April 25, 2009

The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite - Beatrice Colin

The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite is a book I could not ignore - the cover is gorgeous and tempting and the title evocative and intriguing - who could avoid the temptation? Not me!

I did do a little more research beyond the cover and the title though - there have been lots of good reviews about this one floating around the blogging world - The review from Farm Lane Books is one that I can remember at the moment and the setting of the book did interest me. I am always looking out for novels set in the early 20th Century and I am interested in the setting of the novel - Germany - during this time.

Lilly is born on the very first day of the new century but is quickly orphaned and sent to live in an orphanage run by the first love of Lilly's life, Sister August. It is here that Lilly meets her friend Hanne who will play a part in the rest of her story to come.

I have to say that this book, for me, was bleak - I did not find Lilly's life particularly luminous and I would be really interested to hear why the author chose to use this word. Lilly is certainly resilient and strong but life deals her some pretty awful hands. Just when you thought something was finally going right for her - it didn't.

I found the actual structure of the story quite clunky - the chapters didn't really flow for me and I thought coincidence played too great a part in the events and story line. Having said all that though, I really did enjoy reading this book - something about Lilly kept me hanging in there.


claire said...

Thank you for the honest comments. I still would like to try this out, though. The cover's just too gorgeous. As is the title. Lol.

Karen said...

Hi Claire - I would definitely give it a read. As I said, I did enjoy it - just some things about it stopped it from being a brilliant book for me.

Steph said...

I definitely understand why you picked it up, given the arresting cover! That being said, I feel burnt out on any kind of war fiction at the moment (I think I'm just particularly sensitive to it being used as a catalyst in a lot of recent fiction and so it bugs me to an unreasonable degree), so I think I would give this one a pass for now.

Unknown said...

Thank you for highlighting my review!

I agree about the word 'luminous' - it doesn't fit with the book at all. I don't feel that the cover fits with it either - strange isn't it?!

I'n sorry to hear that you found the chapters clunky. I didn't feel this at all.

What did you think of the ending? I was a bit disappointed by it. The ending was how I pictured the whole book to be from the blurb on the back - full of celebrity, and not my cup of tea. I'm pleased that the majority of the book focused on Lily's life before her film career.

I really enjoyed this book - it's one of my favourites of the year so far, so I'm sorry you didn't feel the same way.

Karen said...

Hi Steph, I understand what you mean. I have times like that too when certain types of books need to be put aside for a while. There are always plenty of others out there!

Hi Farmlanebooks - I was disappointed by the ending too! But I think that might have been because I was hoping Lilly would finally get something to go her way!! This poor author can't win with me - if it had been any other way I would have thought it unrealistic. I did enjoy reading the book too - I certainly didn't think it was a waste of time or anything - it just wasn't as "luminous" as I thought it would be!

Iliana said...

This was one of my fave reads last year but I have to say I prefer the American title - it was called The Glimmer Palace - because yea, for the most part Lilly's life wasn't that luminous!

I did like the way the chapters were introduced but I think it was in part because I had been to the museum of film in Berlin and I guess it just reminded me of that and how film was such a big thing at the turn of the century.

Karen said...

Hi Iliana - that museum sounds wonderful - it certainly would have given you a great context for reading this one.

Savidge Reads said...

I am so, so, so sorry you didnt like this I really really hoped that you would have... oh fiddlesticks. Great tohear your opinion!

Karen said...

Hi Savidge Reads - I am still really glad I read it though even though I didn't totally love it.