Just buy this book. Please. It is beyond wonderful, totally adorable in so many ways. I loved it.
Bertie, a small boy about to turn 7 years old, is lumbered with one very strange, over-bearing mother, and a well-meaning, but ineffectual father. He's a bright boy, who is forced into fulfilling his mother's ambitions, but who longs to be a regular boy. In this book, he finally finds true happiness for a short period of time. This book will bring joy to your heart.
This is a serial novel, and Bertie is only one of many interesting characters. Very highly recommended.
It's hard to put your finger on where this book goes wrong. It's certainly not the first three quarters, which is exciting, well plotted and with great character development. It's the last quarter, where it all falls apart. I'm not going to give any spoilers, but I can say that there are a lot of details that were set up in the first 75%, which seem to promise more excitement to come, and then are just simply left hanging there. It's like the author got tired of writing this book, and decided to take the easy way out, using a literary trick as an excuse for doing so. I loved the characters, and I feel resentment at the way the author has abandoned them at the end.
This is a very long book, but worth every minute of those 32 hours and 24 minutes. Yes, there are a few parts that could have been edited a bit - particularly the stay in the Amsterdam hotel - but the ending is ultimately enriching, satisfying and will stay with you for a long time. It's a nuanced book, with amazing character development, and a keen sense of atmosphere and place. Bravo!
I enjoyed this book even more than Christine Falls, but not as much as Elegy for April. Timothy Dalton is fabulous, fabulous, fabulous in bringing the characters to life. I can't imagine a better narrator.
This is a fully-realized novel, bursting with great characters who you can't wait to meet again. The other reviewers have described the story, and it's a great one. Fabulous layers of depth in the characters, diverse and real. Highly, highly recommended!
I enjoyed the different narrators in this book. The characters were well realized. It's very addictive to listen to, but the ending is implausible. I don't want to say more, for fear of spoiling it, but I did feel that the author was really stretching to find a surprise ending.
I am wondering if Alexander McCall Smith intends to revisit these characters again. Their stories are satisfying and thought-provoking, but one is left wondering what will happen to the characters in the future.
The stories are supposed to be as told by strangers on a train, yet the narrators have very similar styles. They tell their stories in much too complex a manner, with events from years ago told in great detail, with even the conversations sounding as if they just happened yesterday. In one case, conversations are recounted third hand - the narrator was not even alive at the time, and the person speaking is not her father. Yet, every word was there. I often found myself wondering - is the person actually speaking, or is this supposed to be a flashback?
Not one of his best, but still, hard to resist.
This is a book that makes you want to write one of your own, based on your childhood memories. But you could never do as well as William Kent Kreuger has done here. I was completely immersed in the Minnesota landscape, I could feel the heat and the worry, and the darkness. It's not often that I cry while listening to an audio book, but I cried many times while listening to the extraordinary work.
The only nit I would pick is that it becomes almost unbelievable that the young hero is always present (through eavesdropping, or overhearing, or circumstance) in all of the key plot developments.
Go ahead, and buy this one. It's almost perfect.
This is a good read/listen, with lots of interesting characters, and a subtle, engaging story. I don't want to say much more, for fear of spoiling the plot, but there are the complexities that we have come to expect from Donna Leon.
Donna Leon is a highly visual writer. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of the artwork.
This is my first Lisa Gardner novel, and it won't be my last. While the plot has some inconsistencies, and I guessed the final twist, the entire venture is well done. The story has a heart-pounding kidnapping as the opening event, with sympathetic protagonists, and good character development. I have to say that the performance is a bit dragged out, with too much "fake" Boston accents to be entirely enjoyable.
This is a well-plotted story. It moves along in a contrived, written for the movies pace. The mind of the author is inventive, and the scenes it describes are full, and complete. The reader/listener feels part of the plot.
But perhaps I can complain about the explicit nature of some descriptions. I felt, while listening, that I was meant to enjoy this, and to feel more connected with the characters as a result, but I only felt that the author was pushing this too far, and that it was too much information,and put into the book as a hook for shock value.
Some subtlety would be welcome here. I love the characters, and would want to hear more from them.
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