RED Shack...Warning! SPOILERS! Don't read if you don't want to know the end.

This is my personal reading blog. Complete with spoilers. Currently reading: James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl and The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

Friday, August 26, 2005

Wedding Ring by Emilie Richards

I didn't enjoy this book as much as I could have had I not recently read Kristin Hannah's Things We Do For Love. There are several similarities, even though the settings are on opposite sides of the US coast. Namely: woman whose daughter has died is having marriage troubles and escapes to the women in her family for support and learning, and also meets a girl who is having her own baby.

I enjoyed the book, I did...but it was a little boring at times for me. Maybe because of the aforementioned similaries with another book.

Wedding Ring is set in the Shenandoah Valley, mostly in the old farmhouse of Helen Henry, a reclusive old woman who has lost nearly everyone in her life. Tessa MacRae and her mother, Nancy Whitlock, have come to spend the summer helping Helen get back a semi-normal life. In the end, they end up sharing lots of stories, many brought about by the quilts that Helen has made over the years. The climax is a quilt display at the local church where Helen is honored. Of course, feelings are rekindled between Tessa and her husband, as well as Nancy and her husband. The story centers around Helen's wedding ring quilt, and in the end it is given to Cissy, the girl next door who gets married at the end of the book.

Things I liked: Helen's character...the author made it really believable how a woman could become the way Helen is, and I like the way she's portrayed - I enjoyed reading about her stubbornness and finding out her reasons for being that way. I also enjoyed details about the quilts. Every story needs something central to it, and I thought the quilts were cool, even though I know nothing about quilting. I loved Kayley's quilt...very cute. The opening scene is a winner, for sure. My favorite scene was Nancy's story about being in the Whitlock home while Billy is still trying to finish school...the scene was very rich for me.

Things I disliked: From the beginning, I had a problem with the dialogue. Something about it is unnatural. I can't really explain this, it's just my own personal reaction to the writing. I'm also starting to get really tired of setting/weather descriptions; I found myself glazing over every time the 'much need rain' was mentioned. I had a little trouble with Tessa's character: she is so unyielding, but at the end when she realizes Robert was not drunk driving but taking his mother to the hospital, she somehow is able to put away her need for revenge. Wouldn't she have known beforehand that he probably dreamt about her daughter every night? I supposed it's probably from the theme similarities that I mentioned before, but I'm getting a little tired of the whole "the kid died" tragedy that makes women run to the other women in their lives, and therefore learn much more about themselves and their mothers/grandmothers.

I suppose I have more complaints than compliments for this book, partly because I really did find it a little...sleepy. But overall, it was a pretty decent read. I think I'll just move on from the "women getting back to the family after death and grieving and having problems with their husbands" theme...two books so similar have turned me off to that for a while.


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