12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Secrets of the Apple (Kindle Edition)
* I have received a free copy in exchange for my review.
I'm still not over the surprise of finding such quality in a $0.99 ebook. It's simply astounding!
I could start the review by pointing out the various similarities between "Secrets of the Apple" and "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen, but it's enough to say that it is the obvious intention of the author for the book to be a tribute to this classic. Even the characters themselves observe this and make some remarks about living in a Jane Austen novel.
Beyond the narrative similarities, I have to say that the style of the author is somewhat similar, too. She uses mainly a third person POV of Ryoki and sometimes retreating to a sort of "group" POV (for example, to depict the gossip in Ryoki's household). The author masterfully peppers the narrative with a smart humor, often as used by the characters in a self-deprecating way. Just an example which cracked me up, describing a confrontation between Ryoki and his (totalitarian) cook, where he wants to make himself a sandwich and the cook doesn't let him:
"Undeterred, Ryoki held his ground, intending once and for all to reveal his secret identity as Master of the Sandwich, keen to experiment with an unusual set of condiments smeared in precise quantity and particular order. It was time she recognized her place. My house, my kitchen. He opened his mouth and squeaked: 'Pastrami'".
The fact that the story is not funny, but very serious, makes these short humorous touches so much funnier.
About the story itself, I must say that the author manages to insert a little bit of cultural history, an even bigger bit of cultural description with the expected cultural clash and yet everything is an important and relevant part of the story. The way she unveils bit by bit the way Ryoki thinks is fascinating. She doesn't just stop the story for a few of pages to describe his background, his reasons etc., but using only a word here, a sentence there she makes the reader realize his opinions. It's delightful.
I would add that I think some parts are overly romanticized, but that is just a matter of personal preference. And Kate seems to be a sort of superwoman, if you think about all her talents.
Overall, it's an amazingly good book. The author poured her soul in it, as the note at the end shows. Don't miss it!