An interesting exploration of life after "Happily Ever After" for the beloved Bennet sisters. However, prepare yourselves for a Mr. Darcy who practically twirls his mustache with schemes and maliciousness in the first half of the story. The plot has many odd twists and turns more consistent with Harlequin romantic fantasy than Austen's world of social realism. The characterization of Mary Bennet as keener and more sensible than her sisters is difficult to reconcile with the ridiculous predicaments she gets herself into. It can be summed up as an interesting, even satisfying, story that happens to have some familiar names.
The foreboding task of confronting figurative and literal ghosts is brought to life in this moody and thought provoking novel. Like a walk through desolate, New England woods on a crisp, late-autumn night, Picoult takes the reader on a journey through the trials and tribulations of a small town and the individuals in it being haunted by the past.
Picoult’s prose and pacing strike a subtly Gothic atmosphere and she resists the urge to resort to sci-fi theatrics to achieve her paranormal effects. Her integration of local Native American history finds a fresh perspective on what could otherwise be a rehashed storyline. While the threads that bring the plot to its climax can sometimes feel a bit too convenient—guided by the author as opposed to a supernatural justice—the story ends up being a satisfying, surprisingly realistic tale of love and loss and love again.
This book wrestles with the questions we don’t understand and can’t control: Where do we go after we die? What forces might keep us here? Why do innocent children get sick while the misguided commit large-scale atrocities? Why do our lives turn out so differently than we expected and, yet, are exactly what we deserve?
This was my first dive into a Jodi Picoult novel and would definitely give her work a second glance.
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