Most helpful critical review
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 January 2013
As a Lively fan I looked forward to reading her latest- and am disappointed. For once, the sparse prose irritated a little- lots of very short simple sentences. I didn't really warm to the characters- not sure why but none seemed terribly realistic. Pauline seemed "old" for a modern day 55 year old, Harry never came to life, Hugh was a bit of a stereotype ,Teresa just seemed "wet" and Maurice lacked colour. James and Carol come over as nonentities really except for their role in the plot.
I wanted to shake the characters into action instead of reading yet another page of "meaningful glances" and heavy silences between them all. I thought the symbolism was a tad heavy handed- gathering storms and heat coinciding with the increasing tension between the family. A bit Hardy-esque but not terribly original. Without giving away the ending let me say that I felt cheated. The novel ends abruptly after teasing us for chapters, and I thought the ending was a cop-out. The juxtapostioning of Pauline's marriage and her daughter's is interesting but I found their behaviour wooden and hard to believe in. Not my favourite Lively by any means and not one I'd wholeheartedly recommend.