Author: Bart Cline
Date Read: September 19, 2013
ARC copy direct from author
Summary: What would you do if you were a traveller with severe wanderlust, out of your country for the first time, and you fell in love?
And what would you do if you were separated from your new love after only a few days?
Would you search an entire continent?
Europe is a big place when you’ve lost someone.
It’s worse if you’re on the run.
Worse still if you’re guilty.
It doesn’t get any easier when your only friend is a drug addicted vagabond.
Colleen is a naïve young American touring Europe just after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Florian is the experienced traveller she falls in love with. He encourages her to do something she knows she shouldn’t, and then disappears. Colleen, carrying the resultant load of guilt alone, sets out to find him. With the entire European continent to search, she realises she doesn’t really know that much about him, having only a few vague leads to follow, with only her drug-addicted friend for company. A year later, having confronted her guilt and learned some uncomfortable truths about herself, will she still love Florian? Will she ever love anyone or anything again?
A novel of love and travel. goodreads
Review: Bart Cline contacted me through goodreads asking if I'd review a few of his novels. I read the synopses and thought they sounded interesting and agreed. He did mention that the other book he gave me was better than this one, but I thought this book sounded more my speed. When an author contacts me directly, I really want to write a review for them, and a good review, which is what makes this one so hard. Unfortunately, this book was not for me!
Don't get me wrong, I loved the idea of back packing through Europe and I really enjoyed reading about the different towns that Colleen visited. It took me back to my time in Europe and my experiences which are always fun to reminisce about. I also enjoyed the view of Berlin right after the fall of the wall. I haven't read many stories set in that time period so that was new for me. Unfortunately, that's where my good feelings stopped. Even though I enjoyed the different places she went, I felt like the descriptions of the town were general and just information rather than really describing them and helping the reader picture what that town is really like. Even when I've actually been there it was hard to imagine! I also felt that a lot of the book was filler and not needed. There were random conversations that didn't make sense and didn't add anything to story.
I could even forgive all of that and still enjoy the story but what really ruined this book for me were the characters. In general, I need to connect with the characters to really enjoy a story so this book didn't have much of a chance with me. I can connect with the characters because I hate them, because I can relate to them, because they are inspiring or impressive, just about anything, but if I don't connect in some way, I'm not going to enjoy the book. I really couldn't connect with Colleen. I didn't like her much either. I thought she was a very naive traveler which makes for a very dangerous vacation. I thought she made stupid decisions that led to bad outcomes that could have easily been avoided. I couldn't connect with Florian because I knew NOTHING about him. I couldn't connect with Alsion because I thought her drug addiction was more convenient for the story line than actually thought out. I just didn't like them and couldn't find redeeming qualities.
I also hated the fact that this was a "love story." I may have missed the part where either Colleen or Flo exhibited any kind of romantic feelings or relationship prior to "falling in love." It didn't seem legitimate and definitely didn't warrant a life changing year long journey to reconnect. I felt like something was missing.
I really wanted to like this book and give a good review because of the contact I had with the author, but I pride myself on being fully honest with this blog (which can be both good and bad). I try and review every book I read and don't believe in not writing negative reviews. If I didn't like this book and it wasn't given to me by the author, I would have had no problem writing this review, it just probably would have been harsher. To be honest, I don't DNF but this book made me consider it. I'm sure there are people who would love this novel and everything in it, but it was not for me.
Have you ever come across a situation like this? Other book bloggers or readers who post their reviews somewhere? I'm just going to look at this as a part of being a honest book blogger and roll with the punches. Sorry, Bart!