Monday, November 17, 2008
Review: Cover the Mirrors, by Faye L. Booth
After her aunt dies and leaves her the family business, Molly Pinner becomes the only spiritualist in the town of Preston. Molly begins an affair with a local businessman named William Hamilton, eventually marrying him after she becomes pregnant. Her best friend, Jenny, also pregnant, moves in with the Hamiltons, but a rift comes between the two girls when Molly tries to get rid of the baby. Then a secret from Molly's past comes back to haunt her, and she find that lives are at stake, especially her own.
I liked the idea of this novel, but there were a lot of aspects about it that didn't live up to its promise. My biggest problem with the novel is its main character; Molly's not particularly compelling or someone that you find yourself rooting for. In fact, I found myself caring less and less for her as the story went on. Her relationship with William seemed to be based primarily on sex, and it seemed completely unrealistic to me that a mid-nineteenth century, semi-respectable girl like Molly would have sex with a man she barely knows in a public park. The nature of their relationship is strange, too: at first, William seems to be the controlling type, only out to marry her because of the business she owns (not extensive or lucrative, by what I could see), but immediately he breaks down and wants to sell his family business because he claims he's no good at running it. Then, inexplicably, he purchases a liquor factory.
Preston-a hygienic, 21st-century rendering of a poverty-ridden, 19th century town--didn't seem very real to me. Despite the title and the premise, there really wasn't much in the way of séances or spiritualism in this novel, and Molly seemed as though she could have cared less about the business, for all the control she wanted to hold over it. And all the good characters seem to come out alright in the end-despite their checkered pasts, both Jenny and Katy get second chances, and self-righteous Molly, who censors Lizzie for her mistakes, is somehow absolved of making nearly the same mistakes. It was an ending that was a little too neatly wrapped and tied, in my opinion.
That said, I do think this novel was well-researched. There was a lot of promise in this novel, and I really did want to like it, but ultimately this book didn't work for me. However, if you like books such as The Tea Rose and The Winter Rose, you may enjoy Cover the Mirrors. Despite my complaints about the novel, I'm given to understand that this is the author's first, and I'm willing to give her writing a second chance if she writes a second.