Wednesday, August 15, 2012

As I Close My Eyes, by Sarah DiCello

At the tender age of 18, Danielle has her whole life ahead of her, when suddenly, an accident has her contemplating the life she has behind her.  After a boating accident, Danielle begins having odd dreams of a woman named Caroline who lived over a hundred years prior.  It quickly becomes apparent that Danielle actually was this woman, and the people in her present day life have counterparts in the past as well.  Danielle becomes obsessed with learning about her past life, and determining if it was real.

I thought this was a really great concept, one that I have seen similarly employed in other books.  I like the juxtaposition of past and present, and the idea that everyone has a past/future counterpart.  It makes me wonder what it would be like to live in the past.  I actually enjoyed the "past" parts of the book more than the present.  I felt like the storyworld was more vivid, and the rich details made it seem more real.  Similarly, I was much more interested in the stories of the past characters.  I felt like the transitions between the scenes of the past and present were smooth, and one never wondered who we were seeing, Caroline or Danielle

While I did like Danielle as a character, I felt like the modern portions of her story were not as well developed, and therefore a little less realistic.  She meets a man, and boom they are in love, meeting each others' families and such.  I mean, sure, I guess that could happen so quickly, but I could not help but feel like the relationship seemed to lack enough substance to ignite so quickly.  In direct contract, I thought the relationship between Robert and Caroline in the past seemed to have an incredible amount of depth.  Similarly, I found myself wanting to learn Ben's version of the whole story.

I found the ending to be pretty surprising, with the last sentence being a bit of a twist.  This, coupled with what appears to be some unfinished business with other characters, leads me to believe there will be a sequel to this eventually.  All in all, a quick, engaging read, perfect for a little vacation reading.  I think fans of romance novels, particularly historical romance, will enjoy this unique book.

I received a review copy courtesy of the author.

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