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08 June 2010

Book Review: The Art of Devotion by Samantha Bruce-Benjamin

Title: The Art of Devotion
Author: Samantha Bruce-Benjamin
Publisher: Gallery
Publication Date: June 8, 2010
Paperback: 400 pages
ISBN: 978-1439153949
Genre: Fiction


***Note: Author Samantha Bruce-Benjamin will be stopping by throughout the day to answer reader questions in the comment section.***

From the Publisher:

Have we all not wished to keep forever the one person we love the most?

The secluded beaches of a sun-drenched Mediterranean island are the perfect playground for young Sebastian and Adora. Emotionally adrift from their mother, Adora shelters her sensitive older brother from the cruelties of the world. Sophie does not question her children’s intense need for one another until it’s too late. Her beloved son’s affections belong to Adora, and when he drowns in the sea, she has no one else to blame.

Still heartbroken years later, Adora fills her emptiness with Genevieve, the precocious young daughter of her husband’s business associate and his jealous wife, Miranda. Thrilled to be invited into the beautiful and enigmatic Adora’s world, the child idolizes her during their summers together. Yet, as the years progress, Genevieve begins to suspect their charmed existence is nothing more than a carefully crafted illusion. Soon, she too is ensnared in a web of lies.

Stunningly told in the tragic voices of four women whose lives are fatefully entangled, The Art of Devotion is evocative and haunting, a story of deceit, jealousy, and the heartbreaking reality of love’s true power.

My Review:

The Art of Devotion by Samantha Bruce-Benjamin is an alluring, and at times heart wrenching, narrative told by four women; Sophie, Adora, Genevieve, and Miranda, spanning the years 1919-1940. What unfolds in this novel of beautiful, and at times, lyrical prose is an interwoven story from the perspective of four women and how they played their parts, interacted and the lies and deceptions that bound them together. The Art of Devotion is an extremely vivid novel, filled with detailed imagery that easily makes the reader feel a part of the novel. The style of writing took a little while to get into a rhythm with, but once I did I was unable to put the book down, so absorbed into the lives I was of these women and wanting to find out what kept them together and at the same time what kept them distant. Even after finishing the novel, my mind wanders back to Sophie and her tragic life and then to Genevieve and I wonder about her, for she is the character I worried about the most. I would like to say far more, but then I would be giving away too much of the story. The Art of Devotion will make the reader think, feel, and truly care for the characters and what happened all those years ago on a Mediterranean island so far away from New York. I highly recommend The Art of Devotion and believe this to be an excellent summer reading choice for a discussion group.

About the Author:

Samantha Bruce-Benjamin was born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she earned a Masters Degree in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh. A former BBC Editor, she began her editorial career at Random House. She now lives in New York.

I received a complimentary copy of The Art of Devotion by Samantha Bruce-Benjamin from Simon & Schuster to review. Receiving a free copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned novel.



Samantha said...

Wow! Thank you so much for taking the time to read my novel and for being so very kind with you insights! It is readers like you who make all of this worthwhile, so I cannot thank you enough. Keep those questions coming and I will be delighted to chat with you about whatever you care to know throughout the day. Thanks so much for making this a wonderful on-sale date to remember and for being so gracious. Very best wishes, Samantha

Samantha said...

Thank you so much for this wonderful review. I am thrilled you loved the book! I'm looking forward to answering any questions you might have, so please do send them along. Thank you again for your appreciation and support, I deeply appreciate it! Very best wishes, Samantha

Myckyee said...

This sounds like a great book! I enjoy reading books set in that time period. I love the cover, too!

jewelknits said...

I really can't wait to read this book! Not being as prolific a reader as you are, I was unable to begin it before the tour date, since I only received it 3 or 4 days ago, but should be able to do so in another day or two. Totally looking forward to the read!

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries

Jenny Girl said...

Sounds like an interesting story, especially the time period it is set in. Consider me curious!

Here is a question:
Why did you choose to write about women and the relationships between them? Is it something you always wanted to explore? Did you find it difficult or easy, considering it's four differnt points of view?

(Sorry that's more than one question.)