Friday, June 11, 2010

The Art Of Devotion by Samantha Bruce Benjamin

On a sun-kissed island, two beautiful children play in the waves.  Sebastian and Adora are not twins, although many mistake these children with their golden curls and piercing blue eyes for twins.  Brother and sister who are two years apart, they are fiercely devoted to each other and need no one else.  Even their mother Sophie feels excluded, although she knows she should not be jealous of their closeness.

The book then moves to thirty years in the future and follows the relationships of this family, and another that they are intertwined with.  Adora has married Oliver.  They have no children of their own, but she has emotionally stolen Genevieve, the daughter of her husband's best friends, James and Miranda.  Genevieve spends every summer with Adora and is now entering adulthood.  She meets Jack, and her love for Adora is changed as she finds first love with him.

Samantha Bruce Benjamin explores the many facets of devotion.  There is devotion between siblings, between mother and daughter, between lovers, between friends and between adults and the children they foster.  Not all devotion is positive, and Benjamin explores the dark side of this emotion also.  The book is told through the voices of the women involved, moving back and forth from one to the other.  As each speaks of the summer that exists, and the years leading up to the events of that summer, the reader is taken on a road of discovery, as each event is told from multiple views and secrets and betrayals are revealed. 

This book is recommended for all readers.  It is compelling.  The writing is lyrical and what seems a gentle book constantly surprises as the plot twists are revealed.  The author has created one of the most memorable villians I've found, or have the motives of the villian been misinterpreted?  Readers of The Art Of Devotion will be thinking about what happened long after they close the covers of this book.

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