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This is definitely a charming book. However, I really wanted to love it more than I did. The title and blurb suggest that this is a book about Sarah, the woman who talks to books. (Actually, the woman that books talk to.) Yet this book really is not much about Sarah at all. We have an introduction that sets up the whole "book charmer" sequence when Sarah is young - and then we jump straight to adulthood, with no idea how this shaped her as she grew up, or how she learned to deal with this rare gift. She just has it. Similarly, we open with the troubled childhood of Grace, and the promise that things are going to turn around - but we never see that happen. We jump straight to Grace's adulthood as well. So many things we would have liked to see are never shown. Sarah is pretty much an adjunct to the story of Grace and her family. And even there, we see events, and we see outcomes, but it's not so easy to see the course of resolution. Things just get... resolved. Again, it's a charming read. But it doesn't give you the elements that the cover and title lead you to expect. If I found the second book at Goodwill I'd buy it, but I wouldn't pay full price after reading the first.
At the very beginning of this book there is an introduction to Sarah, the seventh Dove daughter. The story goes that when the Dove family have seven daughters one of them have a special magic ability that will result in bringing prosperity to the town. Then there is Grace, a person that has had a hard life and more responsibilities than many can’t handle since she was 10 years. Leap forward and Sarah needs to make sure Grace stays in Dove Pond. There are many irrelevant characters that were added just to fill pages. There descriptions of characters around town with special abilities as well, and it was completely irrelevant. There is a bit of romance, but just that. Sarah and Blake? What was that all about? It feels like an open ending story. I don’t like those at all. If you like magical stories, where women have abilities that help them help others you MUST read Sarah Addison Allen’s The garden spell.
Overall, this book is a light, charming story, but it has problems. The biggest one in my opinion is that the title leads you to believe that the main character/storyline would be about Sarah. It isn't. Grace carries the story, with Sarah really playing a supporting role. If Sarah's character had been further developed rather than introducing such a large cast of minor townspeople, I probably would've enjoyed the book much better. It became clear to me when I'd read over half the book that it had to be part of a series, because things weren't moving quickly enough for a clear ending. It is, and it wasn't something I noticed before buying. Nothing was resolved with Grace and Travis; or with Sarah and Blake. From what I can tell, the second book which has yet to be released has nothing to do with these characters. Disappointing because it had so much potential.
Three stars plus. This is a kind, gentle book that you will enjoy more if your expectations are not high. The beginning seems a bit disjointed as we spend the opening chapters introducing our main characters as children in different times and places before we jump to their grownup years. Sarah is the seventh daughter in the Dove family and apparently in Dove Pond, everyone knows that when the Dove family has seven daughters, something special is going to happen. Grownup Sarah is the town librarian, and the books talk to her. Since Dove Pond is a small town struggling to survive, Sarah has always thought that she would be one to save the town- she just has no idea how. Grace and her sister as children bounced around in foster homes until they finally land with Mama G. Grownup Grace moves to Dove Pond to have fewer job demands as she copes with Mama G’s dementia and Grace’s new role as mother/guardian to her young niece. The story is very predictable. Both the magic and the romance are very minor parts of the story. The pacing is steady. There is too much that seems vaguely familiar in the character paths for any of it seem remotely true. The magic feels more true. Unfortunately, none of the characters, the romance, or the magic is well developed so everything feels hollow. It is inoffensive. But that is really faint praise for a book that is this expensive.
This book was ok in some aspects & dreadful in others.. It’s just on the other lower side of 3 stars for me. I did care about the characters. If it had not brought me to do so, I probably would DNF’d. It had potential to be so much. The magical realism is not done well at all. The Hallmark Channel-like feel was dull & about half way through it became real work to continue. The dialogue became mind numbing in some parts too. It did pick up again & the last 1/4 was done pretty well. If you like predictable Hallmarky chick flicky plots & aren’t wanting too much real depth you’ll probably like this read. Otherwise it’s a skip. My real disappointment came from the fact it could’ve pretty easily been so much better.
I really wanted to love this book, but I couldn't even finish it. I kept waiting for something exciting to happen to capture my attention (or at least hold it for one more chapter), but the magic never happened. I finally gave up half way through which I absolutely hate doing. I'm glad others enjoyed it, but it just wasn't enough for me.