The Four Ms. Bradwells by Meg Waite Clayton
Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
Challenge: 100 Book Challenge 2011
Review: This is a good book. But it could have been a great book if Clayton had been both less heavy-handed in her feminist discussions and less coy in her descriptions of her characters.
This book is not chick-lit by any means; it's themes are far too serious. But it's true, I suspect, that most of it's readers will be women. And most of those women will not need the kind of tutorial on feminism in the early 1980s that Clayton seems determined to provide. Not that we should forget the sacrifices made and hardships endured by our mothers and grandmothers, but a lighter touch might have better served the narrative here.
In contrast to her need to spell her feminism out in great detail, Clayton seems reluctant to give details about the relationships between and among her characters (and their mothers). It's certainly a valid literary technique to leave certain details to the reader's imagination, but it can be frustrating when the emotional crux of the story hinges on relationships that the author hasn't allowed one to get a clear sense of.
FTC Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for this review.