My rating: 3/10. I made it halfway through, right up to the you-could-see-it-coming-from-Chapter-One lesbian love scene, and I speed-scanned the rest just to make sure I wasn’t missing any unforeseen developments. I wonder if the author was paid by the word? This book just went on and on and on. Every prediction I made came out bang on, and the ending was so! gaggingly! upbeat! it! made! me! want! to! scream!
Such a disappointment. I had high hopes for Adèle, having heard good things about her YA novels, in particular Ithaka. But this one was a definite miss. I wish I had my two hours back. I’m going to cut my losses and give a very quick un-review, then into the Sally Ann box – not going to waste any space on this one.
Not completely horrible, hence the generous “3”, but the author could do so much better with every aspect of this attempt.
From the back cover:
When Constance Barrington dies, she leaves behind a wealthy estate and a complex family network. But when the whole family gathers to hear her last will and testament, they are in for a terrible shock. Constance – possessed of a long memory and a spiteful disposition – altered her will shortly before her death. The new provisions are far from fair; some benefit hugely and others hardly at all. Constance’s granddaughter, Louise, is bequeathed the copyright for her late grandfather’s novels (barely remembered, long-since out of print and valuable only as a reminder of the man she loved). It is a paltry inheritance and one that comes to symbolise the inequity at the heart of the Barrington family. Soon, old family feuds and long-hidden resentments come to the surface, and with them, secrets start to emerge. But it is through Louise’s inheritance – those dusty, long-forgotten books – that the most explosive secret of all will come to light, bringing with it a very different future for her and the rest of the family.
Sounds promising, yes?
The reality: no.
The Barringtons and their friends, enemies, in-laws, ancestors and descendents are all a bunch of damp whiners. Even the infidelity and the “passionate” love scenes are yawn-making, and almost everyone is sorry in the morning. A contrived happy ending for one or two of the favoured ones; a final poke in the eye for the vindictive Constance, watching from her celestial cloud.
The in-text excerpts from the grandfather’s prison camp book, “Blind Moon”, were indescribable. This is not a compliment. Constance was right. Her husband wrote dreck.
This is a book for a waiting room, or possibly, if nothing else is about – an old People or Vanity Fair magazine would be more enticing – for the beach or poolside. Go ahead – get it wet! That’s its natural state, I’m afraid.
Many apologies to those of you who may be Geras fans. Feel free to talk me around – I don’t like to dislike books – it makes me feel all prickly and glum.