Thursday, November 13, 2014

Perdita by Hilary Scharper

Rating: ★  ☆ ☆ ☆
Obtained from: Netgalley
Read: November 6, 2014

Will love let her go? After a love affair that ends in tragedy, Garth Hellyer throws himself into his work for the Longevity Project, interviewing the oldest living people on the planet. But nothing has prepared him for Marged Brice, who claims to be a stunningly youthful 134. Marged says she wants to die, but can’t, held back by the presence of someone she calls Perdita. Garth, despite his skepticism, is intrigued by Marged’s story, and agrees to read “her” journals of life in the late 1890s. Soon he’s enthralled by Marged’s story of love, loss, and myth in the tempestuous wilderness of the Bruce Peninsula. He enlists the help of his childhood friend Clare to help him make sense of the mystery. As Garth and Clare unravel the truth of Marged and Perdita, they discover together just what love can mean when it never dies.

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Before I get too far ahead of myself, I'd like to give a shout out to Amanda Kain. Hilary Scharper's Perdita didn't work for me, but the cover art is just gorgeous. The ethereal design really captures what the author was going for and even though I wasn't a fan of the book, I concede a certain appreciation for the mysterious and provocative imagery of its jacket.

To get straight to the point, Perdita is one of those pieces I wanted to like more than I did. Earlier reviews cited allusions to Greek mythology which I usually enjoy so I was fairly optimistic going in, but the execution didn't speak to my tastes and I soon found myself trudging through a dull and lifeless tangle of emotional drama. I can respect this type of storytelling works for a lot of people, but I am not among them and can honestly say I struggled to complete this novel.

Garth and Marged had potential, but neither sparked my interest. I liked the descriptions of the Georgian Bay area well enough, but found myself overwhelmingly indifferent to the mystery at the heart of Scharper's story and ultimately finished the book feeling both impassive and unimpressed. 

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“No, they’re not at all like an old woman’s eyes,” I repeated awkwardly, even admiringly. What was it I could see in them? Their vividness fascinated me, but I could also discern a lively intelligence in their expression. And an innocence, too. Yes, there was an open vulnerability in her eyes, despite Marged Brice’s apparent reserve.
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1 comment:

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

I hate it when books disappoint! The cover is gorgeous though.