Gillespie and I
As she sits in her Bloomsbury home with her two pet birds for company, elderly Harriet Baxter recounts the story of her friendship with Ned Gillespie—a talented artist whose life came to a tragic end before he ever achie...more
The Book Report: There isn't anything I can say that won't be a spoiler here. The book description from Amazon says:
“As she sits in her Bloomsbury home with her two pet birds for company, elderly Harriet Baxter recounts the story of her friendship with Ned Gillespie—a talented artist whose life came to a tragic end before he ever achieved the fame and recognition that Harriet maintains he deserved.
In 1888, young Harriet arrives in Glasgow during the International Exhibition. After a c...more
If I'm being honest, I really enjoyed The Observations and that is the sole reason that I requested the book when I purchased it for the library. I was a bit worried that this would be another Swan Thieves for me, but she seems to have pulled off the second novel (after the first success) quite nicely. Speaking of second novels, I'm still waiting, Diane Setterfield. It's been six years... get your butt in gear!
I can't really write about the plot w...more
I've never been the quickest of readers but this vibrantly written novel, weighing in at 500 plus pages, so engrossed me I devoured it in just 4 days. It seemed so innocent at first, beguiling me with its engagingly described cast of characters.
In 1933 Miss Harriet Baxter sits in her Bloomsbury apartment, tending to her caged finches and writing her memoir of the times she spent with Ned Gillespie over 4 decades earlier, an up and coming young artist, her dear friend, she du...more
It pains me to give this book such a low rating, especially since I was so looking forward to reading it and most grateful for having won a free copy from GoodReads’s First Reads program.
I must say that I simply did not care for this book. I felt compelled to finish it and wanted to see how it ended, but I found myself really not caring about the story and certainly without any...more
Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my GIFTS AND GUILTY list.
Regardless of how many books are already queued patiently on my reading list, unexpected gifts and guilt-trips will always see unplanned additions muscling their way in at the front.
If I didn’t stick to certain rules, I would buy books...more
Well, I can assure you that if you were even remotely titivated by The Observations, then you will...more
Harriet Baxter comes across a little-known artist named Ned Gillespie. She is a woman of means, a “spinster” in her mid-30s, and footloose after nursing an old aunt who has just passed away. After a brief encounter with the artist, she chances upon...more
I'm sort of just going to flail and squee, and I'm not sure how helpful this review will be. Sorry!
In brief: this novel had everything I love in a great book -- wonderful writing, real characters, and a compelling plot that surprised me -- and I...more
From BBC radio 4 Extra - 15 minutes drama:
Victorian gothic mystery by Jane Harris. In 1888, Harriet Baxter, an art-loving Englishwoman, arrives in Glasgow for the city's International Exhibition. She meets the Scottish painter, Ned Gillespie, and his wife, Annie - but tragedy is about to strike the Gillespies.
Dramatised by Chris Dolan.
The end was a bit disappointing but the book is quite good. Even if I asn't able to read the full story Gillespie and I by Jane Harris, an interesting article...more
It's 1888, and Harriet, a woman of independent means who is about 35 years old, meets a young painter at a show in London. Coincidentally-- or perhaps not coincidentally-- she encounters him some months later in Glasgow, his native city, and swiftly, deliberately, get...more
Prepare for some surprises.
Expect that you might lose sleep.
Accept that you might not actually like some things, things that I cannot spell out or that would ruin the fun for you. It will be okay if you do not like some things, because you will be compensated by how CLEVER it all is.
These were my feelings after reading the last page of this amazing book--at 3:30 in the morning, having been cast under its spell, unable to put the book down, sort of gaspi...more
The second genre it's listed in is "mystery." I have a sort of hit-and-miss relationship with the mystery genre; I've loved a couple and been bored by a couple (there was one I read years ago that was awfully, dreadfully boring--and I am a very difficult person to bore). The last mystery I read (The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie), although I enjoyed it while I read it, isn't really the sort of story I was in the mood for. So it was with apprehension that I started this...more
There are so many things I want to praise about this book. So let's start with the title - it's perfect. It's eye-catching, it inspires curiosity, and it's quirky enough to be completely unique.
Then there's the cover - perfectly fitting the story, and - frankly, it's gorgeous. The color palette, the arrangement of symbols, it's all just plain perfect.
Now.. the insides of this beautiful book..
So many twist...more
Jane Harris was born in Belfast, Ireland and raised in Glasgow. Her short stories have appeared in a wide variety of anthologies and magazines, and she has written several award-winning short films. In 2000, she received a Writer's Award from the Arts Council of England.
She started writing by accident while living in Portugal in the e...more