A Marvel Of A Novel Novel. This tale reads a bit like The Decameron in that it is a collection of shorter stories all linked by some basic structure – in this case, *extremely* basic in that they all wind up interacting with a fictional book at some level. Be it the author, who opens and closes Baurmeister’s tale, or the publishing assistant who first “finds” the book or a random sculptor who reads it after it was recommended or or or or or. The tales themselves show the breadth of how different types of readers interact with a book, though it is far from truly conclusive and I don’t suspect that Bauermeister ever expected it to be “conclusive” or “definitive”. Instead, this is simply a sampling of different ways different readers intersect with a given tale at the differing moments of both their lives and its life, and in showing these glimpses Bauermeister executes a particular narrative structure that I had never seen done before, certainly not in this exact context. And executes it quite well indeed. So read this book, because it truly is a marvel of a novel novel. 😉 Very much recommended.
Innovative Use Of Both Duology And Story-Within-A-Story. There is so much to like about this book, but I suspect that later reviews will hit all you need to know about just how strong at least one of the two romances here is – one is clearly one of those life-altering once-in-a-lifetime loves which we mostly see play out via two books, the other romance is a more contemporary (40 years ago anyway, which is still more recent than the 80 yrs ago for the first romance) tale of two people coming together via unusual circumstance. But it is truly the duology/ story-within-a-story structure that I want to highlight here, as this is what truly propels this book and makes it everything that it eventually becomes. I’d never seen this particular approach done – yes, there are other books with stories-within-stories, but this was truly the first time I’d ever encountered a duology done this way, and Davis manages to make all *three* books – the duology plus this actual book we’re actually reading “in real life” – truly compelling due to the nature of how she has crafted this. Simply superb, and truly, truly well executed. And yes, the actual romance aspects of this are well done, as are the heart-wrenching dramatics. You want a book for “Most Anticipated of 2023”? This very book had better be on that list. Very much recommended.