Saturday, July 13, 2013

Review: The Book of Someday by Dianne Dixon

Sometimes a book is easy to pick up and put down. It might be a good enough story but it just doesn't call you back when your reading is interrupted. Dianne Dixon's newest novel, The Book of Someday, is not a lukewarm book like this at all. Whenever I had to put it down, I found myself coming up with reasons to sneak back to its pages to read just one more chapter and to try and puzzle out where it was going, how the triple stranded narrative was finally going to come together, and just who the three women in these pages were singly and to each other.

Opening with a fearsome prologue where little Olivia endures a loveless childhood with an emotionally distant father and a nasty, fanatical stepmother, the main story quickly splits into the three narratives centered on Livvi, a successful author who is haunted by a nightmare memory of a silver lady; AnnaLee a young mother in Long Island who is having to sell her family's heirlooms to make up for her aimless husband's lethargy; and Micah, a world class photographer on a quest to right a long ago wrong. Each of the women's stories grows and expands, fleshing out the women even as they start to reveal small clues as to who each of them are in relation to the others.

The way in which the women are connected is mysterious and Dixon does a good job doling out just enough information on the women to keep the reader completely engaged and curious as to how it will all tie in together. By the time the reader realizes the connections, enticed there slowly by the author, it feels as if it's okay to have uncovered it and any remaining readerly curiousity is transferred to wondering what life altering decisions will come out of this newly revealed truth. While the mystery of the women's connections makes for compelling reading, some of the relationships portrayed in their stories are a bit too easy and convenient (Livvi's immediate and deep attachment to Grace and Grace's easy, unconditional acceptance of Livvi) and some are frustrating and cause the reader to lose some sympathy for the characters (Livvi's constant excusing of Andrew's cringing weakness and Micah's belief in divine universe-driven retribution), and some were just completely out of the blue. But despite these weaknesses, the novel will keep the reader turning pages long into the night, carried along by the cinematic tale, its hypnotizing climax, and the possibilities in its ending. A study on the past and how it shapes people for better and for worse, leaving its mark far into the future, Dixon's novel makes for engaging light reading.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of the book for review.

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