For multiple reasons, I almost stopped reading this book after 50 pages (following the 50 page rule), but I didn't - and am so glad that I stuck with it.
First, the reasons I almost stopped reading it: (1) It's written in first person - not my favorite writing style. (2) It's set in the academic/literary world of Cambridge (Harvard) - a world that is totally foreign to me. And (3) The main character (Abby Randolph) is a wimp with a capital W who lets men and the rest of the world walk all over her.
And now, the reasons that I'm glad I DIDN'T stop reading this book: (1) Besides Cambridge, this book is also set in the world of antiques - a subject that has always fascinated me. (2) I was reintroduced to the poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and in fact may go out now and get a book of her poems. (3) This book reminded me how important real love is, whenever and wherever you find it. And (4) Abby (as you may suspect from the title) grew a backbone by the end of the story - and had a few important epiphanies along the way that resonated with me also.
Sometimes I find that the books that are the hardest to "get into" are the ones that mean the most afterwards. This is one of those books.
I really thought I would like this book more. I've read Elizabeth Barrett Browning; I enjoyed the literary references scattered throughout the story; I understood, even if I don't share, the protagonist's passion for antiques. But I couldn't manage to care about Abby and her angst-ridden life, and found myself repeatedly wanting to tell her to grow up.
"What does great literature and Antiques Roadshow have in common? More than you'd think, and definitely more than protagonist Abby Randolph bargains for.
Mameve Medwed's latest Harvard-set novel is a fun and witty read that combines antique hunting, family feuds, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The author includes bits of literary trivia and the nuances of the antiques world in order to create a lively plot that will keep you reading well into the night.
All the while, you will be rooting for Abby and her not-so-charmed life. If you are a fan of Elinor Lipman, Marian Keyes, or Jennifer Weiner, you will appreciate Medwed's humor and style." amazon review
Fun read. Especially if you are of the Antiques Roadshow, New England, British poetry sort.
This was a really fun book. I enjoyed it a lot.