Blog on! It’s day two and while I’ve come up with a ton of other stuff to say about the Help (including how much the author looks like a friend of mine) I do need to make mention of the second book we read before introducing—and really moving through, with you, readers—our third book for the month of December.
Oh…seriously! I can’t stand it. Check out author, Kathryn Stockett on the left and my friend, Kristina, on the right.
And because I just can’t let the Help go yet, one thing that invoked a lot of chatter among the LOL…the cover of the novel. Personally, I am not a fan of covers that feature the actors starring in the movie version. For one thing, clearly the book was written before the movie was made, for another, if you haven’t read the novel yet, you can’t help but envision the actors in the characters’ roles and let’s be honest, that colours (absolutely no pun intended) your perception of them. It’s a marketing ploy and while I get it, I don’t like it. That said, I am not a big fan of the purple cover featuring the birds either. I kept thinking, “Were there birds in this book? Are they symbolic (of course) of something deeper?” Anyway, thumbs down to the birdies from my point of view, and frankly from plenty of the LOL too. For more details, check out our Cheers! Ratings, but just for fun, here’s a few images of different covers. I’ve never seen the one featuring the maids, but I like it! What do you think?
Let’s start by saying 5 LOL Cheers! Just for being sort-of Canadian. She was born in Buffalo but makes her home in Vancouver, which leads me to believe she married one of our good Canadian men? Anyone know? Anyway, we sip to Roberta. Even if she is a lawyer…see my inaugural column in Okanagan Woman to understand this comment.
It is no surprise, my friend and writing partner and fellow LOL’er, Laura, selected Roberta’s book because Laura is not only an aspiring novelist, she is also a lawyer! Yet I love her. Laura lives in a gorgeous house on the lake in Kelowna but she’s not there that often. She and hubby Don, can be found in any number of exciting locations around the world at any given time. A big traveler, Laura has an even bigger heart. We met through a mutual friend at a writing group and instantly established that connection that goes way beyond rapport. She’s deep into the draft of her first novel, a murder mystery that involves a beautiful nun, a hot young intern lawyer and a brilliant, feisty female protagonist (also a lawyer). I’m hooked already. Even if they are lawyers.
Laura also writes about her travels and I’m encouraging her to send out her stuff for publication because she’s not only talented, but her stories, including one about her first, “virgin” Iron Man experience, are so engaging and informative and funny, just like her. The meeting chez Laura featured fabulous food (put my Costco selections to shame) and wonderful wine, lots of laughter, and an apple cake with a caramel sauce so yummy, I’d like to see it passed around, in bowls, at the next meeting.
Anyway, check out Roberta Rich’s website http://robertarich.com/
for details about he, including how she fell in love with Venice, visited the Jewish ghetto, and envisioned this very intriguing tale about a 16th century midwife who commits a crime by saving a Christian noblewoman and her baby.
Check out the LOL review of this book for details about what the ladies thought of this novel. I personally enjoyed it very much. The story was a great concept, the writing light, funny, and smooth to read. In other words, I thought the words had lovely flow and found Roberta Rich to be a talented writer, whose work I enjoyed. The characters were wonderfully rich and colourful. I think all the ladies fell in love with the charming, wizard of words, Isaac; Perhaps Roberta’s dream man incarnated in her work? The nun was a hoot and I expect we will get to know her well in the sequel. And of course, the protagonist, Hannah Levi, was strong, smart, feisty, and admirable in her undying love for her husband. She did, however, commit another crime early on in the novel that I won’t go into details about here (spoiler) that I didn’t quite buy…and I would agree with many of the LOL, that act, along with a multitude of other exciting, page-turning events, seemed rather contrived and conveniently placed to keep the reader going. Possibly the biggest disappointment was the ending. All agreed it was terribly convenient, had some super unbelievable aspects, unanswered events, and came together just a little too nicely. Several members commented they felt the author was “done” with her own book and just wanted to wrap it up. New, unnecessary characters were introduced, while others were inexplicably dropped, never to be heard from again (perhaps in the sequel?).
All that said…The Midwife of Venice is worth picking up for a light and entertaining read and I think Roberta Rich will only grow as a writer, perhaps addressing some of the plot holes and easy fixes, so that her story is ultimately as strong as her adept use of language.
Just for fun, here are some of the covers being used internationally for this novel. The LOL agreed; the Canadian cover (above) is gorgeous! What do you think?