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Fozzie
Posts: 2,404
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel

Overall thoughts on the book:

 

I loved the originality of the book.  However, upon completing the book, what struck me most about the book was how it was "just" about a family and the struggles the family members faced in interacting with each other.  In that way, even though it took place in a magical setting, in a time unknown, it is a timeless story relevant to all people in all times.  That is the true beauty in the story for me.

 

And last, but not least, if you think you have troubles with your mother-in-law, just read this book!  You don't!  LOL!

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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retromom
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel

I always thought Permony was the "she" Elias wanted saved. He knew that Eva had it in for Permony. After finishing the book I'm not sure who he meant.

 

I knew Ahab was too good to be true but I had no idea he would become a monster. I had a feeling he would be revolting though. I just never imagined the horrible monster he was.

 

I still don't know who or what Hannah was but that's okay. She was who Meridia needed her to be whether she was real or imaginary.

 

I think Daniel was weak as was his father when it came to Eva. I think Eva and her bees kept them under her spell right where she wanted them.

 

I think the fireflies too are Ravenna.

 

All in all I liked the book. It was a very different read for me. All the unanswered questions were okay for me. It keeps me thinking about the story and seeing it in a different light. I guess you could say alot of the story is open for interpretation.

 

 

Beth

http://bookaholicmom.blogspot.com/
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hoot
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel

Maybe Elias wanted her to save Eva from herself. 
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vivico1
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel

I do not believe Elias meant Eva, because how do you save someone from themself who doesn't want to be saved and doesn't see any wrong in what they are doing? Eva doesn't believe this about herself at all and Elias has had year with her to know this. You know, there had to be love in Elias for Eva, to stay with her...and not kill her! I think that about my stepdad sometimes. My mother cuts people with her words so deeply, that all of the family has had to walk away to keep our sanity. She even had us all turning on each other, like Daniel started to do with Meridia, like Elias did himself, with his beloved little grandson Noah! My mother, if we use these metaphors, would be shooting wasps from her mouth, not bees!

 

We think people can not make us do or say things, but we have a choice always, and some say that Daniel was weak. Well I think he was too in many ways but you know he always loved Meridia, always. But I do agree with others that there is NEVER a reason acceptable for Adultery, NEVER! We may be weak, we may listen too much to others, but even so, Adultery is ALWAYS a choice. I am a romantic at heart but I have to tell ya, I do not believe in the idea that we do not choose who we fall in love with. Sure we do! We may find interest there first, and curiosity, but it is our choice all along the way as to whether we pursue it or not. Love isn't a hole you fall into in just one step. Lust may be upon us very quickly, first sight even! But we have a choice as to whether we act on it or not. So no, Daniel had no excuses for his adultery, not even Eva's bees.

 


hoot wrote:
Maybe Elias wanted her to save Eva from herself.

 

 

Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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libralady
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Registered: ‎09-23-2008
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel

I, too, am sympathetic toward Daniel.  He had been blinded for years by Eva and her lies. The physical blindness brought on by the fireflies was his last chance to "see" Eva and the destruction she had caused in his family .  It was during the time when his sight was gone that he realized how much he missed Meridia.  When he could not see her, it was her belongings that he sought out and her smell on the pillows.  I always felt that deep down he was a good person, just trying to be a good son. I think deep down he knew what Eva was up to, but just did not want to accept it.
dhaupt wrote:

 

I am very sympathetic toward Daniel, and I know I'm going to upset some people out there. But he was just blind to the fact that his mother was an evil witch, I think his biggest failure was that he was a dutiful son who believed his mother's lies over the truth. And I think that he suffered as much as any of the children because of her treachery and he was allowed redemption at the end because of Meridia's love and her selflessness. 

 

 


 

"Sow today what you want to reap tomorrow"
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vivico1
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel

FOZZIE!!

I didn't know you were lurking around in here! Sneaking up at the end of the book are ya?

 


Fozzie wrote:

Overall thoughts on the book:

 

I loved the originality of the book. However, upon completing the book, what struck me most about the book was how it was "just" about a family and the struggles the family members faced in interacting with each other. In that way, even though it took place in a magical setting, in a time unknown, it is a timeless story relevant to all people in all times. That is the true beauty in the story for me.

 

And last, but not least, if you think you have troubles with your mother-in-law, just read this book! You don't! LOL!


