book review: The Printmaker's Daughter by Katherine Govier

The backstory: The Printmaker's Daughter was published in Canada as The Ghost Brush.

The basics: A sweeping tale of historical fiction, The Printmaker's Daughter is the story of Oei, daughter of famous Japanese printmaker, Hokusai.

My thoughts: As I think back on The Printmaker's Daughter, it surprises me how far the book took me along its journey. In some ways, it's difficult to review books that are so epic in scope and long. In other ways, however, I think this book is particularly hard to review. The story is the focus of this book, and Govier allows Oei to tell her story. As I read, I was immediately transported into nineteenth century Japan. This novel is rich with detail, which enchanted me as I read, but also allowed the action to drag a bit at times. The slight downfall of this novel for me, was its pacing. Govier's writing steered the story, but I didn't write down a single memorable passage in this 512-page book. When the story slowed, the book slowed.

The verdict: While I enjoyed much of this novel, some parts dragged on too much for my taste and others felt somewhat heavy-handed. The story of Oei is intriguing and fascinating, and fans of historical multicultural fiction will likely enjoy this one.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Length: 512 pages
Publication date: November 22, 2011
Source: publisher, via TLC Book Tours

Learn more about Katherine Govier at her website and Facebook page. Want to read it for yourself? Buy The Printmaker's Daughter from Amazon in paperback or for the Kindle.

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  1. I am reading this one right now, and think your reflections on it are perfectly accurate. It seems to slow down and speed up in strange places, and I am sort of stuck in the middle at the moment. I am going to give myself the rest of the day to get through it, but I am not relishing it as much as I had hoped to. It's strangely stagnant at times, but then becomes very moving at others. Very perceptive thoughts on this one today!

  2. Hmmm. This is disappointing to hear as I was looking forward to this one. That's a lot of reading with no memorable passages! I'll still check it out sometime though because you never know if a book will click until you try it. Thanks for your thoughts!

  3. I read this one over the Thanksgiving holiday and had such high hopes. I was sadly let down and agree with your points. The pacing was off.

  4. Darn, I'm sorry this one didn't work out for you. Thank for sharing your thoughts for the tour.

  5. Boo -- I haven't started yet but I've seen a few lukewarm reviews. :/ Not relishing a slog -- while I enjoyed A Different Sky it was a long, at times exhausting read, and I'm just not in the space for another one of those!


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