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Nun's Castle by Jennie Melville
#1
Sad 
I was very disappointed with this book. It has taken me a year, on and off reading, to finish it finally. When I found out that Jennie Melville was a pseudonym used by Gwendoline Butler, I decided to give it a try. Ms. Butler/Melville is probably better known for her detective mysteries but she did write some Gothic romances. I enjoyed reading "The Red Staircase" by Butler and thought this would be just as well-written. However, this was not so.

The story was full of inconsistencies and I was so confused by timeline events depicted in the first 50 pages that I was constantly rereading it and could not make any sense of it. The narrator (and heroine) was unlovable. Her thoughts and storytelling were dull. The author did a poor job of characterization, especially in describing a central figure in the story. I just didn't get it at all. People behaved so uncharacteristically as well. And to top it off, the villain of the story was introduced very late. The romance never really developed in my opinion. I wish I could give a synopsis of the story but it would be too confusing to do so. If anyone else has read this book, I'd like to compare notes.

I'd give it a "D".
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#2
I just finished reading (listening to) this book and it was a big disappointment to me too. Curiosity and the idle hope that it would get better in the end were the only things that kept me going on. The plotting was so dreadfully weak! So the heroine suffers from memory loss, a very far-fetched way to keep her in the dark about stuff. Then the visit to the doctor's office, just to get more information to advance the plot and to put him in the picture, but the reason for the visit was absurd. Oh, and this is supposed to be a heroine who is very smart and clever. Then there's a baby dropped in the house. Call the police! Worry about the frantic mother! No, the police are busy at the moment, so just keep the baby around, feed it a bit (wow, it's been crying for hours and finally you realize it's HUNGRY), but no mention of washing and changing diapers. Baby disappears. Call the police! Worry about the frantic mother! Noooooo, of course not, good riddance. She does feed the cat, albeit human food, but no mention of litter boxes either.
And don't get me started on the romance.... It's like she's a love-starved person with no self esteem who jumps at the first opportunity when a man says he'll marry her. I'd have smacked him in the face, the high-handed jerk.
I didn't write a review because I've actually got nothing good to say about it. It was utter drivel.
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#3
I read one of her "John Coffin" books years ago (Coffin Underground?) and didn't like it. It's been so long I can't remember why. Come to think of it, I read "The Dull Dead" a while back without realizing it was the same series. Didn't like it much, either. Sigh. I have a copy of Ironwood by Jennie Melville, I suppose I should read it and report back.
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#4
I read one Coffin book - A Nameless Coffin - and I thought that was pretty well done. At least I was more satisfied with the plotting, characterization and romance that developed.
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