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This book is a joke. I am baffled by the positive reviews. The writing is poor; the dialogue from 1791 doesn’t even try for accuracy (at one point a character says, “it’s okay”), you can’t tell apart the narrative voices of the 12-y/o girl and the 41-y/o pharmacist, nothing makes sense, the inaccuracies are glaring, everything that happens is so contrived and not believable, there are long passages that you have to skip through because nothing important is being said... it’s just *bad*. The story definitely has potential, but the book is just a mess. If you’re not bored out of your mind from the pandemic and desperate, seriously skip it. This book made me dumber.
I have nothing against American authors. However, the author of this book did not do enough research about English history and the spoken language in the 18th century. English people then would not have said, “okay” or used casual speech and we do not call trainers, sneakers! Also trainers were not even invented then. I found these references annoying and so I gave up with this book. It may be a good story and I may decide to come back to it, but please do your research if you are going to write anything about historical England and London.
I appreciate it's fiction but sloppy research. A character gets poisoned and the Author chooses the nearest hospital on the map. Floor 3 of St Barts it's a Cardiology unit. Suspected poisonings would go to an A&E, likely Toxicology Specialists at St Thomas'.
Theses errors appear throughout and spoilt the story for me.
I hate to pee on the love parade here (no I don't) but this was a very disappointing read. The premise is great; who among us women hasn't fantasized about male mayhem? I definitely was "in". The first chapter kept me reading, but as the writing revealed itself to be static, at best, and new, poorly written voices were added, and the repetition became, well, extremely repetitious, the potency of the idea diluted to a weak potion that, if poisonous, wouldn't have killed a fly on Nella's windowsill. (The analogy works. Bad novels are a bit like ingesting poison slowly. You start feeling sick and wonder if you should stop but ... oh, never mind. You get it.) The novel became more trite as I read. There. Also, let me add that Caroline needed a good, swift kick in the backside. And some self-esteem therapy wouldn't hurt. The mewling got tedious.
If you don't mind wasting a few pandemic hours on an unsatisfying read, go for it. But you can find something much better.
I purchased this book based on all the hype. I wish I could get my money and my time back. There are three points of view in this book. A 12 year old girl from the past, a 40ish old woman from the past and a 30ish old woman from 2020. There are no differences in their voices - how they talk, think and act, they are the same person. The 12 year old is a maid and she sounds like the 40 year old woman who is an educated apothecary.
Frankly, this was a boring book with no action and no real climax. I guess it would be exciting for a historian, if the book had been written with any historical accuracy. But, for the average person, the discovery of the apothecary was trivial and unclimactic. The author attempted to achieve some kind of excitement by making the protagonist nervous about breaking into the place, but frankly she was just being stupid, a dark alley with no one around, why be worried? Seriously, it was just bleh.
***spoiler*** The relationship between Caroline and her husband was just boring. Then what he does to himself to try to reconcile is even worse. Her whole angst over their relationship seemed more whiny than anything else. She changed her life for him and he didn't care - why is she fighting so hard to decide what to do after he cheats? When caught he lies repeatedly until he can't anymore THEN he confesses. When he follows her after her asking for space... I rolled my eyes when she let him stay with her. I didn't even feel like yelling at her - which is when I knew I simply wasn't invested at all. When I get invested I get mad when characters do dumb things. I just couldn't bring myself to care. ***end spoiler***
Honestly, I cannot understand all the good reviews. There are so many good books that are well written and interesting and this isn't one of them.
Don't believe the synopsis of this book. This isn't the discovery of a murderer or the solving of an unsolved case. Nothing comes of this at all! I hate it when a book description lies - and this one does fully. "Not everyone will survive" of course not, two of the characters die a couple of hundred years prior - let's get real.
I read a lot, and this one almost ranks as the worst book I've ever read. Two stars because there were no typos or other glaring publishing issues.
I had such high hopes for this read! But, although there was potential for a riveting story, this one was so implausible as to make me cringe.
The circumstances, the events, the characters and the atmosphere were all one-dimensional and, sometimes, nonsensical. The story was supposed to alternate between 18th century London and present day. But, save for the chapter headings, the past London could have been present, given the vagueness of the descriptions. The dialogue was anachronistic to the point of being ridiculous. And the relationships were totally unbelievable.
The premise of the plot held so much promise! Too bad it was wasted by poor writing.
I am afraid that what this book brought to mind when I finished it was Katherine's song from "Kiss Me Kate," which begins with: "I hate men. I can't abide them even now and then...." In this book, murderous women are angels and only one male character is worthy of life--and even his life is chopped short by the author so that his murderous angel wife can inherit the bookstore. While all of the 18th century women, murderous or otherwise, worry about discovery, not one of them dies an unnatural death or suffers or is deprecated for murder. All men, on the other hand, in 18th or 21st century are to be justly poisoned or dismissed for infidelity, and the angels who do the poisoning (or trespassing in the 21st century) are only free and happy when the men are dead or gone. Not badly written if you accept the premise. I don't, but if you do, go for it.
It’s awful that this comes up as Magical Realism, it absolutely is not. Allende fans take heed! It’s a fun read and a quick one because it really reads more like YA. Cute, not literary, endearing in its own silly way.