Friday, July 31, 2009

The Sealed Letter by Emma Donaghue

I must admit I don't know what's in the sealed letter. I got through the first 50 pages, then decided this was the day I was going to follow through with my recent decision to stop at 50 if I wasn't enthralled. To be honest, there are too many books out there to spend a day reading something that doesn't really grab me.

I was surprised I didn't like this one. Donaghue can usually be counted on to present a well-researched, fact-based tale that transports the reader to the time of the action. But this time it felt like she was saying, "look how much I know about Victorian England." Not that there's anything wrong with knowing a lot about anything. But her facts weren't integral to the story and that left me cold.

Donaghue can tend to write more like an academic than a novelist, and this one seemed devoid of emotion. But her writing is crisp and clear and her facts are always presented well. So you might like this if you crave Victorian tales even when they're on the dry side.