lost-art-secretsThis book was recommended to me by the same friend who loved the Guernsey book. But it wasn’t nearly as good.

I finished several days ago, but put off the review because I just wasn’t certain what I thought yet. It’s the kind of book where you’re surprised to realize you have been sucked into it within a few short pages. There are enough oddities and colorful characters immediately at your fingertips to keep you interested. And yet, I put it down later that day and couldn’t bring myself to pick it back up for nearly a week. That may sound like a lame way to evaluate a book, but it generally speaks volumes (pardon the pun) about my overall enjoyment of the book. The best are the ones that I will read just a little bit more of while brushing my teeth in the morning just because I can squeeze a few more pages in before work.

All that said, when I did pick it back up, I found the same engaging characters and couldn’t put it down until it was done.

So now that my self-indulgence is over, why did I like, but not love this book? It’s another post world war II book, set in England, but its focus is on the very wealthy, elite youngsters of that age and those who are almost in that circle but stay out for various reasons. I generally don’t care about a story of haves and their whining. But this was something slightly more. It was a journey of self-discovery for the main character, who I liked very much. She was just what a young woman should be: a wee-bit on the self-absorbed side but somehow still charming. I hated her mother. I hated how in the end her mother was still being baled out and having her life lived for her by her new “I’m here to take care of you man.”

My primary disappointment was with the title actually–not nearly enough secret keeping or breaking to truly merit such a title. The secrets kept that you discover at the end are just, well, a let down. And one of them sits heavily like the author thought well, what else could I throw in? Ah, yes, that will do! And it didn’t.

I did walk away from this thinking it wasn’t a waste of time and that I’d like to read something else by Ms. Rice. Her characters really do come to life in a delightful way. But I think I have done with post-WWII books for the foreseeable future.

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