A short synopsis: A man starting a b&b in a European castle brings his cousin over to help, but their shared past may be a motivation... meanwhile an English teacher with a past of her own teaches a prison writing class and feels connected to one of the prisoners.
My view: LOVED THIS!! It was totally unexpected. Three different points of view, two stories with a parallel, romance & mystery, and it all ties together in the end... but I'm not telling how... Even with all that going on, it was an extremely fast and easy read, and very enjoyable overall. In short, it was good quality literature that didn't hurt.
I was not at all impressed with this book. It was confusing and the story never "went" anywhere. It could have been a great mystery/ghost story/revenge novel but it fell way short. Definitely did not live up to the hype I've been hearing about it.
Ugh! Not written well, very dull, and really who cares?
Did anyone here read the same book I did???? I thought it was brilliant! Kept me in suspense right until the last page! Sure, the structure of the final third is a little unconventional... but it was certainly gripping... I loved it!
What an amazing, complex, and utterly thrilling plot - until you get to the end. This fizzled out faster than Stacy Q's career. It's a true shame because it's obvious the writer put a lot of thought and consideration into the story she was telling. I think there must have been a disconnect between what she wanted to tell us and what she actually told us; it seemed as if there should be more to the story. I was definitely disappointed and won't be reading another of Ms. Egan's books.
Weird, strange, bizarre....what other "odd" words could I use to describe this book??? It was so tough to follow and I didn't feel that it was written very well - hard to understand.
Disappointing. The story started off setting the stage for which could have been a great psychological/revenge/ghost story. The story builds until what could have been an exciting climax but resolves that quickly and unexplicably and changes the whole story line and central characters - almost as if they didn't know where to go with the original story. The last quarter is just a mess. Do yourself a favor, read to page 193 and then make up a better ending.
This book is a story within a story, the product of a prison writing class. Reading the book is like dreaming a nightmare, but it is fascinating, so you must read through. Egan is on target with prison life and issues, especially affective dimensions.
I found the story to be fascinating and most of the characters to be well-defined. I think that there could have been further development of the nanny and the wife, or more explanation of Howard's seemingly unbelievable transformation from youth to present day. The focus on "the keep" and the baronness was only made sour by the lack of follow-through on her outcome.
Though I did enjoy this book to a degree, I cannot say that I loved it. I found the narrative a bit intrusive. While a good part of the story is told by the prisoner, I did not like the jumping from one person to another or from time to time. I especially found it distracting to have grammar and sentence structured fumbled for the sake of the character..I got it he's not well-educated.
After finishing the book I reread the jacket review "...a prisoner...recounts an unforgettable story that seamlessly brings the crimes of the past and rpesent into piercing relation." I think "seamlessly" is a little bit of a stretch.
It was great. It's in my "keepers" shelf now.
This is one of my favorite books. Story-within-a-story was very well done. Yes, it was a little hard to follow, but sometimes you have to make an effort to have a worthwhile reading experience.
Wonderful setting for a story. Many twists.
I couldn't get into the written book so decided to try the audio when I found a copy inexpensively. Even harder to get into than the book was, the reader is terrible, reads too fast and with no emotion or inflection - almost a monotone. And the changes between narrators are even harder to follow in the audio version than they were in print. I really think they should have had multiple readers for the multiple narrators.
Such a strange and twisting plot; very vivid and intriguing. It reminded me of another very strange book I also loved called The Gargoyle. Neither book anywhere the same plot, but both books like something you've never read before. That in itself is a plus.
While this book was written superbly and in a manner that kept me interested i really did not like the content much. I read it really because author was highly regarded in reviews by some of my peers and on that point they are right! Shes a great writer!
Romance,Betrayal and reconciliation bore me and thats really what this story was about and while you feel many emotions on this journey without more of my favorite elements ie adventure/horror/science im afraid i couldnt truly enjoy the journey.
SPOILER ALERT -- I do have some unfinished biz with this story. Who is Ray and who did he kill? I gathered he was really Howard and ended up in jail for killing Mick after Mick killed Danny. But from what i read on the web it seems some people think Ray was Danny but that seems impossible to me. And others think he was a random student worker working for Howard at the castle that killed Danny??? But wait, didnt Mick kill Danny? If anyone has a better explanation please let me know.