I’m not sure what I think of this book. I found the premise interesting and the cover art baffling, but mostly I found that what was purported to be a gradual lifting of bereavement as a widower moved on with his life seemed startling quick as more than two years (or was it three years…or four?) was crammed into fewer than 300 pages. The passage of time was jumpy; the seasons passed jerkily and suddenly and the present would often be interrupted by a series of scenes from the recent past. I had trouble figuring out where I was in the course of the action of the book.
The character development was a bit lacking, which made the actions of the characters not really make sense to me. Even Edward, from whose point of view we see the story, seems fairly unknowable to me. It’s one thing for him to surprise himself, but I think the author ought to know what his motivations are and ought to clue in her audience.
Despite these complaints, I enjoyed reading the book overall, and some parts I enjoyed quite a bit. I liked the characters of Gladys and Mildred, both of whom seemed more complex than many of the others. I liked Olga, too, until the second half of the book when she, too, seemed to change too quickly for my taste. I liked her more aloof.
I really enjoyed the description of the restoration work on the tapestries, and, unlike his professed interest in birding, I really believed that Edward was interested in this work, too. I wish there’d been more of this, but then, I think I would have enjoyed the book more had it gone deeper than it did in most respects.
This will be the first book I’ll discuss with the new book club I’m attending this month. I’m actually pleased that it’s not one I love wholeheartedly and that I’ll get to be a bit surly and critical when I first meet these new folks. I always worry when I meet people when I’m really happy and positive that they’ll get the wrong impression about me.