 

 

Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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LabRatSB
Posts: 68
Registered: ‎03-14-2009

Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel

 I think Elias meant for Permony to be saved.  She was the one person in that family that seemed to have the most heart and could be saved.  Perhaps he knew that something would happen to her.  Maybe he knew about her future husband.  A little 'paternal' instinct?

 

I think Malin will be a very loving mother.  I really wanted to smack her when she was a young character, but then I felt her pain when she lost her baby, and then her husband.  I was happy that she decided to raise Permony's child as it was a true 'apology' to her sister for how awful she had treated her when they were children.  

 

With Permony, we witness a truly revolting scene with Ahab! Had you suspected something so terrifying about this character? Is this the only character who transforms into a monster?

 

I really hadn't suspected how horrible a person Ahab was.  I knew there was something awful about him, but I really didn't expect that.  I think Eva was as equal of a monster as Ahab was but in a different way.  She really had no heart and didn't care who she hurt to get what she wanted.  Anyone who plays in another's marriage and encourages one to cheat is dispicable.  

 

I am not sympathetic with Daniel at all.  Even though his mother manipulated him, cheating on a spouse is never excusable.  I found myself a little angry with Meridia for taking him back at the end.

 

Do you think Eva's fierce will or Meridia resilience has played a greater role in the events of the novel?

 

I think Eva's will and Meridia's resilience were pretty equal.  If I had to pick one, I'll go with Meridia coming out on top.  She ended up succeeding in life even after everyone tried to destroy her.  I applaud her strength.


Overall, I really enjoyed this book.  I found myself feeling sad at the end, because it ended.
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Fozzie
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel


vivico1 wrote:

FOZZIE!!

I didn't know you were lurking around in here! Sneaking up at the end of the book are ya?

 


Not so much lurking as not having enough time to keep up with all of the posts.  I think that was my fifth post of the discussion.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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vivico1
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel

There were a couple of threads I didn't keep up with, but actually, I thought I saw you in here somewhere before and didn't get a chance to say hi. You know I always have to say hi to you Laura because you still make Fozzie bear dance in my head and do that laugh of his while holding his hat. Talk about one word (name) representing so many emotions!~ lol. Your name keeps me smiling :smileywink:

 


Fozzie wrote:

vivico1 wrote:

FOZZIE!!

I didn't know you were lurking around in here! Sneaking up at the end of the book are ya?

 


Not so much lurking as not having enough time to keep up with all of the posts. I think that was my fifth post of the discussion.


 

 

Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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nfmgirl
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel


Lil_Irish_Lass wrote:

...She tried to save Permony and while she decided to raise Permony's child you know she will make sure the child knows that Permony is the real mother, she's just filling in for her and doing the best she can. It's Permony's baby, not Malin's... and Malin knows that, but it does help to fill the void much like baby Eva did for Patina after she lost her child.

 


Yes, I seem to recall at the end that Malin even told Meridia that she would make sure that Permony's son knew his mother and who she was. Permony's son was sort of a redemption for Malin. Through him she could give Permony the love she never gave her in life.


Heather
http://cerebralgirl.blogspot.com/
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nfmgirl
Posts: 36
Registered: ‎04-20-2009

Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel


MissShopaholic wrote:

Did anyone catch the part in which no one was able to see Daniel but Noah?

It wasn't until Noah wanted others to see him that they did.

 


Yes. I think that Noah had the power there to protect his mother. He saw his father as hurtful, and kept his father from her. But then there came a point when he looked at his mother and saw her pain and loss, and he knew that she needed him. On page 382 is written (as Noah examines his mother going through items in Gabriel's study):

 

... From where he stood her back was a pillar of stone. She doesn't need him, he told himself in silence. She's capable of living without him.

 

...Going around the desk, he halted a few steps in front of his mother...

 

...Noah shuddered in horror. There it was, bared before him, all the hunger that had sustained her pacing, so raw and excruciating it seemed a kind of dying. At once his sharp intuition told him that she had reached the lowest depth of loneliness, and he had neither the strength nor the means to lift her. Unless he gave her up, cast off the chains that bound them, she would not find her way to the surface.

 

Noah raised his head and slowly retreated from the desk...he dashed to the front door and tore it open.

 

"Papa!" he called to the man and at last gave him substance.


