Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show - Frank Delany

Venetia Kelly's Traveling ShowTitle: Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show
Author: Frank Delany
Published: 2010 Pages: 427
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5

Venetia Kelly came into the world in a fashion of mythic proportions: "She sprang from the womb and waved to the crowd. Then she smiled and took a bow" (3). What do you say about a book that begins with such oomph? Set mostly in 1930s Ireland during a tumultuous political period, Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show is one man's attempt the understand how his world all of a sudden tumbled upside down. Writing the story as an aging man, Ben looks back to when he was eighteen years old and met the wondrous and compelling Venetia Kelly.

This book is so many things that it is difficult to capture in a short synopsis. It is a book about a young man who is asked to do things he should have never been asked to do; political development and upheaval during a time when the world was spinning faster than it was turning; young but forbidden love of two people who so belonged together but didn't; storytelling--how can you have a book set in Ireland without storytelling? Ben is a wonderful narrator who spares no details in his stories, and even though he is a self-proclaimed digressor (one who digresses?) every bit of his story is intriguing.

I have very little complaint about Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show. I did have troubles getting into the story at first, much like I did with Delaney's novel Ireland*, and I can't quite put my finger on why. The writing, though sprawling, is very dense and detailed, and I found myself having to pay close attention to the story as small bits and pieces would resurface. But once immersed into the writing I found I wanted to read one more chapter and then another and then cursing that my lunch break was over and I'd have to wait to read more (the chapters are generally short and usually cliffhangery).

I think my 4.5/5 rating shows that I would highly recommend Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show, but I'll say it again. This book is a perfect blend of plot and characters and I was sad when I came upon the last page of the book. I was so caught up in the story and felt so much emotion for the characters that I even got misty-eyed over the ending. Narrator Ben explains at the beginning of the book that the story isn't over and that was a tough pill to swallow, but in the end this was a very satisfying read--a read that satisfied my love of literature and beautiful writing but also my love of a good story that had me at the edge of my seat wanting to know more until I turned the last page.

*Back in my first week of blogging I wrote some thoughts of Ireland. It's actually pretty funny to read now as I mention my tendency to ramble which has only gotten worse (?) as the years have gone on.

A big thanks to Lisa at TLC Book Tours for inviting me to participate in this tour. And a big thanks to Frank Delany for sharing the lives of Ben, Venetia, and even Blarney.


Amanda said...

This is going to sound completely dumb, but for some reason I can't read books about or set in Ireland. I've tried, but I...just don't like Ireland very much. Not in literature or movies or music, at least. I need to go there so I can experience it and get a different feel for it in my head, I think. I feel so bad for saying all this...

Brooke from The Bluestocking Guide said...

This sounds different.

Diane said...

this book is certainly receiving some great reviews. thanks for sharing your thoughts Trish.

Mary said...

Another great review for this book. It's on my list!

bermudaonion said...

I won an audio copy of this book and I'm anxiously awaiting it because I need a new audiobook to listen to while I walk. It sounds wonderful!

Veens said...

oh! I love your rambling :P)
This book does sound great and that 1st line has all the oomph it must to make me wanna read!

I am looking forward to reading this!

Vivienne said...

I just love that first line about her birth. It made me crack up. I really like the sound of this book.

LisaMM said...

A perfect blend of plot and characters.. wow!! I'm so happy you enjoyed the book! Thanks so much for taking the time to read and review it as part of the tour. We greatly appreciate it!

Trish said...

*Brooke - Not different as in strange.

*Amanda - LOL! I really want to know more about this Irish aversion and see if we can get to the bottom of it. As much as I liked this book, I'm not sure what you'd think of it. Although there isn't any smut and the writing was really nice.

*Diane - I hope you'll try it out!

*Mary - Hope you like it.

*Bermuda - Congratulations on your win. This would be a great one to listen to!

*Veens - Happy to ramble on anytime. :) The first line is a great one, huh? I hope you can squeeze this one in.

*Vivienne - This book at first seems pretty lighthearted and I wish I could say it was but it's pretty heavy (in a good way). But the writing is fantastic.

*LisaMM - Thanks for having me along. This was a great read for me and I'm so glad I could be a part of the tour.

softdrink said...

I liked this one more than I thought I would...the title actually scared me a little, because I'm not into acting or traveling shows.

Anna said...

I posted my review of this book earlier in the week, and I must say it was a difficult book to review. It also took me awhile to get into the story, but once I did, I really enjoyed it.

Diary of an Eccentric

lilly said...

I haven't read Ireland or this new book by him but from the sound of your review I probably should read both of them. I don't even mind the slow beginning.

Trish said...

*Softdrink - It was must more serious than I thought it would be--I thought "traveling show=all fun and games" Glad I was wrong.

*Anna - Glad you enjoyed it, too. It is hard to talk about since there is so much that happens. I never know how much of the plot to divulge.

*Lilly - Slow getting into the books might be just me? This one is definitely better than Ireland (I thought) and I heard there is a stand-alone sequel in the works!

Lisa said...

I keep reading that this one is slow to get into which is good to know. I'm generally one to give a book 100 pages before I toss it aside but it's helpful to know that it will be well worth those 100 pages!

Jennifer @ Mrs. Q: Book Addict said...

This book sounds very interesting. I haven't heard of it before. Great review!

Booksnyc said...

This was my first Delaney novel and I really liked it - his writing style worked for me. It did take a while to get into it but once I did, I was hooked!

Shelley said...

How exciting! I didn't realize that he had written a new book. I'll have to check it out.
Ramblings are completely acceptable, although I didn't get the feeling that you were rambling! Great review.

Trish said...

*Lisa - Yes, definitely worth it to keep reading past 100 pages--and I agree that sometimes it just takes that long for the story to come together.

*Jennifer @ Mrs. Q - I hope you'll read it--great book!

*Booksync - I wish I could put my finger on why Delaney's writing takes a bit to get into but this was a good one, huh?

*Shelley - Yes, brand new--and I just learned via twitter that Delaney just finished a stand-alone sequel to this one. Yippee!

Robin of My Two Blessings said...

The ending actually gave me goose bumps and yes, a little misty eyed. I'm looking forward to reading "Ireland."