Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Book Review - Learning to Speak American by Colette Dartford

Amazon UK
Title: Learning to Speak American
Author: Colette Dartford
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: twenty7
Publication Date: 5th November 2015
Rating: 3 Stars

Having suffered in silence since the tragic death of their young daughter, Lola and Duncan Drummond's last chance to rediscover their love for one another lies in an anniversary holiday to the gorgeous Napa Valley.

Unable to talk about what happened, Duncan reaches out to his wife the only way he knows how - he buys her a derelict house, the restoration of which might just restore their relationship. 

As Lola works on the house she begins to realise the liberating power of letting go. But just as she begins to open up, Duncan's life begins to fall apart. 

After all the heartbreak, can Lola and Duncan learn to love again?

When I started this book, I had been putting off reading it for ages, but yet the first few chapters hooked me in, got under my skin and I was left with a very good feeling about the rest of the book. However although even from the beginning I could tell that there would be a great deal of emotion involved, I found the book started to drain me as it went on. I was finding it harder and harder to go back to it and read it, and felt that a story that had tremendous promise just went flat. 

My favourite sections of the book were the initial trip to San Francisco and then onto the Napa Valley, and seeing Lola and Duncan slowly reconnect with each other, and for Lola to come out of herself for the first time properly in two years, since the death of their child. 

Due to Duncan not being able to talk about Clarissa, Lola has felt very alone, and their marriage is slowly fracturing. When Lola is shown a derelict house, though she feels a bit of hope and Duncan purchases it for her, just so he can see his wife smile and have a project to get on with. 

However once the couple were back in the UK, it soon became apparent what a despicable and cowardly man Duncan really is and I really couldn't stomach reading about him that much, he has a personal habit that could get him into a lot of trouble, as well as many other secrets that he is keeping from his wife, made a lot easier by having a job that demands a lot of trouble. 

Any section where Lola was in California, I really enjoyed, and seeing her point out the differences between the American and English language was amusing, but ultimately she is a woman who is still grieving, and had a relatively absent husband. 

I just found the pace of the book was slow, and that I didn't really connect on any level to the characters. Although we know their daughter died, it takes until well over half way through the book to have the actions of that fatal day fully revealed to the reader, which had made me feel there should be far more of a mystery to it than there was. 

Ultimately although I do read deeper, and emotional women's fiction, I have read far better than this book, and although other will probably enjoy it, as it isn't bad book, it just didn't work for me as much as I would perhaps have liked. 

Thank you to Bonnier Publishing and Netgalley for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

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