Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Review: The Reservoir by John Milliken Thompson

The ReservoirThe Reservoir by John Milliken Thompson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Reservoir is a historical novel that is built around a true story that took place in Richmond, Virginia in 1885. It is obvious that the author has done exhaustive research into the original case and into 19th century Richmond, VA . He brings both alive in vivid detail! Goodreads describes this book as "a novel of lust, betrayal, justice, and revenge, The Reservoir ultimately probes the question of whether we can really know the hearts and minds of others, even of those closest to us." This is a really good description of the novel as a whole ... law, lust and deception are at the center of the story.

My feelings about this novel are a bit jumbled. I enjoyed it. I felt it was a good, solid read. But, it didn't capture my imagination in the way that I'd hoped. It was good but not great. Perhaps this is partly because the novel is loaded with ambiguity. by the way, if you’re looking for a mystery with solid resolution, then this book is not for you. You are not given answers, you are left with a lot of ways to look at the situations in the novel.

The writing is superb. John Milliken Thompson puts words together in ways that I found enchanting. I loved how the book felt like a mix of historical fiction and psychological thriller.
Given all of the things that I liked about this book, I haven't been able to pinpoint what it is that didn't take it from a good novel to a great one. I can't seem to put my finger on why it didn't completely wow me.

I definitely recommend this novel if you love well written historical fiction. And if Richmond, VA is a city that you care about at all, this is an excellent way to see the Richmond of 1855 come alive!
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