Bani M's Reviews > Leonie

Leonie by Elizabeth Adler
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Jan 26, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: books-finished, books-finished-2010
Read from September 30 to October 01, 2010

Tries to aim some place between Barbara Taylor Bradford, Judith Krantz's bigger novels, and Colleen McCullough's The Thorn Birds. This is a big novel that spans two generations. The best of the writing is probably in the enticing blurb, the actual book's writing is less than arresting. As for the heroine, Leonie, if there was a Mary Sue checklist I'm pretty sure her characteristics would fill it out rather nicely. But you could say the same for most heroines in this genre at the time. The plot goes to really stupid, unbelievably wasteful places. So why did I keep reading? Well to Leonie's credit the plot also goes to interesting and unexpected places in the last half. I was more touched by Leonie's daughter's story. I would give it a 3 or 4 but it only makes up a small portion of the book. That said- that small portion held an impressive, gut-wrenching plot twist. Only to end up frustrating me all the more by ending right when it was starting to show some real potential. This happens multiple times in the novel actually, an interesting plot emerges but quickly submerges and frustrates me. There is another reason why I kept reading though- that being the overarching and unusual (though sadly under realized) plot outlined in that blurb I mentioned. A heroine who has multiple lovers at different points in life- but one of those lovers is recurring, won't leave her alone, and ends up destroying himself and those around the both of them with his obsession. I love love/hate relationships, dysfunctional and highly dramatic twisting, turning plots courtesy of crafty evil geniuses. But that's not quite what I found here, more like what I had imposed upon the book and hoped- in vain- would unfurl. My delusions aside, there was other potential here. If I could rewire this novel I would've cut out some of Leonie's go-nowhere trysts and penchant for catatonic do-nothing jaunts and made both she and Monsieur a million times more capable. Then I would have taken Leonie's daughter- who is far more interesting than her mother- gave her her own book, and fleshed out her end-all-be-all relationship that is little more than alluded to at the end. Even though this book mostly bombed, it at least tries to bring some ideas to the table that go beyond one man and one woman who bring the fluff by way of endlessly predictable scenarios and "safe" characteristics.
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