I’m in the midst of two quite different ARCs and having trouble with both of them. On the heels of a book I absolutely could NOT put down, I’m now reading the BN First Look selection, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and Dara Horn’s new book about a Jewish Civil War spy, All Other Nights, and much to my dismay, I’m not having trouble putting either of them down.
Thus the problem. I absolutely do not like Deliverance Dane. I think it’s quite contrived and I haven’t gotten past the first six chapeters. I’m really disappointed. I wanted to like this book so much, but there is nothing I dislike more than an unbelieveable female heroine and that’s how I’m viewing the protagonist, Connie Goodwin. She’s a complete caricature of the female graduate students I have encountered and, as I am a female graduate student in ancient history, I take umbrage at that. I’m contrasting this novel, or at least what I’ve read of it, to The Heretic’s Daughter, another novel based on the Salem witch trials by an ancestor, and The Monsters of Templeton‘s grad student heroine, Willie Upton, for the academic vibe. Willie may be flak, but Groff’s grad student is much more beliveable (even with a crazy plot premise!) Each of these novels is fabulous and deserves a wide reading.
I can’t say the same for The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane. I’m guessing, though, by the BN book club boards, that the book will be a big seller for them. I’ll be in the minority on this one, but I found it more like this past summer’s blog hit The Lace Reader. I really, really disliked that book. I did finish it although I’m not sure why. It was completely unbelievable from start to finish. That’s how I’m feeling about Deliverance Dane. The characters are too overdrawn and pat for me. I shan’t finish it and that makes me very sad (it’s got a GORGEOUS cover!).
As for the other ARC I’m reading, All Other Nights, I’m having a completely different problem. The characters are interesting enough and the plot is definitely meant to be exciting, but something is missing. I think it’s the fact that Horn sets up the protagonist in a series of challenges and as he finishes one I feel like I can put the book down. It’s like the story has been totally completed and there’s nothing compelling to push me to follow his next expoloit– they’re just strung together.