Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Book Review: Distant Shores by Kristin Hannah

Distant ShoresDistant Shores by Kristin Hannah
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Well, first off I should say that I am typically a Kristin Hannah fan. Everyone of her books I've read to date, I actually liked / loved, so I was disappointed to say that I barely liked this one. As a matter of fact, I toyed with the idea of a one star, but in the end decided on two. I won't read this again, not that I ever do, but I also won't be loaning it to any of the ladies that I know who like to read. I think it was really that I just didn't like the characters or that they weren't as dveloped as I would have liked. Typically her books are twice as thick and maybe that was the problem, there wasn't enough time to fall in love with any of them. There were lots of things that I thought could have been expounded upon, but in the end I was just glad when it was over.

This is the synopsis from publisher's weekly, quite possibly if I would have read that last line I would have realized this book wasn't going to be for me.
Hannah returns with another second-chance-at-love story, this one as bleak as the soggy Pacific Northwest setting. Perimenopausal former artist Elizabeth Shore is feeling lost and miserable these days, as daughters Jamie and Stephanie matriculate at Georgetown and husband Jack focuses on jump-starting his stalled sports broadcasting career. So Elizabeth, tellingly nicknamed "Birdie," compulsively redecorates her empty nest and pesters Jack with lugubrious questions about what's wrong with their lives. Then Jack scores a journalistic coup, and in his implausibly meteoric return to broadcasting glory, winds up in an efficiency apartment in New York City, halfheartedly fending off the advances of both a nubile assistant and a Hollywood bombshell. Meanwhile, back in rainy Oregon, Birdie grieves for her beloved late father, joins a support group for "passionless" women, starts to paint again and talks to herself in the self-help homilies Hannah favors ("No more cheerleader years for me. I need to get in the game"). She even has a rapprochement with newly widowed stepmother Anita, who, in a particularly explosive burst of character development, somehow transforms from a tacky Southern "Bette Midler on speed" to a white-haired sylph favoring "long, flowing" white dresses. (When Birdie finds her bliss, she discovers she's miraculously lost weight.) Hannah's tried-and-true formula includes the predictable happy ending, complete with life lessons tearfully learned, but only hardcore fans will make it to the last page of this dreary soap.

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