Item description for The Other Eden by Sarah Bryant...
"Lush, sensual, musical, and dangerously seductive, The Other Eden is a rare vision of a corrupt, irresistible paradise. It will haunt you and your dreams."-J.D. Landis, author of Lying in Bed, Longing, and The Valley
Sarah Bryant is originally from Boston and now lives in the Scottish Borders with her husband and two children. She holds an MLitt in creative writing from the University of St Andrews, and what free time is left between writing and family goes to horses and the Celtic harp.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.64" Width: 5.12" Height: 1.57" Weight: 1.01 lbs.
Release Date Oct 1, 2007
Publisher Snowbooks Ltd.
ISBN 1905005113 ISBN13 9781905005116
Availability 0 units.
More About Sarah Bryant
Sarah Bryant is originally from Boston and now lives in the Scottish Borders with her husband and daughter. She has an MLitt in creative writing from St Andrews, and what free time is left between writing and family goes on horses and the celtic harp.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Other Eden?
don't waste your time Jun 6, 2008
I read the first chapter of this book on this site and thought it sounded like a well-written, intriguing story, so I purchased the book. Too bad the rest of the book didn't live up to the promise of the first chapter.
The good parts about this book were that 1. the story is just interesting enough to keep you reading to find out what's going on 2. the descriptions (houses, clothes, etc.) are fairly well written 3. parts of this book really have a spooky atmosphere that befits its setting of a decrepit Southern plantation well.
However, overall I found that the story was full of plot holes and could be quite confusing to follow in places. Sometimes events were brought up in the story that needed an explanation, but with no explanations given I ended up feeling like big pieces of the story were missing. For instance, at the end of the first chapter the heroine says, "That night I dreamed of Eve for the first time in many years." You'd expect that the heroine might then explain who Eve is, or what kind of dreams she used to have about Eve, or why she finds it weird to dream about a woman called Eve, but there is nothing! She doesn't talk about Eve at all, so it's hard to empathize with her when she finds out who Eve really is. These gaps in the background of the story made it hard to know what was supposed to be shocking to the characters, and it made it hard to care about the characters, too.
The best part of the book comes when the heroine explores the house on the hill, but after that the story goes downhill, right to its muddled and confusing ending. Overall, a book not really worth the time.
Sultry, Evocative Southern Gothic Aug 11, 2006
Sarah Bryant's lushly gothic novel is set at an antebellum home in Louisiana, and despite the size of it (459 pp.) I positively flew through the book.
The book begins with twin sisters Eve and Elizabeth switching identities so that one may marry the man she loves. Having traded identities so often in childhood, with nary a suspicion from their parents, they figure switching for a mere bridegroom will be no problem at all. With lightning flashing and thunder rumbling in the background, they complete the exchange of the wedding dress and the sisters' identifying necklaces.
A generation later Eleanor Rose, the daughter/niece of Eve and Elizabeth, is plagued by recurrent nightmares about her mother and aunt. In all her dreams both women are in dire peril at the hands of a mysterious man, and both call desperately for her help. Strangely, it's her aunt Eve who seems to be appealing to her most desperately in her dreams, a fact she can't quite reconcile. Why is it her aunt Eve and not her mother?
Eleanor, raised by her grandfather, is an indulged and privileged child who's also a prodigy on the piano. Her grandfather takes her to music concerts where she hears the greats play. At one of these concerts she sees Alexander Trevozhov perform. She's immediately smitten.
On the death of her grandfather Eleanor learns she's inherited the family's land and home in Louisiana, so leaves Boston with her companion, Mary, to live on the estate. As soon as she arrives she gets a chill. The place itself is beautiful but menacing, in a way she can't quite understand. Bryant's writing here is lush and lovely:
"Over the years of disuse, the rampant foliage had nearly swallowed the house. Bougainvillea, ivy and kudzu hung in swaying curtains from the roof, tangling with honeysuckle and roses climbing from below. ... Beautiful as the house was - or rather, would be, with some care - I felt repulsion at that first sight of it."
Eleanor moves into one of the smaller houses on the estate, as Eden House is in such a state of disrepair. She is immediately plagued by insomnia. Already pale and wan following the sudden loss of her beloved grandfather, she becomes even more sickly looking. Not long thereafter a man arrives to rent one of the houses on the property. The man is none other than Alexander Trevozhov, arriving with is niece Natalya. Coincidence or orchestration, you may ask? Well, some things are best not revealed!
Trevozhov appears somewhat aloof and mocking at first, but soon warms to Eleanor. He reveals that he, too, has been having strange dreams and their fates seem inexplicably intertwined. He's able to recite specifics from her dreams, a fact that leaves Eleanor baffled. Who, exactly, is this Alexander Trevozhov, and how does he know the details of the dreams that terrify her?
Eleanor begins exploring Eden House. Locked doors become unlocked, and unlocked doors are suddenly fast closed, as she wanders through the big house. Her feeling of unease mounts, despite her vain attempts to rationalize the things happening around her. A piano she originally found under a dustcover, unused for ages, begins playing a familiar piece when there's apparently no one in the house but herself. Eleanor begins to feel she's losing her grip. Is there truly a legacy of insanity in her family?
Enter Dorian Ducoeur, a former friend of the family who knew both Eve and Elizabeth, and things really start to heat up. Dorian, Eleanor discovers, is one of the figures from her nightmares. Alexander's back is immediately up. He doesn't trust this man and makes no bones about it. Who is Dorian Ducoeur, really, and what does Alexander really know? Apparently he knows more than he's at first willing to reveal.
Telling much more would be spoiling the rest of the plot. Suffice to say there are more delightfully mysterious house rambles to come, more lush, beautifully-written descriptions of the wonderfully gothic Eden House, and even a death or two for good measure. There are also more shocking revelations, and many more layers added to the tale of Elizabeth and Eve, before all is said and done.
Heavily influenced by the gothic classic _Jane Eyre_, Sarah Bryant's strength is in her descriptions. She imagines a nicely complex plot, but her slips into melodrama are her weakness. However, with writing so atmospheric and evocative of the steamy Deep South the reader can forgive her the occasional slip into purple prose.
On the strength of this effort I would most definitely read another book by Bryant. Despite its length _The Other Eden_ demands you read it at a gallop. There's no slowing down as each element is revealed, peeling away the layers of the mystery and simultaneously building the suspense to nearly unbearable proportions. You won't want to stop until the last page is turned. As a good summer read I would very highly recommend _The Other Eden_.
Bravo! Apr 24, 2003
Because I did not know the author, I took a chance and purchased this book. This new author mesmorized me with the richness of her story and the vivid descriptions. The images stayed with me long after I turned the last page. I look forward to reading more of her work.
wonderful richly descriptive story of love and deception Sep 2, 2001
I found this book intriguing and suspenseful. I liked the changes in time periods and looking at the lives of the families that had been intertwined (at times without even knowing it) over generations. The characters were richly described. I stayed up into the early hours of the morning for several nights because I couldn't put the book down. i hope there is another novel from the author soon.
Sad But Wonderful Aug 1, 2001
Sarah Bryant's, THE OTHER EDEN, is a lovely story...but so sad. I truly identified with the protagonist. As a musician I was thrilled with the musical theme and references. I am also young and romantic. This beautiful novel moved me to tears. I wish the story of Alexander and Eleanor could go on forever.