Friday, November 17, 2017

Episodic, Unfocused Plot Makes South African Historical Romance Less Enjoyable Than Expected

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Lettie Louw has always felt different from her girlfriends, who are beautiful, flirtatious, and adept at attracting masculine attention.  Getting her heart broken as a teenager propels her to seek education, not love.  After medical school she returns to her small South African hometown to work in her father's clinic.  All around her, Lettie's former classmates are getting married and having children.  Love still eludes the young doctor, who throws herself into her career.  Fulfilled but still lonely, Lettie tries to ignore the aching in her heart, the longing for a blissful romance of her own.  

Marco Romanelli has suffered a broken heart of his own.  After risking everything to protect the Jewish woman he loved, being thrown into a Nazi concentration camp, and barely surviving with his life, he's still trying to recover his health.  When his brother invites him to leave their native Italy and join him in South Africa, Marco goes, hoping the warm, dry climate will help clear his vulnerable lungs.  The last thing he expects is to fall in love with his physician, an intriguing woman who doesn't recognize her own beauty and strength.  

As Lettie and Marco take tentative steps toward the kind of grand romance neither one of them ever expected to find, they encounter stumbling blocks big and small.  When a heartbreaking discovery threatens to tear their world apart, the couple will have to travel a crooked, unimaginable path that will take them in an unexpected direction.  Can their faith and love see them through?

It's hard to describe The Crooked Path by South African author Irma Joubert because, truly, the novel has no plot.  It tells a sweeping story that spans Lettie's lifetime, but it's an unfocused, episodic tale that plods along for nearly 400 pages without really going anywhere.  In trying to cover too much ground, it's unevenly paced, which makes it feel even longer.  I appreciate that the story is squeaky clean and uplifting without being preachy; still, the tome was a chore for me to read.  Maybe Joubert's prose was more impressive before being translated into English, but in the version I read, it's very passive, very flat, and very dull.  The characters are all (well, mostly) perfectly nice—they're also one-dimensional, boring, and pretty much interchangeable.  Overall, then, I just had a difficult time reading The Crooked Path.  While it comes to a satisfying conclusion, the read was not worth the effort for me.  Ah, well.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I'm not sure to what I can compare it.  Ideas?)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for violence and scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love:  I received an ARC of The Crooked Path from the generous folks at Thomas Nelson via those at TLC Book Tours.  Thank you!

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Want more opinions of The Crooked Path?  Follow along on the book's blog tour by visiting the sites below:

Monday, October 23rd: Read-Love-Blog – spotlight
Thursday, October 26th: From the TBR Pile – spotlight
Friday, October 27th: Dwell in Possibility
Monday, October 30th: Fiction Aficionado
Tuesday, October 31st: View from the Birdhouse
Wednesday, November 1st: OMG Reads – spotlight
Thursday, November 2nd: Reviews from the Heart
Friday, November 3rd: Savvy Verse & Wit
Friday, November 3rd: A Chick Who Reads
Monday, November 6th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Tuesday, November 7th: Write Read Life
Wednesday, November 8th: Jathan & Heather
Thursday, November 9th: Read Eat Repeat
Monday, November 13th: Katy’s Library blog and Instagram
Tuesday, November 14th: Just One More Chapter
Wednesday, November 15th: Books & Bindings
Thursday, November 16th: Cheryl’s Book Nook
Friday, November 17th: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Monday, November 20th: Suzy Approved
Tuesday, November 21st: Splashes of Joy
Wednesday, November 22nd: The Sketchy Reader

4 comments:

  1. Whoa! Way too long of a story for nothing much to happen. Who likes these type of stories. I feel like there’s lots of them out there and there must be a market for them but it isn’t me.

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  2. A book without a plot...no wonder you had a hard time getting through it. :)

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  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.

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  4. That's to bad because it sounds like it had the potential to be an epic love story filled with hope and second chances.

    For What It's Worth

    ReplyDelete

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