TITLE: The Dandelion Years
AUTHOR: Erica James
TWO SENTENCE SUMMARY: Saskia is still grieving the loss of her mother and grandmothers when she meets Matthew, who is grieving the loss of his mentor Jacob. Together they discover a hidden journal in one of Jacob’s numerous books, where they both discover his romantic past amidst World War II.
I found this book after I finished reading City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. I know completely different books, but I needed something to read and I wasn’t home to just pick up my next read. However, this book was just sitting there by the resort’s towel place with other abandoned books. I reached for this particular book simply because it was the only book in English. Sorry, I still haven’t mastered the art of reading Russian.
When I read the synopsis I was hoping for a fluffy cutesy romance, and you sort of get that but in an unexpected way.
To be honest, I didn’t like Saskia and Matthew’s relationship simply because there wasn’t enough of it, there was barely any spark. As for Ralph and Libby’s storyline, I did find the beginning interesting but the novelty of it wore off very soon. I would have loved seeing more friendly interactions between them. The real romance in the story is that of Jacob and Katy. I found it much more interesting than the main characters.
The story takes place 20 years after Saskia loses her mother and grandmothers, since then she’s lived with her father and both grandfathers. It is a tragedy, but something about it and the way they handled it didn’t seem credible enough to me. I thought it was boring and I couldn’t really connect to any of it. They linger too much on the grieving and not much else for most of the novel. I would have given them a pass if the accident occurred recently rather than 20 years ago.
The pacing is unbelievably and painfully slow and when it does get to the exciting parts James skips it completely! Because of these skips there is more telling and not enough showing. It was aggravating.
The best part of the story were Jacob’s journal. That was more exciting and emotional than Saskia and Matthew. Thinking about it now, just go straight to Jacobs journal entries and don’t pay attention to anything else.
The Dandelion Years is basically a Hallmark movie in book form. The characters are too polite, the story is too well put together, and some storylines are completely predictable. In some ways everything was too obvious like the way Matthew learns from Jacob’s mistake. This makes me think that this book is for a certain type of audience that is clearly not me.
In conclusion, if you like watching those happy hallmark movies on tv and you wouldn’t mind reading them, pick this book up. Otherwise, don’t even bother.