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Sunspots Kindle Edition
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This story took not only Aurora on a journey but also me as a reader. I felt myself connect so strongly to Aurora and her pain, feeling heartbroken at her grief and a strong desperation for her to find peace with herself at the sudden end of her marriage. Sunspots was so cleverly written and I applaud Karen Bell for taking me on such a journey through her writing that when I finished it I was shaking and sobbing, feeling as though I'd been going through the same trials as the characters.
I sometimes feel sad when I read books where we are made to dislike the main characters original love interest immediately, and then spend the rest of the book looking for her new one, so it was a wonderful and refreshing change to see the development of Aurora and Jake's relationship from the start, which makes us also in a way connect to Jake and feel hope that he too loved Aurora as much as she did him. This also made me more strongly connect to Aurora as a character, and grieve with her as she starts her new life without her husband.
What I really loved about this story was the glimpses of the past we were given throughout the novel. The switch from the present to the past was expertly done, and I greatly enjoyed how the two storylines unfolded. I was stunned by how cleverly the switches in time were placed within the story, as the chapters of Aurora and Jake's beautiful courtship and their obvious love for each other coincided with chapters set in the present where Aurora was grieving for the lost love that she thought was perfect, and then as Aurora began to realise that her life with Jake had some issues, the flashbacks to the past showed the less deserving side of Jake which had always slipped through Aurora's rose-tinted view of her husband. This was incredible storytelling, and helped lead to some brilliant character development.
The paranormal and spiritual side to `Sunspots' was wonderfully balanced and whilst being an important feature in the second half of the book, wasn't unrealistic in its role. It was instead a beautiful and poignant reminder that there is more to this world than we always realise, and didn't at all detract from Aurora's storyline of her finding acceptance. I loved the past-life elements that were infused within the story and there was some brilliant use of foreshadowing in the flashback chapters that all adds together in the final chapters.
I cannot recommend `Sunspots' enough, and if I could give it more than 5 stars, then I definitely would. It is a beautiful journey of love, loss, grief and acceptance, which portrayed a realistic and heartbreaking view of the world that we live in today.
I have to admit that I couldn't read the book in one go. I found the storyline too "heavy" and emotionally challenging to do so but I was so drawn to the book that I picked it up several times throughout the day to continue with Aurora's and Jake's story.
In my opinion, the author deals extremely well with the difficult subject of grieving for your loved one. I really enjoyed the way the story unfolds - there is so much more to the book than I initially thought.
Karen describes all the relevant characters so amazingly well! I especially loved the difficult yet easy going relationship between Aurora and her parents (I know this is slightly confusing but you will have to read this book to fully understand).
I have to say I didn't feel the book went into enough detail in places, and where I would have liked the author to expand on something, she just skimmed over it
I appreciate how much effort would have gone into writing the book and I know many people have given it a 5* rating, but it just wasn't for me. If you are a lover of paranormal romances, you may enjoy it more than I did.
I understood that Aurora had aspirations to be an actress of stage and film who related events of her life to them. However in telling her story Ms. Bell made numerous references to actors, television soap operas, movie titles, and other famous literary works (ancient to contemporary) throughout this story. It starts off pretty innocuous but becomes overkill after a while with overusage numbing my brain and actually causing my eyes to roll. Honestly, I felt like Ms. Bell's descriptive prose was skilled enough to manage the scenes without using the pop-culture and literary references so much.
Underneath all the pompous blather there is a good story here. Beyond all the Gothic reverie, depression, and malignant obsession Aurora is going through, you would be challenged to find a more flawed character. There is a positive message of being able to make it beyond the darkness of your life. If you can manage to stick with the story through all the time hopping as she remembers, relives, and tries to reorganize her life to see it through to the end.
If you enjoy Literary Fiction about women's issues, Aurora's journey is a unique one that you may enjoy. This book just wasn't for me, the ghosts pulled me in, but they weren't enough to satisfy me.
Format/Typo Issues: I found no significant errors in editing or formatting.
**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy.** February 27, 2014
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