Top critical review
51 people found this helpful
on September 21, 2006
I must be the only one who didn't think this book was wonderful. The story was nice. I enjoyed the excepts from the 14th century journals. The characters were all right. But Ms. Mitchell's writing kind of set my teeth on edge. It seems that the only thing she ever details are the clothing that everyone is wearing! Instead of just saying, "I went up to my room and changed into black pants and a sweater" she takes up entire paragraphs with descriptions like "I went upstairs and changed into slim, black pants and a black boatneck, high brand name sweater and black shoes that my late husband had purchased for me when we went to Switzerland." She describes Cranwell's clothing obsessively - rust colored courduroy pants, gray courduroy pants, brandy colored turtleneck sweaters that brought out the color of his eyes.... I was beginning to believe that he was gay. It's not that I don't care what everyone is wearing, I was just getting tired of every single situation that these characters found themselves in being bogged down in the details of their clothing! Surely there are more important things in a story like this than the fashion!
As for the story, well, it's typical Christian fiction with different characters and a different setting. What I wouldn't give for some Christian author to break the mold and be daring enough to have their characters do something bold! Instead, the two main characters of 'Chateau', Freddie and Cranwell, do very little except debate theology in the kitchen, cook and take walks. The so-called 'intrigue' on the back of the book is Freddie's assistant, Severine's erratic behavior and obsession with finding a lost artifact that proved the chateau's mistress was Jewish. Freddie starts to notice that little things in her home are coming up missing or being moved in a strange way. That's not intrigue, it's an annoyance. It's also boring.
I noticed that someone described this book as historical fiction. It's not. The excerpts from the 14th century journal are, but the story is not. It takes place in modern time, and aside from the fact that takes place in a castle and one of the characters is writing a historical novel, there is nothing 'historical fiction' about this book.
As I started to write this review, I almost liked this book. I was going to give it three stars. Now that I've considered it a little longer, I've come to the conclusion that I really didn't like this book at all. Sorry to all you readers out there who gave it five stars and thought it was wonderful historical fiction, but I didn't think so. I know you will all probably say that this review isn't helpful and whatnot in anger against my opinion, but that's your opinion. This is how I honestly feel about this book. When I finished it last night, I was half convinced that it was okay, but not great. Now, I really know that I didn't like it, and this book will definitely be in my next garage sale.