Heather
http://cerebralgirl.blogspot.com/
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skiibunny1213
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel

 

Was Permony the "she" that Elias wanted to save? Could she have been saved?

I think Permony is the "she" Elias wanted to save. I think he knew that Meridia & Permony had bonded over the years and that is why he assumed Meridia would know which "she" he was talking about.  However, in the end Meridia, in her own way, seems to save them (Permony, Malin, Eva) all.


How would you describe Malin's character, now that we've gone through so many changes with her? What kind of mother will she be?

After her baby dies, I think we see a significant change in her. I think it is then that she realizes what is most important to her in life (being a mother).  I also think this is the first time she shows true devotion to anyone, first to her dead child, then later to Meridia and Permony.   

 

With Permony, we witness a truly revolting scene with Ahab! Had you suspected something so terrifying about this character? Is this the only character who transforms into a monster?

I suspected something because the was Erick described him as leering at Permony and being much older.  Then, when Eva decides to set them up I knew for sure he was bad because when has Eva ever done anything nice for anyone?

 

Hannah returns! Do you feel you understand her character any better? Do you have a conclusion about her?

I don't feel that I understand her character any better after her last appearance, and I am still sticking with my original impression that she is Meridia's guardian angel.

 

Have you reached any conclusions about Daniel's character? Are you sympathetic to him?

It's hard for me to be sympathetic to the men in this novel, Daniel included.  I really feel like women are demonized and men are victimized throughout this story.  However, I feel like Daniel proved that Meridia's influence on him over the years made him a strong enough man to stand up to his mother, finally.  I don't believe that without Meridia he would have been able to ever do so otherwise.

 

Do you think Eva's fierce will or Meridia resilience has played a greater role in the events of the novel?

I think both had to be there to make all the events of the novel be there. It is the conflict between Eva and Meridia that shapes the world they live in.  If one gave into the other there would have been a totally different story to tell.

 

 

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fordmg
Posts: 546
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel


Lil_Irish_Lass wrote:

fordmg wrote:

While it is true that Permony was a pawn to Eva and Ahab, Malin was not a pawn to anyone.  She breezed through life until she lost her baby.   Then used Permony's baby to make everything up.  Yes, she wanted her husband back, but she didn't seem to realize what her actions had done to destroy her marriage in the first place.  She ended up satisfied to go it alone, selfish to the end.

MG


That's actually the opposite of how I interpreted Malin's story arc. Sure, she was spoiled and bratty when she was younger though in the end we come to see it was more due to Eva's power than her being a mean spirited person to the core. Yet losing her baby broke the bond she had with Jonathan and they could never recover from the grief (which is very real and happens to many couples... the loss of a child is in many ways impossible to overcome).  From what little view we have of their home life Jonathan was just as much at fault as Malin (perhaps more so) since he never attempted to reach out and comfort her so Malin wandering the graveyard and continuing to mourn the loss of her child wasn't selfish it was the only way she knew how to make it through the day with no support at home.

 

After Malin lost her baby I never once saw her as a selfish person again (like she was as a child), she grew up and changed into a woman that was very unlike the child she once was. She tried to save Permony and while she decided to raise Permony's child you know she will make sure the child knows that Permony is the real mother, she's just filling in for her and doing the best she can. It's Permony's baby, not Malin's... and Malin knows that, but it does help to fill the void much like baby Eva did for Patina after she lost her child.

 

Ironic how the daughter so much like her mother ends up in a similar baby situation at the end of the novel as a woman completely opposite from her own mother, huh?


 

There seems to be a circular theme to this story.  Chronologically, Patina looses an child and then adopts Eva.  Eva has 3 children, but doesn't foster them well, pitting one daughter against the other.  Malin has a child and it dies, then Permony has a child and Permony dies and Malin adopts it.  Malin has damned Eva as Eva has damned Patina.   It leads me to believe that 20 years from now Permony's child raised by Malin will damn Malin.  No one seems to learn in this story.

