Predictable, flat, juvenile, boring. These are words I would use to describe this story, and I’m only a third of the way done with the book. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to finish it. A pretty cover and interesting back cover summary. I gave the book the benefit of the doubt that its adultery plot would be ctreated ironically. Boy was I wrong.
Let’s start with the good. I like a good historical novel, and apparently this one dealt with the lives of real people: department store pioneer Marshall Field and his mistress, Delia Caton.
Not only could I tell by page 7 that the writing was juvenile and something I could have probably improved upon in middle school, it soon became clear that the main character, Delia, was nothing but a whiner about her sad sexless marriage (spoiler: we soon learn that her husband, Arthur, is actually gay and that’s why he doesn’t like having sex with her, but it’s a big secret because obviously being gay was not cool in 187-whatever year this thing is supposed to take place).
I predicted by the close of the first chapter, practically, that Marshall’s wife Nannie was mentally ill and would soon commit suicide, most likely by drowning herself in Lake Michigan (the Virginia Woolf way to go). I could predict that Delia would never have kids like she wanted, would soon start masturbating and (after having discovered her most scandalous feminine pleasure, of course) having passionate sex with Marshall. Which is icky on all sorts of levels. Overall, the story seemed poorly developed, as if the main plot points were simply tent poles on which the author could hang the sagging story until another twist came along. That’s not even getting into the weirder dimension of taking liberties with the private lives of historical figures who are not alive to respond.
I’m trying out the author’s other book, White Collar Girl, now, and so far I like it quite a bit better than the first one, though I have noticed a similarly shallow feminist premise, what with the strong female characters who only seek to express themselves despite male opposition.
I could go on a rant about that, but I’m tired and this post has rambled on for long enough.