After attempting to read four other books, I made it through this one. Why? Mostly because of the author’s voice.
I know a lot of people will chose books by genre or subject matter, but I will often chose by the author’s writing style. Well, that and character development over plot development. This book is a good example of that. Let’s get started.
The Gloss: The cover art fit the story quite well. I wasn’t sure about it but the more I read the more I understood the artist’s choices.
Four leaves could represent the four daughters nicely, but could also represent how the book is quartered into seasons. Note the leaves are in varying stages of decay.
Genres seem to have specific art formats and this one fit the general fiction category.
The rest was disappointing. Nothing special about the font, or the texture of the pages/cover. I borrowed the book from the library and the cover had the standard plastic over the dust jacket. The glue to bind the pages was strong and the book heavy.
The Characters: are many. There’s the main couple and they’re four girls, plus the tertiary characters. This is a lot to keep track of but the author did a good job. Multiple points of view were presented in each chapter but it flowed surprisingly well.
Thinking of pov, what stood out was how well the author managed to view everyone through different eyes. Each character had a different view of each other, just like real life. I mean, you know your own life and your own choices, but how someone else views you could be remarkably different than you would believe. The author represented this beautifully.
Each character is wonderfully well rounded, something I appreciate in a book. I could understand each character’s motivations and behaviours with ease. Delightful .
The Plot: Um, I’m not sure of the main plot line. This isn’t a bad thing, I don’t mind a meandering story.
I’d say it was about a woman who got married, had four children, and experienced life with a man she loves.
Another plot line: one daughter gives a child up for adoption and that child re-enters the family’s life. How each character deals with that child is demonstrated. I was wrong about who the father of that child was though. The author hinted that the child’s mother had sex with someone another sister would find upsetting. I guessed the father was the sister’s new husband and I guessed wrong. But I didn’t mind being wrong. By that point in the book I was in it for the character development and not the Big Reveal.
The Story: was about the characters, and I really enjoyed that. I felt as if each character was presented softly, gently. Even at their roughest points I felt as if I was viewing them through the hazy lenses of memory.
The author gave a huge amount of information about each character, but did it in a way that I found easy to track and understand. At no point did I wonder who was talking or which head I was in.
I’d also classify this book as gentle erotica. There were a lot of references to sex. Having sex, talking about sex, and enjoying sex, all without explicitly describing sex.
Nitpicks: If I saw one more emdash I was going to throw the book at a wall. This drove me absolutely bonkers. I felt like the majority of dialogue was interrupted, jarring, and hesitant and it irritated me to no end. I get it, people talk like that in the real world, in incomplete sentences and repetitious phrases, but I read a book to escape my real life. I wanted to yell at the author to just let the damn characters speak.
The two main characters, Marilyn and David, were in lurve. I got that early on. Cool. No problem. But I was so sick and tired of reading about their sexual life that my eye sockets hurt from the orbs rolling around in there. This couple had sex like they were new-ish lovers throughout the book. Always ready for each other, making out like teenagers, semi-public sex, all good things but seriously pulled me out of the story after a while. I was expecting their sex life to change much more than it did.
Overall: Very enjoyable. The book was like a slow, epic saga without being an actual epic novel. I was in it for the character development and wasn’t disappointed. Each person grew and changed throughout and interacted with each other in a realistic manner.
But dammit older couples just don’t make out like teenagers at every opportunity. I had a hard time accepting that tiny bit.