I originally rated this 3 stars, but since my memories are largely around the story are about several scenes near the end that upset me greatly due to its subject matter, I'm choosing to lower it to 1.5 stars. There was one plotline in particular that sticks out in my memory for being out of place and thrown in for shock factor, but also disturbing and uncomfortable to me seven years ago. Therefore, a lower rating feels more representative of my feelings.
Adrienne Beauvier has a gift. She can see visions, and they will come true. But in a house where many secrets are buried, this gift only puts her in danger. To make matters worse, her aunt, Marie, seem to detest her and will go to any length to keep Adrienne quiet.
When Aunt Marie takes Adrienne from her childhood home in France and locks her in Miramont Castle in America, Adrienne must learn to face the torment of her visions.
Now, I didn't really begin to think this was very interesting until about a quarter of the way through. The synopsis had interested me, but the actual book and plot were a little slow to deliver. But once things picked up there, they only remained interesting for awhile longer before becoming slightly boring again. A lot of things were really repetitive and didn't really seem to serve a lot of purpose to the story. Once in awhile, the author would reveal something or bring about some kind of twist that was supposed to shock the reader or bring out emotion, but I didn't really feel anything. The plot would pick up every so often before becoming dull again, and for me, that made it a lot harder to get through.
I was incredibly intrigued by Adrienne's visions and Aunt Marie's unwavering hatred of both Adrienne and her ability. The more Aunt Marie hated Adrienne, the more I wanted to know what she could possibly be hiding.
There is a lot of cultural effect in this book, especially since it takes place in France in the 1880s-1900s and also deals with the discovery of the New World and traveling to different continents. Sometimes, that gets a little confusing and a dictionary is required for certain words, but it doesn't really affect the story itself a whole lot. But I would say to pay attention to the little cultural details, or you might feel a little lost while reading this.
I didn't like the family situation in this book though. I felt like it was overdone in terms of how little they really resembled and acted like a family. Parents seemed incapable of proper parenting, siblings seemed to do nothing, other family members served only to irritate and scheme. I know that it has a lot to do with the plot and one of the themes of the book, but I felt like the family characters could have been improved upon and at least have some kind of redeemable quality about them.
It's sad, really, that I had been so interested in the plot before and was looking forward to reading this. While I do think this would appeal to other readers, this just really wasn't for me.
Lastly, the ending. I wasn't really impressed with it. I predicted certain parts as they came along, and I feel like there were some loose ends that were never tied up and resolved. For example, a recurring vision that Adrienne has was never explained, though one could speculate after reading the ending. And everything seemed too convenient. It was like everything just happened to fall in a certain way and somehow, there was never any justice for all the horrible things the characters had done. Everything had seemed to either be justified, or were simply never resolved.
To be very honest with you, I actually skim-read most of this book. A lot of details weren't super important to me and I didn't feel the need to pay attention to every word, so skim-reading just occurred naturally for me. But that's just me
I felt bad for Adrienne, for everything she went through. It really wasn't easy for her to have the gift of visions and have all these people gossip and alienate her. She was really the only character I felt bad for. But then, around 2/3 of the way through the book, I began to realize that I didn't really like her. I knew that she had been alienated by everyone because of her gift, and that Aunt Marie treated her horribly, but as she got older, her reasoning and attitude became less and less worthy of sympathy. I slowly found her to be a dislikable protagonist and that made me like the book even less.
I basically detest every one of Adrienne's family members, except for her grandfather. The rest of her family is either full of schemes and evil plans, or utterly useless and serve no purpose to the book. So many of the characters were incapable of standing up for themselves, telling the truth, getting things done, or even holding a simple enough conversation that didn't lead to someone being angry, crying, or leaving the room
Lastly, there's Lucie, Adrienne's governess, whom I really liked in the beginning. But then she did something that made me so done with her and the whole family, all the characters in fact, that I almost considered not finishing this. I was just so incredibly done with the situation and how Lucie somehow seemed to feel like her actions were justifiable and that she didn't need to tell the full truth.
1.5 stars. I don't think I'd really recommend this, but check it out if this seems like something that might interest you. Honestly, I just felt that the most interesting aspect of the book was Adrienne's gift of visions.
Thank you to NetGalley for hosting this, and thank you to Lake Union Publishing for putting this on NetGalley and approving my request to read and review this