About the Book:
Augusta Travers has spent the last three years avoiding the stifling expectations of New York society and her family’s constant disappointment. As the nation’s most fearless–and reviled–columnist, Gussie travels the country with her Kodak camera and spins stories for women unable to leave hearth and home. But when her adventurous nature lands her in the middle of a scandal, an opportunity to leave America offers the perfect escape.
Arriving in India, she expects only a nice visit with childhood friends, siblings Catherine and Gabriel, and escapades that will further her career. Instead, she finds herself facing a plague epidemic, confusion over Gabriel’s sudden appeal, and the realization that what she wants from life is changing. But slowing down means facing all the hurts of her past that she’s long been trying to outrun. And that may be an undertaking too great even for her.
I wrestled with what to think about this book. I appreciate Kimberly Duffy’s ability to write in such a way that you are drawn into the story. This book was no exception. In fact, the pain that Augusta felt in the relational distance in her family almost pulsed off the page. And yet, I didn’t really like the characters and I couldn’t really believe their faith. Honestly, I also didn’t really want to read about a plauge, relevant or not, so maybe it was a perfect storm.
It’s a difficult thing to be caught up in a book without really enjoying the story. There was a lot of tension and in a show of excellent writing Duffy made me feel it. I also felt the beauty and contrast of India, which is a setting that she obvioulsy loves and excels at sharing.
But Augusta’s journey just rubbed me a bit wrong. There was the sense that becoming serious meant that she was mature, but I don’t believe seriousness in writing is any type of a sign of maturity. To see the world in all it’s beauty and brokenness is something that never seemed lacking in Augusta so I think the real sign of maturity is not that she became a “serious” writer able to put what she saw into words, but that she was able to begin to see herself, her wounds and her selfishness. And yet, even that fell a bit flat for me, because the intimacy of relationship with Christ that enables transformation never made it’s way to center stage in the story.
I wasn’t too fond of Gabriel’s character either, so in the end, while this book was beautifully written it isn’t one that I particularly enjoyed. You might have an entirely different experience with the characters and content so I’ll encourage you to see for yourself if this book is your cup of tea.
I received a free digital galley of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.