Sunday, June 16, 2013
Due to the format of the storytelling, I didn’t quite get a sense of the historical setting. The book description says “full of captivating period detail” but I’m not sure I’d fully agree with that. Apart from talk about the world wars, the history didn’t really come alive for me.
But on the other hand, the relationship between the two main characters really struck a chord with me since my English husband and my American self met online, first communicating by email, then “instant messenger”, then phone, and then finally meeting in person. The letters reminded me of the emails between my husband and I - the feeling of knowing someone so well before you’ve even met them in person, feeling so connected to someone who is so far away, eagerly awaiting the next letter from them, the thrill of meeting them in person for the first time.
It was a little bit predictable but that’s okay because the end game isn’t what this book is about, it’s about the characters and their relationships and their journey, which was really well done.
Saturday, June 1, 2013
Granted, I did consider that it was being told from the point of view of a small child and perhaps the author intended it as the child who got confused with the stories of the bubonic plague and smallpox. But you’d think if that were the case, the narration would mention that later in life the girl realize her mix up so that readers don’t get confused.
(Btw, I’m not considering this a spoiler since it occurs in the opening chapter and is mentioned in the very first paragraph).
I was also a little perplexed to find a randomly thrown in passage written in present tense near the end when the rest of the book was in past tense. I’m guessing the author was trying to distinguish the moment but it felt more jarring and out of place to me.
So why am I giving it 4 stars? Because the book is otherwise very well written with excellent, complex characters and a great plot. Though it is slow paced and there’s a lot of internal dialogue, it’s not boring - it's very emotionally powerful.