I just finished reading my review copy of “When the Cypress Whispers”, by Yvette Manessis Corporon.
There was so much I enjoyed about this book — the scenery, of course. The food. The culture. The location. The history. I’m even a fan of modern fiction of this ilk, the kind where there’s a nice young woman who’s endured something, and this book is going to show us how she finds happiness again. Like all of Sarah Addison Allen’s books. And it started off fine…
And, frankly, went off the rails at the end. You know, my husband hates the movie Serendipity because, he says, the main character is already supposed to marry a perfectly nice woman when he instead finds “true love” elsewhere. What was the first time he proposed, then? Just malarkey? Whoever wrote that story introduced a perfectly nice significant other, and then wants me to believe that it’s okay to dump that person for their “real” love. Well, I’m sure that happens, but it isn’t nice.
Here, Daphne does the same. She’s been pursued by a seemingly nice man for years, she agreed to marry him, convinced him to move their wedding to a tiny Greek island, and then, when he gets there, completely unprepared for how Daphne has suddenly and completely returned to her roots — he still takes it in stride. He’s fine. He’s polite, he helps her cousin start a new business, he goes along with what she wants. Basically his only sin is that they have a two-second discussion about caring for an aging relative where they don’t see eye to eye, and Daphne decides she never loved him, because coffee grinds told her so. She leaves him, hooks up with someone she just met — spoiler alert, here, but I can’t say I advise reading this one, so it shouldn’t matter — and then decides she doesn’t really want to be with him, either, though she has his kid and doesn’t manage to let him know. My point is, I didn’t find her character’s romantic choices to be all that believable. Since I suspect there are aspects of this story taken from real life, I’m sure in real life they were completely fleshed out — but the author jumped around too much, and didn’t give us enough time to find Daphne’s leaps credible.
(Also — and this drove me crazy — what NYC restaurateur can leave their business for months and just saunter back when they’re ready? Restaurants close that way. Who was running the place while she was gone? She never had to check in once?)
If you don’t care about the relationship mismanagement and want to read about rural Greece and some lovely bits of family interaction, as well as an interesting historical backstory — I wish more time had been spent on that — then maybe this is worth a quick read. It’s getting tons of good reviews, so there’s always the possibility that it’s just not my cup of tea and might be yours. I can’t deny I was terribly disappointed, though.