Daniel has spent centuries falling in love with the same girl. Life after life, crossing continents and dynasties, he and Sophia (despite her changing name and form) have been drawn together-and he remembers it all. Daniel has "the memory", the ability to recall past lives and recognize souls of those he's previously known. It is a gift and a curse. For all the times that he and Sophia have been drawn together throughout history, they have also been torn painfully, fatally, apart. A love always too short.
Interwoven through Sophia and Daniel's unfolding present day relationship are glimpses of their expansive history together. From 552 Asia Minor to 1918 England and 1972 Virginia, the two souls share a long and sometimes torturous path of seeking each other time and time again. But just when young Sophia (now "Lucy" in the present) finally begins to awaken to the secret of their shared past, to understand the true reason for the strength of their attraction, the mysterious force that has always torn them apart reappears. Ultimately, they must come to understand what stands in the way of their love if they are ever to spend a lifetime together. (from goodreads)
Thanks to that slightly epic synopsis, I can now move straight on to what I thought about the book ;)
At first I wasn't sure if I would read it all - the first chapter, while definitely compelling, is pretty intense with the depth of romance and the soul mate connection thing and I wasn't sure if it was a too hard-core love story for my taste...
However, it swiftly moves along in chapters that not only alternate in POV, but also in time periods including ancient settings and exotic and varied locations around the world. While a lot of these chapters recounted the love and history between Daniel and Sophie (Lucy) they were not so focused on the love, but on the tragedy.
Reading Daniel's chapters had the feel of reading a fable and stories of old, lyrical and sometimes powerful. The writing had a lovely lilting feel to it.
What I liked:
- The settings. Brashares really did an outstanding job of taking the story around the world and each time period felt authentic.
- I loved the little stories of past lives, people long gone, often having lived a haunting tale. There were some moving anecdotes and scenes hidden in there.
- The whole way she created her reincarnation-lore was pretty awesome and intriguing and it made a cool premise. Yeah, I think she pulled it off.
- It's impressive, all she fit in, from war to ancient times to college and the early 1900's Each time period felt authentic and fresh.
What I would have liked:
- Would it have been too much to add in a little humour of light-heartedness for some levity? After a while, I was all, 'this is so damn depressing'. Tragedy after haunted moment after fated circumstance and just-missed-it timing.
- It's not a funny book. Okay, that's stating the obvious, but I seriously did not smile or laugh once. Okay, I may have smirked in a passionate moment, haha. What can I say, occasional melodrama amuses me. I always like to have a little smile every now and then while reading, just saying.
- Towards the end, I felt Daniel's lives were all a blur of depression, he felt soul-weary and I can't think of things he enjoyed in life apart from thinking about Sophie and pining for her. He felt like he was narrating the tragedy's of his life. Was their love really that strong that everything pales in comparison? Although, he did occasionally impress me with glimpses of talent and every now and then he surprised me with something resembling a personality. Haha.
- Why do hard-core romance books sometimes make me feel cynical? I should be ashamed of myself. (why is this a bullet point? *shrugs*)
Recommended: If you love romance and haunting stories of ancient lives, this is definitely for you. Seriously, I can think of people who would love this. It's got the potential to have girls swooning over the tortured soul who loves his girl with his whole being to die for her (I am not being cynical here, really). Also, it's got a fabulous premise and is well written :)
Okay, so I liked reading it and I'm going with three stars.
Suddenly I feel like my review turned a bit harsh?
Covers: It's fairly obvious to me that the Aussie/UK is the winner. I love the font and the purple and yellow. nice.
You don't agree? What is with the US one? I don't even know what that cover is trying to make me feel or why that would entice me to pick it up... Enlighten me.
And, yeah: in case you didn't realise, this is the same author of The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants. It's being marketed as a YA/Adult Fic crossover.