Monday, April 16, 2012
Urban Venus by Sara Downing
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The story begins with a sort of flashback from the 14th century of someone throwing herself from a carriage to take her life. This follows by present-day Lydia moving into her study abroad apartment in Italy. Lydia finds herself in a fairytale-like apartment, with fairy-tale, lovely friends all willing to show her the sights.
The only thing that isn't going well is her playboy tutor who keeps breaking all the girls' hearts who he is tutoring.
Lydia, an art student, dives into her studies at the art museums and finds that each time she visits the Venus of Urbino painting, she falls asleep and falls into a dream world where she takes on the role of another woman in another era.
Throughout the book Lydia goes back and forth from the world she lives in to the world she is dreaming about. When she begins dating one of her friends and tells him about the dreams he makes her choose between the real world and her fantasy world.
While I enjoyed this book enough, a few things bothered me about this book. For one thing, there seemed to be a whole issue going on with her tutor loving and leaving his students, but eventually she decides this is all OK, because he loves her. No real resolve happens, besides her ending up with him because he is all of a sudden handsome and perfect, even though the first time she told him about the dreams on their first date he was rude about them, while the boyfriend she leaves for being jealous about the paintings was supportive of the dreams in the beginning. At some point her roommate has a miscarriage and the book lingers there, but then she feels better and the book never comes back to the character really besides her continuing to be a supportive friend of Lydia.
Overall, I like the idea of the book, but several times it feels like there will be parts of the book that will be picked up and explained further later that never seems to be resolved. I think it could be edited quite a bit more and become a really strong romantic comedy–type of book.
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