It has been years since Meredith has seen or set foot on Aurelia. Aurelia is a piece of property that lies on more than three thousand acres of land. Meredith receives a letter. The letter tells her that her cousin has passed away and that Aurelia will be dissolved and auctioned off to the highest bidders. The attorney suggests to Meredith that it would make things easier if someone in the family was to come down to Aurelia and sign the papers. Once back at Aurelia, Meredith remembers both the good and bad times of her family.

I tried to get into this book but I just was not feeling the vibes. The characters felt old-fashioned and not so much in a good way. For this type of story to really work for me, the characters have to be engaging, jump off the pages and make me feel something for them. Thus is did not happen for me end I did not wish to continue learning about the Hathaway family or their secrets. Like for example, when Meredith’s grandmother, Lavinia left with Meredith’s grandfather, who at the time was her lover. Yeah, Lavinia was an adulteress. Well, anyways, when Meredith’s grandfather came to the house to confront Lavinia’s current husband that he was taking Lavinia away with him, he asked Lavinia if she wanted to go and she nodded her head yes. He than left the room without a fight. This is when I knew I was probably not going to enjoy this book as I had hoped. Although, Lavinia and Meredith’s grandfather were a nice match, I yelled in my head that Lavinia’s current husband needed to show some fight and be more of a man. This book may not have been my cup of tea but it does not mean it might not appeal to you.

Writing on Taboo Topics by Nelle Davy

Because the novel was inspired by I Claudius, in which all these things occur it wasn’t difficult to write because it was the natural course for the story to take. The hardest scene to write was the rape scene and the end confrontation between Meredith and Ava. Everything else was a walk in the park compared to that which was very draining. I think it would be interesting to know that the bloodletting which actually is now a pivotal moment in the novel did not come in until the final draft. Everything that happens in the novel is in context with the characters, their build up, and their downfall, so writing them felt very natural and as I said because the book was a modern reworking of another, it already had a sort of natural path that it was going to take with these things along the way, so I was always prepared for what was going to happen within the novel and the journey it was going to take. What interested me as a writer was not the incidents themselves but the characters reactions to them. That was what kept me gripped when writing it – how the characters behaved and why and what was draining or difficult was trying to understand that and conveying it in such a way that the reader could to while also drawing their own conclusions. After all, books are symbiotic – the writer sets down the story but really it does not come into its own until someone reads it and puts their own interpretation onto it. That’s what gives stories life.


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