Book lover. Stephen King Fanatic. Will try anything once. General Lover of Fiction. Reviewer Everywhere. All views my own. Mostly.
First of all Bradstreet Gate WILL suffer because of the insistence on the connection to The Secret History - I would strongly advise putting that comparison out of your mind before going into this one because for me, it just doesn't hold water. Its that thing that because this novel deals with a group dynamic within a University setting and there is a murder, that it must necessarily be Secret History like. It isn't. I don't think it's even TRYING to be. So there's that. So Bradstreet Gate then, taken on it's own merits, for me was a pretty good story, beautifully written and follows along with a group of University students and their interpersonal relationships. Not only between themselves but with the wider community and specifically one particular Tutor who is later accused,but never charged, with murder. I really enjoyed the novel but there are several issues. Storrow, as a man accused and as a character is a bit wishy washy so the whole part where everyone was fascinated by him fell flat. Despite my best efforts I could not find a reason why all these people were falling over themselves about him. He was annoying. And obviously egotistical to the point of being, well, just annoying. Having said that the wider cast I found intriguing and I got very caught up in their stuff - especially the dynamic between Georgia and Charlie, and Alice on her own who, for me, literally kept the book on it's feet. Alice seems to be the one that the author has invested some real emotion into, she is troubled, sharp cornered and endlessly compelling. If the book had been about HER with all the rest circling around her rather than around the rather pale Storrow, this might have been a 5* read for me. I found it addictive. I wanted to find out the resolution (yeah shame about that one really) and I wanted to mostly know where Alice would end up (better but still hmm not quite satisfied) I didn't like the end. If you are going to write an ending like that you need to have engaged the reader beyond the point that they are reading solely to find OUT the ending - which I'm not sure the author achieved here. Yes sometimes you can pull off a non ending ending when the reader is then compelled to think things through, wonder, come back to it in their head. In the case of Bradstreet Gate, I read the end, shrugged and moved on. So its a good read while you are in it. I love this kind of story, and for the record I'm not a HUGE fan of The Secret History or of Donna Tartt generally, way too wordy and rarely ends up actually getting anywhere for me - so in some ways I preferred this and would refer you to my first comments. A fun, often intriguing, kills an afternoon mystery character drama. Give it a go. It's not over involved it's free flowing and a nice little read. Happy Reading Folks!