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The Guineveres: A Novel by Sarah Domet

The Guineveres: A Novel (2016)

by Sarah Domet

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An interesting book, but it bothered me throughout the text that the author never clarified when and where this story was taking place - in the past, the future, an alternate reality - it's never stated. I'm certain this was part of the literary approach, but I found it frustrating as a reader. In addition, the story did take a rather implausible turn right at the end which I found a somewhat strange way to wrap up the story. So, the best I think I can say on this book is simply - interesting. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Jun 2, 2017 |
I enjoyed this book even though I don't know where or when the events occurred. Four girls named Guinevere are each dumped by their respective family into a Catholic home run by nuns. They can't leave until they are 18, for them a lifetime. The girls form a clique and do everything together. It's a lovely story, with flashbacks as to what caused each of them to be abandoned. The chapters are named for saints or for the liturgical season. I think that non-Catholics would have a hard time "getting" it. For that matter, I really think one would have to have had a Catholic school education to really understand it. I had my own fascination with the lives of the saints when I was a young student so I did enjoy their stories as told through Vere (one of the Guineveres) or as portrayed by Sister Fran. But the story is that of fitting in, being accepted for who we are, having faith, being loved and wanted and needed-- everything that allows us to grow into adulthood. I found the end disturbing at first as I wanted so much more for Vere. But upon reflection, I think it was fitting. ( )
  bogopea | Mar 29, 2017 |
Four girls, all named Guinevere, are sent to a convent where they try to escape, and end up working in the sick ward as punishment. The Guineveres decide they should nurse four young soldiers back to health and the men will in turn be so grateful they will marry them. That's a brief, non-spoilery summary of the plot.

I did not like this book. I genuinely feel like it's just not for me. The prose is beautiful, the girls are age appropriately annoying but not to the point of misery. I don't know if it was the Convent setting, the closed-mindedness of the time the novel is set, or just that it didn't connect with me. I can think of women in my life who will love this book, I'm just not one of them.

*As an aside, I should state that I listened to this via a library Audiobook. ( )
  LAttaway | Mar 9, 2017 |
This book was on hold for 3 months at my library system before it became available, and I can't figure out why. It's a very odd story, full of Catholic doctrine, with an ending that was simply depressing. I usually like dark, unexpected endings, but this one just left me with a hopeless feeling. ( )
1 vote flourgirl49 | Jan 31, 2017 |
Four very different girls arrive at the Sisters of the Supreme Adoration convent school from four very different circumstances. Regardless, each have a history shadowed by loss and betrayal, a bond enhanced by also sharing a name—Guinevere. A life of denial in the convent is difficult for teenage girls, but they find ways to reap secret rewards, and in some ways the lives of these four girls are far richer than the town girls who look down on them. It is only when, during a year that strange yearnings began to take hold in the girls, four soldiers arrive in the convent sickroom and the girls find out that unintended consequences might be able to tear them apart after all.

I found the idea of this story more interesting than the actual story. In execution, it just sort of went on and on, with some parts being more interesting than others. (To be fair, the story has stuck with me even though I have read some dozen books since.) It was really a series of small peaks and then an ending that didn’t sit well with me. I don’t have to have a happy ending to satisfy me, for instance, I fell completely in love with Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, which this kind-of, sort-of, reminded me of in not-completely-but-in-some-obscure-ways (not the plot or the writing, just the literary style).

Because it stuck with me, I am giving it four full stars, up from the three and ½ that I started out with.

A review copy was received from the publisher. This review and more at annevolmering.com. ( )
1 vote avolm | Jan 25, 2017 |
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We were known as The Guineveres to the other girls at the Sisters of the Supreme Adoration because our parents all named us Guinevere at birth, a coincidence that bound us together from the moment we met.
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