Monday, June 10, 2013

A Half Forgotten Song, by Katherine Webb

Zach has spent his life becoming an expert in the life and work of artist Charles Aubrey.  He goes to the Dorset coastal village where Aubrey spent three summers with his mistress and children.  There, Zach finds that one of the women who would pose for Aubrey, Mitzy, is still alive and can shed some light on the mystery of Charles Aubrey's life.

It is really rare that a book can completely change my initial reaction, but this one certainly did.  When I first began reading this novel, I found it incredibly dull.  The first hundred pages really seem to plod on.  It takes quite a long time to set up the backstory and explain the story world.  But once that happens, and the story can start in earnest, the book gets so much better.  I thought I was going to hate the book, based on those first 100 pages, but in the end I really liked it.

I think the author painted some really rich characters, particularly in Mitzy.  We are never entirely sure how accurate Mitzy's version of events is, even when the story is fully revealed.  I liked the way the past and present unfold simultaneously, I feel like it gave us a much richer view of the story and the characters.  They story itself is quite unique, and I certainly did not predict the many twists and turns.

My biggest complaint was those first 100 pages, setting up the story.  It was just too much.  By eliminating a couple of aspects (like Zach's ex-wife and daughter), the fat could have been trimmed a little, giving the reader a more engaging story.  I could see some readers giving up within those first 100 pages.  Fans of romance and of mystery will appreciate this book, since both genres are artfully intertwined.

I received a review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.  See the rest of the tour here.

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