Saturday, May 05, 2007
Random Harvest by James Hilton
Monday, March 19, 2007
**This is an English novel that had a similar flavor to "The Moonstone" by Wilkie Collins. I know I've been using other reviews lately, but this review by C Hutton on Amazon.com says exactly what I felt and experienced.
**"This story is a romance, a mystery, a critque on England's class structure, and a parable. Hilton uses the lost years of Charles Rainier as a methaphor for the lost years of the 1920/1930's when England failed to prepare for the next war. Told in flashbacks and bookended by World War I and World War II, the resolution is only revealed in its final sentence that will shock you and change everything that you have just read & thought you understood. You will go back and re-read the book as your perception of all the characters are altered by the surprise ending.
**Two cautions: First, see the 1942 Ronald Coleman/ Greer Garson movie AFTER reading the book to see how the ending is handled. Second, the opening few pages are set in an England and of a time that will be unfamiliar to most Americans, but if one continues on, the reader will be deeply rewarded. The ability to be surprised is a rare gift and Hilton delivers."
**Charles Ranier is such an complex, intriguing character. And he is so well-grounded considering the twists and turns in his life. He accomplishes so much in his life while still tortured by trying to fathom what happened in the two years lost to his memory. And I strongly admonish you not to see the movie first. My daughter had seen it and we started comparing the two while I was mid-book. She tried not to give anything away but there was one little slip. It certainly didn't ruin anything for me, but the ending was not quite as breathtaking as it could have been because I saw it coming. Still I could well appreciate how well-crafted it was, the story beautifully told, and the flavor of England in the 1920's and 30's incredibly illustrated. A very memorable read.
BTW, Cassie, Kitty is the sister's step-daughter. That changes things, doesn't it?
Wow, I just crossed a book off three lists!!! It was so worth it.
Posted by Framed at 10:21 PM
Wow. I really love your blog! You are a challenge Queen! I wandered here from the Michelle's (3M) Decade Challenge. You have some great reviews....and I really love your TBR!
I'm sorry I ruined the ending a little bit. I guess I remember that she was the step daughter but still the fact that she starts flirting with him when she is 13 and he looks to be 40 is a little weird.
Wonderful review. Never even heard of this book, but sounds like one I need to read.
Thanks, Stephanie, for the visit and kind remarks.Cassie, He's only 15 or so years older than her. The ending wasn't ruined. I just wasn't surprised by it.Booklogged, It's really good. I got my copy from Aunt Betty and it was published in 1941. But it has some water damage. Hilton also wrote "Goodbye Mr. Chips" and "Lost Horizon." I think I will add one of those to the next Classics Challenge. Now I need to see the movie.
Tristi Pinkston said...
My husband's fifteen years older than me. :) I'm curious now -- I'll definitely be looking for this book.
Tristi, you'll really enjoy it, but the focus on the book is definitely not on the Kitty/Charles relationship.