A Reader's Respite hasn't offered up a book review in well over a week. Apparently, we fell into a coma whilst reading this book:
How is it possible for such a well-written book to be this incredibly....uh....well, boring? After all, it started off with such a promising premise:
In Renaissance Italy in the 17th century, dowries for young ladies had become so exorbitant that many wealthy families could only afford to marry off one daughter. This meant that any remaining daughters were frequently sent to a convent, whether they liked the idea or not.
Sacred Hearts is about one such girl, brought kicking and screaming into the Santa Caterina convent and leaving her true love behind. The first 100 or so pages enthralled us: we loved the descriptions of convent life and Serafina's plight was oh-so-compelling.
Nada. Zip. Not a damned thing really happened for the next 350 pages. Hence, our coma.
We're still baffled by it all. Dunant is a superb writer....her sentences are well structured, her syntax perfect, her dialog flows. But nothing really happened and even the best of writers can't make Nothing interesting. (This is starting to feel like a Seinfeld review....it's a book about nothing.)
About the only useful information we retrieved from the novel was a scene where poor Serafina was starving herself in protest:
She carries the hunger with her every moment of the day. When she is praying she prays to withstand it, and when it is as its most acute, it moves her toward prayer. The only time she does not feel it is when she is asleep. And yet - and here is the strangest thing - she is not in anguish over it. Instead, this concentration, this absorption in the act of not eating, is so strong that it has begun to wipe out all other feelings and thoughts that might pursue her.
A Reader's Respite will be keeping this little passage in mind for our next attempt at a diet.
FTC Disclosure: Random House sent me this book some time ago and it then lingered on our shelves for months, just waiting for the proper time to jump out and induce a coma.
Now you all know that A Reader's Respite firmly believes that there is a butt for every saddle. Just because we slipped into a coma doesn't mean you will! So if you thing you could do better justice to this novel than we did, please leave a comment and on February 10th we'll draw a random winner.