It’s not lost on me to see I have posted my adoration for Academy Street by Mary Costello and her emotionally effective way she has written using very short, simple and not overly descriptive sentences. Her story, while seemingly simplistically written, about Tess Lohan was a marvelous one packed with emotion.
Here however, in Maud’s Line, while Verble as well uses very short and simple sentences, achieved a very differing opinion or emotional attachment for me. It’s a significant contrast in Maud’s Line in that it did not pull out the emotion I felt when reading Academy Street. Both are debut novels, both have used similar writing techniques, but for some reason, I simply could not turn myself over to Maud’s story the way I did with Tess Lohan’s.
I had higher expectations for a better reading experience in Maud’s Line. This title even featured in our 2015 Reading wishlist (which, by the way, we have read 14 of the 29 listed to date). I won’t go on and on here, I have a difficult time writing about books that I didn’t enjoy, and no, it’s not lost on me either that I’m not an author, I haven’t taken that leap to putting my writing out there in a novel, but I truly cannot deny the feelings I had when reading. I did not enjoy Maud’s Line and I’ll be leaving it at that.
There were a few sentences/paragraphs I recorded to show the short and simplistically written sentences. For me, they read at an elementary level, making this read a rather choppy one and where Maud’s story, in contrast to Tess Lohan’s, veered down the path of increasing boredom.
“She slid further in the pool. It was lovely and cool. It protected her skin from the baking heat. She could lie there. The river would come. A part of the sandbank broke way. New water came in.”
“Soon Maud felt her left arm being tickled. She shook it. The minnows darted away as quickly as a snake.”
I do appreciate the release of this title from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Netgalley, and I’m quite sorry I am not able to pen a more enthusiastic response to it.
From the publisher’s description:
A debut novel chronicling the life and loves of a headstrong, earthy, and magnetic heroine
Eastern Oklahoma, 1928. Eighteen-year-old Maud Nail lives with her rogue father and sensitive brother on one of the allotments parceled out by the U.S. Government to the Cherokees when their land was confiscated for Oklahoma’s statehood. Maud’s days are filled with hard work and simple pleasures, but often marked by violence and tragedy, a fact that she accepts with determined practicality. Her prospects for a better life are slim, but when a newcomer with good looks and books rides down her section line, she takes notice. Soon she finds herself facing a series of high-stakes decisions that will determine her future and those of her loved ones.
On a separate note: I was originally drawn to the cover of Maud’s Line – there was something about that woman on the cover that was quite striking to me. Well, in what has become both a very fun project and is quickly turning into a complete obsession, Jennifer over at @Booktrovert on Twitter and I have been cataloguing #BookALikes on her Riffle account. This is a series of book covers that are similar, if not identical to one another. The woman appearing on the cover of Maud’s Line is certainly a popular choice for publishers, as she has now appeared on 4 books to date. Here she is on the 3 other covers, in all of her polka-dotted, arm raised, hand through her hair glory :