Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Steal the North is a multiple point of view story. There are many points of view, although some of them only get one chapter or so. It's a coming of age story, a bit of a forbidden love story, a redeeming the mistakes of the past story, etc.
It's about Emmy, primarily, who has grown up in California. She believes her father to be dead and that she has no relatives until one shocking night her mother tells her differently and sends her off to participate in a healing ceremony with her aunt. Guess what? Her dad isn't dead either. Her aunt has suffered several miscarriages and hopes this pregnancy will last. The catch is that everyone thinks Emmy is a virgin but she's not.
Her aunt is part of some fundamentalist church (I don't know any groups that believe in healing ceremonies where a virgin is required to lay hands, but I'm sure they exist). She has a loving marriage but desperately wants a child and was very close to Emmy when she was a baby before she left. While in Washington, she meets a boy and falls head over heels in love.
I started out really enjoying the book and blew through the first 100 or so pages in one morning. But then it started to bog down for me and took me a bit to finish. After finishing, when I was trying to think of what to write about it, I realized there were a lot of things that annnoyed me about it. I don't even know if it's fair to be annoyed by them, but they contributed to my dislike of the book.
The first is the heavy emphasis on sex. I mean even whether or not Emmy was a virgin but then also her sexual attitudes with Reuben, the way Reuben felt like she was his one special girl (sigh), Emmy's mother's sex life including a long section about her fiance felt about her in bed, some other characters hooking up, even the minister had a romantic/sexual attraction to Aunt Beth. Sigh. I know sex is a huge part of life, and I think it's great to have it included and discussed, it just felt like a preoccupation.
I also disliked the multiple points of view. I didn't need some of the minor characters having their own chapters.
I did like how profoundly sense of place played into the story. The setting was by far one of the better parts of the book, it felt very real and richly drawn.
So...this was an okay read for me, started out strongly finished up a bit weakly and annoyed me a bit in the process!
I received a review copy from the publisher.
Posted by Amy at 10:18 PM
Steal the North by Heather Brittain Bergstrom