21 May 2010

A STEP IN THE DARK.

The fourth book read for the TYPICALLY BRITISH READING CHALLENGE - I'm now up to 'Gordon Bennett' level. Click on the relevant link to view the 1st, 2nd and 3rd books read.






Sinhala, India, 1914.

Married at eighteen to the dashing Jack, beautiful Elizabeth Ravenhart is devastated when her marriage is cut tragically short.

Left Penniless, Bess is persuaded by her domineering mother-in-law Cora to return to England, leaving her infant son Frazer behind until she can afford to send for him. But Cora has no intention of parting with the child, and Bess's desperate attempts to track him down come to a shattering conclusion.

Twenty years later, a knock on Bess's Edinburgh door sets in motion a chain of events that no one could have foreseen. For Frazer has come to claim his family - and his birthright, the majestic Ravenhart House. None of their lives will ever be the same again ....

... From the outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE: On the boat, sailing from India, Bess Ravenhart thought about her child.

MEMORABLE MOMENT: Crouching down, they pulled turnips from the ground, hardly bothering to dust off the soil before eating them raw.

Not a bad read, just not a particularly good one either - average and slightly disappointing are the two words I'd use to sum up A Step In The Dark.

At over 600 pages long, it is a fairly substantial book and yet it's too short for its overly cramped, complicated plot and myriad of characters.

Overall the plot is too complex and, with huge gaps left in the narrative, it fails to flow freely. Also overcrowded by too many characters, many of whom seem surplus to the story, most annoyingly of all a whole new plot line and character are introduced with only 70 or so pages left to read making for an exciting ending though I'm afraid to say it's a case of 'too little, too late'.

As I said, not all bad - the novel's main characters (especially Bess) are well observed and I found myself having a certain amount of empathy with some of them. It's just that there is nothing fresh, nothing new in the story so much so that it was like reading so many of the books you have, doubtless read before.

10 comments:

brizmus said...

Sad to hear it was an average read, because that "memorable moment" sounds fabulous - makes me want to read it!

jason evans said...

First sentences are so important for me. That one is good example of straight-forward language that delivers a big amount of narrative space. A major trip, multiple world cultures, family, and longing.

Jen said...

It's disappointing to hear it wasn't a great read. It started with an excellent plot idea.

Christiejolu said...

Sounds interesting. I think I read another book by this author.

Kelly said...

Congratulations on having 4 down. My goal is 6 for that challenge, though I believe I stated it was a minimun of 4 when I signed up. I'm on my third at the moment.

Good review.

Oddyoddyo13 said...

Sounds disappointing. :( It seemed to sort of slack off in plot on the summary.

Jenners said...

At 600 pages and being so disappointing, I'm surprised you stuck with it!

Kissed by an Angel said...

What a shame to read 600 pages and not really enjoy it!!!
xxxx

Alexia561 said...

Excellent review! Sorry it was disappointing, but appreciated how you explained why. Hope your next book is better!

GMR said...

Hmm...this one reminds me a bit of the book THE GOOD EARTH. It too was hard to get into but overall the story on that one did stay with you long after finished. Too bad this one was a new favorite for you, but you gave it the old college try! Happy reading for your next selection....