Hi everyone! So, remember my last post where I was contemplating doing a post or video about the Fringe? Yeahh…that didn’t happen. Mainly because I didn’t take much footage, and that was dull and grey due to rain. Never mind though – I have a book review for you today instead! And it also counts towards my Reading Women Challenge which is great. The Forget Me Not Sonata is set in Buenos Aires, 1948. Protagonist Audrey lives a fairly quiet existence with her parents and sister Isla. However, this all changes when she meets Louis, a talented musician, and the two have a hidden love affair. Audrey has also caught the eye of Louis’ older brother Cecil, a decorated war hero who everyone in the community (including her parents) adore. It is obvious who they wish their daughter to marry. But who will Audrey choose?
I liked the plot, despite even from the small blurb you can kind of guess what happens. And certainly know from the very first chapter. But Montefiore’s writing is so charming you forget about the predictable plot. I found myself sucked in, captivated by these immigrants living in 1940s Argentina. Montefiore has obviously researched this period, as the mannerisms and attitudes, as well as setting, clothing, and dialogue, seem authentic. She is also really good at imagery and there were some scenes which were beautifully detailed.
The characters were a bit of a mixed bag for me, however. I did like the relationship between Audrey and Isla; Montefiore nails that sisterly friendship/rivalry. Audrey, being the main character, is obviously given a lot of depth, and you feel the struggle as she is torn between two men. But sadly, it is Louis and Cecil who let the characterisation fall down. They fall into cliché – in particular Cecil, who seems to have no personality traits at all. Sure, he’s a war hero and nice and polite to everyone he meets, but that’s it for him. He’s not very engaging, never feeling like a real threat to Audrey and Louis’ relationship. Even when terrible things happen to him, he never changes which is frustrating. He’s there because the story needs a love triangle to work and no characterisation is given to him. Louis only fairs slightly better. He’s a combination of the ‘bad boy’ and ‘misunderstood artist’ tropes which sums him up. Certainly he has more personality than his brother (which isn’t hard) but there were times I questioned his love for Audrey and why she is attracted to him. Lust, rather than love, maybe?
The Forget Me Not Sonata is a strange one to review. The plot hinges on this love triangle which never worked for me, making this aspect a bit of a disappointment. Yet I enjoyed the setting and Montefiore’s writing, so I will happily check out more of her work. I know she has other novels set in South America, so perhaps I will get along better with one of them.
The Forget Me Not Sonata is published by Simon & Schuster and you can find more information here.