Publisher: Bantam Books, 1992
Format: Paper! (BTW – I swear I did not steal this from a library! I’m not sure where I actually purchased it but I’ve never been to the Maricopa County Library.) In honor of Father’s Day (which thank you Judith for making me do this, it’s the only reason I remembered this weekend is Father’s Day) I’m going old school and reviewing the Sweet Valley Saga book about the twins’ father’s ancestors. Who knew so much could happen in only 150 years!
Plot: Rather than giving you the plot (come on, it’s a multi-generational saga, there’s no
way to summarize that), here are the notes I made during reading: arranged marriage, death by horseback accident, arranged marriage, estranged parents, immigration to America, lost fiancée, disease, journey west, the circus (NO CLOWNS, promise), serious injury, death during childbirth, forbidden relationship, death from disease, 1906 San Francisco earthquake, forbidden marriage, heroic death, estranged parent, illegitimate child, arranged marriage, twin shenanigans, estranged parent, bootlegging, car chases, jazz music, the Hindenburg disaster, WWII, POW, kamikaze pilots, student activism, hippies, surfing, runaway bride, lawyers. Basically: insanity.
Review: No one who knows me will be surprised that I’m giving this a favorable review, I loved these books as a child (before the most recent book tainted everything…okay…I’m not going to go there right now). But I have to confess this was both better and worse than I remember it being, not shocking since its been probably a decade since my last re-read. While I knew there would be a lot of ground covered, historically speaking, I’d forgotten just how much these Wakefields experience. I’m sure this was the first time many young readers learned about things like the Hindenburg explosion or that there were female POWs during WWII, myself included. It’s a bit preposterous when you think that characters in historical fiction always just happen to experience every major event of an era,but I don’t care,I love the genre and this is an excellent introduction for any young reader. That being said I do have two major complaints about this book: 1) I swear not a single character in the entire book actually thinks about what they do before they act, regardless of age. We all expect teenagers to be impetuous but why are characters in their 40s acting the same way? There is seriously just one rash judgment made after another. 2) while I don’t remember the first saga well (which details the twins’ mother’s ancestors), there are definite details about the run-ins between the two sets of ancestors that are not in this book and I think if you read this first you’d be missing out on some important pieces of the puzzle. Like for instance that a certain twin didn’t betray a certain Wakefield, rather there were some evil twin shenanigans going on. And he never finds out!! I hate that.
In the end I’m going to give this one an 8 out of 10.
Based on the following criteria:
How much did I like the characters: 10. Despite their perchance for rash judgments, overall I enjoy the Wakefield clan. Ted’s story has always been my favorite, probably because he seems hella cute as well as being intelligent. Since I’m shallow I’m going to enjoy any book where the majority of the characters are tall, dark, and handsome. My idea of heaven.
How much did I like the love interests: 8. I’m sorry but I just don’t care about Dancing Wind or Julia, and none of the relationships are very detailed (to be expected in order for the book to not be a thousand pages, but overall I enjoyed reading about the romantic trials and tribulations the Wakefield ancestors experienced. One aspect I think is excellent is the fact that several characters experience true love with more than one person. Theodore, for instance, looses Alice but he still finds love with Dancing Wind. How many people only love one person in their whole life?? Its just not realistic.
How believable is the plot: 10. Aside from the fact that the characters always happen to be where the important stuff is, I think the plot is totally believable.
How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 10. No issues at all. Which I expect from SV books.
How much did I want to keep reading: 10. Obviously quite a bit since I’ve read this several times!
Final Score: 8/10. A great addition to the series, I love reading about the ancestors if two characters we all know so well. I’ll have to go back and read the other soon!