You have to be in just the right mood to enjoy this book, like being in the right place at the right time; thankfully I was and therefore, I just adored it! I got so drawn into the characters and the world they inhabit, that I even DREAMT about them! That’s a first for me.
It’s also the first time I can use the expression “curled up” with a book and mean it – it was like comfort food and getting back to it was like going to find out what my good friends have been up to while I was away.
In a nut shell, it’s a slow moving mystery about a woman who delves into her mother’s past and stumbles upon the story (and secrets) of three sisters during the 1940s, now old spinsters living in a dilapidated castle. Their tale is told through discoveries made by our present-day protagonist, weaved in with scenes from the prescriptive of the various key characters as their story unfolds before the war.
The characters were so perfectly depicted, I felt like I knew them personally and it was easy to get so completely sucked into their orb. The author’s ability to paint scenes with words was so first-rate to me that I felt like I was actually there at times, as if I could FEEL the surroundings yet it was not so overly descriptive that I couldn’t use my own imagination to flesh out the view in my mind.
My mood was ideal for getting carried away in this story. It’s not an “edge of your seat” mystery, but rather a tale that uncoils slowly with bits and pieces of clues revealed here and there, leaving you guessing until pretty much the end. Like a ribbon slowly unravelling.
If you want wall to wall action, put it aside and get back to it when you feel the need for slow (almost drawn out but never boring or tedious) escapism instead.
I am not a fan of gruesome serial-killer cop-dramas, but this book is a exception.
It’s not a whodunit mystery, we know who does what all the way along, but rather it’s a riveting physiological thriller.
I did find that there were a few holes in the plot, and some of the twists were a little too convenient, but none of that mattered. Just wondering what would happen next and how it would all end kept the pages turning fast!
I should have returned this book because the fact that it was an abridged version ruined it for me.
There is a lot to be said for the pace of a story; abridging can ruin that. This story seemed very disjointed to me - it’s started off with an intriguing premise and then all of a sudden everyone is running for their lives. Huh?
Too much was missing... I could tell it was condensed.
I read this book in 2009 and gave it 2 stars, after rereading it now in 2015 I stand by that rating.
I didn’t really enjoy it that much, I found that there were too many tangents and sub-plots that made following the core narrative difficult for me. It felt too convoluted and weighed down with too many characters who all have too much baggage.
I first read this book in 2011 and only gave it 2 stars. I think that’s proof that you have to be in the right mood for a book because this time I would easily give it 4 stars if not 4 ½.
It’s all so interesting!! Not just the life of Henrietta, but the history of the Hanoverian Court, how King George I and II came to the throne, their acrimonious relationship, life in London in the early 1700s, the lifestyle of George and Caroline when they were still Prince and Princess of Wales… all of it!
It’s a very well written book; not dry or text-booky at all. I really feel like I learned something… I’m glad I decided to pick it up again.
I always enjoy reading Royal Biographies and the story of Charlotte and Leopold is yet another engaging chapter in a long long long line of interesting stories.
The more I read, the more the links come together and I can better understand how all the players interconnect. I knew Leopold was Queen Victoria's uncle, but I was never sure just how she was related to Charlotte. I knew Charlotte was a popular Princess, but I never knew why.
I first read this book back in 2012, yet I feel like I got more out of it this time. Now, I plan to reread "Henrietta Howard: King's Mistress, Queen's Servant" by Tracy Borman in the same hope of feeling like I learned something new.
This book was hard to enjoy because the main character is so unlikable! “Oh woe is me, I’m such a bad person, I deserve all the bad things that come to me... and I look to put myself in bad situations...” I don’t find any of that interesting – I find it tedious and self indulgent.
Also, nothing really happened in this story outside of the main character’s introspections... it made me wonder if the point of it all was just to be shocking??
What I did like about the book, and why I read it in the first place is because it takes place in Switzerland. That was a lot of fun! I have family in Switzerland, I speak and understand Schweizerdeutsch (Schwyzerdütsch) and have been to Switzerland many times so I got all the cultural references. I know where the town she lives in is, and was easily able to picture it all.
The narration was good, except for the doctor who’s accent was not Swiss but German. I would have been extra impressed had the narrator been able to do a Swiss accent! But it’s not easy – it’s just like French when people try to do a Quebecois accent and just sound Parisian.
If you like all the Swiss references in this book and want to learn more, I recommend Swiss Watching by Decon Lewis.
Yet again, another thought provoking book by Robert J Sawyer… but I expected no less!
The book was written in 1995 and was set about 20 years in the future - which means right about now. This was comical to read because we now know if his future predictions about our culture have come to pass.
He missed the mark on a few things like: Curbside Newspaper Printers, we don’t have VCRs anymore (although his VCR had all the same capabilities and programming parameters that our PVRs have), Donahue and Leno are no longer on air, and poor Peter Jennings passed away.
He got things right like: Queen Elizabeth II is still alive and well, that there would be a Pope Benedict XVI (impressive!) and electronic readers (did we envision reading tablets in the 90s? It’s so long ago I can’t remember.
Of course he did not predict the Iphone but he did conjure up video-phones.
Aside from the fun of picking those details apart, the story itself was a typical Sawyer-mind-bend. I love his books, they never ever disappoint!
I loved the language, the writing, the characters, the narration... but the stories left me a little flat.
I am mining my bookshelves looking for stories I don’t remember so I can get some “free reads”. When I started this one again, I began wondering if I had actually read it before since I truly remembered nothing! As the story progressed, some bits and pieces came back to me, but I didn’t quite remember the ending so it didn’t feel pointless to keep going.
I gave it 2 stars back then but this time I’d rated it 3. I thought the mystery was interesting, and I enjoyed reading about the darker side of life in 1830s Boston. I feel like I learned a little something about the history of medicine and the grizzly world of resurrectionists.
My only complaint is a reoccurring one – the romances. Both the one in the present day and the one in the 1830. They are all so easy and instant! Woman sees man, woman thinks “Ohhh what is this feeling that’s come over me?”, woman falls for man. You’re just supposed to take her word for it that she’s suddenly attracted after 2 conversations? Please.
I read this book the first time in 2011 but since I remember nothing about it, it felt like a new story.
I only gave it 2 stars back then, but I think it deserves a solid 3 if not 4; I was along for the ride from the very first word! I thought it was a very suspenseful and interesting thriller.
On the negative side, the story felt a little dated with references to dial-up modems and beepers and research in libraries on microfiche, and a particularly strange scenario when a woman changes her mind about boarding a transatlantic flight and just finds an exit to leave the airport... but it was written in 2001 so you have to give it a little leeway.
This was an abridged version and while I liked that it was short and to the point with no extra fluff, I think some crucial fluff was left out because information seemed to come out of nowhere: the existence of a safety deposit box and the link to the name of a witness to a crash for example; I felt lost a times.
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