The Secrets Between Us by Louise Douglas
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
The synopsis on the back of Secrets Between Us described the novel as 'reminiscent of' Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca. Blatantly ripped off from would have been more accurate, and it doesn't have the former's eerie style either.
I nearly gave up on this book a couple of times but did manage to plough through to the end eventually. Perhaps a more ruthless editing job would help because, at over 500 pages, it's a lot of ploughing. The main characters are repetitive and flat, but fortunately some of the supporting cast provide a sense of realism. Blue was probably my favourite! The ghostly elements could work with a more subtle approach, but Sarah's continuous whining that Alex must really love her deep down because he ignores her and treats her like dirt, but the sex is great is so cliched as to be laughable.
Paved with Good Intentions by Michael Christopher Carter
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
I received Paved With Good Intentions through a Goodreads giveaway so did want to find positive aspects of it to discuss. Unfortunately I got about a fifth of the way through -some fifty pages - and have actually given up.
The novel suffers from the indie author's curse of poor proofreading. Commas and full stops regularly fail to appear and one character's name repeatedly changes its spelling. There are also frequent distracting uses of the wrong word - seen for scene, site for sight, etc. However, this is incidental as the main problem for me is the rambling prose style that means it seems to take forever for even the most minor actions to occur, five long sentences being used when five words would suffice. I feel I now know every word of Luke's salesman training yet I still have no guidance as to his real character or why I might want to care about his story.
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
After the couple of duff book choices above, I plumped for classic sci-fi next and a book I probably should have read twenty-five years ago. H G Wells' The Time Machine was one of the first pairing in this year's SYNC audio giveaway (http://www.audiobooksync.com). Not only free but also narrated by National Treasure Derek Jacobi - what more does a girl need!
I believe The Time Machine was the first time travelling novel and, for a book written almost 120 years ago, it is surprisingly accessible in both its themes and its language. Perhaps the recent emergence of steampunk has attuned me to the style because I could vividly imagine every scene as it was being described to me. Jacobi does a fantastic job of the narration bringing everything from the dining table to the Morlocks alive. I find that I prefer old books on audio because I tend to read 'too fast' thereby sometimes missing out on detail. With audio, the book is revealed at the narrator's pace so is particularly rewarding for richly described stories such as this one.
The Time Machine has dated but mostly nicely so. I loved that the artefacts most prized by the Time Traveller were matches and pink hued clouds had nothing to do with data storage. There is, of course, rampant misogyny and plenty of that particularly English patronising of anyone from Elsewhere. Also I have no idea if any of the science is valid and I don't intend to find out. The magic of the story is enough in its own right and I'm glad I've finally caught up with the rest of the world in discovering H G Wells.
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