Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Bristol House Ghost

Well... where do I start with my current read Bristol House by Beverly Swerling? I guess we'll start at the beginning. Dr. Annie Kendall, a recovering alcoholic, is asked by Philip Weinrub, to study Judaica for the Shalom Foundation. The period she is researching is during a time when being Jewish and in England were not good things at all. Because of religious unrest Jews were in hiding. Before long, Annie is visited by the ghost of a monk named Jew of Holborn and she also finds a huge mural in her room that may contain information that she's researching.

Another main character is a man named Geoffrey Harris who is an expose type news reporter who is suspicious as to why Weinrub is asking Dr. Annie Kendall to do the research. Harris is aware of Annie's past and wonders why someone of obscene amounts of wealth would hire someone who's lost custody of their child and has dealt with sobriety issues especially when this person's work will be extremely important for the foundation. Of course, a romance ensues between them but honestly so far, it's not forced or weird. They both seem to be carrying around a lot of guilt and depth which ironically makes them perfect for each other.

So far I find that there's a lot going on and I don't know where it's all leading to. With a mystery that's a good thing. I have no idea where this is all leading. I also like that there's so much information given about the time period of Tudor England when Henry VIII was most concerned with annulling his first marraige so he could be with Anne Boleyn. The introduction of the Carthusian monk helps to bring in the times and how perilous it really was to be Jewish during this era.

Although there is a lot going on with murals, old scrolls, and dual time periods, I don't get the suspenseful feeling yet in this novel. Annie isn't backing down nor is she afraid that the monk will harm her so why should the reader be? The only person that's seemingly going to bring harm to her are the people employing her but as of now at 40%, there isn't much to know about him except that he may be involved in some shady dealings. Essentially, this novel is definitely well written, thoroughly researched, and complex. I look forward to where everything is going and how these worlds are going to collide.


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