Shades Of The Past
by Kathleen Kirkwood, historical (1999)
Signet, $3.99, ISBN 0-451-40760-1

I took me a week to finish this book and that is after five valiant attempts. Day 1 has me snoring off and drooling onto page 34. Okay, maybe I was tired, I had a 14 hour day. Day 2 sees me snoring off and drooling onto page 56. Okay, maybe watching The Adventures Of Barney with my granddaughter has left some psychological scars that wore me out. Day 3 has me putting the book down at page 78 to watch Nicholas Cage and his mad ambulance in Bringing Out The Dead (crappy movie, by the way). Day 4 I stopped at page 112 to go watch Dylan McDermott's boxers on TV. Day 5, I told myself to finish this book or die trying.

This book isn't bad, it's just boring. I just can't stay awake. When I reached the last page I felt as if I've been reading for years instead of hours.

Vanessa Wynters is a budding photographer. When her good friend and companion Lady Gwendolyn passes away, she is dragged screaming into Gwen's family affairs. Gwen left her all of Gwen's photography equipment and is persuaded by nice Cissy (the good Marrable sister) to set up studio in the place. Bad Marrable sister Majel plots. Big, brawny and hunky Viscount Adrian Marrable gets her in a tizzy while he investigates the reason behind his treacherous second wife's accident (years after it happened!)

There's a ghost that Vanessa is convinced as Lady Gwen that appears in her photos... and these people talk. And talk. And talk. And talk. Adrian is suspected of murdering his second wife. Talk talk talk. Vanessa does some snooping and discovers Big Family Secrets. More talk. Then... zzzzz

Oops, sorry. For some reason I just cannot get myself involved in the story. The whole book seems devoid of any emotion, and the whole relationship between Vanessa and Adrian is as explosive as watching Croquet playing For Senior Citizens and as interesting as watching trees grow. Perhaps other readers will get a reaction out of this book. Me, I feel like the Frankenstein monster after a while. Had to pinch myself to make sure I'm still alive.

Rating: 37

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