Ghostly, entertaining jaunt. Foreign setting, lots of fantasy, family intrigues and romance. Teens and young adults would be a good audience for this one.
I liked it well enough, though I wanted to thump some sense into Li Lan several times. And she does the distressed damsel quite a bit. And some issues are managed in somewhat simplistic ways. But it was a speedy read, and I had a good time.
This book was over 700 pages! Seriously. At one point I nodded off and I think my finger kept moving or something so I woke up to a totally different place in the book, and did not go back. I just couldn't.
I really do love Maeve Binchy's works and since I saw the movie version of this, I really wanted to read this. If I had known how long it was and how some parts deviated from the book though, I would have passed.
I think the biggest issue is that at first the book focuses on two school children (Benny Hogan and Eve Malone) and we somehow fast forward through their childhood to when they move onto Dublin and meet another student named Nan. And then the book starts working in Nan's third person POV as well so she became a sort of third main character to the book. I rather wish we hadn't delved into Nan so much and just focused on Benny and Eve. And also, the book did not need to be as long as it was for us to get to the main point. The main point being apparently, once a cheater, always a cheater.
I think that Binchy over time was able to edit herself more and keep the plot moving much better in her later books. The flow in this book was pretty bad. Things were repeatedly said about the same person over and over again. I started rooting for nuns to die (just for something to happen).
I think once the book moved firmly to the Dublin section it just got worse in my eyes. We get even more characters thrown at us and I just wanted to tell everyone to just have sex and be done with it. Reading about the girls that would, the girls that wouldn't, how boys wanted it, and everything in between was boring. I think this was touted as a coming of age story and blah. I prefer the movie version of this.