Did-not-finish mini reviews: ‘The Book Of Tomorrow’ and ‘Salting Roses’

Cecelia Ahern’s The Book Of Tomorrow
Where I stopped: Page 151

Having read (and enjoyed) Cecelia Ahern’s Where Rainbows End years ago, I was looking forward to reading this story of a spoiled teen’s conversion to a quieter life after her father’s death. Not long after arriving with her grief-stricken mother to her aunt and uncle’s house in the Irish countryside, Tamara discovers a journal written in her own handwriting — and detailing the events of the following day. Day after day. Shocked out of her mind when her diary’s “predictions” begin to come true, Tamara struggles to find out why she’s been given this new glimpse at life . . . and what to do with it.

The premise sounded great — and Ahern is such a popular author. That being said, I made it about halfway through this one before realizing I couldn’t care less about any of the characters and felt like the book was one giant circle . . . we kept repeating the same plot points over and over. Once I realize I have no emotional investment in a novel, the book is killed for me. And this one? Abandoned.

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Lorelle Marinello’s Salting Roses
Where I stopped: Page 56

Sucked in by the gorgeous cover, I opened this one with a hopeful bubble rising in my chest. Gracie is a Southern belle abandoned at birth who, on her twenty-fifth birthday, discovers she’s actually the kidnapped daughter of a wealthy Yankee — and, considering her biological father’s recent passing, there’s $650 million with her name on it. A P.I. arrives in small town Shady Grove, Ala., to break the news, and from there it’s a whirlwind of scheming relatives, tabloid journalists and chaos.

Another novel that couldn’t grab me. Gracie seems like a hopelessly naive young woman who initially turns down her inheritance, fearing that money ruins people, but Marinello’s plot meandered along and confused me. I spent the first 30 pages trying to figure out who all these people were and what their connection was to Gracie — which just frustrates me. If the book had been written from Gracie’s actual perspective — in her own, unique voice — I might have latched on better. As it stands, the third-person omniscient point of view left me feeling detached.

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Book review: ‘Where Rainbows End’ by Cecelia Ahern

Life for Rosie Dunne and Alex Stewart, best friends since early childhood, begins and ends with one thing: their loyalty to each other. And over decades filled with career changes and derailments, marriages and divorces, infidelity and trust, parenthood and grieving, they’ve braved barriers across an ocean to remain close and share life’s dalliances, dramas and joys.

Cecelia Ahern’s Where Rainbows End is the story of Alex and Rosie’s lives, told exclusively through letters, emails, instant messages and texts sent between them and their wide assortment of family and friends. Part novel and part confessional, Ahern’s story works effectively to bring to life two people who never stopped loving each other — though destiny seemed to conspire to keep them apart.

It was easy to love Rosie, a young Irish woman who tried so hard to make her parents proud — but struggled mightily to find her footing in life. At the age of 18, she becomes pregnant with Katie, and the two work hard to establish a life for themselves as Rosie bounces from job to job in search of her “calling” — which turns out to involve the managing of hotels, the object of her devotion since childhood. Alex, likewise, comes across as the steadfastly devoted friend and father as he moves from Dublin to Boston, where he begins his career as a cardiologist. Though miles apart, Rosie and Alex keep up with one another by maintaining a steady stream of contact — except when things get too sticky.

Though I knew in my heart of hearts how this story just had to end, it didn’t make getting there any less enjoyable. Spanning more than forty years, Where Rainbows End was a really fun, entertaining read that had me alternately pulling my hair out in frustration and tearing up with joy when things finally began to turn around. Because seriously? Poor Rosie. How much bad luck can one person have?

My only complaint with the novel is, weirdly, also one of the things I liked best about it (can that really be true?): it was long. Any story covering four decades is going to be lengthy, I suppose, but I did start to lose interest somewhere in the thick middle because things just couldn’t seem to get any worse for these folks. So many missed opportunities; so much misfortune. I wanted to play God, wave a magic wand and untangle all the messes before things got worse.

Favorite characters included Ruby, Rosie’s well-meaning but straight-shooting best friend, who seemed to be the only one talking sense at some points; Stephanie, Rosie’s sister who marries a Frenchmen and lives a fascinating life in Paris; and Katie, Rosie’s ambitious and free-spirited daughter, one who loves her mother fiercely but also possesses a sense of adventure not unlike her own mother’s. I also loved seeing a loyal, loving and functional family — Dennis and Alice Dunne, Rosie’s parents, would do anything to help her in her quest to expand beyond Dublin and make hers a life really worth living. Stephanie and Kevin, Rosie’s siblings, were realistically drawn and compassionate, though I wanted to give Kev a good shake a few times!

Fans of women’s fiction and those who love epistolary novels will enjoy the drama and romance of it all — and if you’re a fan of Irish fiction, so much the better!

And on a personal note, I grabbed my copy of Where Rainbows End in the U.K. — which is why I’m stubbornly using the British name and cover of the book! Wedged in my suitcase on the way back from London, the book was a gift for my sister, who enjoyed it as well. I’d forgotten about it until I was cleaning through my paperbacks recently, and just seeing that rainbow cover brought a smile to my face. I’d waited long enough to read it, and I’m definitely pleased I did. Back stateside, we’ll find Ahern’s novel under the name Love, Rosie
 

4 out of 5!

ISBN: 0786891084 ♥ Purchase from AmazonAuthor Website
Personal copy purchased by Meg