This is really a series of short stories disguised as a novel. The theme of art featuring women reading is repeated in each of the seven stories and more clearly defined in the final story; however, it is not prominent enough in some of the chapters to really warrant packaging this as a novel rather than a short story collection.
I think it is a cynical attempt to sell more copies of this book by pretending that it is a novel not a short story collection.
The writing is flawed in other ways – there are no punctuation marks for speech which means that the writing doesn’t flow and you are jarred out of the story. The first story is almost impenetrable because of this style. However, the writing style does become easier as you read further into the stories.
A couple of the stories are genuinely interesting with compelling characters and I couldn’t help wishing that Ward has just written a whole novel based on one of the stories rather than introducing a new independent story every 50 pages.
The cover, however, is beautiful and easily the best thing about this book.