This is the 3rd book of Sara Gruen's that I have read. Obviously, Water for Elephants was the best. Riding Lessons was the worst and this was inbetween. I did not see good character development. There are a high number of insignificant side issues that add nothing to the story: a meth lab that blows up, a possible illegitimate child, family issues galore. None are developed to much detail.
The female characters seem to be weak and wimpy. Both lead females crumble in terror and become helpless in times of stress. Although they each come out of it, evidence of this "woose" factor remains visible. It does not make them endearing people.
Where there could (and should) have been a lot of danger and suspense surrounding the end of the book, especially due to all the side issues, there wasn't. It is such a dud.
Then there is the narration. The timing, or pauses, are infuriating. Female voices are insulting. The punk kids sound more like brahmins than street smart characters. None of it meshes with the story line.
I really was looking forward to this book. I heard Ms. Gruen speak after the success of WFE. But this just wasn't a worthy result. Even the adorable bonobos could not salvage this wreck.
If you like ancient Chinese literature, this is a book for you. Despite the difficulty of strange names, it is easy to follow the players. Three young women's lives come together by way of family connections. Times go from plenty to poverty. The women have no power yet they are the ones to strategize their survival. Narration is well done.
This was a good enough story but definitely does not rank in my top choices. Each of the characters were well developed but what wasn't developed was the relationships between each. For example, Tess becomes very loyal to Lady Duff-Gordon. That happens very quickly so I reckon that is a strong character trait of Tess's. There is no story-line to promote that loyalty. In fact, if anything, the story lines would create the opposite. None of the relationships that are developed have any explanation to them. Explanation really isn't the right word, but none other comes to mind that is any better. A good story is good because of how it comes about.
The historical details of the story are interesting. I did not find the narration as distressing as some other reviewers.
I have never read anything of Mr. King's before. I doubt I will again. I was mystified with this tale in the beginning. For all the hype about the connection to the Kennedy Assassination, it took forever to see how it did connect. I won't be a "spoiler" but the book had me hooked until the end. It did drag on and on but was truly worth it ...until the climax.
I have read several other time travel stories and this one had a very interesting twist to it that added all the more suspense and twists. The love story was delightful. The quirks of being from a different time period truly added a humorous and suspenseful dimension. He should have stuck with that. I was so disappointed by the final conclusion.
The narration was well done. There was a little bit of Maine, not much of Texas, but great differentiation between characters.
Despite reading reviews ahead of this purchase, I thought this would follow more along the lines of a story even if not identical to the movie by the same name. That title along with the picture do misinform people. So I am of a mixed mind about this selection. The information comes from real sources: letters and diaries (so sad this is becoming a lost art). If anything, it plays up this relationship between the royal family and speech therapist. I am sure they had a good working relationship and were very friendly, but I would not conclude that Logue "saved the British Monarchy." The narration was superb. The story so-so. I enjoyed it and learned a lot, but would not make a steady diet of this selection.
For the number of installments in this series and the praise of so many reviewers, I was so let down by this book. I couldn't get into any of the characters. McGee went back and forth, depending on what his current company said, between brute and savior. The female characters were mostly sluts but more stupid. The scene descriptions in some were so detailed but in others ...nothing. I do not need to have sexual encounters described with lurid minutia but several times I had to rewind to be sure that is was what it was.
The narrator was decent but his female voices were all irritating. In reality, I don't think he had much to work with.
I'm not wasting anymore of my credits on this series!!
I remember owning tis book in a beautiful set as a young girl. As an adult, I had no recollection of why I cherished the book, but I did. So when I saw this as a choice, I grabbed it and am so glad I did. A delightful tale, moves very quickly and surprisingly. This is not your typical cast of characters but they are so much fun!! Narration is well done. This could have gone on forever and I wouldn't have minded.
Being used to long books from Diana Gabaldon, this tale was a treat. The characters were delightful and varied. They easily fell into their roles of good person vs. bad. Truthfully, it was not confusing at all going around the entire cast, although at times I got bored with one set over another.
Narration was spectacular!! Accents were clearly differentiated as were genders. Probably the only thing I did not understand was the "chapter numbers" announced. I guess not having a hard copy was an issue as I would have checked them periodically, but that was not possible when listening.
Regardless, I have already got the the second in the series and anxiously await the final volume in December.
I'm into classics but this one was beyond me. I guess one has to read it to say "Yes, I did." But beyond that, forget it.
I was slow getting hooked on this book. The narration was partly responsible. Starting out with a focus on female characters with a male narration is disconcerting. But I hung in there. The supporting characters did not add that much to the tale, but they weren't totally bad. And about a third of the way through the book, a major TWIST is revealed. Bam!! I was hooked.
There were some inconsistencies that surprised me from an author that this wasn't their first book. Example, as Coburn is trying to contact his superior, he can't get through as they apparently have not set up a code name or verification process of any kind. However, Honor has just this sort of code with her best friend. And later, Coburn and Honor set up such a system with that friend. Why did he know to do it then but not for his safety and protection of his life and livelihood? Another example is that Honor is convinced to stay active in the struggle because of her lack of action in her own life since her husband died. And it is just that type of inactivity that her father-in-law later acknowledges his role in as they are "making up." Wasn't that convenient?
The narration wasn't the best I have heard, but far from the worse. He didn't do well with female voices but I got over that quickly. He differentiates between characters excellent, without resorting to ethnic or regional accents (something I hate).
The love angle wasn't too strong but weaved in well. I do not need graphic descriptions as this story had, but I understand others do. Fine.
So I will try another of her books at some point. This choice was definitely enjoyable and worthwhile -- a good pick.
I am just getting to Know Bohjalian as an author. I am not overly enthused with this book or Midwives that I read previously but not willing to give up further books by him. As an Armenian my family is always on the lookout for stories of our heritage. The Armenian genocide has been kept silent, as noted in this story. So maybe one has to be Armenian to connect to this tale. My grandparents were already in this country when the events of this book occurred. But they left knowing it was coming. Other family members and certainly friends did not escape as they had.
The characters develop well. The premise of a "crash course" in nursing doesn't ring true (especially as I teach nursing) for today, but it may have in 1915. But that is not an essential part of the story. The essential part is the love story. Two people meet and have an instant attraction. They are separated, struggle to get back together, and have horrific experiences during that time. In modern times, the granddaughter struggles to find the truth. And what a truth she discovers. Altogether, it is a beautiful story.
Did I stay up all night to finish it? No. Is this book one of my absolute overall favorites? No. Is it a worthwhile purchase? Yes. The story is important to be told. The narration was well done. The mini-stories of the minor characters definitely add to it all.
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