Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Alice's Review: Blood Brothers

Summary:  Josephine Cox Drama with heart Alice Jacobs has finally found the family she always wanted! With her shy smile and kind nature, Alice wins the hearts of the Arnold family. A decent and well respected couple,Tom and Nancy Arnold have raised two very different sons, Frank and Joe. Frank is a devious, brutal man. Seeing Alice as the key to his fortune, he is determined to have her for himself. However, his younger brother Joe has fallen in love with Alice, so when she and Frank become engaged to marry, Joe leaves home, determined to put a distance between himself and temptation. He reluctantly returns when Frank summons him to be his best man. Alice finds herself inexplicably drawn to Joe, but feeling it to be her duty, she goes ahead and marries Frank, not wishing to hurt him. On their wedding night Frank shows his true colours and when he forces Alice to reveal a devastating secret, his evil nature reaps a shocking revenge. In his blind hatred, intent on punishing those who have crossed him, Frank plans the final, ultimate retribution. An act that could tear apart not only the Arnold family, but shatter the lives of those around them forever. Unless someone can stop him!

Review:  It’s been a long time since I read a novel that actually made me angry.  I’m not talking about the kind of anger that comes from a novel skillfully written which conjures genuine emotions.  I’m talking about a different kind of anger that is self-imposed because I could kick myself for investing this much time on Blood Brothers.

I’m hard-pressed to find something positive to write.  Right from the beginning, Ms. Cox made Alice so annoyingly perfect.  She’s pretty and kind and free spirited enough that not one, but two brothers instantly fell in love with her.  I mean seriously, lambs follow her around.  And no, this is not a fairy tale.  Alice’s own mother and sister don’t like her and want her out of their lives.  I can’t fault them in their feelings.  Ms. Cox did her a great disservice by not giving her a flaw.  Any flaw. 

The story flows quickly, beginning during the preparation of Alice’s wedding to Frank, the bad son.  Joe, the good son, returns after a year-long exodus.  Was he looking for adventure?  Of course not, he was running away from his budding feelings for his brother’s new girlfriend.  Mind you, she’s a woman who within seconds of meeting, he fell madly enough for that he needed to take off in the middle of the night to prevent himself from acting on those feelings.  His return was to fulfill Frank’s desire to have him stand up at their wedding.  Joe also wanted to make sure that Alice was happy.  Of course, we all know what happens next.  After some shameful behavior, Frank leaves three people for dead.  Oh, how the townsfolk tongues’ were wagging with sacks full of gossip.

After pages and pages of scandal, healing and naturally, unfailing love, Ms. Cox tied up the ending.  To say it felt rushed is an understatement.  Seriously 380 pages of set up in exchange for 20 pages of resolution. I felt a bit robbed, yet thankful that like Alice, my ordeal was finally over.  I didn’t feel this incredible love Alice and Joe were supposed to have shared.  I believe love like that exists.  In a glance or a touch or smile, people connect.  That kind of love is fierce, powerful, honest and true.  Yet Ms. Cox doesn’t conjure any of that in Alice and Joe.  It was as if they made the decision to love, not the fates making the decision for them.

The two shining stars in this novel were Nancy and Tom Arnold.  Yes, Tom Arnold.  I cracked up a little every time Ms. Cox mentions him by his full name.  The one thing she succeeds in is writing an extremely believable romance between this twilight couple.  I loved their interactions, how they played off each other.  They teased each other and acted exactly how any couple would act after 25+ years of marriage providing that couple genuinely enjoyed each other’s company, of course.

I can’t imagine anyone really enjoying this novel unless it was some hopeless romantic who believes true love will with withstand time and one crazy brother who is hell-bent on seeking revenge.  

Final Take: 2/5



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