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Bristol House: A Novel de Beverly Swerling

Bristol House: A Novel (edição: 2014)

de Beverly Swerling (Autor)

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
15514137,689 (3.54)3
"[A] dual-period narrative [which] ... blends a haunting supernatural thriller with the vivid history of Tudor London, a place where monks are being executed, Jews have been banished, and the power of Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell reaches into every corner of the kingdom"--Dust jacket flap.
Título:Bristol House: A Novel
Autores:Beverly Swerling (Autor)
Informação:Plume (2014), Edition: Reprint, 416 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca

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Bristol House: A Novel de Beverly Swerling


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Mostrando 1-5 de 14 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Ah, this book. Bristol House and I never really meshed, sadly. Despite my best efforts to immerse myself in Annie Kendall's story, I never felt that committed to it. Truth be told, this book got set aside more than once while I was reading through it.

Now, I find it necessary to mention that I'm still dipping my toes into the waters of historical fiction. What most caught my eye about Bristol House, was that there was a paranormal bend to it. Stories that interlace the past and the present fascinate me. Add in the fact that this was set in England, and you had my attention. If only I had been able to fall in love with Annie as a character, I might have honestly enjoyed this more.

See, Annie is a bit of a prickly character. Although Swerling definitely lays out what Annie might not be quick to let others in, it never felt exactly right. When Geoff was set in her path, quite coincidentally I might add, that aspect of her personality became even more glaring. I admit, I was happy that there was no instalove here. However that didn't drown out the fact that Geoff was just too convenient of a character. There was little to no tension, and really little to no relationship growth. It made the two of them dull, in my opinion, and I wasn't interested in following along with them.

What I did enjoy most of all though, were the flashback scenes to the life of Annie's ghostly visitor. Dom Justin's life was full of intrigue, and danger. His chapters would catch me up in their vivid descriptions, and have me eager for more. I suppose that's most likely why Annie's chapters felt so much flatter. Dom Justin's life was just so much more interesting that anything Annie was involved in.

I don't know what else to say, really. It just all felt too convenient when it came to the mystery here. Clues that fell perfectly into place, and were somehow laid out expertly despite the fact that they were from an entire other time period. Geoff, with his much too perfect characterization falling right into Annie's path at the right time. Never mind the fact that the had all the hookups that Annie needed to accomplish her task. Even Annie's backstory, while I appreciated the fact that she wasn't a pushover, felt contrived.

Thus, the three star rating. I'm on the fence, and I know that this is more of a "It's not you, it's me." situation when it comes to this book. There is definitely a group of readers out there who will love this. Bristol House does do an excellent job of weaving together two time periods, and sharing a healthy dose of Jewish history with the reader. I just wanted much more than I was offered in this story. ( )
  roses7184 | Feb 5, 2019 |

This story takes place in England, present day, and toggles back & forth in time to 1535, the Tudor period. Lately, almost all of the books that I've read are using this storytelling technique. I was a fan of it when authors began using it, but now it's just overused. I find that one story is almost always superior to the other, and this book is not the exception.
The better story in this case is the historical tale set in Tudor England, involving secret treasure, original sin, speckled eggs, monks and Jews being persecuted & executed by Henry the VIII.
The present day story involves an American architectural historian looking for ancient religious treasure. To help her solve all of the puzzles presented, she conveniently meets & falls in love with a handsome news investigator who has family ties to the past that she's investigating. How convenient.
Overall, not a bad read, but nothing spectacular either.

( )
  Icewineanne | Aug 4, 2016 |
Annie Kendall, an architectural historian and recovering alcoholic, is sent to London to search for hidden ancient jewish artifacts and ends up staying in a London flat that is haunted by a Carthusian monk. The story transitions back and forth between modern day and Tudor London. I found both story lines compelling and was caught up in the search for clues to solve the mystery. There's some romance, some historical fiction, a bit of the supernatural, and a mystery--all genre's I love, so It hooked me on all levels. ( )
  bluebird_ | Jan 16, 2016 |
When architectural historian Annie Kendall is employed by the Shalom Foundation to locate missing pieces of ancient Judiaca believed to be in London, she hopes the job opportunity will help to both kick-start her fledgling career and get her life back on track. Almost from the moment of her arrival in London, however, Annie comes to realize that she may be in for more than she bargained for as the flat she has sublet at Bristol House is also home to the ghost of a 16th century Carthusian monk. Annie recognizes that rather than meaning to harm or frighten her the ghost is trying to tell her something, only she is not sure what. Joining forces with Annie is investigative reporter Geoff Harris, who is determined to find concrete evidence showing that there is much more to the Shalom Foundation and its chairman, Philip Weinraub, than meets the eye. Complimenting Annie and Geoff's 21st century narrative is the 16th century narrative of Dom Justin, the Carthusian monk who has been haunting Bristol House, and the Jew of Holborn, a London goldsmith who must keep his religion hidden. The historical narrative helps to shed light on the origins of Annie's quest, as well as highlights the religious upheavals that defined Henry VIII's later reign.

Although a dual-time narrative, the focus of Bristol House is largely on the present-day storyline. This narrative is fast-paced, engaging and held my interest throughout. While I'm generally not a fan of the inclusion of supernatural elements in an otherwise non-supernatural book, I think Swerling has done a nice job of incorporating the ghost of Dom Justin into the story, as it never felt forced or implausible. Given Annie and Geoff's storyline comprises the bulk of the novel, it is not surprising that their characters are much better developed than those featured in the historical narrative. I took to Geoff's character right away, but despite Annie's character being well-fleshed out, I initially found her difficult to relate to. As a result, it wasn't until close to the end of the novel that I started to like her and her budding relationship with Geoff. The supporting characters in this novel are superb, especially Geoff's mother, Maggie, and their family friend, Rabbi Cohen. I would love to read a novel featuring Maggie and Rabbi Cohen in their younger years.

While I enjoyed the modern-day narrative tremendously, I wasn't quite as enthusiastic about the historical storyline. I found the early parts of this narrative to be rather slow and the characters to be a little flat. The narrative does pick up once the Jew of Holborn starts making more regular appearances, and at this point the historical component becomes much more interesting. It is also at this point of the novel that the linkages to the modern-day storyline become apparent. I also enjoyed how Swerling links Thomas Cromwell into the story, although I would have preferred to see this aspect of the narrative further developed.

Overall, Bristol House is an entertaining novel that is sure to appeal to fans of both modern-day thrillers and historical fiction. Bristol House is the first of Beverly Swerling's novels that I've had the pleasure of reading and I'm looking forward to reading her earlier books.

Note: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. ( )
  Melissa_J | Jan 16, 2016 |
I really enjoyed this book! It was a very well-researched, engaging story that kept my interest to the end. Unlike many books that finish the story at the first denoument, the author continued the story, answering the many questions that I would have asked had she not. I truly appreciate the author's efforts in creating this well-rounded mystery. ( )
  Alicia-Marie | Dec 5, 2013 |
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"[A] dual-period narrative [which] ... blends a haunting supernatural thriller with the vivid history of Tudor London, a place where monks are being executed, Jews have been banished, and the power of Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell reaches into every corner of the kingdom"--Dust jacket flap.

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