Tuesday, December 5, 2006
Tied to the Tracks - A Review
Title: Tied to the Tracks
Author: Sarah Donati
Publisher: Transworld Publishers (Division of Random House Australia)
It was with equal parts anticipation and apprehension that I approached reading Tied to the Tracks by Sarah Donati. As an avid fan of her hugely popular and arresting historical romantic fiction series I was delighted to learn she had entered the realms of contemporary fiction but anxious that some of her writing magic might be lost in this genre.
“Tied to the Tracks” is the name of Angie Mangiamele’s fledgling small scale film company. When her struggling firm is asked to make a documentary on the life of literary marvel and recluse Zula Bragg it seems like the chance of a lifetime. But the relocation to small town Southern USA provides many challenges. From dealing with the enigmatic Miss Zula, the many deeply entrenched traditions of the township, and suspicions towards Angie and her friends to and the discovery that Angie’s former lover, “the one that got away”, is now head of the local university literary department; the divinely handsome – and about to be wed in the southern society wedding of the year - John Grant.
As much as I tried to love this book, I found I just could not. I found it very hard to get involved with the tale or the characters for the majority of time. The story is undoubtedly told with sharp wit and warmth but failed to fully grab my attention. Moreover the complex cast of characters and their interweaving relationships and family histories, while obviously a real life feature of some southern states in America, became increasingly frustrating to follow and keep track of and I often found myself doubling back to try and establish just how people were connected.
But that is not to say that I did not enjoy some aspects of Tied to the Tracks by Sara Donati. Maybe my expectations were too high given my ardent love of her historical novels. It is a pleasant enough read with some genuinely funny and touching moments, interesting twists and turns of the plot and colourful characters aplenty but is not a book I would shout from the roof tops as a “must read,” especially when I know this author is so much more capable.
~ Tied to the Tracks is released under the pseudonym of Sara Donati in Australasia but under the author’s real name, Rosina Lippi, in the rest of the world