This book started off well, but it had a pretty solid idea to build off of. Jane Eyre is a masterpiece for a reason, but Gemma Hardy is just... guh.
The first problem is the timeline. We're told that it takes place after WWII but I kept forgetting this, and really, I feel like the author did too. When something like a car or record player was mentioned, it was startling--"Oh yeah, this is in the 50s... or was it 60s?"
For a book supposedly about that time period, there were some strange elements. For example, the main character is ready to sleep with someone... but doesn't seem to have any conscious thought of consequences (I found myself wondering, Does she know what sex actually is?). We're told she was raised by a pastor; I would assume that pre-marital sex would have been a problem. Oh, of course, she doesn't really believe in God... convenient.
Then there are the characters, and their development. Gemma starts off strong, but becomes a sniveling baby that can't really do anything without help. Her romantic interest is pretty boring, and there's nothing memorable about him. It's rare to run into this kind of non-developed character, but it happens in this book. He has no personality or anything else; his main function is just to help move the plot along.
The girl that Gemma goes to teach, Nell, displays random acts of disturbing violence, but no one seems to really think about the implications of this, and (of course) at the end she somehow turns into a caring, lovely girl with good behavior. I just don't get it.
The St. John character is a complete disgrace and makes no sense.
Now, the crux of the book would be the relationship between Jane and Edward--but these two just don't work. Gemma runs away for a reason I can't fathom at all; after that, the book just fell flat, and I realized I didn't care. Everyone could die in the end, and I wouldn't care. To be blunt, these characters all suck. If you want a Jane Eyre story, read the original, and skip this pile of bunk.
I've never seen the Bourne movies, but I was curious about the first book, so I bit the bullet and got it.
I must say I am really happy that Scott Brick read it; he's a really good narrator for serious novels.
The book itself is excellent, and wraps up rather nicely. I don't feel compelled to listen to the second one, which is nice. I like it when books can be a standalone, even if they are part of a series.
The characters are interesting, although there's some lame love story nonsense thrown in, but it's something that can be ignored.
My only problem with the book was how dense it was. I couldn't listen to it for hours, and I didn't burn through it. It took me some solid time to get through the story, but I enjoyed it. If you're looking for something quick and easy, this probably isn't the best place.
...but I just couldn't accept the majority of this book. It's well-written, and the voice actress is excellent. The material itself is where my problem is.
I will avoid major spoilers.
This book is about an unnamed heroine who falls in love with and marries a rather wealthy older man (reminds me of Jane Eyre). The mystery surrounding his first wife's death is the central premise of the book--despite being absent, the book revolves around her (Rebecca).
Now, when full light was cast upon the circumstances of her death, I lost all sympathy for everyone. The husband, because he was a moron. The main character, because of her lack of backbone. Once my sympathy left, it was a struggle to get through this book.
Maybe I need to always read characters who are not asinine, silly little children, but I couldn't connect to the narrator. At times she just dragged on and on and on about the most unimportant things... or the book would be going along smoothly and then she would interrupt the flow of things with a story I don't care about at all.
I had hoped that Mrs. Danvers would have a bigger role to play, and be more menacing, but honestly the narrator was such a coward in her dealings with Mrs. Danvers that the old lady didn't seem like a threat at all; it just seemed that the narrator was very weak.
I got through the book, but it was a chore.
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