I loved “Vintage” and gave it fours stars when I read it back in 2014 and kept my eye out to see when Susan Gloss would publish another book. Unfortunately, I found this follow-up to “Vintage” to be disappointing. This book doesn’t do a good job of linking all of the stories to each other. Artists living together in a “colony” didn’t help link things since they were all going through so many things and felt like roommates that passed in the night. It didn’t help that one of the POVs we get is from a character who has passed away. I just felt jumbled the entire time I read this and ended up disliking most of the characters too.
“The Curiosities” follows Nell Parker who after dealing with losing her baby in the second trimester, throws herself into fertility treatments leaving her and her husband (without his knowledge) deeply in debt. Nell finds a job hoping that she can start chipping away at their debt. She ends up getting a job as a director of a new artist’s retreat. For readers who read “Vintage” we know that the character that did this was Betsy. Nell ends up focusing on her new artists that are staying at the mansion turned colony. The other characters are Paige (young and self absorbed), Annie (older and self absorbed) and Odin (harboring romantic feelings towards Nell).
Nell suffered a devastating loss and I thought the one scene we get to show her and her husband holding their daughter as she dies was heartbreaking. If we had gotten more of that maybe I would have liked Nell more. She lies to her husband and seems to be entertaining thoughts about Odin (that name you guys). Her husband Josh felt more present to me as a character and I wish we had gotten some POVs with him as well.
Annie was a jerk. I hated her whole story-line. Her studying addiction series sounded pretentious as hell. The fallout from it seemed like an after thought to other characters though. How no one went off on her is baffling.
Paige was boring. She meets a guy she likes him and then runs away from it. Ho-hum.
Odin was just there. I found myself skimming his chapters.
The writing wasn’t as engaging as it was in Vintage. Gloss does the same thing here she did with calling out who is “speaking” by chapter and including some information on art while doing that. In “Vintage” she included description of clothes, hats, etc. and when they were first bought and sold. The flow was awful in this one. Probably because I found myself only really caring about Betsy’s POV chapters. I wish that Gloss had included more from the characters she introduced us to in Vintage. We only see a brief scene that includes Violet.
The setting of Madison doesn’t get a lot of play in this one unfortunately. We have Paige going to college and there’s a little bit here and there. However, most of the book takes place in Betsy’s old mansion now turned colony. We hear a lot about how beautiful it is and the art work, but I couldn’t picture it very well which was a shame.
The ending leaves things on a slightly hopeful note for Nell. I just didn’t much care by the time the end came about what becomes of the other characters.
I tend to only talk about price when I am disappointed in a book and this costing $14.99 was too much. Especially for a follow-up. The last book was $11.99 and I recall thinking that was too high. Considering how lackluster this was I am going to just pass on any more books from Gloss unless I can borrow from the library.