Monday, December 29

Book Review: Frog Music

Title: Frog Music

Author: Emma Donoghue

Pages: Ebook 311

Summary: It is 1876, and San Francisco, the freewheeling “Paris of the West,” is in the fierce grip of a record-breaking heat wave and a smallpox epidemic. Through the window of a railroad saloon, a young woman called Jenny Bonnet is shot dead.

The survivor, her friend Blanche Beunon, is a French burlesque dancer. Over the next three days, Blanche will risk everything to bring Jenny’s murderer to justice-if he doesn’t track her down first.

The story Blanche struggles to piece together is one of free-love bohemians, desperate paupers and arrogant millionaires; of jealous men, icy women and damaged children. It’s the secret life of Jenny herself, a notorious character who breaks the law every morning by getting dressed: a charmer as slippery as the frogs she hunts.

My Rating: 7.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The book was well written and well told. The story was interesting at times, complex and even interesting at times, but I just didn't get into the book as much as others. It was good, but it didn't live up to the hype I've heard about it.

One of the best aspects of the book was the characters, they were very well written, complex, and showed a bit of growth by the end. I don't have a favourite, but I think the detailed characterization and how the author shaped them really helped create a good atmosphere in the book.

The writing was also well done. I think the description of the city and the entire setting really created a very detailed and believable atmosphere. It was very well done, and the setting almost took on it's on character.

The story itself was good , but I felt the ending to be a bit rushed, and that the book lost steam part way through, causing me to have to push to the ending. There were pieces I liked and found interesting, like the small pox epidemic, but by the ending, I was lost that initial interest I had when I started with the book.

The story was good, but it didn't have the same appeal for me as it had with others. Overall, a fairly good read.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, it wasn't my exact cup of tea, but still a good read and I think a lot of readers would enjoy the characters and story.

What to read next: The Painted Girls

Challenges: 100+ Books, 2014 Category Challenge, 8th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, Ebook Challenge

Note: This is part of my September Reviews


  1. It was a good read, but.... Just like you said, something was not quite there. There was mystery, great history, interesting characters, the small pox description was very gross, and I liked the book. But didn't love it like I felt I could have. I will say though, that after reading the afterword, and the history of the music and songs of the day that Donaghue included, I was impressed. I've been very impressed with all her books (other than Room) with the way she incorporates historical accuracy within a fictional account. Her ambition in Frog Music was admirable.

  2. I read room, but I enjoyed that one a lot. I have yet to read anything else by the author as I'm still on the fence about her.

  3. This one has been suggested for by one of my book club members; do you think it would make for a good discussion?

    1. I think it would make a good discussion book for book clubs. There's a lot in the book to cover, very multi-layered.