Quick reviews because I've been down with a migraine, for a few days, and they're going to fade from my memory if I don't hurry up and post.
Holly by Jude Deveraux is the story of a wealthy architect whose passion is historic preservation. Heiress Holly Latham has persuaded her now-retired diplomat father to purchase Spring Hill, the home in which her family stayed, one summer. Spring Hill is just down the river from the pre-Revolutionary estate where she spent her time, that summer, helping a young and handsome Laurence Beaumont paint and restore the home. Her ulterior motive: to work her way into owner Lorrie Beaumont's heart and get her hands on the crumbling Belle Chere estate so that she can preserve it.
Unfortunately, there's a really good-looking guy she can't keep her hands off of. And, as far as Holly knows Nick Taggert has no money. I'll steal from the cover blurb, here: "One man can seduce her with fortune and privilege; the other can promise her the simple gift of love. And on a frost-covered Christmas night, Holly's choice will unmask astonishing truths and hidden dangers--revelations that will forever change her charmed life and her vulnerable heart." I kind of hate vague cover blurbs, like that, but it does give you an impression of what's to come without giving away the details.
As abruptly as he'd clutched her, Lorrie released her and stepped away. He looked into the back of the car at her father. "Sorry, sir. Moonlight. Old friend who's grown into a beautiful woman." He shrugged in a way that was very appealing.
"Perfectly all right," James said, taking his wife's hand in his. "I've experienced a little moonlight in my lifetime."
It's that kind of light, fun dialogue that kept me turning the pages. I thought the way Holly jumped into a passionate relationship with Nick was a little unbelievable and found myself muttering, "Good grief," at first. But like several other books I've read this month, I liked the characters enough to care what would happen and continued reading. It became more and more difficult to put the book down; and, I really did enjoy the story. Plenty of action, clever dialogue, interesting characters, but not entirely believable - however, I usually have a little trouble with suspension of disbelief when I read books that are classified as "romance," so that may just be me.
Black Water by Joyce Carol Oates is quite a contrast to the light-hearted fluff I've read the rest of the month. A fictional retelling of the Chappaquiddick incident, in which Ted Kennedy drove a car into the water, killing the young woman who was his passenger, Black Water is told from the perspective of the woman and, as such, is uniquely horrifying. The writing is simply bizarre, jumping back and forth in time. One moment, Kelly Kelleher is sinking into the black water of the canal with her leg trapped so that she's unable to even attempt to swim away from the wreckage, and the next minute she's back at the party or packing for the trip. In any given moment she's pondering times with her old boyfriend or feeling her life ebb away. It's probably deliberately disjointed, but I found the storytelling rather awkward. Run-on sentences, repetition, and the inevitable return to the feeling of drowning are the methods Oates uses to evoke time and place. And, yet, it was oddly mesmerizing and I couldn't put the book down.
As an introduction to Joyce Carol Oates, I'm guessing this book is not the best. My curiosity about the Chappaquiddick incident was renewed a bit, so I looked it up online and read a play-by-play of what's known to have happened at the party Kennedy attended. Probably the two biggest similarities between the fictionalized account and the actual incident were a large consumption of alcohol and a wrong turn. Nobody knows whether Kennedy and his passenger were actually on their way to the ferry landing, but the real victim left her purse behind and didn't say "goodbye" to anyone. Very suspicious, if you ask me. But, nobody asked as I was a mere 7 years old in 1969.
Since I couldn't put the book down, but felt oddly "used" by the author, I'm going to give the book an average rating. I found it, in general, rather annoying. But, I would read more by the author, at least for the sake of seeing what else she has to offer. Assuming the author's goal was to depict the innocence of a victim of drunk driving and the horror of a drowning death, I'd say she succeeded on both counts. I just don't know that I like the way she chose to do so.
Still reading: The Four Feathers by A.E.W. Mason - loving it, but things have been hectic and that nasty migraine has gotten in the way of my reading.
Up next: A list of those who are currently signed up for the Chunkster Challenge.
Continuing daily: Blogging headaches. I am still totally unable to post on many blogs. Nat, I owe you thanks for Black Water and attempted to post several times over two days to tell you thanks for the book and for doing the "Six Weird Things" meme. No luck. Even though I'm signed on, Blogger isn't recognizing me at certain sites. I'm wondering if that's a new-beta snafu.
Thoughts, anyone? Are those of you who have recently changed to Beta having any difficulty with losing content? I may have to consider switching over, if this continues, just for the sake of being able to communicate with friends, again. Any thoughts would be appreciated!!!