I wanted to like this. For the first several chapters the two central characters were compelling, but I kept wondering, since some serious, dramatic, and in some cases profound action was taking place or, for one of the two had recently taken place (World War II, for God’s sake), when things were going to get juicy. Passionate. Passion-filled. Something! Heroic deeds, the beginning of what the author seems to think is the greatest fucking love in history, and zero emotion behind the lovely (and largely extraneous) words.
SIX HUNDRED PAGES later I was still wondering, and I was pissed. But I’ll get back to that. Catherine, the wise-beyond-her-years heiress who’s (of course) an actress with (of course) truly kick-ass parents is just not all that. She’s pretty cool. It’s nice they fell in love and whatnot, but enough already. The constant praise is at some point just ludicrous.
So blah blah blah there’s a big implausible thing they have to do that’s gonna save the world — under and with support of the yet-to-officially exist CIA, no less. And then, on pages 546-7 of this here hardcover edition, this happens:
“Harry sat on the shoeshine stand and opened up the newspaper…[a]n upcoming movie, Dear Ruth, with William Holden and Joan Caulfield, was announced in a full-page ad as if it were the second coming of Christ. The names William and Joan sat above their last names in tiny letters, but the last names were in enormous block type, Holden’s first, so that when Harry glanced at the page…it looked like the movie starred someone named Holden Caulfield, writ large. He wondered if anyone had that name and would be shocked to see it. It seemed genuine, the name of someone Billy and Evelyn [the kick-ass parents] would know. Then he turned the page and forgot about it.”
Well, I didn’t. I literally yelled, “Are you fucking kidding me?” despite being alone in my kitchen. There is barely a reason for Harry to be reading a newspaper at that point — he could have been reading The Iliad, he could have been filing his goddamned nails — and that little aside does absolutely nothing to move the plot along, which, incidentally, was something it desperately needed.
And yet I finished it because I kinda wanted to know what happened.