Saturday, September 30, 2017

Journey's End: Review

Journey's End (1976) by Evelyn Berckman is a second disappointing read in a row. So much so that I didn't read straight through, started skimming, and then read the last couple chapters so I could try and get a good sense of how things turned out and could claim it for various challenges. The back of the book was little misleading (and would be one of the reasons I picked it up at the Friends of the Library Bookstore a couple of years ago)...

The great lady was dead. The battle for the estate was on. Just out of reach was a mysterious something of impossible value, guarded by a beautiful, cunning man with a singular hunger--and a priceless secret. Ahead lay an alluring trap of the senses, a whisper of staggering, riches, and an unwaking nightmare...a nightmare that has just begun.

{Possible Spoilers Ahead as I try to unpack my thoughts on this thing}

Okay--that totally sounds like the cross between a treasure hunt/race for the goodies and something out of horror, right? Priceless secret. Singular hunger. Staggering riches. Unwaking nightmare. Yeah, no. At least not nearly in as exciting a manner as I was led to believe. The whole first part is spent with Dominic Godfrey who is part of a husband and wife team assigned to appraise the belongings of Madame de Leovil. Madame de Leovil was an eccentric recluse who lived in a home that somehow managed to escape the ravages of the French Revolution and may be stocked with priceless furniture. We get to watch him deal with the greedy daughters who can't wait to get their claws on all the lovely money the objects will bring at auction. I went for half the book waiting for the whole treasure hunt business to start or for something exciting to happen.

In the background is Dominic's wife Val who adores him and whom he doesn't really love...because he's gay. But the appraising firm they work for is very old-fashioned and proper and wouldn't stand for the lifestyle he wants, so he's married Val for a cover story--but she doesn't know yet. And...ooh look there's this beautiful young man who hangs around Madame de Leovil's house (supposedly as a librarian--but I didn't see him do much except wander around for Dominic to lust after). Somewhere in there we discover a valuable document....but that gets burned up in a fire. Dominic's life is kindof ruined because he tells Val about his longing for the beautiful young man (who by the way was going to totally use Dominic to get to London and hunt for richer pastures) and then the beautiful young man dies because of the fire. At least I think that's what happened--that whole last few chapters wrap-up business was very confusing.

No rating. I'm marking it as DNF although I read/skimmed enough to say I finished it for challenges.

[Stopped reading on 9/25/17]

Fulfills the "Written Document" category on the Silver Vintage Scavenger Hunt card.

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