I’m never sure whether I should research an author or book too much before I start reading, especially if it is an advanced copy. On one hand I wouldn’t mind knowing where this novel fits within their repertoire (is it a first, a tenth, a hundredth?) or are they a writer by training? And on the other hand do I really want to have those pre conceived notions? Sometimes that really works well for an author.
If I’m reading a novel that I’m not sure is a first novel or not and I read it with no pre-conceived notions and then I go back and find out that it is a first novel it often makes me reflect on it differently and that is the case with The Waiting Tree. I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and received no compensation for my honest response.
This is Moynihan’s first novel and it was a good novel; it wasn’t great, but it bordered on great which is all you can really ask for in a first novel. I vaguely remember it saying this was her first novel, but there were times where the maturity of her writing made me think this couldn’t be her first novel, but there were a few occasions which made me think it could be her first novel.
Where to start with this book… It’s not that it was a bad book, but it wasn’t a great book either. Overall the story was good and the writing was better than many of the romance novels I’ve read, but at the same time I felt the author could have done better.
I have to partially wonder if I stack the decks against this type of novel when I generally read them after having finished a tome of a classic (this time it was Middlemarch). But at the same time I have to think that it should still hold up regardless of what precedes or follows it. I will say that this book was definitely further along in the editing process than many of the galley’s I’ve read previously which was a nice change. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and received no compensation for my honest response.
As I said above, the book was a good read and I flew through it as it is just under 100 pages. The story was engaging enough to keep me interested and the steamy scenes were few and far between which I appreciate more than just a book that’s all steam and no story. I wish there was more character development as I felt there was a lot more to all of the characters but especially Tavish’s sister and mother and Iain’s father. There were enough hints about all three of these characters that I would’ve loved to know more!
Looking back, I’ve realized that this novel is sort of like a proto-’Love Actually’ – in that it is a network of love stories with interconnecting people who are only revealed slowly throughout the book. I felt the author did a great job at this even if it did cause me no end of frustration for the first couple hundred pages. I kept asking myself where this book was going and why the sisters from the beginning of the novel just disappeared, but they eventually reappeared and tied the story together.
Although the book clocks in at over 880 pages, it didn’t feel as if it were 880 pages. I believe this is a credit to the story and the language the author used. Her writing was not difficult to read and there were many beautiful passages and great descriptions, just look at how many quotes there are in my Additional Quotes section below. The one line that just made me laugh and think oh wow that’s me was
“When a conversation has taken a wrong turn for us, we only get farther and farther into the swamp of awkwardness.” (146)
It is just the perfect description of what happens when I pretty much ever open my mouth. I mentally thought ‘honey I’m mired in the swamp of awkwardness and am like the swamp lights (will-o’-the-wisps) that trick you into the swamp and then you die because you get lost, but without the death and lots of awkwardness.’
This is an example of a novel that could’ve been even better if they used a better copy editor, and this has nothing to do with the poor formatting of Amazon’s conversion process from the publisher provided copy. This is my honest response and I received no compensation.
Overall the story and characters were engaging I thought Brad and Sebastian were great and I really hope Colin, Ashley and Kyle make an appearance in another novel in the series, but it doesn’t look like it. There were moments where I laughed out loud and there were even a few moments where my breath caught in my chest, but in the long run I was let down by the editing and a vital choice the author made early on in the novel. I definitely wanted to know more about the characters, but I felt I really got to know who Brad was and who he was becoming in the short 170 pages of this novel.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed this book and thought it was beautifully written, it didn’t really leave me with much of an opinion. It’s hard to say whether this is because of the writing or the very succinct writing of the plot and story. Many times the books that leave me wanting more are the books that I desperately cling to because I don’t know the happily ever after.
In this book you get everything and it’s great, but the author wrapped the story up in a perfect finite package with only a hint of a what’s next, which was great at the end, but not enough to leave me wowed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really glad I read it and can’t believe it took me this long to jump on the band wagon and I would recommend it to everyone, I’m just sort of lackadaisical about it. There were two great things that stood out for me, the minor characters (and animals) and the juxtaposition of the old Jacob and the young Jacob.