The dilemma stems from the writing. Wow. This was more beautifully written than The Help, and that's tough for me to say because I adore The Help, but the language Blake used, the description, the rhetoric, and irony-it's quality stuff and literally took my breath away - for the first 75%. The characters are easy to see and easier to love. Right away you become invested in them and in their lives. I love a book that makes me a champion for the characters and this one does that right from the beginning. The problem is that she forgot the story. Blake did such a great job developing wonderful characters and creating beautiful sentences that she forgot to form up a plot. There's no story. It just keeps going on- beautifully, of course, but eventually beautiful becomes redundant and then... (I hate to say it) boring. So it goes on and at about 80% my enthusiasm for it came to a screeching halt. I was far enough to see that a story wasn't going to develop and work itself out in any satisfactory way in the last 20% so it took twice as long for me to work through the last 20% than it did to fly through the first 80%.
I liked that there were a lot of characters, each with his or her own story, each with his or her own ending. What I didn't like was that out of all of those characters not one of them got a happy ending. I get it that the years leading up to U.S involvement in WWII weren't happy ones but COME ON and throw a girl a bone! One happy ending out of all of those people- surely no one would have taken Blake's birthday away for sticking in one puny little positive future?
But after all that, if you're looking for something that proves that the English language, when shaped by the right hands, can be beautiful, and flowing and completely encompassing- this is the one- read this book, because it is an awesome show of word smithing. It is well thought out, heart wrenching, thought provoking, stunning, well researched, literally breathtaking... and totally, completely, unreservedly- without plot.
You will find an official plot line description at: