And the Winner Is...

You're not surprised, are you? Initially daunted by the sheer size and heft of this volume, I ended up deeply enjoying it and galloping to the finish. (Far From the Madding Crowd has completely fallen by the wayside, I'm afraid.) Once I'd twigged to the astrological dimension, I found it even more satisfying -- in fact I think this ended up being the element of the novel that I liked the most, though you certainly wouldn't need to know anything about the influence of the stars to enjoy the story. The mystery was complicated (even now I'm not entirely clear about the order of events), but it was absorbing and the interactions between the characters (linked with both star signs and planets) were fascinating, as was the setting -- a gold rush town in New Zealand -- literally the ends of the earth! -- in the 1860s. I must admit I found the first third or so pretty heavy going, but it was well worth the effort. So glad my daughter forced me to take it from the bottom of the pile!

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