The Sitting Room

Aimee Juarez. Bayley Street, $4.99 e-book (410p) ISBN 978-0-9965749-0-7
Juarez’s debut romance has the bones of a good historical—strong period feel (though there are some persistent errors), appealing protagonists, quirky secondary characters, and a dab of Irish language for aficionados—but it cannot escape its smothering detail. In 1894 London, David Gosfield arrives to take up a teaching post formerly held by his grandfather at Johns College. Adele Ledford is in the company of her illusionist uncle, Lionel “Douglas Daniels” Ledford. Uncle and niece are gifted mediums, and when Adele spots David across a restaurant, it’s more—and worse—than love at first sight: David is being haunted by a specter only Adele and Lionel can see. This is an enticing setup, but an excruciating 15% of the book is required to establish it. Juarez’s research is front and center, a jumble of apropos nuggets and absurd specifics: David’s hair is seven inches long at the crown, while that of Adele’s future brother-in-law is five inches; David’s satchel never becomes a mere bag but is persistently “the brown-leather gladstone.” And so interminably on, delaying and muddying conflict and character development. It’s a meander of a book, one that longs to romp but only plods. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 02/13/2017
Genre: Fiction
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