Sunday, April 29, 2012
Book Review of #4 The Patmans of Sweet Valley by Francine Pascal
Author: Francine Pascal
Publisher: Bantam Lark
Part of a Series: Sweet valley Saga
Type of book: 1825-1972, potted American history, Sweet Valley, wealth
Year it was published: 1997
In 1825, sixteen year old Sophie, the Duchess of Edmonton, falls in love with Henry Patman, a dashing stable hand. But Sophie's sister, Melanie, has also fallen for Henry's rugged charm. And Melanie will do anything to keep Sophie and Henry apart.
John Patman loses his heart to London actress Katherine Richmond. He's too poor to ask for her hand in marriage, so he swears he'll strike it rich in the oil fields of Texas. But how long will Katherine wait?
Dr. Cassandra Vanderhorn meets wounded soldier Spencer Light in a World War II veterans' hospital. After he recovers, they marry, and he returns to the front. Then Cassandra receives a telegram bearing terrible news...
Marie Vanderhorn has found her soul mate in Hank Patman. When Marie is stricken with leukemia, she breaks off the relationship and keeps her suffering a secret. Hank vows that he'll love Marie forever. But then Alice Robertson crosses his path...
The characters aren't vividly written as in Fowlers of Sweet Valley, but at the same time I didn't detest them as I had when I read the Wakefield Twins saga. Thankfully the section with Alice was short, although it does go to the contrary with Wakefield Legacy Untold Story. (Hank's family are mentioned as co-founders of Sweet Valley, but in Patmans they are described as wealthy who will be moving there...) And Hank traveled to California after graduating from high school, instead of going to school with Ned as in Wakefield Legacy The Untold Story.
To be honest, I'm not sure of the supposed theme of this book, except the second chances do happen and might happen again.
This is in third person narrative from both male and female ancestors of Bruce Patman. There is the whole token exchange as always, at least as in Wakefield Saga, and part of me didn't really appreciate the skipping of Emma's daughter. The section with John and Katherine was too short and I didn't really understand the love they had. (Katherine had no idea what happened to John. He left because he thought she abandoned him on purpose.)
Francine Pascal (born May 13, 1938) is an author best known for creating the Sweet Valley series of young adult novels. Sweet Valley High was the backbone of the collection, and was made into a popular television series.  There were also several spin-offs, including The Unicorn Club and Sweet Valley University. Although most of these books were published in the 1980s and 1990s, they have remained popular such that several titles have been re-released in recent years. (From Wiki.)
There are actually a lot of stories that the summary hasn't mentioned, and this multi-generational saga covers both male and female ancestors (almost all of them,) of the Patman line. There's the story of Sophie's daughter Emma, of Henry's sons John and Sanford, (it skips Emma's daughter,) then there's Katherine and further adventures of John as well as his son William and Reginald, Bruce's grandfather. The stories are pretty fascinating in my view. The characters aren't very empty as in Wakefield Twins' sagas, but at the same time there's not a lot of sparkle to them as in Fowlers of Sweet Valley.
3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)