The Loved Ones by Mary-Beth Hughes

The Loved Ones by Mary-Beth Hughes

Available from Atlantic Monthly Press June 2, 2015

Now, I’m all for a book that asks a bit more of readers. I’m up for a challenge when entering a fictional world. I love to intereact with different voices that trust me to be intelligent, and to care enough about the time I’m spending with a book to pay attention. Deep attention. To become engaged with individual characters as if they were my friends, or people I’d love to know or know about.

This book seems to be reaching for that but doesn’t strike a good balance. It overreaches and in the process, turns into a confusing mess. It flips around quickly between characters remembered and “on stage,” so to speak, and characters that aren’t important to the narrative moment are intrusive rather than rendered seamlessly into the narrative.

It was like having someone tap you on the shoulder repeatedly while reading to ask you unrelated and irritatingly pointless questions. But since the interruptions arise from the text itself, you can’t ignore the tapping.

I couldn’t get far into this book before putting it down. I was very disappointed because the concept is exactly the kind of idea I love to read about. Here, though, the voice is too jumbled to follow. A little guidance from the author would have been appreciated.

I received an ARC from the publisher so I could write this review.

DNF: No star rating available.

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