1931: Book Six (The 1929 Series 6) Kindle Edition
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It should be noted I lowered my rating for Book 5 by 1 star. Yes, I understand it's a "novella;" yes, I read it; and yes, it does relate, at least somewhat, to the rest of the series. BUT, I simply cannot rate it any higher. The storyline would be perfectly fine without this, and, IMO, it really doesn't add much.
Overall, the storyline was entertaining. Some of the characters were great; some not so much. I found Ava to be an insufferable, whiny witch. The predictability of many plot points was a little irritating, i.e. who was related to whom, who was doing what, etc. And while many probably see Book 6 as wrapping up all the loose ends, I don't. When I read books that crawl through the minutia of daily life, only to then cover decades (in this case, 41 years) in a few pages, I am just plain annoyed! It's as if the author decided she was tired of writing, tired of the story, and tired of the characters -- so jumped over a lot of years and slapped on a silly ending.
It's a story about Jonathan, a man who -- along with his two best friends -- lost everything in the 1929 crash. He attempts to rebuild his life and there is a big extended cast of wives and friends and servants and some dead psychics, etc. Jonathan can't decide if he wants to be a friend or a meddling superior -- it's like nobody is allowed to make their own decisions while he is around. And his friends, for the most part, seem content to live an extended adolescence under his care, even when his decisions are questionable.
So many plot points were tied up in this book, I imagine the series as a whole must have been exciting at points (or maybe not. Gardner has a habit of dealing with the plot in sections so there is never a fulfilling moment where all the balls are in the air at once and the drama seems curiously flat). The biggest issue with the book is that it felt absolutely ahistorical. It was like reading about modern people in the 1930s. Other than the lack of technology and touchstones like the stock market crash, there was nothing to tie this book and the people in it to the past. There were also awkward things like Jonathan's ruminations that he and his peers would be the "greatest generation."
I would probably be open to reading something else by this author, but not if it was another venture into historical fiction. For anyone contemplating this, I would also suggest starting with the first book. I downloaded this one because it was free, but I think this is probably one series it is better to start from the beginning.
I really did enjoy the 1929 series, despite it being totally far-fetched. I think I couldn't help but be taken in by the strength and friendship of all of the characters. Despite the cruel, difficult times of the depression-era, these folks went from riches to rags, suffered incredible hardships, yet managed to come through as better people. It was an all-around entertaining series and would recommend it for light reading. If you're looking for something historically accurate, skip it.
I did finish the whole series, have three stars because most of it was interesting, strong characters.