This is one of those books I never would have picked up — and probably never would have finished — were it not for my book club. I appreciate how book clubs get me out of my reading niche.

The thing I loved about the book was the language. The author has a masterful way of weaving words together; her writing is simply lyrical.

Charney’s descriptions were vivid but not overbearing; I could feel myself transported the serene garden scenes described in the story. And the vocabulary was diverse but not arduous; I think I could feel myself getting smarter just by reading! Maybe this book is like yoga for the brain. ;)

So, after that glowing review of the style, I must say I didn’t care much for the plot … at all. And I can’t put my finger on why. Was it because it tended toward the overly dramatic? Was it because of the way the characters indulged in and occasionally discussed immoral behavior, or because religion and values were dismissed as archaic? Was it because they kept trying to bring up some dead philosopher as the answer to all of life’s problems? (That would be the Rousseau of the title ;) ).

My mom asked me about the book when I was talking to her a couple days ago, and I told her I couldn’t recommend this one. Then again, it was recommended to me — so there you have it. :)