The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Gallery of Vanished Husbands by Natasha Solomons

Publisher:  Plume
Release Date:  August 27, 2013
Pages:  352
The Gallery of Vanished Husbands by Natasha Solomons

Wanda's Review:  This book was a Goodreads "First Reads Winner".

Juliet Montague is a young Jewish widow, whose husband, George, vanished seven years ago. She is the mother of two young children, a son Leonard, and a daughter, Frieda. In Jewish law only men can divorce women. Until George returns or dies or divorces Juliet, her life is in limbo. So, what happens if she wants to marry again? Unless George sends a bill of divorce, she is still married in the eyes of God. Juliet feels as if she is quietly disappearing piece by piece. Then her life changes. An artist asks to paint her portrait. Charles Fussell, a young wealthy painter, told her she had a good face. Not beautiful, but interesting. And the story unfolds -----

Juliet eventually becomes the owner of Wednesday's Art Gallery. She is the curator, owner, and navigator - she runs the gallery and chooses all the artists. Over the years, Juliet has her portrait painted many times. Each one of the portraits, all painted by different artists, catches a little piece of her - portraits of assorted Juliets - a kaleidoscope of portraits. 

Many well developed characters are introduced throughout, and one with whom Juliet has an affair over a period of many years. Juliet is a strong, charming character that you really get to know well. She has a penchant for choosing a good painting. She feels art has a use in helping us to see the world more clearly, it sharpens the perception. 

The author definitely has a writing style of her own - her descriptive writing is absolutely some of the best I've ever read. She literally paints a picture with her words.

A few negatives - The tempo of the storyline simmered along at a very slow pace. There were times I trudged through, skimming over some passages. And, not much excitement - it was just luke-warm. The ending was tied up very neatly, but not really compelling - nothing that swept me away or evoked many emotions.

But, for those of you who want a good relaxed read, I would recommend this book. My rating is 3.5 stars.

I received an advanced uncorrected proof copy of this book from Goodreads as a first reads winner.