Author: Paullina Simons
Publication Date: October 2008 (1994)
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: Christmas Gift
The time is the late 1970s. The place is the windswept heartland of America. The woman is Tully-- defiant young rebel with an agonizing secret, devoted friend faced with a shattering betrayal, impassioned lover haunted by a man whose touch is more powerful than all her pain.But in the years to come, beyond the torments and marvels of adolescence, into a world where men will vie for her and lie to her, Tully will dare to win everything, and risk losing it all, in one raw, reckless gamble of the heart.From Paullina Simons comes an astonishing novel about passion and loss, love and revelation; about friendship that endures through lifetimes, and even beyond death; and about one unforgettable woman named Tully, struggling to make sense of it all. (Goodreads Synopsis)
I don't think I've ever disliked a character as much as I disliked Tully.
I came to this book with fairly high expectations: I had enjoyed Bronze Horseman and Tatiana and Alexander - and Tully is often on those lists of books you must read. I was expecting something amazing, but in the end I found the whole thing rather lacklustre and it took a great deal of perseverance to make it to the last page.
Let me talk about the writing first. It's fine and readable, but lacks the spark found in The Bronze Horseman. I found it irritating that there was no clear typographical definition for thoughts - they were just left muddled in with the rest of the text. I also felt the text was repetitive in places, making you feel that you'd read certain scenes before. The book could have been half the length and still told the same story.
My main problem with the book though was the heroine: Tully is just not likeable. Fine, she had an awful childhood. That's sad, but that's no excuse for the way she treats her friends and more importantly the men in her life. She is constantly stringing guys along and then whining about how unhappy she is. I spent the whole novel wanting to slap her and yell at her to come to her senses. I didn't care about her, didn't care about her struggles, because she brought it on herself and just caused misery to others.
Having enjoyed other works by Paullina Simons, I found this piece a huge disappointment and wouldn't recommend it to anyone coming to her work for the first time. It hasn't completely put me off reading more of her books in the future, but I shall certainly be quite selective in which ones I pick. I wish I could think of something more positive to say about this book, but I'm finding it hard. If you want to try some Paullina Simons, I would definitely recommend The Bronze Horseman and suggest you give this one a miss.