Friday, May 28, 2010
Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show by Frank Delaney and Giveaway
Published Feb 23, 2010
Hardcover, 448 pages
Reviewed by Sandra
The opening words of this novel captured my attention. As the novel progressed, however, I was disappointed because I expected a serious novel but seemed to be confronted with a comedy, for example: the writer’s references to “Tiny Digressions, Important Digressions, Relatively Important Digressions, and Unimportant Digressions”. Initially, I was put off, but I was determined to continue reading to see what the novelist had to say. Happily, the reward was a tale well told.
The writer describes Venetia so well that she comes alive in our mind’s eye. It is easy for the reader to see how she captivated both a man of mature years and a boy of 18. Venetia was 32 and Ben 18, yet they seemed to fit together. We understand that Venetia is vulnerable and we wonder why, when she seems to have “everything” going for her - beauty, allure, talent, money. Venetia’s use of a ventriloquist’s dummy named Blarney was intriguing and revealed her inability to speak her thoughts directly to Ben. Early on in the narrative, through Blarney, we hear Venetia’s true feelings about her grandfather, Thomas Aquinas Kelly (often referred to as “King” Kelly) and later on about her love for Ben. Blarney helps the reader to “know” that “King” Kelly is not a good man and we feel the novel building to reveal his sins.
The novel came to life for me in chapter 65 and continued to the end at a relentless pace. The reader understands that the novel may not end on a happy note. There is a hint of incest when Kelly learns of the marriage of Ben and Venetia. We wonder if “King” Kelly is Venetia’s father but nothing more is said on the subject so the reader may conclude that she is his granddaughter, but who is her father? And why does “King” Kelly have such a hold on his daughter, Sarah, and his granddaughter, Venetia?
I was completely surprised with the ending – a true bitter/sweet ending because we realize, as events unfold, that Ben and Venetia had a special, loving relationship that will affect both of them throughout their lives.
From a historical viewpoint much can be learned about the Irish political situation in the 30’s in this book. The last few pages of the novel reveal the reason why many of the Irish writers frame their stories within the typical bitter/sweet Irish story - never wholly joyful nor wholly sad but always a combination of the two in various degrees.
Frank Delaney has won me over. I now want to read his other books.
Would you like a chance to win this book? Thanks to Evelyn, I have one copy of this book to give away! Here are the rules: GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED
1. Open to US and Canadian residents only.
2. No P.O. box addresses.
3. Must be a follower of this blog, new or current.
4. Leave a comment with your email address. For example: laura (at) aol (dot) com
5. For an extra entry post this giveaway on your blog (on the sidebar) and leave me the link.
6. Giveaway ends June 18, 2010.
Disclosure: Thank you to Evelyn for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.