Published December 6th 2013 by London Wall Publishing
ARC received from NetGalley for an honest review (and honest this shall be)
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I don’t mind long descriptions. I also don’t like to say “God this book was terrible.” There is only one thing in this book and that is the passion that the writer has for Venice. This is an odd way to start a review, but it is true. I adore descriptions of places and things that make me feel like I am there, right where the character is. Also I love if the setting and the plot combine. And I really REALLY wanted to love the book - look at the cover, it is gorgeous! Lovely! The synopsis as you can see promises a LOT.
However “The echoes of love” failed with too many things, things that I consider too serious to not be noticed in a review. You see it was not just the atrocious length of the descriptions. I understand that in order to provide a glimpse of a city you will want to take your time, but when you take one page to describe a room another to describe what type of clothes the character wears and the shampoo she is using and why, I figure it is not just wanting the people to know about things, it was to hide that there was no plot. Either that or we were all tricked and this was planned to be a travelling guide and suddenly the author changed her mind and decided that this would be a novel... Every 10 pages of eternal descriptions, you would find a very brief scene with either a dialogue OR a scene where the protagonist has flashbacks of her clichéd past.
Let’s face it: her story is mega cliché. She was young and in love, her family obviously opposed to the relationship, he got her pregnant, he ran away, she was left alone… now she doesn’t want men. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with female protagonists who get dumped once and behave like nuns? Why can’t you be normal? They get dumped, they move on. Life goes on. But no, they must have something against men, so when the astonishing great looking playboy arrives to rescue her, she has to feel the burning desire insider her and want to rape him in that instant. Will she resist that urge? Luckily for you, I don’t really care, because everything is ready ruined. The main character has no personality, yet two of the male main characters follow her like ants and one even asks her to marry him… Less than 50 pages and the first time a male characters appears is to propose… *chuckles* Maybe I am new to this whole relationship thing, but wouldn’t it be wise to date first and then get married. You know, get better acquainted? No?
Also, of course the girl, who by the way the name is Venetia (because the setting is Venice, get it?), refuses not because she doesn’t want guys anymore, but because she can’t stop thinking about the piercing blue eyes of the other guy Paolo… I am glad that Venetia finally started acting somehow normal, but did she really have to fall for the guy instantly?
The dialogues weren’t so bad, there were parts where I could see that the author really CAN write, but then again she comes and ruins it! Because you see, the author really wants to capture the essence of Italy, so some dialogues are in Italian and then she translates it. Such as: La vita è bella. Life is beautiful… I was wondering who talks like that. Who speaks in a language and then translates it automatically. I understand that you could mention sometimes a sentence in Italian, but did the characters really need to say so many sentences in Italian and then translate it? I know it’s a way to avoid footnotes, but honestly I wouldn’t lose my focus with footnotes, that way the dialogues would seem more natural.
Also: one last thing: do NOT/NEVER describe your main character in front of a mirror in a … Oh whatever, it doesn’t matter what kind of POV is. Third person, first person, whatever, just like they say in German: es ist mir vollig egal - never do that! It’s the queen of clichés and things to avoid in your novel.
The weird thing is that, this is not Hannah Fielding’s first book, it’s her second. And from what I could tell, her first book did not have so many descriptions, so I think that maybe she let her passion for the city took over everything in this novel. I sincerely wish she can return to her origins in her next book, so I can read it and give it a great review!