The House of Hawthorne by E. Robuck

What a pile of something.

I do question the five star reviews, I really, really do. Call me a snob or an angry hormonal someone, but this book was one of the most unpleasant ones I have read this year. And what is more, it is going to be the last one this year, how cool is it?

The premise was quite interesting, and the blurb sounded exciting, but nowadays most of the historical novels are geared towards the family housewives with the life style and pretentious morality I do not share.

The book is in the first person singular, so it does have a pretense of being modern and edgy. Let me remind you the the present tense narrative techniques were hardly ever used in the nineteenth century, and it was the time of story telling when novel as a literary form reached its pinnacle. Present tense was hardly, HARDLY ever used. O’k, we want to sound modern. It is totally fine, if not somewhat confusing out of time, but heck, the author is master of his or her creation.
If the author was trying to achieve edginess and uncertainty (another feature of the first- person narrative), the only edginess is the prolonged agony of the tooth that is slowly being pull out without anesthesia.

Moving on … The vocabulary is saccharine ad nauseum , preposterous, and out of place. One might say that was an attempt to imitate the discourse of the 19th century. Well, it was an attempt, not a very successful one. I would recommend to look at the works of Fowles, Byatt, Waters if the intention is stylization.

The character was the most annoying creature, totally focused on her feelings and emotions, turning herself into a perpetual sacrificial victim. The character should have been a creative person, with the strong personality, but she was a most annoying, judgmental housewife. Not a single glimpse of artistic life force, not a hint at creativity, whether it was her husband’s or hers. Nope … not a single insight into the magic of human imagination. The books were mentioned, and he fact that she was painting, the names were generously dropped throughout the book, but it is not how it works when one writes about artists, writers, poets, and sculptures.
If the author’s intention was to create this kind of character, then I will personally applaud her because the mission was accomplished with the amazing precision. I could not stand that shallow woman on many, many levels. Something though is telling me that it was not the real Sophia Peabody, and if she had been very similar to this one, my condolences, Mr. Hawthorne…

And finally, I hate being spoon-fed in a book. I prefer to make my own assumption and conclusions based on character’s behavior and actions. When every thought is explained, every motive is revealed, and every nuance is enlarged for my brain, my brain feels offended … Please give me some credit …

They don’t call it chicklit for nothing …

That was one angry review …


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