I was looking for something long because I have a lot of mindless chores for a week or two, and I like to be mentally somewhere else when that happens. It is long. I was looking for something light for the same reason. But the reviews and description I read of this one never did tell me what I was buying. This is a romance-novel, bodice-ripping, soft-porn excursion with little plot and less character development. I know women who like Harlequin romances and the like. If you do, you will probably like this one. But I'm bailing on it. I'm not interested in 20 more hours of near-rapes and outdoor sex, punctuated by saber fights.
When I read the first Three Pines book, I found it a bit slow. I'm more accustomed to the noir of the Scandinavian thriller writers, the convoluted grunge of Tana French, and the literary stylings of Elizabeth George. I didn't know how to take the village of Three Pines.
But as I settled into the second offering, I began to see the village as a type of Eden, so perfect that it takes a while for the snake to be recognized. There are spiritual references in both, but they are more apparent in "A Fatal Grace" than in the first book of the series. I love the world that Penny creates where even the most benign and attractive apple has a worm burrowed somewhere inside. To counter balance that, the most disagreeable characters have something worthwhile peeking through the cracks.
I was able to figure out the whodunit part of this story before the end. But I enjoyed the journey, being led by the voice of Ralph Cosham, so much that I didn't mind.
I will do listen to more of these.
I usually can stand hagiography. I take it with a grain of salt. But this one is so over the top that I'm bailing after an hour. I think it might go down a little better in print. The melodramatic reading puts it beyond my ability to continue past the first hour.
I'd like to know more about James Monroe. But surely there's a better biography out there somewhere.
I'm enthusiastic because now have a new author to follow. Good page-turner with decent character development. I'll look for Johnson again!
I am usually determined to get through any book I paid for. My husband laughs at me about that. But this one defeated me. I didn't make it through the first hour. I don't know how I picked it out and put it in my wish list.
I hate to pan a book because it's just my opinion. Another listener might like it. The reader sounded fine. But it's way below my normal reading level. I don't have the patience to be told what Israel is and what Hamas is. I already know that Persians speak Farsi. It was simplistic, all black/white, caricatures. I felt I was being talked down to by somebody who didn't have much to teach me. For folks who don't follow news, maybe a high schooler, this might be the one.
Maybe it was going to get better. But an hour was all I could stomach. Just sayin'.
This may not be Great Literature. And I do love Great Literature. But it is great fun. Nesbo has been added to my Scandinavian thriller list!
I thought I might not like this addendum to Gardam's "Old Filth," which I really enjoyed. I was expecting a lot of repetition perhaps. Or something that would skewer my enjoyment of "Old Filth". But no. It's quite wonderful to see the marriage of Old Filth through the eyes of his wife, Betty. The author answers questions that you didn't even realize you had. Thoroughly enjoyable.If you liked, "Old Filth", as I and the other members of my book club did, this one is a must.The reader is terrific. Keeps the voices separate and clear without overly dramatizing dialog. I have no complaints about this one.
This might be the story for you. You can breathlessly fast forward wondering if the billionaire's son who has an IQ of 161 and parents who know every member of the board gets into the good school. You can press your headset to your ears so you won't miss it when the author tells you whether they take his jet or hers to the party.
However, if you require something a bit more important than that to create suspense, this isn't the book for you. ALL the protagonists are perfect. Rich, gorgeous, moral, kind. There is no suspense of any sort. None. There is a crime in the last two hours (yes, I kept going, hoping something somewhere would happen), but you see it coming from the first chapter and are just waiting to get it over. No character struggles with anything at all. Nobody worries that he might drink too much or fail to say the perfect thing at the perfect time. It doesn't cross anyone's mind that he or she might not get the girl or win the award or look fabulous in a riding habit. There is nothing to worry about. Ever. Nobody even grieves if there is a death.
Happy families may not be all alike. Maybe they are each boring in their own way. I would take an expert's word for that. I don't want to keep reading about them to find out for myself.
I found Mankell after reading "The Girl ... " trilogy by Stieg Larsson. Went looking for other Swedish thrillers. I wouldn't so much call the Kurt Wallender series thrillers. More police procedurals, but that doesn't do them credit. As it turns out, I like them more than I like the Larsson books. Far more character development and examination of cultural issues than the standard cop stories. I read the latest Wallender story first. Now I will work my way through the series. My husband also has become a fan. In a few months, we are going to Denmark and intend to take a side trip to Ystadt, Sweden to see Wallender's haunts. The performance is also excellent. Mankell's works may not be great literature, and I enjoy great literature as well. But they are great reads without being simplistic.
Good enough derring-do. But, oh my. The lectures. Instead of showing the reader that cops are fabulous, wonderful, brave, moral creatures, the author tells us that. Over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and ....I won't be selecting another by this author.
We hear so much about Roosevelt and Churchill, D-Day and Iwo Jima, but little about the people who were making things work and communicating. This was a delightful book that filled in some gaps I had. Well read. I'm so glad I tried it!
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