Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I received Benjamin Wood's debut novel from Good Reads First Reads.
Wood nails the structure of a Gothic Romance novel. He never leaves the framework of the genre, which made me, with my previous experience of Gothic Romance, imagine (and expect) several different plot twists. Wood relies on his readers having this prior knowledge of the genre; he carefully developed his characters and plots to keep readers from guessing the ending before we get there.
My only fault with this book is that it read very slowly. I believe this is a side effect of Wood shackling himself to the structure of the genre (which I do approve of - this is a nice change from the bodice-rippers who try to pass themselves off as modern Gothic Romance). This lends heavily to the melancholic tone that pervades the novel (but is very necessary for Gothic Romance). Other reviewers have complained about the lack of the modern world - cell phones, computers, and whatnot - but I think Woods did this intentionally, letting the real world creep in around the edges while his eccentric characters pulled his main character, Oscar Lowe - along with readers - into the delusional world of the wealthy.
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