I'm a bookworm of the highest caliber! If you see me, I'll probably be reading. There's nothing I love more than finding a good book, and then sharing it with the world!
The Catalain Book of Secrets is one of those books that has me torn. Magical Realism is a genre that I was introduced to only recently. Sarah Addison Allen quickly fueled my love of these books. Being able to escape to somewhere that is so like home, and yet infinitely more interesting, is a wonderful experience. As soon as I saw that Jessica Lourey's book was part of this genre, I wanted to read it. I'm just not certain it lived up to what I was hoping for.
For me, one of the biggest selling points in books like these is the setting. The town of Faith Falls, Minnesota never came alive for me. While I'll admit that I was completely in love with the rambling Queen Anne style home these characters inhabited, the city they lived in felt flat. I liked the addition of a few of the quaint stores, and felt happy at the explanations of Minnesota winters. I just wanted more of that overall. I really wanted to sink into Faith Falls.
The characters are the next thing on the enjoyment checklist, and these particular characters were tough for me to love. I think my favorites were definitely Katrine and Tara. Both of them felt so real, and full of life. I'd have happily followed them, and them alone. However this story focuses on a large cast of female characters, even going so far as to split the chapters between their points of view. It was a lot to take in, and it was made more difficult by the fact that I had no love for both Ursula and Velda. Their characters, while I appreciated their rawness, were unlikable to me and it made it hard for me to follow them.
In terms of story, I think that's where this book and I had the biggest disconnect. The beginning started strong. I felt for Katrine, and understood completely why she'd want to be with family. I saw the hints of magical realism coming to the surface, and I was eager for more. As the story progressed though, I felt more and more like I was missing something. The over arching story line was there, but it felt like parts of it were missing that were needed to explain certain things. When rape came into the picture, and was treated like a plot point and not actually fully discussed, I almost didn't finish this book.
I did finish this book though, and the ending was nice. It didn't quite flow with the rest of the story, and honestly I liked the writing and the feeling of the ending better than most of the rest of The Catalain Book of Secrets. This book wasn't my favorite, but I did find some parts of it that I'd love to see more of. I'll keep following Jessica Lourey's writing, to see where it goes next.