Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice

I picked this one up based on the strong recommendation of the Bookseller to the Stars, who named it his book of the year for 2006. With such a rave review, I thought I might enjoy this title described as an "old-fashioned good read". Unfortunately, the book utterly failed to grab me.

The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets is the story of a friendship between Penelope, the youngest female member of an aristocratic family that has fallen on hard times post-WWII, and Charlotte, a girl she meets at a bus stop one day. Penelope and Charlotte strike up a friendship, and... well, that's about all you get in the first 90 pages. At some point I just put the book down and never picked it up again. Penelope as a character seemed utterly dull, without hope of redemption from dullness within the next 90 pages. Charlotte, who was supposed to be so amazing and sophisticated from Penelope's point of view, also seemed pretty uninteresting. Unfortunately, nothing exciting happens to either of these girls during the first few chapters - tea with Charlotte's aunt, a dinner party at Penelope's crumbling mansion, and a walk in the snow... zzzz... - so I didn't feel compelled to keep reading.

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