Rita H. (Centennial, CO)
Thought-Provoking on Many Levels
Seldom do I read a book that I want to mark up and reread parts and passages but Henry and Rachel definitely fits this role. I empathized with each of the characters despite their flaws. Even Mrs. G gets some of my sympathy as she was caught in such a meaningless life. I almost cried at the fate of Rachel's parents. Lines comparing bachelors and spinsters made me chuckle and simultaneously, shake my head as the sad truth. This is a book that I will share with friends and probably, recommend as a bookclub read, which means I will have to reread it! I would say that this book will appeal most to a somewhat older group as I think it takes a lot of living to truly appreciate the challenges, strengths and weaknesses of each character.
Annie P. (Murrells Inlet, SC)
Henry and Rachel by Laurel Saville
This is a delightful read! I found myself underlining certain passages and phrases all the way thru the story; Saville has a refreshing store of them! I particularly enjoyed the different points of view. Saville walked very deftly in Henry's sandals, expressing (what I think is) a man's way of thinking about personal issues, the acceptance or non-acceptance of a woman's ideas and ideals. Mr. George could have been more fleshed out, or maybe not - he was not one of the heroes. Vea rang very true; her solemn acquiescence of island life and then doing what she knew was best was touching. Rachel was an enigma. She wouldn't let the world in, created her own sanctuary, but in the end, was - as much as she could allow herself to be - happy.
I felt led down many paths in this novel. But I also felt I had a very good guide in Saville.
Martha S. (Mentor, OH)
Henry and Rachel
I very much enjoyed this book. Some of the story line was predictable but not all; there were surprises. The author's character development worked well, although like many family histories, some characters still left questions in my mind. Each chapter is written from a different character's perspective so you begin to understand each person, how the character thinks and their actions. Although the author had family stories as a basis of her tale, additional research leads her to develop the story. Included in the book were actual excerpts from letters written long ago. I look forward to future work from this author.
Amy F. (West Roxbury, MA)
I thought the writing was beautiful hence the 4 rating, but I could not engage with the story. I decided to put the book aside for now and come back to the story later. I also plan to check out the author's memoir. I think this is a book that I will appreciate, now is just not the time for me to read it.
Karen S. (Minneapolis, MN)
Draws you in
I have enjoyed reading Henry and Rachel. It has a quiet way of drawing you in. It is told from multiple points of view and unfolds in a meandering sort of way. Quite lovely.
Mary Beth S. (Mequon, WI)
Two lost souls
A husband who wants nothing more than for his wife to love him and a wife who has too much baggage to fully give herself to her husband outlines the plot for this book. While the characters are left in the dark,the narrator leaves clues for the reader to find. Book clubs will find plenty to discuss with this tome.
Laurette A. (Rome, NY)
Can we ever really know a person?
I started out not liking this book, but pushed on because I didn't want to leave it unfinished...I'm glad I did. Henry and Rachel are, like most people, very complex and Laurel Saville explores this in very distinct and unique "voices" in each chapter. This book caused me to take a fresh look at my own self and rethink what I always thought I knew about my various family members. As one of the characters comments, "if we get our own parents so hopelessly wrong, how can we be sure of what we think we know of ourselves?" Each chapter reveals layers of the characters and at the end of the book we come to understand a little more of what makes them tick and why they acted like they did. I'm glad I read it and I ended up caring about Henry and Rachel and their lives.