Almost not, but worth the read…. ***
Writing in first person is probably one of the more difficult viewpoints for an author to tackle. Kepnes proves this, at least partially, in You, her debut novel.
The first half of this book is tedious, almost to the point of wanting to stop reading. But the second half picks up and makes this a worthwhile read. The ending was predictable, with a slight twist that made it satisfying.
Since the main character works in a bookstore, there are several references to various well-known novels, as one might expect. This is a bit overdone, in my opinion, and felt more like the author trying to impress with her literary knowledge.
What this novel lacked, was the tension or edge of your seat page turning that makes for a great mystery/suspense novel. The “praises” this book has received made my expectation high, only to find, it does not deliver.
This one gets three stars, as it is an okay read, just not a great one.
In the early 50’s, I used to watch a television program hosted by Walter Cronkite called You Are There. The show would re-enact famous events from history and Cronkite would report as if from an actual newscast, with reporters on the scene of the event. The show chronicled events such as the sinking of the Titanic and the Chicago fire. Peter Fitzsimons writes his historical accounts as if you are there, witnessing the events as they happened. Burkes & Wills is another of his books utilizing this style.
This review is not going to address the accuracy of Fitzsimons account of the ill-fated exploration of Australia, but rather the writing itself. My review of Ned Kelly received a very negative comment when I said Fitzsimons had done an excellent job of telling Ned’s story. Since I am not from Australia, I cannot attest to the factual depiction of either of these accounts.
I can say that I love Fitzsimon’s style. Although his books are lengthy, I found myself engrossed in the telling of the story of Burke & Wills, and felt the emotion of those in this sad tale. The descriptions and detail made this reader feel as if I were there.
This book will make you laugh, cry and leave you wondering how this exploration got as far as it did. As the subtitle states, this is a tale of the triumph and tragedy of Australia’s most famous explorers.
I highly recommend this book and give it five stars.