The Unfortunates by Sophie McManus
What’s it about?
Cece Somner is an aging heiress dealing with her own mortality. As she nears the end of her life the difficult relationships in her family become a cause for concern. Cece is the center of this book and she is a real caricature of a wealthy woman from a certain time and place. The author does a really good job of showing her characters with all of their flaws- sometimes we see the flaws too well...
What did it make me think about?
It made me wonder if all that money and privilege is a blessing or a curse. Cede and her son are just awful people for the most part. They have no concept of how most people live. In fact they live in a totally different world than most of us inhabit. Here is an example- Cece is giving instructions to the help before a party, "To reveal the tastes of others you must reveal no tastes of your own. I hope the eggs, over there, are underpoached to account for the heat of the sun? Madame is a forbidden address. It's old-fashioned! Fruit should not be next to salmon tartare. Try not to fret if a guest takes out some frustration on you. It may not be pleasant, but you are repository. George? Young miss, please set yourself to extracting those Brazil nuts from the mix. No one ever wants a Brazil nut." This book certainly gave a glimpse into a world I do not live in, and it made me glad for it!
Should I read it?
I did not enjoy this book until the end was in sight. I did enjoy the last 50 pages. Despite having to slog through the first 300 pages of this book, I will try Ms. McManus's next book because she writes some really insightful passages. Unfortunately the insightful passages were muddled in with long, boring passages. I would have liked to be invested in the book long before the last 50 pages. The book did have a great cover though.
"But now she thinks maybe the truth is that at first, what she liked most about George was how much he liked her. How that night she'd pretended to be someone better than she was, and he'd believed her."
What did you think of Cece?
If you like this try-
Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe
Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
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― Charles William Eliot
3 to 4- I found some aspect of this book redeeming but would not recommend it.
5 to 6- I really enjoyed something about this book (characters, plot, meaning etc.) but it was uneven. Some aspects were stronger than others.
7 to 8- It was a good book. I liked lots of aspects of this book. I would recommend it.
9 to 10- I was sorry to turn the last page. I highly recommend this book!