Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: April 2007
For: Book Group
Nell was abandoned on a ship to Australia when she was only a little girl. Found by the dockmaster with only some clothes and a book of fairy tales, she remains ignorant of her past until he tells her on her twenty-first birthday. This launches Nell on a quest to find out about her real parents, a journey that lasts through decades and into her granddaughter's life after Nell's death. Will they ever know the truth of their past?
Things I Liked:
This was one of those books that intrigues you with family mysteries. I was really interested in the family history and the processes Nell and Cassandra took to find out about their family. I must admit, though, that I was more interested in reading the first hand stories of Eliza and Rose than in Nell or Cassandra. The historical details and the crazy family secrets drew me in more than the other stories. I also really enjoyed the fairy tale aspect - several stories weaving in and out. I thought the Frances Hodgson Burnett detail was fun too, what with a bit of secret garden going on. A complex and interesting story from beginning to end. I liked this detail:
He was a scribble of a man. Frail and fine and stooped from a knot in the center of his knobbled back. Beige slacks with grease spots clung to the marbles of his knees, twiglike ankles rose stoically from oversized shoes, and tufts of white floss sprouted from various fertile spots on an otherwise smooth scalp. He looked like a character from a children's story. A fairy story. p 101Things I Didn't Like:
I have to admit that about 1/3 of the way in, I had already figured Nell's history out. Perhaps not to the precise details, but I knew a few of the key facts. That made it slightly less interesting for me, not to mention I wanted to smack Nell and Cassandra for being so blind. I did not like how much the story jumped around, what with flashbacks right in the middle of backstories during current stories. I don't mind duel history viewpoints, but when they jump so much, I find it distracting. There were only a few places in the book that made me want to stop reading because of it, though. A good story, but not one of my favorites.
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman
A little The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett tie-in too
BOOK CONTENT RATINGS:
scattered here and there, nothing too strong
a bit of implied stuff, not much on page
just a little bit
Overall rating: ***
Do you find yourself liking fewer adult books if you usually read YA or does it still have a draw for you?
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