I had high hopes for Bradstreet Gate by Robin Kirman; it was touted as a novel that would appeal to fans of Donna Tartt, Meg Wolitzer, and Jeffrey Eugenides. However, I ultimately found it to be a disappointment.
It starts off promising enough: We are introduced to three Harvard students and one professor, all or some of whom may or may not have been involved in another student's murder. The interrelationships are complicated, but in most cases unbelievable. The author has to go out of her way in several cases to tell us that So-and-So finds himself/herself drawn to Such-and-Such despite not liking or respecting him/her at all. Certain characters are described as charismatic, but then nothing supports this idea, and I was left wondering why these people were even in each other's lives. In particular, after pretty much every pair of characters has a falling-out, they're still in touch years after graduation—it didn't ring true at all. After a while, I couldn't care less what happened to any of them.
Despite this, I continued reading, because I wanted to know what would happen and how the author would tie up all the questions and mysteries surrounding the murder and other unexplained plot events. I'm sorry to say that absolutely nothing is resolved. Nothing. The ending is coyly vague, and I was incredibly frustrated. I actually went online to see whether I'd somehow missed something, but no: there's no resolution at all.
I don't need to like the characters in order to like a book, and I don't need to have everything sewn up tight at the end, but I do need something to make my reading time worthwhile. Often it will be the writing style—if it's gorgeous enough, I can forgive other lapses. This author is a competent enough writer, but that's about as far as I'll go.
If anyone out there read this and liked it, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions are my own.