31 Days: A Memoir of Seduction (click on book or see below for description)
By Marcia Gloster
Provided free from The Story Plant in exchange for an honest review
Finish Time; 7 nights. I put this one off for a while too (I guess that is what happens when the to-read stack just gets too big.) But after seeing almost perfect reviews (not reading any – I won’t do that until after I’ve written mine,) I decided to pick up this book, a little late (now a month since release – oops!), but better late than never.
I’ve also delayed in writing this review as this was really the first memoir/non-fiction book I’ve read, at least since I started reviewing. Can I say I don’t like the characters when they are real? It’s a lot easier in a fiction book, as they aren’t real. Either way, real or made up, I guess they are products of the author, so why does one seem easier to criticize?
That all being said, some of the characters in 31 Days just frustrated me to no end, but looking back, that helped this story read like fiction (my usual genre). At times I couldn’t believe that Ms. Gloster remembered events in such details from 40 years ago, but she mentioned keeping a journal. I love that she had the foresight to know this would be a great story to tell. And by great story meaning that it contained a lot of events, great characters (whether I liked them or not!), drama, romance, friendship, art, all in a beautiful setting during a once in a lifetime trip for a young woman.
I found myself excited to pick it up each night, but again frustrated. I wanted my heart to fill up with a great romance, but looking back at the subtitle – I was promised seduction, not romance. Maybe you’d anticipate the difference, I didn’t, and there is a big one. I can only picture Bill Thompson as an egotistical, self-centered, womanizing, free-spirited teacher with a bad reputation. Marcia does a great job at describing him as those things, also not your typical Romeo as he wasn’t gorgeous, but he just had an air about him that she couldn’t ignore.
I enjoyed the details of Europe and really had a map/picture in my head of just where Marcia studied, walked, ate, and drank (lots of vino!) each day. I liked her as the narrator as being a good balance of emotional and smart when it came to Bill, although at times I would have liked to knock some sense into her, as some of her friends desperately tried to do as well. It was a good coming of age story. I toyed between 3 or 4 stars, as it was well written, yet something about it just doesn’t have me raving about it.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on memoirs/non-fiction, as it is not my usual genre.
Thank you to The Story Plant for allowing me to preview and review!
Description from Amazon:
Marcia Gloster was a college student traveling through Europe in the summer of 1963. When she arrived in Salzburg, Austria to study at Oskar Kokoschka’s School of Vision, she envisioned a month of intensive painting, never expecting to find herself swept into a passionate affair. Nor did she imagine her lover to be a married instructor with a long history of indiscretions. Even at a young age, Marcia knew how to protect her heart. But it had never been taken by a man as overwhelming and sensual as Bill Thomson.
31 Days is the story of Marcia and Bill in Salzburg. 31 days that would redefine love, sex, passion, and permanence for a woman of twenty; and a month that would resonate in her life forever.
Deeply sensual, intensely vivid, and achingly beautiful 31 Days is a memoir that lives in all of us.