I've read or listened to all of S.J. Boltons books, and I simply love them for what they are. I'm generally not much into criminal novels or mysteries (it's all just a variation of a theme), but Bolton manages to keep things interesting to the end. There's always that little detail you didn't see coming. Some of the characters may be a bit cliché, but that seems to be unavoidable in this genre. Overall a really good holiday reading (or listening).
This one is well read too, which is a bonus, not all of Boltons books have been.
I'm not much of a review-writer, but I feel compelled to write a few words about this book. This story leaves me breathless and sobbing.
I read some reviews myself before buying it, and I remember one in particular, advising people to read the reviews before buying. I think that is excellent advice, because those hoping for a new Harry Potter are bound to be disappointed.
That being said, this book shares some of the, in my opinion, best qualities of the Potter-series. Rowling really is one of a kind when it comes to character-building and setting a scene. Not many authors would be able to create an authentic parallel universe, in which people play quidditch, get their mail by owl, and apparate, but she did. She even managed it so well that adults queued outside bookstores at odd hours to be the first to set their hands on the new children's book.
Her characters are so REAL. There is something evil and selfish in us all, and yet nobody is without some good in them. People turn out the way they do for a reason. And jet, never in her books do you get the feeling that that is a reason not to hold them accountable for their actions.
Being a nurse, a mother and the child of a man strongly engaged in helping wayward teens, I easily relate to some of the characters in this story, but I think that most people can relate to these people, and this village, which Rowling describes so vividly. It is not a pretty story, it is no fairy tale. But it is the strongest, most touching story I have read in ages.
I really enjoyed this story, but the reader really got on my nerves. There are a few male characters in this story who play important parts, and the lovely, bright female voice makes them sound silly, especially since the reader really tries to make her voice sound dim. It would have been easier to ignore if she'd just used her normal voice. Better yet, the story should have been read by a male, as female characters generally suffer less by being read by a male than the other way around.
But reading aside, great story, Bolton at her best.
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