This is a really lovely book with wonderfully clear and bright pictures. I didn't find the background on different fruits/vegetables/nuts/oils/etc to be particularly helpful, but only because I've read so much about that elsewhere. The recipes didn't do much for me, either; nothing was particularly special compared to stuff I've seen in the Veganomicon and other vegan cookbooks, but as a starter cookbook, it gives a good representation of delicious vegan food. This would make a great gift for someone who is newly vegan.
I did still enjoy the stories of real animal rescues (farm, companion, and exotic animals), the write-ups of animals and animal rights in literature, and the sections on how to handle common questions from non-vegans (like the perennial "If you were on a deserted island and had no food, would you eat a hamburger?") Patrick-Goudreau handles these questions in a compassionate, thoughtful way. I would recommend checking this book out to seasoned vegans who still struggle with talking about their choices with others.
By the middle of the book, I was starting to become bored with the story (it seemed to be dragging on with no purpose), but an interesting twist really perked it up. Alternating chapters are told through letters exchanged between the main character and her love interest, and I thought the gimmick didn't really work for this book. The supposed "secrets" and background information that is uncovered in the letters is still addressed in the present day text, making the letters kind of pointless. I did appreciate Peterfreund's nuanced characters and her skillful recreation of a Jane Austen-like web of character relationships.
It's very interesting to read about Oscar and his death bed vigils, but most of the book is about the doctor and his experiences dealing with families who are dealing with end-of-life decisions for their loved ones. Those stories are interesting, too, but it's nice to know, going into the book, to expect less Oscar and more patients.
I really loved this book. It's well-written and extremely creepy - a great read for Halloween!
I read the first two chapters or so of this book, then jumped to the last couple chapters to see how the plot plays out, and to be honest, I don't feel like I missed much in between. The voice of the main character does not feel like an authentic voice; instead, it feels as though the author is trying too hard to make the character seem real. The characters aren't all that interesting, the world seemed pretty standard fantasy world fare, and the plot is predictable. Overall, not a great choice.