Angie G. (Hagerstown, MD), Clear Spring Library
Did not love The Lovers
This review has been a long time coming. I read the book when I received it and thoroughly disliked it. I decided to let it sit for awhile and try again later as what I enjoy varies with my moods. I have recently read it again and it did not improve upon second reading. From the book description I believed that The Lovers was more a psychological suspense novel than a journey of self-discovery. So I decided to evaluate it on how I thought it would be received by my book discussion group. I do not believe they would find the journey credible and would not like any of the characters.
Randi E. (Walnut Creek, CA)
The paralysis of grief
In "The Lovers", the main character Yvonne is on a trip to Turkey, her first travel since her husband Peter's death two years ago. This story is a study of grief, and Vida does a very good job of conveying Yvonne's erratic emotions. It seemed that Yvonne felt she was under a microscope, and her insecurities color her experiences and relationships in Turkey, creating a character who seemed perpetually on edge, and exhausted by self-doubt.
Kathleen L. (Buffalo, NY)
The Lovers by Vendela Vida
We are treated to three themes in The Lovers;the widow reflecting on her life,husband and children,The woman alone in a strange culture, and descriptions of the exotic place in Turkey that she visits. The beautiful scenery and luxurious house are combined with her feeling of isolation. The story is gripping, although slightly marred by examples of "fine writing"
Barbara S. (Brick, NJ)
Stop, look and listen...
How many of us have lost a partner and looked into the future and said, "what now?" How does one take that next step to continue to live life? Whether it is for an hour, a day, a week, that first step has to be taken. Life as we knew it must stop a moment for us to think and prioritize. Travel is one of the tools commonly used to make that transition but it is the experiences during that moment that help form the person we become to face the future.
The author brings us the experience of a widow as she looks at herself, her relationship with her family and her ability to go on alone. I became a widow at age 48 and had such a moment in time so it was a familiar experience. We walk through that moment with the protagonist and feel her pain and joy. Great story!
Linda M. (Three Oaks, MI)
As with all new authors, I didn’t know what to expect from Ms. Vida. The premise sounded interesting and the story took place in Turkey, a country I really don’t know too much about. I was quite surprised to find that once I started the book, I couldn’t put it down. Yvonne, the main character, embarked on a vacation to the place where she and her late husband celebrated their honeymoon in the hope of trying to recapture those precious moments in their lives. We can’t always go home Yvonne soon finds out, that it’s the journey and not the destination that leads to discovery. This was a good read full of emotional highs and lows, elegant humor and worthy of some great discussions.
Molly B. (Hygiene, CO)
Great descriptions, abrupt ending
Ms Vida's writing is absolutely beautiful - simple yet thorough, easy to read while evoking rich and complex feelings and ideas. She nails feelings and sentiments perfectly, from jet-lag to loss of a loved one to cultural misunderstandings, in such a beautiful, simple way. I love her writing style.
The plot and the pace of the book were not as satisfying. Her slow, exquisite descriptions in the beginning of the book gave way to a real change of pace as the plot sped up. The ending was abrupt and seemed contrived to me. It seemed like the author ran out of steam. While I appreciate short books like this one, I would have loved for The Lovers to go on much longer - so I could wallow in more of her writing and perhaps read a more balanced story. On the strength of what I have read here, I will definitely read Ms Vida's other books. She has left the door open for a sequel, it seems, which I would also read.
Linda G. (Walnut Creek, CA)
There's a certain genre in fiction; the 'woman traveling alone in foreign country when things start to go wrong' story. Though it's been done many times before, (we've all read one), not every writer can capture that feeling of isolation, that sense of impending doom and suspense that is almost Graham Greenish.
Vendela Vida has nailed it with her 50 something, widowed protagonist Yvonne. From the moment her plane touches down in a small airport in Turkey, she immediately suspects she's been 'duped' with the vacation house she's leased.
From there the novel takes off, pulling you along by a thread, not knowing which direction you're going. With sparkling prose, and just the right amount of suspense, Vida takes you not at all where you may have thought, but gives a satisfying resolution all the same.