In Sleeping Embers, Charnock travels the story-lines of three different women, Antonia, Toniah, and Toni, in three distinct time periods, 1469, 2113, and 2015. Surprisingly, these three women have absolutely nothing to do with each other. The book opens with Toniah, a “second gen partho” who is working at the prestigious “Academy” in 2113 to basically re-write history to make women more prominent and lessen the roles of men. We find Toniah struggling to find fulfillment in her job, uncovering family secrets, and quietly bickering with her sister. Next, we meet Toni. Toni is a fifteen year old girl living with her widower father, who just happens to be an artist. Together, they struggle to cope the loss of their mother and wife. Interestingly, they find “healing” in visiting the ignored grave of their family relative. Last, we meet Antonia, the daughter of famed Renaissance artist Paolo Uccello. Antonia, unlike the other two, is learning her craft and having her martial fate decided for her by her father.
Honestly, I drudged through this book without any pleasure. Of books that I have hated, Sleeping Embers runs right alongside Uncle Tom’s Cabin. When I finished the book I was left with no take away message and no enjoyment. I was actually happy that it was over, a rarity in my world.
Bottom Line: This book is oppressively boring and unnecessarily confusing. Charnock has created a novel that is completely and utterly forgettable. The only thing that redeemed it was the several quotable lines that are sprinkled throughout the novel; however, that isn’t enough to save it. Unlike most things I review here on DC, I can not recommend that you read Sleep Embers of An Ordinary Mind.
Love and Happy Reading,