Hello, Dear Bloggites. This book review has been 7 months and 16 days in the making because that is how long it took me to finally finish FEBRUARY’S Book Club book choice! FEBRUARY! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!
The February Books & Broads Book Club book was A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve. Now, I understand the author has written 14 novels (if not more now, there were 14 at the time of release for this book), but MAN, I will never read another book by her. This was a brutal beating for me!
The novel is about a newlywed couple who moved to Africa for the husband’s job. They rented a cottage that belonged to an older couple (well older than them in the book, they were in their 20s and the older couple were in their 30s). The premise is for a group of them to climb Mount Kenya.
Now, the book starts as if you are in the middle of a conversation between the newlyweds, Margaret and Patrick. It felt as if I had turned on a movie I had never seen before right in the middle and was trying to make sense of it. It was apparent this newlywed couple had obvious issues based on how distant they were to each other in their conversation.
Anita Shreve did create complex characters, but none you really like. The imagery was the best part of the book when Anita Shreve was writing about Africa, I could truly envision the country in my mind as if I was right there, however, I was highly disappointed in the characters and the way she wrote the book. The planned trek up the mountain involved Margaret and Patrick, the older couple, Diana and Arthur, and a third couple, Saartje and Willem.
The group dynamic was tense and the reader did not really know why until near the end of the trek when an accident happened. The accident caused an even deeper rift between Margaret and Patrick after the returned home and changed the way their life would play out. Pretty good sounding story, eh, Dear Bloggite? It had its opportunity to be a great book but I feel the author missed her mark.
There was an apparent error in the story line about how Margaret and Patrick met and I do not know if that was on the editors of the book, the author who had an intended reason behind it and forgot about it, or just plain lack of review when writing, but it bothered me. I do not like things to go amiss in a story unless there is something down the line in the story that validates the reasons for it.
I do give the author props on her ability with imagery but that was the only thing I found likable, heck, the story ended just about as bad as it began, with no closure and the author leading us to the final assumption that she wanted.
I give A Change In Altitude by Anita Shreve 2 out of 5 Bookmarks. I do not recommend this book unless you are a die-hard Anita Shreve fan.