Title: The Guineveres
Author: Sarah Domet
Format: eBook, courtesy of NetGalley and Flatiron Books
Secondary Format: audiobook (narrated by Erin Bennett)
Start Date: December 27, 2016
End Date: January 5, 2017
Rating: 3 stars
We were known as The Guineveres to the other girls at the Sisters of the Supreme Adoration because our parents all named us Guinevere at birth, a coincidence that bound us together from the moment we met.
Vere, Ginny, Win, and Gwen made up The Guineveres, immediately and irrevocably linked together by their names. Each was left at the Sisters of the Supreme Adoration, abandoned by their families, under the care of serious Sister Fran. The story chronicles the lives of these four teenage girls as they learn about love, loss, sin, and forgiveness.
The story is told through the eyes of Vere, as she is reminiscing about their lives at the convent almost twenty years later. I liked the narration, for the most part, which was interspersed with glimpses of the futures of The Guineveres. The only parts that weren’t seen through Vere’s eyes were the revival stories of the other three girls, which was probably my favorite part of the book. Each girl came from a different background with her own sad and lonely tale.
Although I liked seeing where the four Guineveres ended up in their lives after the convent and whether they were happy, I felt it was too brief as this information was scattered throughout the whole of the story. I think, for the most part, it was what I had expected for the characters, but I would have liked more details and a better sense of where each girl ended up.
However, I’m not also sure how I feel about the rest of the ending. (Don’t worry, I won’t give any spoilers.) Parts of it made sense. I guess I can understand why the author chose that path: in a way, it’s a completion of the circle, a way to provide redemption for each of the girls. Although I felt it was the most exciting part of the book – where the action finally started to pick up! – I also felt that it was lacking in some way…
Overall, the story was a little slow. I didn’t really feel for any of the characters. I often felt like they were all just individual parts to one person: at the core they were similar, but they each only had one or two major personalities that distinguished them from each other.
Vere was honest.
Ginny was fragile.
Gwen was beautiful.
Win was tough.
There were even parts of the story where Vere referred to them collectively as The Guineveres instead of as four individual girls who all just happened to share the same name. It seems slightly strange, but it also makes sense. The Guineveres were alone in the world. Their families had left them at a convent because they were unable to deal with them for reasons that were as heartbreaking as they were frustrating. So, with no one else to care for them emotionally, they turned to each other for support, calling themselves The Guineveres to finally be able to be part of something again. They each made up a different (similar) colored strand in the braid of their lives.
Although they drifted apart, both geographically and emotionally – as all adults tend to do – they would forever be The Guineveres.
All humans have flaws, and we must love these flaws, too. Such dedication love requires. Such surrender. Love is its own kind of religion, but it’s the most rewarding one.
Thank you to NetGalley and to Flatiron Books for an advanced copy of this eBook in exchange for an honest review.