Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Spires of Stone

Title: Spires of Stone
Author: Annette Lyon
Genre: LDS Fiction, Historical Fiction
Pages: 327
Date Finished: 22 March 2008
My Rating: 3 Stars

I do not read a lot of LDS fiction. One reason being that it is difficult to find LDS themed books in my neck of the woods. I'd have to buy them, which leads to the second reason I don't read a lot of LDS fiction. I don't want to spend money on a book I am not likely to enjoy, which has been my experience with most of the LDS fiction I have read.
So why did I decide to read Spires of Stone by Annette Lyon? Because, like Shannon Hale's books I have been reading a lot about this book on other people's blogs. Thanks to inter-library loan and the good people at the Davis county library in Utah, I was able to read this book without having to buy it.
So, I did not know what to expect from this book but decided I needed to keep an open mind. I'd heard it was a redux of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, my favorite Shakespeare play, so I figured I'd either hate it or love it. It turned out I just kinda liked it, but did not totally hate it.
Here is the teaser from the book:
"Bethany Hansen wasn't sure when or if she would ever see Benjamin Adams again. She also told herself that it didn't matter. But when Ben and his two brothers come home after more than two years of serving a mission to the Eastern states, her feelings of heartache and anger also return—fiercer than ever. And so do Ben's feelings for her.
Good-naturedly, Ben's brothers attempt to reunite the two, even as they separately vie for Bethany's younger sister, Hannah. What follows is a charming historical romance complete with wonderful characters and witty dialogue that explores the redemption and power of finding—and rediscovering—true love."
I did enjoy the Bethany/Ben storyline and thought Lyon did a decent job with the interpretation of the original Beatrice/Benedick story. However, I felt most of the characters were underdeveloped and flat. (This is one of the problems I have with this genre.) Claude was supposedly a ladies man who could charm anyone but he seemed dopey and uncommunicative. I've never seen a ladies man who spent so much time moping around, shuffling his feet and looking at the dirt at his feet. I only knew he was a ladies man because I was told he was. Not because that is how the character was developed.
I did not really ever get a feel for Phillip at all and I thought there were several parts of the story that did not make much sense. Like when Phillip confesses his feelings about Hannah to Claude but nothing is ever said or done about it again and they go on as if there is not this big huge elephant standing in the room. I also did not know if the brothers hated Claude or loved him. They were hitting him, calling him a loser and then were surprised when he moved out?
I did enjoy the Much Ado About Nothing overtone and was glad that the book was not preachy (another problem I have with this genre). The book seemed to be very well researched and Lyon even included a historical note at the end which was interesting.

You can go to Annette Lyon's Website to read the prologue and first two chapters of Spires of Stone.

I've sent for another LDS historical fiction book through inter-library loan. We'll see, maybe I'll start giving this genre another try.


Susan said...

LDS fiction is so hit and miss for me. I dislike the majority of LDS books for just the reasons you mentioned - preachy, flat characters, unrealistic situations, etc. Even the books I thought were good usually aren't great. That said, I think there is a good crop of new LDS authors that are improving the genre. Like you, I keep giving LDS fiction more chances hoping to finally strike gold!

Chain Reader said...

Ditto on LDS fiction. It's good to hear on these great blogs when there's something good out there. I have been reading more books in the last year with questionable content (my rebellion I never had in adolescence, I guess), and at some point I will probably swing back in the other direction, and I'll need some good clean stuff to read, but I'll want it to be satisfying, like Shannon Hale for example.