, I give reviews that are in between whole numbers. I really dithered between giving Up Close 2 or 3 stars, and would call this a solid 2.5.
Second, there are so many variables that go into rating. There is the quality of writing, plotting, meaningfulness, all that stuff. And then there is the personal preferences of the reader. So, since I have absolutely no interest in reading about the history of WWII, for example, a brilliantly written book on that subject would be a 5 star for some, but a 1 star for me.
All that preamble out of the way:
I enjoyed Up Close. It was a light read which takes place on the gloomy, windy, wonderful English coast, and has elements of romance, mystery, and suspense. So for that, I feel it deserves 3 stars. However, Up Close was more heavy on the romance and light on the suspense than I prefer. I hardly ever read pure romantic fiction, so that emphasis was not my cup of tea. Furthermore, the mystery aspect of the story was transparent; I guessed what the reveal was right at the beginning of the novel, which was a letdown.
To my mind, the main characters in Up Close were too clichéd to really hold my interest. Aiden, the tormented, dark, handsome, love interest, seemed too emotionally volatile to be an appealing hero. And Lia, our heroine, while not unlikeable, was just a little too generic to seem real.
Things I did like about Up Close included the diving aspect of the story; I always love when an author introduces the reader to some type of hobby, for example, I loved the mountain-climbing aspect of Nicci French's Killing Me Softly, or the quilting references in Linda Gillard's House of Silence. However, I did feel frustration for Lia when Aiden and his diving buddies pressured her into joining them, despite her fear of the water.
Another thing that I did find thought provoking was how Henriette Gyland explored the theme of what romantic love actually is. In one section, Lia muses that she (view spoiler). These ideas bring up the eternally mystifying and satisfying complexities of love and friendship.
So in summary, I did enjoy Up Close, but it was too simplistic, had too many sex scenes, and not enough psychological suspense for my taste. I would recommend it as a light read for anyone who enjoys romantic fiction.
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Reading Progress

February 8, 2014 – Shelved
February 8, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
February 13, 2014 – Started Reading
February 19, 2014 – Shelved as: british-isles
February 19, 2014 – Shelved as: mystery
February 19, 2014 – Finished Reading

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