Sunday, April 28, 2013

Book Review: Henry & Rachel by Laurel Saville

*Please note that Henry & Rachel is a novel slated for release in October 2013. I received a free copy from the Amazon Vine program for the express purpose of writing a review.*

My first thought after reading just the first chapter or two of Laurel Saville's novel Henry & Rachel was "wow, I haven't read something this well-written in...far too long."

Unfortunately, while this novel is awash with elegant prose, it is lacking in plot. While I understand that Ms. Saville was using a literary technique in telling the same events from different points of view, there's just so little happening that in the case of Henry & Rachel it appears less a literary technique and more a way to add length to the novel. The timeline - or rather lack of one - was also a bit frustrating, as one Henry chapter would be taking place in, say, 1922, and then it would be followed by a Rachel chapter taking place some time before that, and that would be followed by a Margaret chapter taking place much later than be honest, some sort of obvious dating would have been a huge help in keeping track of when the reader is in the story.

The other issue that I found was that I honestly didn't care about any one of the characters. Rachel was unrealistically distant and cold. Henry was some sort of class-obsessed caricature (and yet he was the most well-realized of them all, mind you). Margaret was simply boring. It's sad that such a clearly talented writer - in terms of the places she described and the general beauty of her prose - could fall short in other ways.

As a whole, I think that Henry & Rachel has a promising premise - and I was impressed enough with Ms. Saville's talent as a writer of prose to rate it 3/5 stars. I just wish that, for lack of a better way to put this, the novel had been better thought out. Pin It

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