87 of 93 people found the following review helpful
This One Wasn't For Me... But The Right Reader Will Likely Love It,
This review is from: The Children's Book (Hardcover)
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Before selecting this novel I read the many reviews that said this book wouldn't be for everyone, that it had extensively detailed descriptions and a meandering plot line with a rather unsatisfying ending. And even knowing all of that I still wanted to give it a try. I love details upon details and thought that maybe I would be the right reader for this book.
Sadly I was wrong, this book was not for me. I thought that the story started out interestingly enough, I enjoyed the scene in the museum with the children. I also enjoyed imagining the setting for the Midsummer celebration with the costumes and the Chinese lanterns. And my interest was peaked by the allusion to the sexual undercurrent between so many of the characters.
But the introduction of over thirty characters in the first one hundred pages was a bit overwhelming. As were the many references to the social and political groups unifying and dividing people during Victorian times. While I thought much of the information was interesting it was just too much all at once for this reader.
I think someone who is very familiar with specifics of the Victorian period would probably enjoy this book. For me it was just overwhelming and there wasn't a thread of suspense or intrigue that compelled me to continue reading the story. I didn't feel invested to find out what was going to happen and so I gave it up and didn't finish.
It's easy to see why some readers adore this novel and others not at all. I think this book will be enjoyed by a small cross section of the population. Unfortunately I am not among them.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 28, 2009 12:12:42 PM PST
S. Retten says:
Congratulations. You are open and perceptive enough to avoid disparaging the book, although it is not for you. I felt the same at the beginning--introducing so many characters is a problem--but then I began to see who the really important characters were. I think I also began to see how the surfeit of people and airy-fairy frou-frous and details was all part of the plan. Portraying a world with so many surfaces, many of them false, many of them overly rich like wedding cake, a kind of feeling of bewilderment and disgust--I think this makes us feel the feelings experienced by Tom, Philip and Elsie, the most honest characters, trying to come to terms with the Victorian world.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 30, 2009 8:09:42 PM PST
Excellent review, and pretty much my take on it. You are right - this is the perfect book for that certain person. Just not me.
Posted on Jan 2, 2010 7:48:10 PM PST
Rampaging Hippogriff says:
Edwardian times, Edwardian period. And not all books have to be mysteries.
Posted on Jun 2, 2011 10:51:17 AM PDT
Mr. D. James says:
Agreed. This is a fussy feminine novel (in the worst sense). If you enjoy painstaking details of clothes and food and large chunks of undigested history this is for you.
Posted on Jun 6, 2011 3:10:26 PM PDT
reader 68 says:
I'm an avid reader and read basically anything you put in front of me. But this book... I'm on page 250 and still don't know what the writer wants. She goes into detail about so many irrelevant things that fails to engage the reader into any of her characters. I'm almost ready to throw it out the window!
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2011 6:07:50 AM PDT
I know how you feel :0)
Life is too short to read books that you still don't like after 200 pages!
Posted on Nov 16, 2011 7:17:32 AM PST
Mr. D. James says:
Agree absolutely, except that as one familiar to the 'Victorian Period (surely the action extends further than that!) I'd prefer my history straight.
Posted on Sep 4, 2012 1:37:00 PM PDT
Theo's mommy Carole says:
This book is for me. I can understand you when you say it is not for you. I love the way asbyatt writes. All the details could drive one crazy but I love it. I do wish I had written down all the children's names and relationships when I first met them. As I continued to read, I had to take several moments to sort out all the characters. Not an easy book to read but worth it (in my opinion).
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