I took me forever to read this--two years -- that's a record. My reading experience was an odd dance -- I loved it and then I hated it and then I loved it and then I was bored and -- well, I guess you get the steps. Finally, in the last 1/4, the pace quickened and I was drawn into it in a way I had not been before. I'd give it a higher rating but I don't understand why it had to be so long and rambling-- sorry to those who love it. I am open to changing my mind about this if someone could explain to me why it was necessary to include so much excess.