Sunday, 3 July 2016

Review: The Beautiful Years: A Novella by Katia Lief

"The Beautiful Years is part character study, part love triangle, and part commentary on how the decisions we make in an instant can color decades of our lives. A gorgeous, rich, contemplative read." - Jodi Picoult

On the day she graduates from college, Ada makes an impulsive choice that changes the course of her life and those of the two men who love her: George, her steady, loyal beau and their best friend, artistic, mercurial Claude. Unfolding the story over seven years on three separate milestones—a graduation, a funeral, and a wedding— Katia Lief weaves between perspectives to reveal a tapestry rich in motive and emotion. The Beautiful Years is a dazzling rendering of hubris, consequence and the complexity of love.

Kindle Edition, Kindle Singles
Published May 1st 2016 by Blue Table Books 

Kristine's Thoughts:

I came across this novella when I was looking for something quick to read. My schedule has been really busy and I needed to find something that I could get through quickly so that I wouldn't get behind on my blog posts. The synopsis and many positive reviews sold me on The Beautiful Years.

I always find it difficult to talk about a novella because there is only so much content and I never want to give the story away. I won't be re-telling the story for that reason alone. Instead I am going to try my best, without spoiling, to give my opinion on the story.

The plot was a good one but I feel like it would have been better served in a full length novel. The emotions could have been captured and it may have been quite the emotional page turner for the reader. As it stood, I found it lacked emotion and character depth. As much as I wanted to connect with the characters and feel them, I couldn't. It was just too quick and stiff. It also jumped between points of view without warning and within chapters which was very distracting. This is saying something coming from someone who loves multiple points of view.

This novella would be a good book club book because of the many questions that come from a book that leaves so much out. Many a discussion could easily surround the events of Ada, George and Claude's graduation day.

Some stories work really well in a novella but I think this one needed just a little more to make it truly memorable. 


About the Author
The first thing I ever wrote that received any notice was a one page story for my third grade English teacher. I don't recall what the assignment was, but I somehow found myself writing about a woman at a dinner party who suddenly realizes her teeth are invisible. She sits there, wedged between two chattering guests, wondering how she will eat, how she will talk, and generally how she will get out of the situation without having to open her mouth and reveal her dilemma. My teacher showed the story to my parents with a note to this effect: Katia could be a writer.

What if her note had instead encouraged me to be a dentist?

But it didn't. And so here I am.

So far I've published two literary novels (as Katia Spiegelman, the name I was born with), and seven suspense novels--five as Kate Pepper (a pseudonym) and two as Katia Lief (the name I live by).

I have loved writing every one of my novels, and hope you will enjoy reading them.

Connect with Katia

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