25/04/2009

Nothing Lasts Forever (by Maureen Lee)

Looking at her website, Maureen Lee sounds like a lovely person. She's written a huge number of books, although until recently I had only read one of them: The Girl from Barefoot House. I found it pleasant enough but a bit flat; interesting but not gripping.

So I wasn't inspired to try any more books by this author. However, I was recently sent 'Nothing Lasts Forever', to review for The Bookbag site. The cover of the book is appealing, and I thought it started well - if a little confusingly - introducing the reader, one at a time, to four different women in brief cameos.

The main part of the book takes place in 2006 when these four women draw together to share a house. Brodie is the house owner; she has recently separated from her husband over family disagreements. Diana is the first person to join her, a well-meaning, generous young woman who feels unwanted in her family home after looking after her brothers for many years.

Then there's Vanessa, an overweight businesswoman recovering from a rejection at the altar, and there's Rachel, a teenager with a baby, whose family want the baby to be adopted.

There is so much potential with these different people as they interact, but so little of it is realised. I didn't find myself empathising with any of them; possibly this is because the viewpoint switches rapidly so we don't really get to know any of them.

Perhaps, too, the lack of empathy is because the conversations, while realistic, don't do anything to advance the plot. Or perhaps it's because the whole feel of the novel is like that of a 1960s Liverpool saga, so the mention of mobile phones and microwaves seems strangely anachronistic.

As with the other novel I read by Maureen Lee, I didn't actively dislike this one (other than a dramatic and unpleasant climax to the book) but didn't find it gripping or moving either. It would make good holiday reading - something to pick up and set down whenever necessary - but is not the kind of book I'd want to read again.

If you're a fan of this author - and she has a huge following - you will probably disagree, and love this book.

My longer review of 'Nothing Lasts Forever' is here on the Bookbag site.

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

Thanks for that review - it's very ineresting to see where other writers have gone wrong.