Customer Review

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Started well but trailed off..., 19 Mar 2012
This review is from: The Promise (Hardcover)
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I have always been interested in the changing experience of women in the twentieth century and as World War I was a period which saw much that changed I looked forward to reading this novel. I confess I had not realised until the novel arrived from Amazon that this was a continuation of the story of the novel's heroine Belle,whose previous history is told in the eponymous 'Belle'. It is possible to catch up on what went before but I would suggest to anyone planning to buy this book that it is not really a stand alone book and it would be more enjoyable if you read 'Belle' before embarking upon this novel. However it is perfectly possible to get the idea of what went before and I plunged into the book full of expectation. When this novel begins Belle is married to Jimmy and has her own successful business, a popular hat shop. Despite a brief visit from a previous love,Etienne,it appears Belle is extremely happy married to Jimmy, and without giving away the story the marriage seems to have been made even stronger by a particularly horrendous experience suffered by Belle shortly after Jimmy went to fight in France. Belle gives up her hat shop [I really couldn't fathom why she suddenly decided she didn't want the shop] and goes to France as a volunteer ambulance driver. As a historian I could pick holes in the author's research on WW1,but fully accept there was a sufficient knowledge of the period displayed to cover a story of this nature. Whilst in France, although she went there to be closer to him, Belle finds she is no longer all that interested in what is happening to Jimmy and makes no attempt to try to organise a meeting with him [this would have been difficult but she knows not impossible]. She even finds herself quite disinterested in his letters. Then she has a brief meeting with Etienne and thereafter becomes torn by her responsibility as the wife of Jimmy and her love for Etienne. I honestly didn't feel the writer developed the story sufficiently for a reader to see why exactly Belle's love for Etienne was suddenly re-kindled. It was probably this failure of sympathy for Belle which meant that try as I might I had just lost interest in her story and I no longer really cared suffiently about Belle to be interested in what she made of the rest of her life. I confess to skimming quickly through the final chapters and nothing in them sparked my interest again. fjs
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Review Details

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4.7 out of 5 stars (414 customer reviews)
5 star:
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Mondoro
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   

Location: United Kingdom

Top Reviewer Ranking: 773