Monday, April 8, 2013

Book Review: "The Clover House" by Henriette Lazaridis Power

The Clover House Henriette Lazaridis Power
Published: April 2, 2013
ISBN-10: 0345530683 
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Historical Fiction
Source: TLC Book Tours


Summary (from Powells.com)



Boston, 2000: Calliope Notaris Brown receives a shocking phone call. Her beloved uncle Nestor has passed away, and now Callie must fly to Patras, Greece, to claim her inheritance. Callie’s mother, Clio—with whom Callie has always had a difficult relationship—tries to convince her not to make the trip. Unsettled by her mother’s strange behavior, and uneasy about her own recent engagement, Callie decides to escape Boston for the city of her childhood summers. After arriving at the heady peak of Carnival, Callie begins to piece together what her mother has been trying to hide. Among Nestor’s belongings, she uncovers clues to a long-kept secret that will alter everything she knows about her mother’s past and about her own future.

Greece, 1940: Growing up in Patras in a prosperous family, Clio Notaris and her siblings feel immune to the oncoming effects of World War II, yet the Italian occupation throws their privileged lives into turmoil. Summers in the country once spent idling in the clover fields are marked by air-raid drills; the celebration of Carnival, with its elaborate masquerade parties, is observed at home with costumes made from soldiers’ leftover silk parachutes. And as the war escalates, the events of one fateful evening will upend Clio’s future forever.

My Thoughts:
This is the first novel for Power and I found her style to be more mature and polished than one would expect for a debut novel.  The settings of the story were impeccably described and the main characters were fully developed.

That being said, this book did not really work for me.  There are two stories--one of Callie in 2000 and one of her mother, Clio, in 1940.  While I found Clio's story fascinating, it clearly played second fiddle to Callie's tale.  When it came to Callie's story, I never really figured out what it was truly about.  Was it about Callie's mother issues?  About her intimacy issues?  About something else entirely?  The reason for her story was never clear.

I did not find Callie to be a likable character--and while that is not a deal breaker for me, she never really seemed to redeem myself in my eyes.  I found her to be immature in general, inconsiderate in her relationships, and unnecessarily nosy when it came to her Mother's history.  I understand that Callie's supposed need to know about her mother's past is the thread that supposedly holds the book together.  However, I never figured out why it was so important.  Instead, Callie just came across as someone who was determined to dig up painful memories for her mother in order to punish her.

Mixed in with all this is an absurd story line of Callie wavering about her relationship with her fiance, Jonah, and a group of young greeks.  Again, I was never clear what the point of this was.

While I did enjoy Power's writing and the historical side of this book, it just was not enough to save The Clover House for me.


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

Monday, April 1st:  Speaking of BooksTuesday, April 2nd:  Historical Tapestry – guest post “Why I Love…”Wednesday, April 3rd:  Patricia’s Wisdom
Thursday, April 4th:  No More Grumpy Bookseller
Tuesday, April 9th:  Knowing the Difference
Thursday, April 11th:  Kritter’s Ramblings
Monday, April 15th:  Diary of an Eccentric
Tuesday, April 16th:  Adventures of an Intrepid Reader
Tuesday, April 16th:  Historical Tapestry
Wednesday, April 17th:  Booktalk & More
Thursday, April 18th:  The Relentless Reader
Monday, April 22nd:  It’s a Crazy, Beautiful Life
Wednesday, April 24th:  Peppermint Ph.D.
Thursday, April 25th:  Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Tuesday, April 30th:  Bookfoolery
This review is part of a book tour by TLC Book Tours. I received a copy of the book to read and review, but all opinions in this review are mine, and mine alone.  I received no further compensation for this review.

The Clover House
by Henriette Lazaridis Power
Powells.com

5 comments:

  1. I often don't like books with two story lines for that reason - I tend to like one more than the other. Thanks for this review. :-)

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  2. I have a review scheduled for this in a week or so. I felt much the same as you. There was just too much going on :/

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  3. Is the Reading Challenge widget on your page from GoodReads? I have an account there but always forget to update it! Anyway, thanks for the review. I need to read more non-fiction.

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  4. Darn, I'm sorry to see that this one didn't quite work for you, but thanks for being a part of the tour.

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  5. I am reading this book for a review right now, and I have many of the same thoughts about it. Callie is just so stinking immature...I was shocked when she made reference to being 35, because she acts like a 21 year old. : ) Good to know it's not just me!

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