Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one.
Most of us are familiar with that eerie little rhyme, maybe not being completely aware of the meaning. Some of us even know the story behind it, knowing that it’s based on a true crime occurring in the late 1800s. But have you ever wondered about the dynamics behind the family tragedy?
When Lizzie discovers first her father and then her stepmother brutally murdered, everyone immediately feels sympathy and concern for her. To have witnessed the aftermath of such a gruesome scene surely must have been a shock. As time goes on, however, events come to light casting doubt on her innocence. And the family itself surely wasn’t a happy little group. There’s enough suspicion to go around. Was it Lizzie? Or was it the mysterious man sent by her uncle? Or maybe one of her father’s business associates?
The story weaves itself back and forth between the day of the crime, the days leading up to the murders, and the aftermath. It’s fascinating for the criminal investigation procedures of the time if nothing else. The author does a great job of creating an entirely believable story that very well could be the true story behind an unsolved crime. And it absolutely made me want to read more about it!
This was like some patchwork quilt that you’ve imagined in your mind. You can see just how beautiful and perfect it will turn out. In your mind’s eyes, all the colours and patterns mesh perfectly and you can follow it through with your eye, each sweep of you vision leads you to a more perfect piece…and it’s not only beautiful but you know it’s warm and comfortable as well.
However, once you actually sit down to join all the colours and bits together, you completely lose the vision and once you finally finish it, you can see all the stitches, and not in a good way. The colours don’t flow, they clash. It’s not warm and comfortable at all. It’s a bit thin and scratchy.
Do you think I am happy to write a review like this? Errrrr…no! I wanted to love this book. My first Beatriz Williams book. I started this book and NEEDED to love it. I so enjoyed it so much at the start. But as it went on it just went way off track for me. I became completely lost along the way. Bits that were meant to tie it all together were just thrown in to complete a picture…but you CAN’T just throw bits in…you have to explain how you go there…and it has to make sense! You can’t teach a Maths class by giving a final number and expecting the students to know how you reached that number! You can’t present a problem in a novel, then some farfetched solution and expect the reader to be able to sort it out either.
The ending wasn’t an ending at all…it was a rushed (felt like it) positioning of several characters that you really don’t know how they ended up there. I am guessing there’s another novel in the works and the ending was a set up for that novel…BUT STILL…you can’t just leap forward and put characters in sudden situations. Situations, that you’ve hoped the entire novel was working towards, but suddenly happen…it’s like they jumped from point A to B to C and then are now all on F skipping over D and E…
I’m going to preface this review by saying that this one didn’t grab me right away as many psychological thrillers do. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at the beginning. In fact, I almost gave up on it. I’m glad I didn’t.
Constance is missing. When the thirteen-year-old suddenly disappears, all efforts are put into finding her. Her much loved uncle Karl soon finds himself the focus of the investigation. Through a series of circumstantial pieces of evidence along with a determined journalist, he quickly becomes suspect number one.
Fast forward six years…
And I’m stopping here. If you read the blurbs on various book-related sites, you’ll find more details leading up to this point. But I’m not going to give them to you. Part of the pleasure of this story was the discovery, the itchy inkling feeling I had as I got deeper and deeper into the story. And I’d like for you to have that same experience. So go forth and enjoy!
I love a good love story that includes food and baking and New England locales, but this one didn’t make the grade. The main character leaves her fast paced NYC lifestyle to deliver a letter from the past for her late grandmother. That plot line worked, but not so much the romance (in one week when she spent the first three days annoyed) or the baking (I waited so very long for the bakeshop to make an appearance). I’m not from Maine, but I could think of a dozen ways to get more blueberries into a book with blueberries in the title and on the cover. I wanted to want to root for the main character but she wasn’t likeable enough. Would’ve loved more of Roy and his family, though!
This book is a lot of work to read. It’s emotionally taxing (although I didn’t even cry until near the end) and, frankly, depressing. Anna is dying of cancer. And that’s no spoiler, pal. That’s the premise of the book.
Before Everything is also about love and friendship and family and a few secrets. Victoria Redel designs Anna’s friendships so realistically that the secrets the women have make me remember secrets I have with my friends … not contrived or hyperbolic or beyond belief, but just stuff we know about each other because we’ve been friends for so long.
I read this book in hopes that I’d come to a better understanding of what it’s like for the family of a person dying of cancer. But I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t let myself feel it 100%. So instead I read with my shoulders tensed, my mind rushing to get to the next scene, and only half my heart with Anna.
It’s a good read if you can let your guard down. I held back because otherwise it would’ve been too painful. Thinking about that, well, maybe I did learn what it’s like to be close to someone who’s dying.
Have you ever had friends rave about a book? Tell you how terrifying it was? How amazing it was? Have you rushed out to buy that book? Been so excited to start that book that you actually put it off for a few months (OKAY OKAY OKAY, maybe the size of my TBR list had a bit to do with that as well) just so you can savour it?
Yea, me too! The Terror by Dan Simmons was one of those books! Once I finally dived in I was beyond excited to finally get started! Do you know what I found once I did? Here it is…are you ready? My review in just a few short words…
All I can say is that I was about ready for the Tuunbaq to come and put me out of my cold misery long before this novel ended…..
I am new to this author as I have yet to read Paris’ mega-successful debut Behind Closed Doors – reviewed by Thalia – so I was unaware of what to expect on one hand, but on the other hand, was looking forward to this read.
I don’t want to talk too much about the plot, except to say that it is entertaining (if you take it with a pinch of salt, and don’t mind the blatant oversimplification of dementia), and it did keep me reading to see what happened at the end.
The pace and characters are nothing particularly new or original, particularly within this genre; the book did keep up its pace and never really seemed to stall or lose itself.
Bottom line: if you want a quick and easy read, go for it and give this book a go. If you want something with a little more substance and oomph (yes, that is indeed an acceptable technical term!), then I’d respectfully suggest another read.