Friday, October 20, 2006

Buffalo Coat, Undue Influence, and Year of Wonders

I am reviewing three books this time around because I moved through them fairly quickly. I didn't read Buffalo Coat or Undue Influence, but read Year of Wonders in a few days.

Buffalo Coat is written by Carol Ririe Brink. The story takes place in Northern Idaho and the characters are based on actual people (kind of like the Little House series). This book actually has good reviews at Amazon and I may come back to it in the future. The problem is the book is a reprint with a very difficult to read font (small and unusual). So any university presses, please make your reprints easier to read. I couldn't get passed page 5 because my eyes begged me to stop.

Undue Influence, by Anita Brookner, suffered from another problem. It had an interesting story concept, but the main character had the wrong type of voice. The main character is supposed to be a middle class woman who has not had much opportunity in life. Instead the character reads as a high society snob and is very condescending to just about everything and everyone. It was so annoying and unbelievable that I couldn't get passed the first two pages. The words on the page, sounded like the author and not the character. All I can say is skip anything by this writer.

Book Rating: No stars - this book belongs in file 13.

Finally, I read Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brookner. The story is about the plague of the 1600s. It is inspired by an actual English town that isolated itself between 1665-1666 during a plague outbreak. The story is about death. That can't be avoided with the plague as a backdrop. Just as a warning, there are some gross descriptions, violence, and some sex. The story and writing, itself, is ok. I had actually hoped for a more hopeful ending. A town that chooses to isolate itself to protect their neighbors is a rather noble thing. But instead, you see some of the worst of humanity in all of the characters. I was particularly disappointed in the ending, when the main character abandons her faith, home, and people. Not only that, but the way she walks away doesn't seem to fit with her character.

Book Rating: 2 stars. Interesting, but ultimately depressing and disappointing.

Up next, Emma Brown by Clare Boylan.

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