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Teresa's Reading Corner: The Art of Devotion by Samantha Bruce-Benjamin

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Art of Devotion by Samantha Bruce-Benjamin

Synopsis from the back cover:
The secluded beaches of a sun-drenched Mediterranean island are the perfect playground for young Sebastian and Adora.  Emotionally adrift from their mother, Adora shelters her sensitive older brother from the cruelties of the world.  Sophie does not question her children's intense need for one another until its too late.  Her beloved son's affections belong to Adora, and when he drowns in the sea, she has no one else to blame.

Still heartbroken years later, Adora fills her emptiness with Genevieve, the precocious young daughter of her husband's business associate and his jealous wife, Miranda.  Thrilled to be invited into the beautiful and enigmatic Adora's world, the child idolizes her during their summers together.  Yet, and the years progress, Genevieve begins to suspect their charmed existence is nothing more than a carefully crafted illusion.  Soon, she too is ensnared in a web of lies.

About the Author:
Samantha Bruce-Benjamin was born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland.  She has a Master's degree in English literature from the University of Edinburgh.  She now lives in New York.  The Art of Devotion is her debut novel.  An interview on her website states that she wrote The Art of Devotion in five months working on it only one hour per day.  I did not find any information on whether or not she has a second novel in the works.

My thoughts:
This is a difficult book for me to review.  I chose it because it is being compared to Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier which is one of my favorite books.  The Art of Devotion is considered to be Historical Fiction by some.  I don't feel that is an appropriate categorization for this novel.  It is set in the past but there is no mention of anything related to the period.  I never understood the comparison to Rebecca.    Initially I had a difficult time getting into the story. The presentation by the four heroines allows the reader to see the story from different perspectives.  I never found myself especially involved with one character over another. At times I felt like the story was dragging a bit and the back story was over explained, but around page 200 things started happening.  I was surprised by some of the twist that the characters and the plot took.  I have to say that I enjoyed the rest of the story.

I would like to see what the author puts together and what changes she makes to her writing style if/when she puts together a second novel.   I would recommend  The Art of Devotion to others but I would caution them that the story takes awhile to really develop so they have to give it time.   

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book to participate in the blog tour.  This is my honest opinion of the book.

Visit these blogs and see what they thought:
The Art of Devotion: Tuesday, June 8th
All About {n}:
The Book Tree:
Books Gardens & Dogs:
Arms of a Sister:
A Room Without Books Is Empty:
Literarily Speaking:
Busy Julie:
The Down Home Diva:
Me, My Book, and the Couch:
Starting Fresh:
Frugal Plus:
Avid Reader:
Marta’s Meanderings:
Eclectic Book Lover:
Not Quite Susie:
Books and Needlepoint:
Books with a Cup of Coffee:
Knitting and Sundries:
The Girl from the Ghetto:
Just Another New Blog:
Simply Stacie:
Must Read Faster:
Booksie’s Blog:
Reminder List:
My Five Monkeys:
My Book Views:
A Musing Reviews:
This Book For Free:
Chick with Books:
Taking Time For Mommy:
Lucky Rosie’s:
I Heart Book Gossip:
Book Junkie:
Jeanne's Ramblings:
Bella’s Novellas:
CuzinLogic’s Blog:

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At June 9, 2010 at 4:47 AM , Blogger Juju at Tales of said...

Thanks for being honest and kudos for trying something different ;)

At June 9, 2010 at 3:30 PM , Blogger toothy said...

thanks for the honest review.

i haven't read rebecca yet but i have had a few people tell me that i should pick that one up. i might end up reading that one over art of devotion. i'm not sure if i have the patience to read through 200 pages before something exciting actually happens.

At June 9, 2010 at 3:36 PM , Blogger Teresa said...

Toothy- I enjoyed Rebecca A LOT more than this one. I agree with those who told you to pick it up. It wasn't something I would have picked up on my own, but so glad that I did.

Juju- Thanks for stopping by. One of the things that I'm really enjoying about blogging is the exposure to books that I wouldn't otherwise have seen. I've really expanded my horizons.


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