At the outset, I really enjoyed this book. I was sucked into the premise, and I could see that it had a lot of potential to be an incredible book. But somewhere along the way, Edwards dropped the ball.

For me, the most disconcerting thing about this novel was the characterization. After nearly an entire book filled with page after page of these characters' thoughts, emotions, inner struggles, etc., you would think the characters themselves would be leaping off the page at you. But about 3/4 of the way through the book, I suddenly realized I didn't know Norah at all. The young wife from the beginning transformed into this assured, powerful woman so suddenly that her character just didn't make sense. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I didn't really know any of the characters. Although you spend so much time inside the heads of these characters, all the little details don't quite add up into a believable whole.

The premise and the plot were very well-conceived, although it could move a bit slowly at times. I can see that Edwards is creating a study on the way lies can form and break relationships and lives, and there are some beautiful passages and some great truths to be found here. But after finishing it, my first though of ..."Eh. That wasn't bad," told me that Edwards could have done something more with this novel.

1:20 PM

Mr. Darcy's Diary by Amanda Grange

Posted by Ashley

After reading Pamela Aiden's "Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman" trilogy a few months ago, I found this to be merely a much simpler version. Grange doesn't go much beyond the events we already know of from the original novel, and Darcy himself doesn't seem to have much depth at all. He switches from being determined to stop thinking about Elizabeth to suddenly proposing without almost any explanation at all. His feelings flip flop too quickly throughout the novel with no basis. Overall, I knew exactly what was going to happen - there were no surprises. Nothing happens to Darcy that we don't already know about to some degree.

The book was enjoyable for the story itself, and of course I found myself smiling when Elizabeth finally accepted. The glimpses of their life after marriage were cute too. If you really want an in-depth look at Darcy, I recommend the Pamela Aiden trilogy. Although it can be a little far-fetched a times, she adds a slew of new characters for Darcy to interact with, and really shows the way his mind works.

9:59 PM

Run by Ann Patchett

Posted by Ashley

I had finally read Bel Canto last year, and I really wished I'd read it sooner. It was such an amazing work, and although I haven't gotten around to reading anything else by her yet, I got the chance to read this one pretty soon after it came out. I expected something if not as good as Bel Canto, at least comparable, but I was disappointed.

It was a relatively quick read, but I found myself finishing the book just for the sake of finishing it. There was something about the pacing that bothered me that I can't quite put my finger on, and I think that Patchett is capable of showing human connections that run much deeper than they did in this novel. As another reviewer stated, it felt as though she was only scratching the surface of these characters - they didn't have nearly as much depth as they were capable of having.

Overall, the story was an interesting one, and it has a lot of potential to be a great novel - it just doesn't quite get there.

11:07 AM

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Posted by Ashley

Beautiful and tragic. I love the way time almost disappears in this novel - I couldn't believe when I was halfway through and they were still in the house, although I don't know where else I expected them to go. The book moves along nicely and flows wonderfully.

This book has been staring at me from the shelves at work for months and months, and I even picked it up and read the back a handful of times. I'm so glad I finally brought it home to read. It always amazes me when I read a book that I've been aware of for a while - it's like all of those beautiful words and that fantastic story have been sitting there, waiting for me between those covers, and all I had to do was open it up and let them out - why on earth didn't I do it sooner?

This novel is so subtle, and yet so powerful at the same time. The characters are developed gradually, and are nicely filled out by the end. Patchett's pacing is almost perfect. You feel as though you're trapped in the house with these characters, watching how they interact and change over time. You become an observer to an incredible example of human emotions and relationships.

I was a bit disappointed with the end - it seemed a little thrown together - but the rest of the novel makes up for that. One of the best I've read in the last year or so. It's one of those books that leaves you thinking for days about the characters, the plot, why things happened the way they did, and what might have happened if they hadn't. I really didn't want to close it when I got to the end. Beautifully written, and a great study on misunderstanding, human interaction, and love.