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Posted August 9, 2010
The dark side of love
"Samantha Bruce-Benjamin 's novel "The Art of Devotion" could also be titled "The Art of Deception", for in it, devotion is not so much an art as an obsession. There are many kinds of love and what may appear beautiful on the surface may have a dark underside. The author alternately uses the voices of four women whose lives are entwined to tell this complex story of love and devotion, lies and obsession, happiness and despair. At the heart of the story is beautiful Adora 's relationships with the people she loves - her brother Sebastian, her husband Oliver and her godchild Genevieve. As the story unfolds, the secrets that lie beneath these and other relationships reveal that love is not always gentle, not always kind, not always loving."Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 16, 2010
A Haunting Story Spanning Three Generations of Women...
The Art of Devotion by Samantha Bruce-Benjamin is haunting... The prose is beautifully rendered on the page, like a love letter written to the reader... The women who fill the pages of The Art of Devotion struggle for your empathy as each reveals their hidden fears, betrayals, hopes and obsessions... and by the end of the story, their story, we are swept up into their lives.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The novel itself is unique in that the story is told from four points of view. Sophie, Adora, Miranda and Genev...more The Art of Devotion by Samantha Bruce-Benjamin is haunting... The prose is beautifully rendered on the page, like a love letter written to the reader... The women who fill the pages of The Art of Devotion struggle for your empathy as each reveals their hidden fears, betrayals, hopes and obsessions... and by the end of the story, their story, we are swept up into their lives.
The novel itself is unique in that the story is told from four points of view. Sophie, Adora, Miranda and Genevieve are the three generations of women that tell their story, unfolding it by alternating passages, almost like pages in a diary. At first I thought that having the four alternating narrators was just to establish the beginning of the story and the voices of the different women, but as the story continued that way, I found it an interesting way to read a story. Instead of having to guess the motivations of one of the other women involved in a particular circumstance, I was able to peek into their thoughts soon enough when it was their turn to "speak". The characters are fleshed out and well developed, and the empathy you will start to feel for them individually is the result of their lives coming to life on the page. Samantha Bruce-Benjamin does a wonderful job creating such strong believable women. And their lives are so entangled with one another too! There is more than one twist and turn to their stories. Secret liaisons and relationships are slowly revealed over the course of the novel, along with betrayals, that will having you devouring the pages for more!
The setting for the novel is the beautiful Mediterranean, and the story has that carefree feeling to it. We are allowed to enjoy the women and not be concerned with the mundane of day-to-day living. The interactions between Sophie, Adora, Miranda and Genevieve are steeped in deep emotion, spanning 20 years of their lives, from young girls (in the case of Adora, Miranda and eventually Genevieve) to mature women, and the results are haunting. Even after finishing the book I am still thinking about those women and the choices they made. Not to give too much away, but the prologue meant so much more to me after I finished the book, and I would recommend going back and reading it again after you finish too!
I would definitely recommend The Art of Devotion by Samantha Bruce-Benjamin! For it's beautiful writing, memorable characters and its intriguing story. And those 4 women were so interesting to get to know!
Posted June 14, 2010
On a sun-kissed island, two beautiful children play in the waves. Sebastian and Adora are not twins, although many mistake these children with their golden curls and piercing blue eyes for twins. Brother and sister who are two years apart, they are fiercely devoted to each other and need no one else. Even their mother Sophie feels excluded, although she knows she should not be jealous of their closeness.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The book then moves to thirty years in the future and follows the relationships of this family, and another that they are intertwined with. Adora has married Oliver. They have no children of their own, but she has emotionally stolen Genevieve, the daughter of her husband's best friends, James and Miranda. Genevieve spends every summer with Adora and is now entering adulthood. She meets Jack, and her love for Adora is changed as she finds first love with him.
Samantha Bruce Benjamin explores the many facets of devotion. There is devotion between siblings, between mother and daughter, between lovers, between friends and between adults and the children they foster. Not all devotion is positive, and Benjamin explores the dark side of this emotion also. The book is told through the voices of the women involved, moving back and forth from one to the other. As each speaks of the summer that exists, and the years leading up to the events of that summer, the reader is taken on a road of discovery, as each event is told from multiple views and secrets and betrayals are revealed.
This book is recommended for all readers. It is compelling. The writing is lyrical and what seems a gentle book constantly surprises as the plot twists are revealed. The author has created one of the most memorable villians I've found, or have the motives of the villian been misinterpreted? Readers of The Art Of Devotion will be thinking about what happened long after they close the covers of this book.