My two centsOK bits: I actually bought the book for its cover (don't laugh) because Van Gogh has always been a favorite. Kidding aside, the prose is lovely! I like the whole metaphor upon which the book is based: think about it, a sun can never have a shadow.
Boring bits: Be prepared for really long-winded descriptions. In fact Byatt herself says that her first piece is "overwritten" but she has a lovely way of saying things.
Maybe the whole story is a bit of a cliche too. If I had read it when I was in my early twenties I could have related a bit more or maybe oohed-ahhed some. But this has the cliche crush on the good-looking guy, cliche affair with a middle-aged man who "saves" her throughout the novel, and the cliche pregnancy.
Verdict: Quite good! Find out why Byatt is such a celebrated writer, her first book reveals quite a bit already!
***First line: The house was waiting; low and still and grey, with clean curtains in the long windows, and a fresh line of white across the edge of the steps.
The book in one sentence: A rebellious daughter finally comes into her own after struggling to escape her famous father-writer's shadow.
Who would you recommend it to: Any fan of A.S. Byatt, as this is her debut novel! And if you like coming-of-age stories, this is a good one!
Love exposes one so, she thought, one is so dependent on it, and maybe one will never be intimate enough not to care if anything goes a bit wrong. I can see one would be, she thought vaguely. (p. 45)