1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Pleasantly surprised by this tale of dual plotlines,
This review is from: The World Below (Ballantine Reader's Circle) (Paperback)
I didn't expect to like Sue Miller's writing. I'll admit that straight out. Holding a degree in English literature, and being a reviewer for several publishing houses, I've become a bit (okay, a LOT) of a book snob. But there was some quality to Miller's writing that drew me in. Perhaps it was the way she gracefully switched between the two plot lines, one in 1919 and one in modern times, that impressed me. In any event, I didn't expect to be impressed to begin with, and if I hadn't found something to recommend the book I'd have thrown it across the room with great force, despite having actually paid cover price for this one (it was for a book group, and I was in a rush..).
I was most interested in the 1919 sections, being someone who's a fan of Edwardian/turn of the century settings in the first place, but even the sections set in contemporary times were compelling enough to keep me interested. I simply liked the two main characters, grandmother and granddaughter, despite the granddaughter's distressingly EASY conduct early in the book. A bit too much information, if you ask me, but then again you really didn't. I was able to forgive Catherine, though, as she was after all moving into the big, rambling home of her late grandmother, and there was my favorite convention of a trunk filled with mementos to be gone through. A character gets very high marks from me for respecting the past and honoring the dead, etc., though not for dropping knickers for every man who happens by. I do have my standards.
Though this isn't high literature, it's at least a cut above so many other authors writing today. Yes, it's somewhat a romance, and yes, there is a cheese factor to deal with, but this is an entertaining, readable sort of book. It's something to read when you're lazing around on a Sunday, or to bring along on vacation, or when your library book group is reading it, and you work at the library so would like to stay in the good books of your co-workers.
So, read this one, but for god's sake PLEASE read something more literary at least on a semi-regular basis, then it won't be a crime to have a bit of this sort of "junk food" from time to time.. And support your local public library!
Now I shall shut up.