Monday, August 18, 2014

A new one from Colleen McCullough

Years ago I read The Thorn Birds and fell in love with the book, the characters, and the setting. So I was excited to get a review copy of what I hoped would be another big bold family saga set in the big bold continent down under.  What a disappointment. I expected much more from this author.

I come from a family of four girls.  I understand sisters and the relationship formed by four related but distinct women. In this novel, two sets of twin sisters make their way through the cultural upheaval of post World War I and the Great Depression.  But the story of each sister, while well developed, does not a novel make.  Each sister is an individual, well defined, with definite motivation and ambitions.  Each individual story works.   But, there is no real plot, there is a constant feeling of "where is this going?" and even at the end, the reader is left with a feeling of "what on earth did I just achieve by plowing through this?"  Their is no cohesion except for the fact that they are sisters.  SO???

The writing is certainly not up to the standards of a great  or even very good novel. It's poorly edited, the sentence structure is often fractured and difficult to read.

Overall, it's an interesting book that pulls the reader from the beginning to find out what happens to each sister, but which becomes a slower read about halfway through. A good beach read but nothing to rush right out for.

Title: Bittersweet
Author: Colleen McCullough
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (2014), Hardcover, 384 pages
Genre: Historical fiction
Subject: women's roles in the early 20th century
Setting: Australia
Source: egalley from the publisher through Edelweiss


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