This month’s reading has been a real mixed bag, but, then again I am sure most of my reading selections end up that way. A good thriller, a beautifully written tale, a bit of history, in fact when push comes to shove I will read just about anything as long as the writing is good.
Now, that was a dead give away, I am a reading snob. I cannot abide anything that is verbose, shows a lack of maturity, is poorly written, is pretentious, has feeble characters, has a predictable plot, has ‘thin’ writing, I could go on a bit, but, …………………there you have it…………….I am a reading snob.
So with that out of the way these are the books I read this month……one not quite finished, and you will see why in the review.
I really used to enjoy Mary Higgins Clark……..then the plots became weak, the characters lacked body and the whole story seemed too predictable and the journey hardly seemed worth the effort. But, I was told this is such a good read, like vintage Mary Higgins Clark………….so I read it.
I must say it started well, good characters and a lovely suspenseful setting………a kidnapped child, a distraught mother, an angry estranged ex-husband, a vengeful former employer, a mystery woman in a confessional, and then to get the ball rolling, photographs of the child being kidnapped surface 2 years after the event showing a woman who looks uncannily like the mother taking the child out of its pram and walking away with it.
Things escalate nicely and the plot moves on swiftly with the mother becoming the number one suspect in the kidnapping. Then for me it gets a bit thin, with a little romance cropping up as she get support from an unexpected source when her bank accounts are drained and someone starts to use her identity.
The story does have an unexpected twist and a solid conclusion.
I do not think I will read another Mary Higgins Clark as I prefer a bit more meat around my characters and writing that is fuller and less predictable.
I suppose I should not do a review on a book not finished (I will finish it – I never not finish books). I was looking forward to reading it as I had really enjoyed some other Scandinavian thriller/crime writers – Jo Nesbo and Steig Larsen. Oh my this is slow, a bit like “Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow” but without the wonderful writing.
This quote encapsulates how I am feeling about it………but, it is short with huge print so I will finish it and see if it does not redeem itself in spite of this summation.
“The prerequisites of any good crime thriller is either a brilliant plot, a brilliant protagonist or at the least, a terrifyingly heinous criminal — any of which The Unlucky Lottery lacks. The book is at best vapid and uninspiring. The eccentric, yet brilliant Inspector Van Veeteren who is the highlight of the series, makes fleeting and unimpressive appearances. While it begins with some action, the book fades into pages and pages of nothingness, before picking up some pace in the end, at which point you have already lost all interest in finding out whodunnit.”
My reading snobbishness took a bit of a knock with the last two!
This is an exquisitely written first novel. It is a tale of love, loss, misunderstanding, forgiveness and belief.
It is the story of Tom and Isabel and a decision they made which would forever colour their lives .
Tom returns from the first world war full of guilt and needing to find peace and solace and to come to terms with all he did and saw during the war. He comes to Point Partageuse, on the south western tip of Australia to take up the position of lighthouse keeper on Janus Island, a solitary little outcrop miles off the coast, at a point between the two Oceans, the Pacific and the Indian.
He meets outgoing, full of life Isabel and they marry. They adore each other and everything seems perfect. They revel in their new lives together, until……………
“On the day of the miracle, Isabel was kneeling at the cliff’s edge, tending the small, newly made driftwood cross.”
The choice they made on that day is the story, you become bound up in their lives, you hope for them, you want to weep for them and in short their pain becomes yours.
This is a beautiful work, the writing is exceptional, the images stay with you long after you have finished reading the book. My only complaint is, I did not enjoy the Australian vernacular. It distracted me from the story, I am not familiar with it and it took a while to be comfortable with reading it.
ps. I have picked up “The Fall of Giants” again, it was put aside because I had some book reviews to do…….cannot put it down…..should be finished shortly. All 800+ pages of it!!