I’ve been racking my brains trying to think if I’ve ever read a series/sequel and I honestly don’t think I have (I mean the Fifty Shades trilogy doesn’t count right? Please don’t judge, I was young and deluded). Series/trilogies etc tend to fall into the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre and neither of these are my bag.
However I read Pages For You by Sylvia Brownrigg a few months ago and was utterly convinced as I typed this that I had reviewed it here on the blog, but a quick check back through my reading wrap up’s has proved otherwise! Nevermind….onwards. I shall give you a brief run through of the first book now.
So in Pages for You we meet Flannery and Anne. Flannery is a college student and Anne is her teacher. They meet in a diner one day after Flannery, new to the area, orders a jelly omelette (yes it is just as it sounds) A surprising order which makes Anne take notice. Their eyes meet and there is an instant attraction. Flannery later discovers that Anne is actually going to be her teacher and, frightened of her attraction to the older woman opts to take a different class. Anyway, long story short they meet down the line at a party and start a passionate affair. Their affair takes various twists and turns and is ultimately doomed (not a spoiler, it says so in the blurb!). This book is beautifully written, short, sharp, snappy chapters full of life and passion and depth of feeling. You really begin to understand Flannery and Anne and their developing relationship and find yourself willing them on. As a standalone book I would give this a solid 4 stars.
So…..on to the ‘tricky sequel’, Pages For Her where we meet Flannery and Anne after a 20 year hiatus. (I believe the author had a hiatus between the two books herself of a decade or more). There is a conference happening and both women are scheduled to appear. Both are now authors and Flannery is married with a young daughter. They have had little or no contact after the end of their affair (besides congratulating each other on their books etc). Now I went into this book with a lot of anticipation for their meeting again. As I was reading I found myself getting a little frustrated that I was two thirds of the way through and they hadn’t so much as had a whiff of each other.
It was one hell of a drawn out build up which took us through Flannery’s meeting of her husband Charles (a famous sculptor), her pregnancy and the birth of their daughter Willa. We also found out titbits of information about Flannery’s other big relationship with a woman called Adele. The Flannery chapters I didn’t have a problem with. I enjoyed learning about her relationship with Charles which wasn’t always great but was fascinating and her life as a mother.
The Anne chapters…..not so much. I just didn’t connect with her in this book. I didn’t find her to be a very likeable character. Now I’ll hold my hands up and say outright that I’m a Flannery fan (and that’s not an easy sentence to say out loud!) but Anne grates on my nerves. I think this may be due to the fact that I’m the same age as Flannery (in this particular book) and I’m also a mother so can perhaps identify more with her. I found I was rushing through the chapters from Anne’s perspective as I found them a little dull. I just wasn’t that interested in her meandering around Venice with her sister.
If Anne were chocolate she would eat herself. I just found her to be full of her own self importance. Despite Flannery gaining confidence over the years, I was just willing her to believe in herself a bit more and show Anne she had done just fine without her.
Two thirds of the way in they finally meet and it was like being able to breathe again. I’d been waiting for it and getting frustrated but looking back on it I know now why that was done in the way it was. All the anticipation made the meeting worthwhile.
The writing at times was beautiful (as in the first book) but also at times verbose. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it because I did. I was satisfied with the ending and looking back probably enjoyed it more than I thought whilst reading it. Does that make any sense?
I think what I’m trying to say is that I preferred the first book and would have been quite happy for it to be left where it was. But if you’ve read Pages For You then you obviously have to read Pages For Her too. Give it a go and see what you think.
As always let me know your thoughts.