Possession to put it simply is about two modern day academics who investigate a possible previously unknown love story between two well known Victorian poets. The story constantly jumps from between the modern setting to a Victorian love story and is told in the various forms of letters, poems, essays, and straightforward narrative.Possession is certainly not what you would describe as a light read but the combination of the weaving story-lines and the detective part of the plot kept my interest and I ended up finishing this rather weighty book quicker than anticipated. The poetry I didn’t really give my full attention, in fact I skimmed read them. I just didn’t enjoy the poems very much, perhaps I would have gotten more out of the novel by fully reading the poems but I don’t feel as though my overall enjoyment was too much affected. The love story set in the Victorian era was more convincing than the modern day one but both time-lines in their own way kept me turning the pages.
I do have one minor quibble with the novel which I feel I have to mention. Firstly the ‘villain’ was (I felt) badly drawn. The character was an American collector who had to possess any of the Victorian poet’s memorabilia and he was throughout the novel painted as a two dimensional ‘evil rich American’. Why not just make this character an avid rich collector? Why make him an evil, prostitute visiting, grave robbing almost cartoonist villain? I half expected him to have an evil chuckle to boot. But this is a very minor quibble; it just bothered me a little.
Overall though this is a novel I thoroughly enjoyed and in which I could immerse myself in. The settings are great as are in particular the Victorian characters and I would recommend this. Being quite a multi-layered novel this would benefit from a second read.
Posted by Jess