The TBR Double Dare and the TBR Challenge are making me dig deep into my bookshelves to find something to read. I didn’t even know I owned this book until I pulled it out of the pile a couple weeks ago. I don’t know where I bought it, or why. I had never even heard of it before I started reading it on Tuesday. How does this happen? I guess at some point I must have picked it up and read the synopsis and thought it sounded interesting, which, fortunately, it was.
Adele Pietra has grown up in Stoney Creek her entire life, surrounded by the reality of the granite quarry, the place where her father has always worked and her brother has spent his summers since he was old enough. She assumes that her destiny is as set in stone as her father’s: to marry a quarryman and watch him die slowly from the dangers of working with granite. Her mother was once a wealthy socialite who fell in love with Adele’s father during a summer vacation to Stoney Creek. She has never truly been satisfied with the life her husband has given her and wants desperately that Adele’s brother, Charles, attend Yale, but when a horrible accident kills both Adele’s father and brother, her destiny is irrevocably changed when she decides to enroll as a Freshman at Yale in her brother’s place.
I really enjoyed On Borrowed Wings. It’s nicely written, the story is interesting, and it takes place in a time period (1930s US) that I’m fascinated with. The tension between Adele and her mother is palpable throughout the entire novel and you never really come to sympathize with Adele’s mother. She made a choice about her life and was never satisfied with it, but instead blamed everyone else around her. Adele finds that she actually fits in well at Yale, even though she is constantly terrified that she will be discovered.
It was clear that Prasad had done a lot of research to make On Borrowed Wings feel authentic. I rarely questioned that this could have happened in the way she described it, even though I found Adele to be a little bit unbelievable at times. The first half of this book was so strong for me, so I was a little disappointed when On Borrowed Wings seemed to lose a little focus. It just fizzled out at the end, with somewhat of a dramatic climax, but not necessarily the one I was hoping for. Prasad is a lovely writer and her characterization was excellent with her main characters, though I would have liked to see more done with Adele’s friends at Yale. I think Prasad got a little bogged down with Issues, instead of just telling what was already an interesting story.
I enjoyed this novel, despite its imperfections. It is a little disappointing, because I think it could have been a great novel, but instead it was just good. Still, it was an enjoyable way to spend a couple afternoons.