The first half was so slow. Just get on with it already! The last half picked up thankfully. I really didn't get the whole point of Kiki's visit other than to make sure the readership knew that Kiki is a bitch (well, duh) and Fiji an outcast in her own family (oh my, I had no idea, none!). I was beyond annoyed with the "virgin blood" plot point. That. Was. Bad.
After all that, who was the person on the top floor of the Midnight Hotel facing the pawnshop? It was a mystery, but one with no resolution. Also, whomever paid for the hotel and the assisted living fees of Mamie, Susie, and Tommy was never outright solved. I'm assuming "O's" father? I'm glad the series is over, this on was unsatisfying and annoying. But, I'm annoyed further with the amount of (what I feel are) lose ends. Did I miss something?
I normally love novels set in this time period (17th century France), and this one should have been absolutely perfect for me. Intrigue in a nunnery, plus the heroine's backstory of being a former high-wire circus performer. What more could you ask for?
Well for the heroine not to wimp out at the end and go meekly back to Snidely Whiplash, er I mean the one-dimensional, moustache-twirling bad guy who kidnapped her daughter, for starters.
I go through phases of reading non-fiction, peppering those in amongst the SFF I'm mostly reading at the moment, and it's usually about a subject or place that interests me - in this case, I visited the location for The Soap Man a few years ago and had heard a little of the story but wanted to know more...
The book starts with a brief introduction to the life-story of William Lever, who would later become Lord Leverhulme, a self-made industrialist who made his money mostly from soap. His company would later go on to be part of the multi-national conglomerate Unilever. After setting up a model factory and village in the middle of a marsh in Lancashire, which he called Port Sunlight, Lever found himself with the opportunity of buying the entire Hebridean island of Lewis (and later its neighbour, Harris), the economy of which he believed he could revolutionise.
As long, of course, as the people of Lewis did what he wanted and, for a number of reasons, they were not inclined to do so. Lever had bought the island but he'd inherited a bunch of historic issues around land ownership, as previous lairds had spent money on deer and grouse while the island's inhabitants wanted land for crofting. All of this was happening around the time of World War I and the returning servicemen were even less likely to go along with what Lever was proposing.
All in all, I found The Soap Man an interesting example of that old adage about the irresistible force and the immovable object, with Lever as a man who was unable to see that he was half the author of his own problems with the people whose lives he wanted to up-end.