The Sonnet Lover: A Novel

The Sonnet Lover - Carol Goodman Carol Goodman's "The Sonnet Lover" paints an interesting portrait in its premise, like many of the author's works in consideration. A professor at a college returns to Italy after 20 years - in the event of the questionable death of one of her students. The questionable nature of it lies in a letter the student, Robin, leaves her just moments before his death. Rose Anders believes that one of the boys (Orlando) who was close to scene of Robin's death may have murdered him, and also might hold the key to a series of poems that might've been penned by Shakespeare regardling a lost lover.This is Goodman's weakest novel for me, by a long, long shot. I'll start with the good things she does in this novel - she has an apt sense of place and atmosphere, and I found that in the better stretches of the work, it immersed me, and I followed Rose's discoveries and observations with keen interest - at least in the visual spectrum. Also, I did like that she plays upon a theme of poetry throughout the work. Some of the selected poems I really liked and it appealed to my love of the medium (which is my first love in writing).However, I hate to say that there are a myriad of flaws and downsides to this work. The overall plot is clunky and duly paced. The vast majority of the cast feels flat and lacking connection with the heart of what the story tries to tell. Unlike Goodman's previous works, there's a disconnect to the characters that never gets off the ground. That's why I felt a lot of the love scenes and attempts to get you to care about the characters fall off-center. I did get a sense of Rose's perspective, and that made me follow the book to the end. She's flawed, and I could see from her history why, but the character's voice and relation of her surroundings didn't feel natural. The descriptions of the limonata are incredibly repetitive, and I could point out several places in the book where the observations came too similar in tone to where the illusion broke from me.As far as the mystery is concerned - terribly disappointing, and I think if you're a mystery fan who wants a significant, hearted reveal - it's not in this book. I guessed the person behind the plot after the "incident," and while there was one moment in the book where I had significant doubt, the threads that lead you through it are quite obvious in orientation.It's a difficult book for me to rate, but I will say it disappointed me, and it's not appealing enough for me to want to read it a second time. She's written much better works than this.Overall score: 1.5/5