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Official Review: The Caregiver by Maria Theresa Casale

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Official Review: The Caregiver by Maria Theresa Casale

Post Number:#1 by bookowlie
» 13 Mar 2017, 12:01

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Caregiver" by Maria Theresa Casale.]

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3 out of 4 stars
Review by bookowlie
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The Caregiver by Maria Theresa Casale is a novel that explores what it means to be a live-in caregiver, essentially “the help.” Lillian Thomas takes a job as a caregiver for elderly Ellen Whitmore, who lives in a grand home in an affluent New Jersey town. She quickly falls in love with the old-fashioned character of her new surroundings. Lillian always tried to secure assignments in fancy, older homes in order to enjoy the ambience and architecture. In this case, Lillian becomes much more attached to the home than the person she is assigned to care for.

The main characters, Ellen and Lillian, are well drawn. Ellen is a fascinating character even though it is difficult to like her. She is a fussy, self-centered woman who is resentful that she hasn’t led a more glamorous life. The author did a good job in fleshing out Ellen’s backstory as a vain, attention-hungry woman in her younger days. It showed that the character was more than the stereotype of a bitter, old woman; actually, she wasn’t the nicest person throughout her entire life. Adding to the drama, Ellen has a strained relationship with her daughter Carlotta.

The writing has a natural flow with vivid imagery and a cozy feel. I could easily picture the house in all of its faded glory and the characters as they go about their routines. There is one detail that I found inconsistent. Early in the story, Ellen’s lawyer tells Lillian there is “no family involved,” which I assumed to mean she had no living family members. As a result, it’s surprising when Ellen’s daughter and granddaughter arrive for an indeterminate stay.

In general, there is too much introspection and the plot is relatively weak. When there is dialogue, it’s realistically written; I just wish there was more of it. A particularly memorable scene takes place between Ellen and her daughter, with a bubbling over of pent-up resentment. The main characters’ thoughts are endlessly described, and it became a bit tedious to read after a while. Although some of the reminiscences are interesting, I felt like I was stuck in slow motion while reading. There is not much propelling the story forward with its focus on the characters’ mundane routines and ruminations.

An extra round or two of editing is needed as there are numerous errors (typos, no space between words, extra quotation marks, incorrect word usage, extra words, etc.). Although the errors don’t detract too much from the story, they are unprofessional in a published work.

I give this book a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. The vivid setting and multi-dimensional characters lift the story, although I became a little bored at times. A stronger plot certainly would have kept me more interested. I would recommend this book to readers who appreciate layered characters and don’t mind a slow-paced storyline.

******
The Caregiver
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Re: Official Review: The Caregiver by Maria Theresa Casale

Post Number:#2 by gali
» 13 Mar 2017, 14:12

Sounds like a book with a potential. Too bad about the typos and the all the rest. It sounds too slow-paced for me taste, but I am glad you enjoyed parts of the tales. Thank you for the insightful review!
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)
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Re: Official Review: The Caregiver by Maria Theresa Casale

Post Number:#3 by kandscreeley
» 13 Mar 2017, 14:27

I've read books like that myself... It starts to seem like an endless drone. Thanks for the review, though.
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Re: Official Review: The Caregiver by Maria Theresa Casale

Post Number:#4 by CatInTheHat
» 13 Mar 2017, 16:03

I love "layered characters" but slow moving, not so much. It sounds like there is potential for a very sweet story but much gets in the way of really making that happen.
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Re: Official Review: The Caregiver by Maria Theresa Casale

Post Number:#5 by bookowlie
» 13 Mar 2017, 17:01

Thanks Gali, Kandscreeley, and CatintheHat for the feedback. The two main characters had interesting personalities, although I can't say I liked either of them. I agree that there is a lot of potential here.
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Re: Official Review: The Caregiver by Maria Theresa Casale

Post Number:#6 by Aprilyn Milo Demot
» 19 Mar 2017, 10:15

It's quite difficult to choose a book for me to read. The story as well as the characters seems good and interesting. I'll read it next time:)Thanks for the review.
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Re: Official Review: The Caregiver by Maria Theresa Casale

Post Number:#7 by hsimone
» 19 Mar 2017, 11:07

Thank you for the insightful review, bookowlie. I like a plot that has a bit more than this, and in general, I do not like to feel bored when I'm reading. So, I don't think this is a book for me. It's too bad of all the errors that the story included, as well. Though, I'm glad to hear that you at least liked the character development!
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Re: Official Review: The Caregiver by Maria Theresa Casale

Post Number:#8 by bookowlie
» 19 Mar 2017, 22:52

Thanks Aprilyn (welcome to the forums) and Hsimone! Hsimone - it took me a very long time to read this approximately 230-page book. Although I liked the characters, there wasn't much pushing me forward.
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Re: Official Review: The Caregiver by Maria Theresa Casale

Post Number:#9 by Elaine5
» 20 Mar 2017, 06:14

Sounds like a book I will skip. I appreciate your insightful review. I've had the same experience where it takes a very long time to finish reading a book because there is nothing grabbing you.
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Re: Official Review: The Caregiver by Maria Theresa Casale

Post Number:#10 by bookowlie
» Today, 09:08

Elaine5 wrote:Sounds like a book I will skip. I appreciate your insightful review. I've had the same experience where it takes a very long time to finish reading a book because there is nothing grabbing you.


Thanks Elaine5. Despite the issues I mentioned, the book was still a worthwhile read due to the layered characters.
As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction. - Irish blessing
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Re: Official Review: The Caregiver by Maria Theresa Casale

Post Number:#11 by Shreyoshi Sen
» Today, 11:43

I guess, this book is too slow and from your review I could make out that the book is kind of family drama tyes. Thanks for your honest review, it was interesting to read.

-- 23 Mar 2017, 11:44 --

I guess, this book is too slow and from your review I could make out that the book is kind of family drama tyes. Thanks for your honest review, it was interesting to read.
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