Wednesday, February 13, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: “The First Warm Evening of the Year” by Jamie M. Saul

The-First-Warm-Evening-of-the-YearThe First Warm Evening of the Year Jamie M. Saul
Published: February 12, 2013
ISBN-10: 0061449733
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: TLC Book Tours
Recommended for readers who like "mental" books

Summary (from the back of the book): Geoffrey Tremont is untroubled by his neat, contented bachelor life in bustling New York City.  On an ordinary day, Geoffrey arrives home to find a letter awaiting him with a postmark from an unfamiliar town: Shady Grove, New York.  An old friend has named him executor of his estate.  Twenty years ago, in college, Geoffrey and Laura Welles had been each other’s confidant; as their lives diverged, they went their separate way.  Now she’s reached out of the past to ask him a final favor.
Traveling up to Laura’s hometown, Geoffrey meets Marian Ballantine.  A widow living in the shadow of an idyllic marriage and now grieving the loss of her best friend, Marian knows a lot about Geoffrey.  Laura often spoke of him, she tells him, and though he’s flattered, he’s also thrown off balance.  From the moment he first sees her, Geoffrey instinctively knows this attractive, plainspoken woman has the power to upend his cool, compartmentalized life.

Thoughts on Content (4.0 / 5.0): This story can easily be summed up as a love-story for those of us too old for chick lit.  The characters are in their forties and have already had full lives before the story begins.  This is something that I really appreciated about the book—the characters were normal people.  Another aspect of this book that I found especially appealing is that Marian, the widow with whom Geoffrey falls in love, is not recovering from some horrible marriage.  There seems to be a feeling among authors or publishers or whoever that they must perpetuate the myth that a person can only be happy with one other person and Saul is able to show that this is not true.

Thoughts on Style (3.5 / 5.0): There were things I truly liked about this story. The plot was not overcrowded with useless threads(with one exception) or unnecessary characters (again, with one exception).  The characters and their circumstances were very realistic and I believed that these could be flesh and blood people.

On the flip side, I did feel there was one unnecessary character—Laura’s brother, Simon—and one unnecessary thread—the relationship of sorts between Simon and Geoffrey’s brother, Alex.  It just wasn’t needed in this story and did nothing to propel the main plot of the book.  I also felt that all the characters spoke with the same voice, which became rather monotone after a while.

My thoughts (3.0 / 5.0): While there was plenty that I liked in this book, as listed above, there was one thing that really hampered my enjoyment and it goes along with all the characters having the same voice.  These characters are overly self-aware of everything.  It is as if they have all spent years and year in therapy or are psychiatrists treating themselves.  The dialogue seems to be just pages and pages of the characters analyzing their own motives for everything.  Not only is it horribly unrealistic, but it just got tiring to read after a while.

The basis of this story is so good….I just wish the author would have given the characters real voices instead of psychobabble monologues.

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Need a second opinion?  Check out these other stops on the tour:

Thursday, February 14th: Fresh Basil
Monday, February 18th: Adorkable Me
Tuesday, February 19th: 5 Minutes for Books
Wednesday, February 20th: BookNAround
Monday, February 25th: A Book Geek
Tuesday, February 26th: Book Journey
Wednesday, February 27th: The Scarlet Letter
Thursday, February 28th: Regular Rumination
Tuesday, March 5th: Lavish Bookshelf
Wednesday, March 6th: Iwriteinbooks’s blog
Thursday, March 7th: A Chick Who Reads
Date TBD: Speaking of Books

This review is part of a blog tour by TLC Book Tours.  I received a copy of the book to read and review.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are mine, and mine alone.
AFFILIATE LINK: Purchase this book at Amazon.

1 comment:

  1. Darn, I'm sorry this one didn't quite work for you, but thanks for being on the tour.