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Thursday, September 27, 2012


This was a book win - thank you Joanna. 

I first tried to understand the title of the book and then realized that yes this is a planned plot - albeit set in very modern times. The meeting, the planning and the settling down of happily ever after sounds old fashioned but the story is central to this theme.

We have three distinct personalities in Leonard - manic depressive, clever  and we have Mitchell also clever and secretly in love with Madeline,  but with little courage to actually make the move and a strong affinity to religious studies  and we have Madeline heavily into Victorian literature, upper class, moneyed and never ever having to take the hard road in life. Madeline falls in love with Leonard very early on in the story, decides to marry him but very very early in their married life realizes that the man she has got married to is ill and the veneer that is apparent is just that - only on the surface and she will have to work extremely hard against a lot of odds to make her marriage work.

Working out like a love triangle between the three, Madeline is sometimes tempted to opt out with Mitchell when he is around because working with Leonard is too hard. Leonard not responsible for himself, on medication, has to be watched most of the time and Madeline does seem to do a lot of hand holding here.  The story is a love story but not of the romantic kind. Madeline has to grow up and fast - she also has to hold out against her parents who with their 'I told you so' attitudes are so similar to parents worldwide who fear for their offspring and seem to sense danger even before it exists. I felt for Madeline's parents - helpless and on the sidelines - wanting to protect their daughter against everything untoward that could go wrong and not being able to do anything about it.

The story unfolded for me slowly. During the first half of the book, I was slightly bored but by the middle I was caught up in the happenings of Madeline and Leonard's marriage, honeymoon and return to their life in America. By this time the book engrossed me totally and I wanted to know how it would all end.


  1. I bought this book for my book club but we never read it. A couple of the members read it early and didn't like it so we moved on. I'll have to give it a try one day.

  2. I think we had fairly similar reactions to this book. I found it slow and boring in places, but in the end I enjoyed it too. Nowhere near as good as Middlesex though.

  3. Now this is exactly why I have a hard time ever giving up on a book - for you to go from being bored to being engrossed says to me to never give up on a book.

  4. I did see mixed reviews on this story and I appreciate your thoughts. Thanks for sharing.

    I have to agree with Lisa that you never know if the book will turn around unless you stick with it. I have read a few that didn't really catch me until the second half.

  5. This is on my wishlist and I think I will still try it, even if it's a little slow in places. It sounds like it was worth it in the end.