Monday, February 28, 2011
Review: The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern
Publication date: January 25, 2011
From the back cover:
"Born into the lap of luxury and comfortable in the here and now, spoiled, tempestuous Tamara Goodwin has never had to look to the future--until the abrupt death of her father leaves her and her mother a mountain of debt and forces them to move in with Tamara's peculiar aunt and uncle in a tiny countryside village.
Tamara is lonely and bored, with a traveling library as her only diversion. There she finds a large leatherbound book with a gold clasp and padlock, but no author name or title. Intrigued, she pries open the lock, and what she finds inside takes her breath away.
Tamara sees entries written in her own handwriting and dated for the following day. When the next day unfolds exactly as recorded, Tamara realizes she may have found a solution to her problems. But in her quest to find answers, Tamara soon learns that some pages are better left unturned and that, try as she may, she musn't interfere with fate. "
My Thoughts: The book begins with the narrator telling the reader, "This story is one for which some people will have to suspend their disbelief. And, if it didn't happen to me, I would be one of those people."
Well, if that isn't an attention getter, I don't know what is! Right from the start, I settled in for a good literary ride; all the way to Ireland listening to the tale that 16 year old Tamara Goodwin had to impart. It felt as if she were right beside me telling this to me and me alone.
At the beginning of the story, Tamara is devastated by her father's death and also rightfully angry. Why didn't he just say he had lost all their money and everything must go including their upscale residence and rich lifestyle in Dublin? Then Tamara and her grieving mother would not have been forced to go live with her Uncle Arthur and her Aunt Rosaleen in "the middle of the sticks" where there was absolutely nothing for Tamara to do. Nothing, that is until she finds "the book" and events unfold that will change her life.
When Tamara recounted what her life in Dublin was like before, I didn't like her as a person and would have been embarrassed to say she was my daughter but by the time the story ended I liked Tamara and became proud of how she matured and changed her outlook and attitude.
Tamara began to see how her past actions had consequences. She admonished herself for all the horrible things she had said to her parents while taking for granted all her good fortune. She began to grieve for her dad himself not just for her lost lifestyle. She also became very concerned about her mother's welfare. All her mom did was stay in her room and sleep. Even though her Aunt Rosaleen kept reasurring her that was what her mom needed more than anything, Tamara was not so sure of that.
" I felt I was chasing a secret and now the secret was chasing me. I was afraid. I just wanted the time to pass so that Mum would stop her grieving, get better, and we could move on from this place that felt so haunted by the ghosts of the past, a past that despite my having nothing to do with it, was dragging me further and further into it."
Cecelia Ahern pens an absorbing tale with a good gothic feel to it; lots of atmosphere and a bit of mystery and magic to the story kept me riveted. The last thirty pages were so filled with revelations of family secrets and twists that I couldn't read them fast enough. The plot moved along smoothly and the characters had me intrigued; not just Tamara but, Sister Ignatius and Aunt Rosaleen, key figures in the story.
Aunt Rosaleen, such a Creepy character; Creepy with a capital C! She reminded me of Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca. I could feel the hair on my neck stand up when she crept from room to room watching Tamara and questioning her every move. What were her real motives? What or who was she hiding or trying to protect? I guess you'll just have to read the book to find out. I hope you'll like it and be as enchanted with the writing as much as I was.4****
Cecelia Ahern, in addition to P.S I Love You, written when she was twenty-one, is the author of Love, Rosie; If You Could See Me Now; There's No Place Like Here; Thanks for the Memories; and The Gift, which have collectively sold more than 12 million copies worldwide. Cecelia can be found at her her website.
Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by Harper Collins in exchange for my honest opinion.