This 2016 bestseller ties for second place on my list of ” Favorite Books Published in 2016″ (ties with The Swans of Fifth Avenue), after Gentleman in Moscow (reviewed in an earlier post), which still claims first place. It was so good that I made time to read it and finished in two days. The book begins in California and is also set in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the states where I was born and raised in, respectively. Maybe it was because of this “personal connection”, or more likely the denseness of characters and plot that I became hooked by the end of the first few chapters.
We meet Beverly and “Fix” as the novel opens with the “…dissolution of their marriage and the joining of two families.” This connecting of families through marriage and caused by divorce creates a “tribe” of children, four girls, two boys, the Cousinses and the Keatings, and the book carries these characters through the next fifty years. There is much intertwining of plot and relationships, and this intrigues the reader as he/she progresses through the novel. All of the characters are memorable; I couldn’t choose a favorite because the author makes me feel attached to and care about every one of them.
Perhaps I enjoyed Commonwealth so much because I am especially fond of character-driven novels, but I suspect the main reason was because of Patchett’s great writing abilities. I highly recommend this novel.