Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sunday Shorts

The Woman from Paris by Santa Montefiore
published 2012 in Britain, 2013 in US
392 pages

Synopsis from publisher -

When Lord Frampton dies in a skiing accident, a beautiful young woman named Phaedra appears at his funeral claiming to be the lord's illegitimate daughter. In his will, Lord Frampton has left the priceless Frampton suite of sapphires to this interloper, confirming her claim and outraging his three adult sons and widow. Eventually, however, Phaedra's sweet nature thaws the frosty relationships. She becomes the daughter that Antoinette Frampton never had and a wise and compassionate granddaughter to the formidable Dowager Lady Frampton. But an attraction grows between Phaedra and the eldest son, David. It seems an impossible love blocked by their blood connection and by the fury of one family member who is determined to expose Phaedra as a fraud.

My thoughts -

This just wasn't for me. I figured out the plot "twist" fairly early on, and the whole rest of the novel just didn't sit right with me. I don't have any complaints about style or writing ability - just a story that didn't click. I've seen several other positive reviews, though, so if you like chick-lit you should consider checking this one out.

Finished - 3/27/13
Source - review copy from publisher - thank you
MPAA Rating - PG-13 for adult situations
My rating - 5/10

As Above, So Below: A novel of Peter Bruegel by Rudy Rucker
published 11/31/2003
320 pages

Synopsis from publisher -

Peter Bruegel's paintings---a peasant wedding in a barn, hunters in the snow, a rollicking street festival, and many others---have long defined our idea of everyday life in sixteenth- century Europe. They are classic icons of a time and place in much the same way as Norman Rockwell's depictions of twentieth-century America. We know relatively little about Bruegel, but after years of research, novelist Rudy Rucker has built upon the what is known and has created for us the life and world of a true master who never got old.

My thoughts -

I've seen a couple of comments about the author's remarkable research, and how it reads almost like an autobiography, and I think that was the prevailing sense I had from this novel, as well. I didn't particularly feel like I was reading fiction, although I knew I was. This was an interesting read, but not necessarily a "fun" one - the author, however, is an excellent writer, so I don't begrudge the time spent, though it was more than I would usually prefer to devote to this type of novel.

Finished - 4/6/13
Source - loan from my mom
MPAA rating - PG-13
My rating - 7/10

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
published 2004
560 pages

Synopsis from publisher -

Audrey Niffenegger's innovative debut, The Time Traveler's Wife, is the story of Clare, a beautiful art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity in his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing.

The Time Traveler's Wife depicts the effects of time travel on Henry and Clare's marriage and their passionate love for each other as the story unfolds from both points of view. Clare and Henry attempt to live normal lives, pursuing familiar goals — steady jobs, good friends, children of their own. All of this is threatened by something they can neither prevent nor control, making their story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.

My thoughts -

Finishing this novel was purely an act of will. This will be the third time I've attempted this book, and I don't particularly care for it. I read it this time mainly to get it off my shelf - my mom loaned it to me a WHILE ago, and it had been staring me down for a few months. Also, let's be honest - nearly everyone in the entire reading world loves this book, so it must just be that I'm crazy, right? Surely if I read the whole thing, without abandoning it when the relationship starts to get creepy, I'll fall in love too, right?

Nope. I just don't get it. Henry starts stalking Clare when she is 6 - can she possibly have a memory of her life without him? He gives her a list of dates and times, to make sure she is always available whenever he is going to pop in. He manipulates her youth, her teen years, her childbearing experience - the whole thing just creeps me out.

Sorry folks - I'll happily bear the badge of "Only Person in the World who Doesn't Like This Book." At least now I don't ever have to open it again.

Finished - 4/1/13
Source - loan from my mom
MPAA Rating - R for sexual situations, language, and violence
My rating - 5/10 (the writing wasn't bad)


bermudaonion said...

I enjoyed the movie version of The Time Traveler's Wife so I bought the book but haven't read it yet. Your review doesn't make me anxious to.

Kristen M. said...

You're not alone. I didn't dislike Time Traveler's Wife but I certainly didn't love it. I just thought it was okay and didn't see what everyone else saw in it.

Booklogged said...

I didn't love The Time Traveler's Wife either

Pamela said...

I love honest reviews. It helps me choose books without spending time reading ones I would struggle with. So agree with the Time Traveler's Wife. It made me wonder why it was so popular.