Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Too Deep for Tears - Kathryn Lynn Davis

Too Deep for Tears is one of those big meaty historical novels you can really sink your teeth into. It seems to have been marketed as a historical romance but this is somewhat misleading. Although there are love stories within the book it is not a traditional romance novel. It is historical fiction with romantic subplots.

The book is the story of Charles Kittredge's three daughters. Charles was a British diplomat who traveled the world and was forced for different reasons to abandon all three of his daughters. The novel is divided up into 4 separate smaller books. One book for each of the daughters and a fourth when they all return to Scotland to meet one another and their father.

Since the book was set up as four small novels I'm going to review each separately as I felt differently about each one.

The first book is about Ailsa the daughter of Charles and Mairi - Charles was married to Mairi but there relationship ended soon after as Mairi could not bring herself to leave the glen in Scotland and travel with Charles. This book was by far my favourite. It was longer then the the other three books and part of that may be why since I spent so much more time with Ailsa. Ailsa story starts out with her in Scotland and has her leave the man she has loved all her life to marry an English man who promises to show her the world. Ailsa and Williams story is very bittersweet it is obvious he is head over heels in love with her and although Ailsa cares very much for him her heart is still with Ian in the glen. This story was so well written I felt everything Ailsa felt and the ending of this story was one of the most perfect endings I've ever read.

Li-an is Charles second daughter who he had to leave behind in China when the government - fed up with all the foreigners taking advantage of them tried to have him killed. In order to escape with his life he was forced to leave Li-an and her mother and never come back. This was very hard on Li-an as her and her mother were always under suspicion after that - also Li-an's blue eyes gave her away as a foreigner and she was forced to always hide who she was. I found it very hard to connect with Li-an and this was my least favourite story of the four. Li-an's hatred of her father and her heritage are a large part of what makes her who she is and it makes her hard to like. Li-an's story is also very tragic but I found I was not all that much affected by it. The relationship between Li-an and Chau was developed over a fairly short period of time and I couldn't believe their relationship.

The third book was about Genevra whose mother had an affair with Charles which resulted in Genevra. Genevra lives in India as part of the British colony. Charles was present in Genevra's life until he was once again forced to leave the country as he was needed elsewhere. After he left Genevra's mother who suffered with depression hit her breaking point and confessed to her husband. Her husband threw both her and Genevra out of his home and Genevra was eventually abandoned with her unloving Aunt and Uncle. Genevra life was always difficult as she battled many of the same demons her mother did and was ostracized by the british community living in India and found herself relating more to the indians which only isolated her further. Although Genevra was filled with alot of the same bitterness as Li-an she didn't allow it to completely change who she was and I was able to sympathize with her.

The fourth book has all three sisters traveling to Scotland to see their father before he dies. This part of the book I found sort of anti-climatic as Charles is very ill and isn't able to really work things out with his daughters as he should.

Although I had a few minor quibbles (Li-ans story and the fourth book were only so so for me). As a whole I really enjoyed this book. All three sisters have the gift of second sight and throughout all the stories when they were in desperate need of comforting they would visit one another in their dreams. The way the abandonment by their father has shaped each sister was also done very well and you could see how it shaped the women they became.

If you like really in depth long historical novels I highly recommend this one.

Grade 8/10

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great review! I read this book and the sequel, Somewhere Lies the Moon years ago and loved the stories. Thank you!