MG

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skiibunny1213
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel

It took me awhile to reflect upon this book and its overall meaning and impression on me.  I really felt like Erick made the men out to be the victims and the women the nagging antagonizers.  However, I also think that, if intentional, he had a very powerful theme regarding post-partum depression.  If you notice, each woman has issues post-birth.  Meridia describes the "coldness" she is feeling when she is struggling to get Noah to sleep, care for him etc. when he is a baby (same coldness Ravenna experiences as well).  I think that these feelings have a tremendous impact on a marriage, especially because for most men there are not alot of physical changes involved (i.e. body image, hormones, anxiety, tiredness, & physical healing post-birth).  For that reason alone, a husband and wife may not be on the same "wavelength" for quite some time after the baby is born, and if they are poor communicators, as Daniel and Meridia are (just like their parents) it can really have an effect on the relationship.  However, for most of the book Erick makes this lack of understanding and communication problem out to be the woman's fault.  That bothers me.  I feel like though men may suffer silently, as Erick depicted Gabriel and Elias to do, they are equally responsible for the problems in their marriages.  To see Daniel make both Gabriel and Elias' mistakes was painful to read about, and it was hard for me to "forgive him" and I think hard for Meridia too.  Overall I think this was a very emotionally captivating book for me, but in the end my feelings were left mixed and confused.  Maybe that was the intent!

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thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007

Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel

Hi skibunny,
I think your observation about post partum issues was very astute. I had not thought of that.
I thought that Erick, overall, portrayed the women as the stronger, more influential sex almost as if it was a matriarchal society.
twj
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vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel

Or maybe not a matriarchial society but definitely at least one matriarchial family, maybe in a sense both, who ran smack into each other. Not so hard to do tho when you think about it tho. Most girls who are raise where the woman wears the pants and the man just goes along, tend to marry men who will be just the same. Or the men will look for women who are more dominant. (As a matter of fact, thinking about that now, when Meridia did show her more independant side and her "smarts" seem to be when Daniel took extra notice of her, hmm.) Just as most children of abuse, may very well marry an abuser, who can usually spot them from a mile away unfortunately. When one generation does not break the cycle, it does continue and then like MG said, no one learns and the cycle continues. But given the other little things in this book that make me think of some foreign cultures, I could see it being a matriarchial one. I also think Noah could break the whimpy men syndrome in this book!

 


thewanderingjew wrote:
Hi skibunny,
I think your observation about post partum issues was very astute. I had not thought of that.
I thought that Erick, overall, portrayed the women as the stronger, more influential sex almost as if it was a matriarchal society.
twj

 

 

Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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RJH
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel

 First of all I just loved this book. I believe that Permony was the "she" who Elias wanted Meridia to save. he knew his wife was filled with the wickedness of love/control and she did have this over her younger daughter. Permony of course couldn't escape because finally she had earned her mother's approval, for the first time in her life. She see didn't the demon that Ahab was until too late. I don't think she fully understood the selfishness of her mother either, one doesn't until everything has gone too far.

  Malin seems to be somewhat the character of reason of this book. She sees far more than she lets on. She does however pay a huge price (not having a living child and happy marriage) for the fact she stands in the shadows rather than standing up to evil.

 

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ponkle
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel

As much as I totally enjoyed this book and couldn't it down for the first 3/4 of the book, I felt some disapointment in the last part. I felt too much depression and normal lifes problems. Also not one happy marriage in the bunch. That unfortunately is not the odds I would feel is at all magical . 

 

I was happy that Meridia overcame Eva but in my opinion not soon enough, and Daniel just weak like the other men.

 

I did enjoy the book, just not sure if there was something more that could have been done with the end.

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nfmgirl
Posts: 36
Registered: ‎04-20-2009

Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel


skiibunny1213 wrote:

 

However, I also think that, if intentional, he had a very powerful theme regarding post-partum depression.  If you notice, each woman has issues post-birth.  Meridia describes the "coldness" she is feeling when she is struggling to get Noah to sleep, care for him etc. when he is a baby (same coldness Ravenna experiences as well).


Yep, I was thinking the same thing. I was reading about life after Noah's birth and wondered, "Does she have post-partum depression?" There was a lot going on in this book, whether intentional or not. It's as if it had a life of its own, beyond that which was intended by the author.


Heather
http://cerebralgirl.blogspot.com/
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PinkBaby
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Re: Later Chapters and Whole Novel

i think its a shame that permony had to die. if anything  eva should have been the one to die. but im glad malin finally became happy again. even if  it was her sisters baby. and malin better off without jonathan anyway. i can see in this book that maybe the younger women in this book are stronger than their mothers.