Saturday, December 21, 2013

Henry and Rachel by Laurel Saville

Brought to live with the George family as a child, all anyone knew about enigmatic Rachel was that she worked hard, making herself indispensable to the plantation. And she remained a mystery until the day she disappeared…even to her husband. Especially to her husband.

Henry was Rachel’s opposite—gregarious where she was quiet, fanciful where she was pragmatic. After years of marriage, Rachel left Henry and their oldest son without explanation and set off on a steamer for New York City with their other four children. Was her flight the ultimate act of betrayal or one of extraordinary courage? Eight characters connected by blood and circumstance reconstruct Rachel’s inexplicable vanishing act.

Weaving real family letters into this narrative of her own great-grandparents, Laurel Saville creates a historical novel of incredible depth and beauty.

When I read the summary on the back of the book I had doubts about whether or not I would like this story; even after I had read the first two chapters I was still in doubt about how I would feel about it. By the fifth chapter, however, I found that I was really starting to like the characters and the situation they were dealing with in the story. 

 One of the questions I had throughout this entire book was “is it a true story or not?” The summary stated that real family letters were used in the book, but I wasn’t sure if that was the only “true” thing or if the story or most of the story was true as well. The main thing that I did love about this book and story is that from the beginning the chapters weren’t numbered; they are labeled according to whose point-of-view the story is coming from. I liked that because I was afraid that I would get lost trying to figure out whose eyes I was seeing things happen through. 

Considering there are only two main protagonists “Henry” and “Rachel” I loved that this story didn’t involve any other main characters but these two.  Although the children are mentioned throughout the story they never took away from the two main characters and the issues between those them. I was hoping that I would like Rachel by the end of the story, but no matter how much I tried to I couldn’t find any “like” towards her character. I found that I had more sympathy for Henry, but I wasn’t very fond of his character either. 

I feel that Laurel Saville could have given Rachel’s character a little more depth and not just made her past a complete mystery throughout most of the story. After I was halfway through with the book I was already getting bored and tired of the story. I liked the story, but I didn’t love it. I think Laurel Saville has a promising career as an author, but I just didn’t particularly care for this story. Overall I give this book a “C” and the author a “B-.”

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  Tiffany 

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The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.

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