Jane Green is an author I have admired for many years. At times when I stare at my to-be-read shelf and think ‘there is nothing interesting here’, that is when I go in search of a Jane Green novel. They are sweet, have believable characters and pull me in quickly. As a bonus, the plots are quite different (as opposed to other authors who write the same story with different titles).
So, I was feeling unsettled in my reading. And a Jane Green sat waiting. It was the obvious choice.
Dune Road was published in 2009. It’s not a new book, though it was new to me. What I found though, was that the start is filled with back story and at times, info-dumping, which I have become intolerant of over the years. But this was a Jane Green. So I kept reading.
Looking back on it now, I can understand how it would have been difficult to introduce so many characters up front. And there are more characters than she typically has. But while this is new to Jane Green, it is not new to fiction. Perhaps, she needed to read more action books beforehand to study the inter-connectedness of varying individuals and groups. But what do I know; she’s published (multiple times), I am not.
So, I stuck with the novel and of course, was rewarded.
Once you know all the characters, the storyline is intriguing and gripping. There was more suspense than she usually writes, and less happy romantic endings. Although in true Shakespeare style, there is a wedding at the end (just to make sure the audience/reader leaves with that warm, fuzzy feeling).
What Jane Green does well, is write well-rounded, damaged people. Everyone has a past. Some are hidden, others define their present, but none have had an easy life. I think it is this quality that keeps me coming back to her books. No character can be taken at face value, just as no person in life can be either. We are all a complex mix of fears, desires, heart-break and hope. What you see of a person is only what they choose to show you. You see the abridged version. The one that has been pruned back and air-brushed to remove the worst of our pasts.
While I was disappointed I wasn’t pulled in right from the start, I can forgive Jane Green because what she was able to create within the whole book, was an excellent example of the rare nature of the human condition.