Sunday, 21 August 2016

Serial Monogamy

Author: Kate Taylor
Genre: Historical Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Canadian
Type: Paperback
Pages: 342
Source: Publisher
Publisher: DoubleDay Canada (Random House Canada)
First Published: August 23, 2016
First Line: "These pages are for you."

Book Description from GoodReadsWhen Sharon learns that her husband, Al, is having an affair with one of his students, her life is sent into turmoil, and the couple decides to split. But when Sharon is diagnosed with cancer, she and Al are brought together once again. Will they find a way to repair their relationship under the most trying and unlikely circumstance?

Meanwhile, in an interwoven thread, we meet Nelly, a young, beautiful 19th century woman with ties to the theatre. Magnetized toward the incomparable Charles Dickens, Nelly becomes his secret mistress. But soon, she will learn the cost of her captivity and the limits she has placed on her own life.
This complex, wending and surprising dual narrative circles around the mysteries of fidelity and marriage, love and passion, creativity and the secrets at the heart of domestic life. It asks deep questions about biography and infamy, and what really makes up the story of a life. 

My Rating: 2.5/5

My Review: Victorian England. Modern day Toronto. Charles Dickens. Adultery. A cancer diagnosis.  This isn't a huge book but there's a lot going on with several diverse characters, different eras and emotional issues that ultimately highlight that the complexities of relationships haven't change all that much over the centuries.

The premise of this book was interesting but there were a few issues that lowered my rating.  First, I don't think Taylor had enough page time to delve deeply enough into the relationships or sensitive topics. This resulted in a lack of emotional depth and prevented me from having a connection to her characters.  Finally, there is a fair amount of jumping back and forth between time periods, which was to be expected, but sometimes it was hard to initially figure out who was 'talking'. 

I found this book easy to read but not as compelling as I had hoped.  It had bursts that grabbed me (mainly Sharon's story line) and while the author had an interesting premise and good intentions this book ultimately wasn't as strong of a read as I was hoping.

Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to DoubleDay Canada for providing me with a complimentary paper copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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