Goodreads book review: Vinegar Hill

Vinegar HillVinegar Hill by A. Manette Ansay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a brutal story, but it’s told so well, the heavy subject matter didn’t tempt me to abandon the book at any point. The story moves along at a good pace, despite the fact that there’s not much “action.” Most of the plot is internal to the different characters, and the focus changes throughout the book so the reader gets a clear picture of how the present has been shaped by what the characters endured in the past. The author’s language is accessible and clear, with wonderful imagery that is entirely appropriate, and not the kind of pedantic stuff one often encounters in modern literature. A great example of this is a short sentence about the protagonist’s negligent husband, as he settles into bed next to her:

“James punches his pillow into the shape of a mushroom and lets his head fall into it, a sudden release, like letting a suitcase drop.”

Simple language, but it says so much. The author masterfully conveys the atmosphere with such sentences, giving the reader much deeper insights into the characters, as well as the mood that surrounds them.

My only disappointment in the book, and the reason it’s not a resounding 5 stars is chapter 12. I will not add any spoilers, but I found the revelation in that chapter unbelievable: not what was done by Mary-Margaret’s mother, but how Fritz, Mary-Margaret’s husband, reacts. The reaction seems not at all realistic, but perhaps there’s something in Fritz’s character that I missed that would hint at his ability to fall for such an obvious deception.

All in all though, an incredibly well-written novel that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I will definitely seek out more works by this author.

View all my reviews

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