True Colors by Kristin Hannah

Summary ~ True Colors is New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah’s most provocative, compelling, and heart-wrenching story yet. With the luminous writing and unforgettable characters that are her trademarks, she tells the story of three sisters whose once-solid world is broken apart by jealousy, betrayal, and the kind of passion that rarely comes along. 

In a matter of moments, everything will change. The Grey sisters will be pitted against one another in ways that none could have imagined. Loyalties will be tested and secrets revealed, and a terrible, shocking crime will shatter both their family and their beloved town.

With breathtaking pace and penetrating emotional insight, True Colors is an unforgettable novel about sisters, rivalry, forgiveness, redemption—and ultimately, what it means to be a family.

So, sounds great right?  There is a lot going on in this book and at times I enjoyed the read but more than not I felt that I needed some wine with the cheese that Hannah was serving up.  I know that may sound harsh to some of you out there, especially the Kristin Hannah fans (this is the first of her novels that I have read) but that’s how I feel about True Colors in a nutshell.  Sorry!  First of all, by reading any synopsis on this book you would be lead to believe that True Colors is going to equally give attention to each Grey sister.  Nope!  The first chunk of chapters were all about the eldest sister, Winona.  The older, wiser and fatter sister.  She doesn’t get the guy she wants, she can’t get her daddy’s approval on anything and she isn’t happy with the way she looks.  Yet she’s successful in her role as town lawyer and advisor but for so long that isn’t enough.  She has a loving family, great strong bonds with her sisters and lots of potential that is not quite touched upon enough by Hannah.  So predictable.  Then we get to know Vivi Ann.  She’s hot, fun, young, daring, sexy and flakey.  Everything always works out for her and she never has to really work hard for what she has because she’s pretty.  At least that’s the message I got.  Then when she goes against everyone in her life and follows her heart she is punished in so many ways.  Aurora, the middle sister, gets lost in the shuffle as being the boring, reliable one with no real character building allotted her. 

Slight inconsistencies became distracting and the predictable story lines and ultimate plot disappointedly interrupted the flow of the book for me.  I wanted so much more depth out of this book.  I enjoyed reading about familiar places and scenery in western Washington State.  Hood Canal, Seattle, Washington weather and landscapes were described beautifully.  You were aware which decade the story was in at the moment because of great detail and description but it still wasn’t enough for me.  The only tear I shed was at the death of an animal at one point.   

I may give Hannah another chance one day and read another of her books but for now I’m good.  I just felt that there was so much potential in True Colors that was wasted on clichés.  I didn’t hate it but it didn’t do too much for me either. 

{Rating ~ 3 out of 5}

An Object of Beauty a novel by Steve Martin

Summary ~An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin

Lacey Yeager is young, captivating, and ambitious enough to take the NYC art world by storm. Groomed at Sotheby’s and hungry to keep climbing the social and career ladders put before her, Lacey charms men and women, old and young, rich and even richer with her magnetic charisma and liveliness. Her ascension to the highest tiers of the city parallel the soaring heights–and, at times, the dark lows–of the art world and the country from the late 1990s through today.

 

OMG!  It seemed to take FOREVER to read this book.  😦  I really REALLY wanted to love it.  Art world, New York City, glamour, penned by one of my favorite actors/entertainers.  But alas no.  It took me weeks to read this book.  It seemed at times like two or three books in one!  Snazzy, intellectual women’s fiction (only because the main character, Lacey, is a twenty to thirty-something female who dares to play the art world, has men falling for her at every corner, sleeps with whomever she wants and plays the game of love like a man would), art history course book, and a tad bit of mystery. 

"Watson and the Shark", John Singleton Copley, 1778

 

Art could be considered one of the back bones of my childhood.  Sis and I were always encouraged to express ourselves creatively, be it through drawing, water-color painting, singing, acting, dancing or writing.  The most common family field trip was to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.  When I am in the city I always try to visit the paintings and sculptures that wait in the gallery like old friends.  One of my all time favorites made an appearance in the pages of An Object of Beauty.  It’s the painting you see above, “Watson and the Shark”.  I know a thing or two about art and my sister has made her career in the world of art in Pittsburgh, (read an interview my lil’ sis did for Yinzperation.com) which is why I chose to buy the book in its original form instead of on the Kindle.  The publisher uses very nice, crisp white paper throughout as a perfect canvas for the art work printed along with the text.  The paintings referenced in the novel are reproduced on the pages of An Object of Beauty in lush, rich color with the approximate sizes and dates of the original piece.  The story itself kept my attention for a while but then fell off with extended explanations of art background and annoying turns in narrative.  Oh, and why couldn’t Lacey stay with my favorite of all her men?  Why? 
 
“Eine Kleine Nachtmusik”, Dorothea Tanning, 1943

If you enjoyed Steve Martin’s novella Shop Girl as I did, you will find that An Object of Beauty has only one similarity: a young woman.  It may have been my distractions that kept me from thoroughly enjoying Martin’s latest work of fiction or it may have been the book itself.  Like any piece of art, this book may be something I have to revisit at a later time to see what I get from it versus what I didn’t get from it today.

 
{Rating ~ 3 out of 5}