Review: Past Imperfect

Let me begin by saying that I love Downton Abbey.  Love it.  Can’t get enough.  My complete adoration for all things Downton was the reason I nearly tripped over myself in my local library when I came across this title.

A story about two ex-chums from University, one of whom is now massively wealthy and dying; the other is moderately successful and bitter….. and the first bloke summons the second bloke to locate his love child from decades prior, so he can make this unsuspecting offspring his sole heir?

Well, get me a cup of tea, cause I’m hunkering down for this!

50 pages in….

Hm.  This is a little dull.

120 pages in….

That’s odd.  The story seems to be meandering.

175 pages in….

I’m reading this book, but am thinking about what’s next on my to-read shelf.

210 pages in…..

”Google…… Julian Fellowes…… books published……”  Nope.  Same person.

250 pages in…..

I’m OVER the British debutantes, the pining for aristocracy, the missed opportunities, and the continuous teases for a massive, earth shattering spectacle.  (“Spectacle,” being the official day years back, when the friendship between these two men came to a screeching halt.  By this point, I’m thinking that one gent must have set the other on fire.)

320 pages in…..

Is skimming an option?

End of the book….

Staring at the last page, stunned, wondering what just happened.  That was it?

What grew particularly tiresome for me was the “imperfect” handling of women in this book.  The female characters were drawn so lightly that I couldn’t connect.  Their male counterparts were detached.   Combined, they were a group of trite socialites.

Very few Englishmen ever ask women anything about themselves.  They choose instead to lecture their dinner neighbors on a new and better route to the M5, or to praise their own professional achievements.  So if a man does express any curiosity about the woman sitting next to him, about her feelings, about the life she is leading, she will generally tell him anything he cares to know.

I’m afraid this perspective left me cold.

The book’s premise had great allure, and there’s no question that Fellowes can spin a delicious yarn.  His talent for writing is evident with Downton.  Past Imperfect, however, was a disappointment.  I’ve heard that his book Snobs was much more entertaining; perhaps I started with the wrong story.  I wish very much that I felt differently toward Past Imperfect, but alas….. the mere promise of a story can’t carry the weight of a dry read.

I do plan on reading Snobs, eventually.  It will be a short spell before I do, however, as I just need a little break from England’s upper class.  Sorry, Mr. Fellowes.

2 stars.