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3 out of 4 stars
Review by bookowlie
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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.
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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.
-- 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.
-- 23 Mar 2017, 23:04 --
Thank you for the nice review. It seems that the novel is lengthy and with less substance. Your review helped me make my decision regarding this book.
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