Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Twenty-year-old twins Valentina and Julia Poole have no recollection of having been to London. Nor do they remember ever meeting their mothers' (Edie) twin sister (Elspeth). Needless to say, they are surprised when they receive a notice in the mail that their estranged aunt has died and they are the recipients of her exceptional flat and all of her financial holdings. They are to become of possession of these items at the age of twenty-one, on the condition that their mother and father are never to enter said flat. Looking forward to their new-found independence, the twins accept the offer and head off to London. The flat itself is beautiful. The residents, however, are a bit strange. Above them resides a middle-aged man crippled with OCD, unable to walk past his own threshold. Below them lives the man who was once madly in love with their aunt. Also, the twins are suspicious that they are not the only ones living in their flat. Their dear Aunt Elspeth seems to have some difficulty leaving her estate, possessions, and old secrets in the twins care...

I greedily picked up Her Fearful Symmetry after reading Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife. Family secrets, forbidden lovers, ghosts, what else does one need to be lured into a story?! Admittedly, the story was a bit slow to begin with, which was the same for TTTW. Once the story picked up, I had great difficulty setting down the book. Until the story took a turn. I wont ruin it for future readers, but I couldn't help but wonder what the author was thinking. Needless to say, the aforementioned "turn" really does impact all of the characters in the book. The story ends on a sad and tragic note, which can be favorable at times. However, I found it unsuitable for the story line. To be fair, I went into the book not expecting a repeat of TTTW. I do think Niffenegger did a good job or writing a completely different book. However, I wonder if she overcompensated in her efforts in creating a different story. Please don't be swayed by my review. There are several favorable reviews out there as well. I, however, was a bit disappointed by the twist and the ending, which effected my overall rating for this book.

Cover Art Commentary:
I really do love the cover. I like the teal background color, of course! :P I also like the contrast of the teal and black. It's simple and clean, leaving much to the imagination.

Overall Review:


  1. Sorry that it wasn't everything you hoped! :( I hate it when that happens...

  2. This is the first review I have seen for this book..TTW being an absolute fav of mine...I don't know..not rushing out to get this one.

  3. I'm listening to the audiobook right now and I'm about halfway through. I really feel like it's dragging!

    I just finished The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters and I thought was a really good ghost story.

  4. @TJ

    That's alright. I enjoyed it, until I didn't. Overall, I am happy that I read the book.

    How is Graceling going so far? I am trying to decide between that, The Vampire's Assistant, and The Lightening Thief. Suggestions?!

  5. @Mandi

    I wouldn't. It barely resembles TTW. :/
    There are several reviews on Goodreads. Most of them are negative, but there are a few people who absolutely love it.

  6. @Sara

    Thanks for commenting! :) I really felt like the story was slow at the beginning. I feel like the author has a habit of drawing out unessential scenes, even in TTW. Overall, I am happy that I read HFS, but it's definitely not as good as TTW.

  7. Lily, I've barely started Graceling. Due to essays, I've been moving very slowly. Still, this is one of the books I want to read this year, so my hopes are high.

    Lightning Thief is also supposed to be very well done (my friend champions it).

    But, in my opinion, start with Graceling so we can compare notes. ;)

  8. Sounds very good, thank you for your great review. The cover looks like a cover i already seen before, but it does looks great!

  9. @TJ

    Oh! Sorry! I already started Lightening Thief! However, I promise to read Graceling soon! :)

  10. @Nina

    You're welcome! :) It is a pretty cover, isn't it? Where have you seen it before?