Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Brothers Boswell by Philip Baruth

From Barnes and Noble: The year is 1763.Twenty-two-year-old James Boswell of Edinburgh is eager to advance himself in London society. Today his sights are set on furthering his acquaintance with Dr. Samuel Johnson, famed for his Dictionary; they are going to take a boat across the Thames to Greenwich Palace. Watching them secretly is John Boswell,James’ younger brother. He has stalked his older brother for days. Consumed with envy, John is planning to take revenge on his brother and Johnson for presumed slights. He carries a pair of miniature pistols that fire a single golden bullet each, and there is murder in his heart.

This was the September selection for the Facebook Historical Fiction Book Club. It started out great - the descriptions were lovely, the set-up of two brothers at odds was engaging but then the book faltered. Neither of the brothers ever captured my heart. For the story to work, you really needed to care about one of them but they never came to life or gained my sympathy enough for me to do that. I had to force myself to finish the book. I found parts confusing - the one brother had mental health issues so there were things that I was never certain if they were true as part of the story or if they were his imagination. I went back and reread the last third of the book hoping it would gel for me and I would come away more satisfied but it still didn't work.

This is one of the books on my list for Fall Into Reading 2009. Click on the logo to see my progress.


Jenny said...

OK, I was going to read this, but I don't have patience for books that don't grab me. Since our reading tastes are so similar, I think I might just skip this one, so thanks for saving my oh so precious reading time for something I will enjoy!

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