I had heard a lot of good things about Willow Pond by Carol Tibaldi. On Twitter I saw many tweets about it being a book you had to read. On Amazon, there are mixed reviews, though I only read a couple of them. When I saw the book being offered for free for a limited time on Kindle a little while back, I decided, “Why not?” I enjoy historical romances, usually. They’re ones that I just enjoy picking up and reading through in a couple of days. They usually don’t have a lot of substance, but that’s fine. Sometimes you need fluff in your life, simply to take your mind off things or to give your brain a break between fast-paced, make-you-think thrillers and depressing modern novels that stretch your emotions until they’re sore.
This book, though, wasn’t what I was hoping for. One Amazon customer review seems to sum it all up for me: “Given all the fantastic reviews, one would expect to be transported to the time period, but a few well-placed mentions of vintage product or period celebrities does not a historic novel make. The bones are there, but the execution is not.”
I will put aside my criticisms of the formatting of the ebook, which needed a lot of work, and concentrate on the story itself. I was honestly bored while reading it. It was a struggle to keep plugging away, trying to find something that would keep me reading. The story is about a mother, Laura, whose child is kidnapped. Her ex-husband is a movie star celebrity, and her aunt runs a speakeasy and has ties to the mob. Lots of thrill possibilities there, right? Yet I was bored.
Also, I didn’t believe that Laura was devastated upon losing her child. What mother would go on a date within a couple weeks of losing her child? Maybe it was longer than that, but that’s what it felt like to me. It was as if, well, my child is gone, there isn’t anything I can do, so let’s go find some fun and true love. Really? I couldn’t really feel sympathy for the woman.
I also didn’t believe that it was really set in 1920s and ’30s. There were some problems throughout the book with the setting, where it didn’t read fully as if the characters were from that era. There were some references, but other spots in the book were more modern, and it distracted me.
To sum it up, in all honesty, I don’t think this book had much depth to it. It was fluff to a point where it’s not fun to read. I was disappointed, because there was so much that could have been done with the story line. I think the author has potential, but she needs to do her homework on a time period if she wants it to really be from that era.