ARC kindly provided by HarperCollins Australia in exchange for an honest review.
‘Ache’ by Eliza Henry Jones was a harrowing novel following a truly Australian protagonist which had me moody and tearing up soon after I had finished it. I would recommend it to all who are in the mood for a tear-jerker and for those who like to delve deep into traumatic pasts, childhood, relationships, and the human psyche.
I was very wary of picking this novel up as it goes completely against the normal genre that I pick up, i.e. romances, sci-fi, fantasy and general just really, really happy and uplifting novels. I go by the motto: why choose to enjoy a depressing novel which will leave you groveling on the floor as you pick your shattered soul back up when you can read a happy, uplifting novel which makes your day brighter. This novel was everything that I expected it to be: sad, depressing, even more sad, followed by even more depressing, trauma, psychological stuff, havoc, families, children, grief, Australia, lost love, heartache, and just plain old love.
The novel did pick up on some interesting aspects and raised questions on the experiences of those who have lived through hard times/events. I was surprised by some of the thoughts the main character had, especially those into her past and the future she decided to lead. I was also intrigued by the query into heroism and what it means to be a hero which encompassed the entire plot of the novel. Perhaps heroes are people who have been pushed by their surrounding circumstances to the extreme and chose to act – even live – despite the odds…albeit are left with scars and wounds not only physical but emotional as well. These so called ‘heroes’ are also extremely subjective and are not heroic to some people. They are in fact, villains in their eyes.
The characters were incredibly deep and thoughtfully constructed…however not to my taste. They are people, yet people who seemed too archetypical in some instances. They were normal Australians torn apart by the environment around them, their families and their personal flaws. I just could not fall in love with any of them. The protagonist, Annie, had nothing that I could say I loved or liked. I admired her strength and the ultimate resolution she found…but she just didn’t do it for me as a character. She barely leaped out of the page for me.
The plot itself was incredibly slow at times, and then lost momentum entirely at others. It was almost like reading a diary where every day just gets more bland and slow and even boring at others.
And the state in which I was left when I finally finished the novel… Let us just say there was a lot of tissues and music therapy involved. Maybe it’s my sensitivity, but I will never ever venture near this book again… For my peace and health of mind.
Congratulations to Eliza Henry Jones on the publication of her new novel, ‘Ache’!
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!