Friday, December 28, 2012

Book review - Destinies by Karleene Morrow

Destinies by Karleene Morrow

This book is historical fiction, and is set in Russia and Germany in the 1700s, during the reign of Catherine the Great.  Now if you like historical fiction, and are looking for a good long one to cuddle up with for the winter, this is your book.  But please make note, and make the distinction between historical fiction and historical romance.  They are two different animals.  And this book is historical fiction.

That having been said, I’m not a big fan of historical fiction.  I have the utmost respect for writers who write it, because they are limited story-wise by the actual facts of recorded history.  As far as historical fiction goes, I think that this is a well written one.  But it is also a long one.  It is some 800 plus pages long. 

On to my opinion of the book:
I didn't care for it.  Now, let me tell you why:

First, I’m not really a fan of historical fiction.  And especially not this one.  I mean, we all know where the poor people of Russia and Germany back then end up.  And it’s not a pleasant fate.

Second, I don’t care for books this long.  Any book over 500 pages is too long.  And a book that has 800 pages should have been cut into two different books.

Third, the author lost me through three specific incidents in the book.  They bothered me so that I didn't even bother to finish the book.  You see, in the book, there are these German natives who are going to immigrate to Russia to take advantage of a free land offer that Katherine makes.  So there is this one character, a teenager, who has this horse he loves; and he has to leave his beloved horse behind.  This is sad, and I didn't care for that part.  Next, there are these two families who are very close, and who are both going to Russia.  One of the families get on the boat, and the other misses it by seconds.  This is a terribly depressing scene in the book.  Then, as the boat is going down the river, they pick up a family off of a raft.  The family consists of father, mother, kids, and grandfather.  When they get to the bigger boat, the grandfather is forced to stay behind because he is too old.  And the author makes the point of saying that the grandfather dies soon after the family leaves for Russia. 

Well, that is when I quit reading.  And that is when I noticed for the first time, how long the book was.  I flipped through it, and checked out the ending a bit.  Then I moved on to another book.

So that gives you an idea of what the book is about.  If you like long, historical fiction and don’t mind sad parts in your book - then this book might be for you.  But if the things I didn't like would bother you, pick up another book.


  1. Thanks for your comments though one wonders why you wanted to review a book that is in a genre you do not like and of a length you do not like. And the book was barely started when you quit reading. That's curious. However, correction, the book is no where near 800 pages. It is 612 pages ebook and the print book is 663 pages. Perhaps you had your ereader set at max print size.

    1. Point one - I believe that you requested me to review the book, and I did.

      Point two - The incidents I quoted upset me and discouraged me from reading any further. And such could happen to any reader. Which is the viewpoint that I review from, that of an ordinary reader.

      Point three - It's a very long book, and I wanted people to know that.

      I'm sure that there are people out there who will love the book. I'm not one of them. That will happen with any book.

      And please note - I said I wasn't a fan of historical fiction. I didn't say I did not like it. Just that I wasn't a fan of it.

  2. I thought the review was great. Criticism is not a bad thing, and my boss happens to love Russia and historical fiction. I don't like it, but would buy it for my boss. Reviews are boring if the reviewer always aims to please. Any attention is good attention in a situation like this.