Did you read Francis Hodgson Burnett’s “The Secret Garden” as a child? The sub plot of this novel weaves in to the life of “The Secret Garden” and out to the modern day search of a granddaughter to solve the mystery of the real identity of her grandmother. The tapestry created by the intertwining stories is mysterious, intriguing, and rich with the details of the lives of strong women.
Ok, I’ll admit that I really like a good mystery and adding a psychological twist or a scientific / medical dilemma, like Cook’s novels usually have, intrigues me even further. Intervention, however, seems to be a thinly veiled diatribe by Cook about any medical practice outside mainstream Western medicine. He weaves together, and not very well, his vendetta against chiropractors, Eastern medicine, and good old herbal antidotes (anecdotes?). Now, having a chiropractor snap my neck so loudly that there was a sudden silence from the waiting room on the other side of the door put me off that form of therapy and I realized after the fact that the fine print I’d signed absolved him from a possible lawsuit if I’d had a stroke, which I didn’t. However, I’ve found pain relief from massage, accupuncture, and chamomile tea, although not all at the same time. Back to the novel, if you can call it that. Cook is so busy slamming any practice outside his own training, that his plot and characters completely derail. Will I buy another Cook mystery. Maybe. Will I recommend this one to anyone? Not at all.
Took me quite awhile to want to read this after the controversy about “A Million Little Pieces” and I finally borrowed it from the school library. Oddly enough, I didn’t find the memoir/fiction debate of “A Million Little Pieces” enough to remove it from the wannabe list for a class novel so I’m not sure why I hesitated over “My Friend Leonard” which I did find a tolerable read and. although it is categorized “Dewey-ly” into fiction, still seems to blur the line. I think I would recommend it to anyone who has read “A Million Little Pieces” only because it ties up loose ends, so to speak, or continues, and concludes, the story of a number of characters. The pseudo stream of consciousness style, which is used inconsistently throughout, irritated me, sort of like the summer whine of a mosquito might just as you are settling into sleep on a drowsy summer evening.
Seem to be consuming works of historical fiction and am not sure whether it’s because they have touches of cheesy romances or because I’m interested in the “real” lives of English royalty. Gregory has a distinguished educational pedigree as far as British history goes, but the writing is easy on the brain. This particular novel is from a commoner’s perspective – Jewish Hannah, who, with her father, has fled the Inquisition in Spain to set up a book selling and printing business in London. I think if I hadn’t read “The Virgin Queen” first, many of the same “royal” characters, I would be enjoying this one more.
Am rereading this novel which I did with my Grade 8’s as a class novel in Semester 2 of the 2009/10 school year. It intrigued me, thank you Mrs. Megan Haut for the “recommend to read”, as well as some of my older students and most of, if not all, the grade 8’s I taught. It is an accessible dystopic novel with an intriguing plot and some depth as far as inferring a 21st century parallel to the Roman Empire. Find the author speaking at this link.