Monday, February 04, 2008

A Bucket of Ashes

We watched the Super Bowl last night (Yay Giants!) with Jesse's mom and dad. His mom offered to watch Mia this morning so that I could go into work. Mia, after some waffling, decided to spend the night there. Doug came and picked up Molly, and Doogie was already with him. So a little after ten, the house was emptied of children. I will not handle empty nest syndrome well. I walked around the house feeling a little lost and looking in on the girls' empty room nearly brought me to tears. The house was entirely too quiet. The older two kids go to their dad's every other month, but for some reason, this switch seemed extra hard.

A Bucket of Ashes by P.B. Ryan is the last book in the Gilded Age series starring Nell Sweeney. I read the previous book in this series, Murder in the North End, shortly after it came out at the end of 2006. Visiting the author's website a few months later, I was excited to find that the this would be the last book in the series and was supposed to be published in Dec 2007. Every week starting in July, I visited the library website waiting to get on the reserve list. When it finally made in the list mid-January, I was number one on the list. It arrived on Friday, and I curled up in bed that very night determined not to go to sleep until I had finished it. Nell and Will have faced many troubles in their past, but after (finally) making love at the end of the last book, Will left for France at President Grant's request. Nell is in Cape Cod at the Hewitt's family home taking care of Gracie when she discovers that she's pregnant and her long lost brother has been killed in a fire and implicated in a murder. kmc's review is spot on. It feels as though Ryan needed to deal with every problem in Nell and Will's romance and did so without the spark of the previous books in the series. Remember how Cheers lost its zing after Sam and Diane finally did the deed? That's how it feels in A Bucket of Ashes. The mystery and powerful attraction between the two has been muted. Ryan goes through all of the obstacles keeping the two apart and smooths them out, but I think she's forgotten that what makes a story truly interesting are the wrinkles. The mystery involving Nell's brother is haphazard and unnecessary to the storyline. These characters were so entrancing and enjoyable, they deserve (as do the readers) a much better send off.

On Friday, Molly and I went to see 27 Dresses starring Katherine Heigl. It was a hilarious movie, and it was nice to spend time just the two of us girls.