I love to read just about anything, as long as it's fiction. I read for me - that means I read what I want, when I want. My reviews tend to mostly be based on how I'm able to personally connect with the story/characters. They are not intended to influence someone to read, or not read, a particular book. I always encourage people to take a chance and make up your own mind.
Oh, and I love chocolate.
I loved this book. The only thing that held off that last 1/2 star was the fact that I felt some parts were a bit drawn out.
I loved the characters. I loved all the relationships between the characters. I even loved Marshall. My heart ached for him. I couldn't blame him for the man he became.
I loved how the ending was not wrapped in a nice pretty bow. As much as I wanted to see that bow, I knew that if it had been there it would have ruined the book. Although I wasn't alive during that time, Grissom made me feel like I was actually there. If the ending had been different, it would have cheapened the experience.
I've read some of the negative reviews about how it's a bit over dramatic - just envision everything that could go wrong and plug it in. How could so much bad happen in just one family? Well, first, so much bad can actually happen to one family. Unfortunately. Second, even if it didn't - this is a work of fiction. It's trying to convey the various things that happened in those days and the best way to do that is to make it all happen to the one family. Certainly this meant that some moments were predictable - such as the result of the incident between Marshall and Belle, but that didn't lessen the experience for me.
Other than the story being too drawn out in some places, the only other thing I wished to have was more on Marshall's story. I get why he turned out the way he did. But it seemed that when they were away from the plantation, he really did genuinely care for Lavinia. His change was abrupt for me, because I don't believe that he was pretending when they were away from the plantation. I do get that on his return the ghosts that haunted him were back and that would have an enormous impact. But he really turned against Lavinia and I would have liked to understand why. Did she remind him of his mother? I wonder about this and some of his other behavior.