Its the only one that's made me bawl like a baby. I usually don't cry at fiction and I saw the "twist" coming from far, far away but ultimately it was no defense against the devestating impact of this book.
I loved the parents of the main character. They are never saccharine or overplayed but are one of the best and most loving portraits I've seen of shall we say "sick kid" parents.
She brings an authentic youthful inflection and emotional poignancy to the dialogue an older narrator or a more bubblegum young narrator would not have been able to portray.
From just about the midpoint on this book is a series of cathartic break downs. However I still, several weeks later, feel so grateful for the day to day blessing of health & the health of my loved ones. It definitely stretches your empathy and gratitude.
I figured I knew what I was getting into and that my own cynicism + the cutesy names would protect me from caring too much when I started this thing but its depth surprised- in no part because you experience the claustrophobic limitations of its protagonist almost physically alongside her. It's intense, is what I'm saying. It will ruin your day (full puffy face and sobbing) but in a way that will make you intensely grateful for what you have. Full on catharsis.
The content is amazing, the narrative unwinds quickly and yet with plenty of suspense. It's super gruesome yet also sensitive and never gratuitously graphic, and it's real-life hero is a gem. Also the performance is absolutely amazing.
The ending is a stunning culmination of all the evidence in the book, and of course the actual crime I still think about sometimes (not necessarily in a good way)...seriously horrific.
He's a genius. His tone is fantastic.
I love mystery stories (like Agatha Christie) and this was the origin of the genre of the English Country House mystery- fascinating to see how press disseminated evidence and got the entire country caught up in the puzzle of such a (even by modern standards) brutal crime and also to see how it influenced the writing that would come after for years and years.
I flinch at violence usually, as I've said though its not gratuitous and the overall information in the book is completely fascinating. If you love the "manor house" type mystery genre this is sort of an origins story and a real life version of something I thought was purely a literary device.
Aside from it being a complete and total Hunger Games rip off, and a complete and total "Bachelor" rip off, the book also manages to shoe horn in a heaping helping of misogyny. Good job, female author!
On moral principle I will never give this writer any of my hard earned dollars/credits ever again.
Everyone deserves a second chance. (Except author Kiera Cass)
I think this writer thought she was writing a strong heroine and had some kind of message about female solidarity, which makes the story all that much more sickening. The detestable heroine is hung up on a dweeb but is so rude and self-centered she easily wins the heart of a prince. Then she decides she will be his confidant and tell him what girls to date and then gets super confused about how she feels.This effing book. It assumes all girls are vain, cowering, idiots, except the heroine who is only marginally less vain, marginally less cowering, and somehow even more idiotic.
It had all the Victorian tropes that normally I would love, yet seemed like a blurry xerox of these elements rather than a colorful tapestry of them. Oh also there is a Dickensian evil landlady called Mrs. Swindle so evil she made me laugh out loud. Hint: she is NOT supposed out make you laugh out loud.
Something by a contemporary Victorian writer maybe? To remind me why I like this time period because dang I almost forgot.
A gorgeous Australian accent, a fair Cornish accent, a hilarious American accent.
I would take out maybe 500 of the 550 scenes of old people hemming and hawing when asked direct questions. And then I'd take out maybe 49 of the 50 incidences the person talking to them starts thinking about lunch or the carpet or the smell in the room. Oh and I'd probably remove at least 1200 of the 1400 times we are told how magical, silvery and magical Eliza Makepeace is. Oh and I'd tell the author to go ahead and use the phrase "Secret Garden" because she sidesteps it so much it goes into Thesaurus Town territory.
I feel like you should not write a fairy tale and then have every character in the book talk about how elemental and magical and compelling it is or you are begging the reader to disagree. Also this EASILY could have been a short story- figured out the story's "secret" about halfway through and then had to wait for characters to catch up out of like OCD completionism. Just sayin'.
#1, or tied wth Mantel's "Bring Up the Bodies"
Thomas Cromwell is given such a wry sense of humor, there were so many unexpected moments that made me smile in the midst of an incredible amount of character depth and historical context.
His voice is gorgeous and he reads dialogue like an Oscar worthy actor. Seriously charming and engaging.
The way Mantel handles Cromwell's remembrance of his family- many of whom died from the sweating sickness- is among the most touching and sincere portraits of grief I've found in a book.
Even if you don't love Henry the VIII and tudor history, the prose in this book is simply phenomenal. The way the story unfolds with actual suspense and surprise, even when the conclusions are foregone and you know how it ends, are unique in all the historical fiction I've read.
Report Inappropriate Content