Saturday, July 20, 2013

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

This was my Random Read for July and had been on my Kindle for over a year. I received this as a review copy from Netgalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux in exchange for an honest review.

Hester loves history and loves working at Plimoth Plantation. History for her is the exchange of stories as a way to connect with the past and little does Hester know, but her past is about to catch up with her. Hester's mother died in childbirth, as did her grandmother, so Hester swears off love and sex to protect herself and the ones she loves, including boy-next-door Peter. After a chance encounter with a boy on the beach, Hester begins to delve into her past in hopes to stop the curse plaguing her family. While Hester in the present day is coping with her problems, the story flashes back to Ezra and Syrenka, a pair of star-crossed lovers, one human and one mermaid. As both stories climax, it will be up to Hester to combine the past and present and choose the most difficult choice of all.

There was so much in this story; it had mermaids, ghosts, a family curse, an undying love, and history. At times it seemed a bit busy, but it all came together in the end. There is one rape scene in the book and quite a bit of language, but upper high school could handle it. Fama's writing is beautiful and she has some great word choices for her descriptions. It was definitely not a fluff read, because the language is a bit complex at times. The book was full of great suspense, a fair amount of history and information, and twists and turns that finally lead to a dramatic end. Hester is filled with determination and spunk and that helps her to survive. I wish she was just a little nicer to Peter, but in the end things will probably work out.

Favorite Character: There were very few innocent characters in the story, but that really made things interesting. When bad events happened there were really no true villains or heroes. Hester was probably my favorite, mainly because she loves history too. I think she matured in the end and hopefully will come to deserve Peter's love.

Favorite Quote: "It made her think about how recording information, ideas, and stories can collapse the time and space between the writer and the reader. It was one of the reasons she was drawn to history in school: there was such romance in listening to voices of the past." That is the reason I love history and studied history too, because of all the stories.

Wow, this was a deep book with lots of interesting plot points. The power of love and what love truly means was probably the best theme. 5 cups of cocoa!

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