Monday, March 28, 2011

Day 205 - 16 Lighthouse Road by Debbie Macomber

I found this book really weird and certainly not what I was expecting. It follows the love lives of several women linked by circumstance and friendship in an idyllic medium-sized community. It starts when Cecilia, who is trying to get a divorce after less than a year following the death of her baby, is told by the presiding judge that she will have to go to a hearing, and in the meantime they should try mediation. The Judge, Olivia, is falling in love with the local newspaper editor, a newcomer with a shaded past, while her daughter Justine dates a creepy older man and pretends not to be love with (oh I love you so much!) Seth just to spite the whole dammned world and their obsession with family.

On the positive side, Macomber's characterisation is beautiful. I really fell in love with several of her characters, especially the uncomplicated Seth and the haunted Cecilia. No one was exactly as you expected, and the same went with the plots - in particular the plot line involving Olivia's friend Grace, which was really well handled. The pacing was something I had to get used to. The plot didn't move in a linear progression, it was more a meandering stroll through a park than an action-packed motorway.

But what really bugged me was the constant use of passive voice. Now, I don't mind some "telling". It gives writing a feel of oral tradition, you sit down there and I'll tell you how she felt, acted, what she thought etcetera. But really parts of the writing were so text-book bad in terms of passive voice that I just burst out laughing.

It was obvious that the writer was very conservative, but honestly most romances are. Marriage is THE goal, regardless of whether you think it is or not, and divorce is not for 35 years of unhappiness, only for 6 months of desertion. (Sorry, I get a little bitter thinking about that plot line.) However it doesn't really ram your face in it, it's more just a story about people with conservative views.

This book is like a warm cup of home-made cocoa on a cold, grey day. For technique you'd probably do better going to a cafe, but that doesn't change the fact that it's warm, sweet and really, really comforting.

Word count - 0 (but I have made friends with almost all the villagers in Old Bowerstone)

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