Monday, June 6, 2016

Amy Snow - by Tracy Rees: Bookreview

It started with the air of a true Victorian book. There was intrigue & mystery, there were manners, a little bit of snobbery, but it didn't matter 'cause we knew who the good characters are, there were the sumptuous and the poor, there was the language of the late 19th century. There were some good elements, but then all these seemed to leave the book at once and throw it in a 21st century melodramatic moment, with language that lost its Victorianism, and all I had left was my curiosity that compelled me to finish the book.

I love a good treasure hunt (in books, not in real life), and I love letters, therefore I was sold from the get go. The plot intrigued me, the reading went fast, the language reminded me of all those classics I read in my school years, and I fell for this book early on. The idea of a secret that is closely guarded was appealing, but what the secret is easily guessed. I was a bit disappointed, to tell the truth, but it was expected.

The first moment when I raised my eyebrow and shook my head in disapproval was Amy Snow's first attempt to defend herself. I can try to see what the author was trying to do: make Amy Snow get out of her oyster and let her become an independent person. However, it felt fake. The transition was too brutal. Here she is, just a few weeks on the road, claiming she's scared and pep-talking herself into being a person ungoverned by others trying to live her life whichever way she sees fit, but all the while still being shy and reserved in interactions, when bam! she yells at a lady and thus makes a scene at a ball. It was uncalled for; I wish there were a better way to prove Amy Snow could defend herself. What is more, after this moment she doesn't become the strong young woman one would expect; this was just an unnecessary outburst that left me surprised and thrown in the world of a contemporary soap opera.

Overlooking this (in my humble opinion) unfortunate moment, I carried on reading. Enter Henry Meade. Yes, I liked him in the beginning. Of course I guessed that he's "the one". Sure, he's a bit unstable in his decisions, but we'll not keep this against him. However, I didn't like how he developed. Amy Snow, of course, fell in love with him, and decided he's the one she wants to marry (with a little bit of help from coincidence, for were it not for that eavesdropping at the bridge, she wouldn't have heard about and seen Mr. Garland). Henry Meade decided (over night, mind you, literally overnight) that he shall be a teacher. A teacher he becomes, but still, it seemed a bit exaggerated. What popped the wonderful Victorian bubble I was in while reading this novel (on the bus and in waiting rooms), was the melodrama that was unnecessary between Amy Snow and Henry. Goodness. The last quarter of the book read nothing like the previous part. I understand all their feelings, and the opposite sides they were pulled in, but this, too, felt exaggerated.  It seemed as if he wanted to tell Amy what to do, tried to make himself a part of every aspect of her life. Don't give me the "he loved her" idea; girl wanted to do things on her own. He didn't seem sincere in his declarations and his claims of equality between Amy and him.

I liked how there was an ending from Mrs. Vennaway's perspective. Although she was meant to be the bad character, she was well constructed, she seemed authentic in her role of a mean woman who rejects the illegitimate child found on the family's property. She is a true upper-class representative, welcoming life with a stiff upper lip attitude; a true Victorian woman, enduring the cards life gives her and sitting still in the boundaries her class imposes.

Mrs. Riverthorpe is quite a character, but the kind of character who wants to appear tough and unshakable, but has a heart of gold. Classic.

Despite all these, I did enjoy reading this novel. It's something that would appeal to those who like historical fiction. A nice read all in all.

3.5/5 stars

I received an advanced free ebook copy of the book from the publisher via Net Galley. All thoughts expressed here are my own.

No comments:

Post a Comment