3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
In 1894 London, frightened fifteen year old Englishwoman Marlene marries Dutchman Paul van der Mehr. They met a month ago at a ball and now her parents arranged her marriage to him. As Paul's wife she accompanies him to his home in the Netherlands. However, Marlene quickly learns her old money aristocratic new spouse is abusive. When his brutality turns on their children, Marlene has no recourse but to flee with the kids to the sanctuary of the countryside as their respective families will not intrude on the rights of a husband-father. There she meets and falls in love with kind Baron Carlotti.
In 1999, after ending a comfortable relationship, Marieke travels from the United States to Amsterdam where she feels at home. At an antique jewelry store, Marieke sees a fascinating diamond ring on display and purchases it. She and the store manager Clemens Van der Mehr are attracted to one another and he invites her to his family home where she feels she belongs even as they fall in love. However, her real connection through the ring is to Marlene.
Rotating perspective between the two women, RingGoRound is a terrific family drama filled with fascinating twists. The lead females and their support cast are fully developed to complement one another in the interconnected (through the ring) over a century gap subplots. Readers will enjoy Patda Jim's haunting romantic tale as Marieke learns the truth about Marlene and herself.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Patda Jim has written an ambitious novel that spans over 100 years - following two ladies and their stories and how they are intertwined.
It's 1894 and a young woman, Marlene, is moving to the Netherlands to live with her new husband. New language, new culture - very different from her native England.
But Marlene sees that the man she married isn't quite the prince charming he made himself out to be - he is rich, and from an old family, but he is very cruel...
Marieke is a modern day woman who travels from the States to Europe - she is in Amsterdam and has always felt a pull to this area -
She walks to an antique jewelry store and is drawn to a particular diamond ring - and to the young man who runs the store -
She and the young man, Clemens Van der Mehr, instantly have a rapport and that soon becomes love.
The two ladies' lives become intertwined and the true story of Marlene and her children is told.
All because of a ring being sold. A coincidence that ring was sold to Marieke? Perhaps there is no such thing as a coincidence...
Both stories are beautifully told and enhance each other.
It is a love story, it deals with a spiritual connection, and it all works into a wonderful book.
You will enjoy unfolding the mystery of how these women are used to tell a timeless story.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2008
It has taken me many years to come to appreciate antiques. Many people in my family collect them, including my mother, but growing up I just never cared for them, preferring new items. But, I have come to love antiques and really believe that each has a story to tell, a "history" if you will. Ringgoround focuses on and ring - new to one woman and an antique to another, and the ties that bind them to each other.
Marlene grew up in a time where arranged marriages were very common. She is married off by her parents to a man who looked to be decent and loving, much better than the "ancient" suitor that was also vying for her hand. But, after getting married her life becomes a living hell, with brutality and abuse ,along with alienation from the outside world, being her daily ordeal. Thankfully she is strong enough to escape her husband and take her two children to live in the country in a manor owned by their family. Here she develops a relationship with Baron Carlotti that is what every woman wishes for - warmth, love, friendship, devotion, the perfect package. She still has her husband to deal with but is willing to fight for the happiness and stability she knows she deserves.
Marieke is a strongwilled modern woman who is in a relationship that she feels is love but soon realizes is merely just comfortable, thanks to her encounter with Clemens and the finding of a spectacular ring, a ring that calls to her. After purchasing this ring and being invited to Clemens family home she feels as if the home is actually speaking to her - she is drawn to the history of the home and can't understand what it is that makes her feel so welcome here. The story unfolds and you come to understand the ties that bind these two women's lives together.
This story is cleverly written, winding these two stories in and out with expertise. You get teased numerous times and want to jump ahead to read the rest of the story of each woman, but feel compelled to read in order as the stories flow so well with each other. I ran the gammut of emotions on this one, from happiness, to anger, from shock, to surprise - this one is a winner.
Questions for the author:
Do you have any projects you are currently working on?
I am working on two books at once. The first, almost finished, is a modern mystery. The second is a novel set in current times, mostly in Montana/Wyoming. I also write articles about travel, writing and adventure. Then there are my short stories that come to me suddenly and have to be written down a soon as possible.
Was it difficult to keep the characters straight?
Not for me. When I was writing about Marlene, she told her story loud and clear. When Marieke entered, she filled me with the mysticism she lived. I didn't separate them at first by series of five chapters as the book ended up, but rather by happenings or being in the same places. Then one of my editors thought it to be confusing to the reader. I agreed and separated the women, giving each the five chapters to tell her story. Only at the end, bringing them together.
What was your influence?
I actually bought the ring, which is described in the novel, at an antique shop in Amsterdam. One can follow the directions in the book and go right to it today. They told me the ring would have been made in the late 1800's. As I was admiring it while riding the train out of Amsterdam, I thought, "I wonder who wore this long ago and why it was designed that way." No one could answer; so I had to write it. I felt drawn to the ring the minute I saw it. In fact, as I wrote the book, I found without the ring on, I couldn't write the story! The house in Amsterdam and the manor were places that I had visited on my many trips to Amsterdam and Holland.
Do you have any hobbies, besides writing?
I travel at least a third of the year. I play tennis three to five times a week when home. I have a dog that is called "The Reading Dog". Scottie and I go an elementary school nearby three times a week. First graders, having trouble reading, come read to him alone while he puts his head in their lap or on the book. No one else around (except me). It seems to take away their stress, and in a few months, they improve and want to read, even out loud in class. The other thing I do is to give talks to groups about travel and writing. This past Monday I gave an hour and a half talk on my trek in Nepal.