Thursday, October 6, 2011

Long on Promises, Short on Performance

Holly Oaks has been the home of Adelaide's family from before the Civil War. The house has seen a lot of tragedy. During the Civil War, Susannah Page, Aldelaide's great-grandmother, was rumored to be a Union spy after hiding Union soldiers during the battle of Fredericksburg. Adelaide’s daughter, Caroline, ran away from home as a teenager and hasn't been home except to leave Sara with her mother. More recently, Adelaide's granddaughter, Sara, has died. Sara's husband, Carson, and her two children are still living at Holly Oaks, but is this the right place for them after Carson marries Mariella?

Some people think the ghost of Susannah hovers over the house. Adelaide think it's the house itself that is the source of tragedy. At the core of this conflict is finding out what Susannah really did. This is where the Civil War part of the story comes to life when Susannah's letter to her cousin come to light. I thought the letters were the best part of the book. I had hoped for more intertwining of the Civil War. In fact, I think Susannah's story would have made a better novel.

I found the plot disjointed. The story seems to be about both Marielle coming to terms with life at Holly Oaks and Adelaide settling her doubts about whether the house is the problem, or whether it's the ghost of Susannah.

The characters are thin and not really believable. Marielle never comes to life as a new wife struggling to find a place in the first wife's home. Adelaide is inconsistent. She is the one person at the beginning of the story who knows the true story of Susannah Page, but somehow she forgets this in the middle and starts to believe in the ghost. Pearl, Adelaide's friend, is completely unbelievable. Her rudeness is something I find it hard to believe anyone would tolerate.

The book in an unfortunate blend of modern romance and historical fiction. Neither comes across as very well done. I can't recommend the book. If you love Christian fiction, you may enjoy it, but if you're looking for historical fiction or traditional romance, try something else.