Pro: - hugely enjoyable interaction between hero/heroine who most definitely do NOT feel instant attraction for the other
- unlike the protagonists inPro: - hugely enjoyable interaction between hero/heroine who most definitely do NOT feel instant attraction for the other
- unlike the protagonists in some other Heyer titles, these are not irritatingly and implausibly "perfect"; even the hero's best friends acknowledge that he can be too serious, and that his quick temper can lead him to words or actions he may later regret, while the heroine is very ready to make judgements about what she thinks will be best for other people and then act on those presumptions, whether the other people want her to or not. The story is not so much about how each of these characters overcomes these flaws (I'd argue that by novel's end, they haven't), but about how they offset those flaws with stronger virtues and about how they come to figure out that their mix of personalities will work together to the ultimate advantage of all their family members
- I adore stories where all the threads are brought together in a climax that threatens to become a hopeless knot but then resolves them all. The final scene with all the significant characters was so much fun that even as I read it I knew I would reread the whole story to trace again how it would all come together in the end
Con: - a previous GR author-member commented on how alienating the use of extremely negative stereotypical portrayal of the Jewish character was to her. I agree, and would add to that the negative stereotype of Spanish people as "lazy" and "Indolent".
It wasn't only that it was tremendously off-putting for an entire nation comprising millions of people to be so generalized as a group, it was also that the author for some reason felt it was necessary to repeat the slur every single time the Spanish character was in a scene or spoken of. Why would an author of Heyer's stature and popularity feel the need to fall back on such tedious repetition?
Not just that, but it struck a wrong chord that of all the characters to have expressed this stereotype, it was Sophy. If it had been a character who had never been outside England or away from his/her small town, I could logically have accepted the plausibility of imagining an English person of that time period being simultaneously unknowledgable and suspicious of peoples in other parts of the world, leading him/her to ascribe various negative traits to them and so make him/herself feel superior. But to have Sophy, the second most widely travelled character in the book, who had actually lived in Spain for years, to perpetuate such a generalization, made no sense. It was all the more dismaying when contrasted with how willing she was to accept each English character she encountered on his or her own merits and form opinions according to their individual actions and words. When one considers that she is a diplomat's daughter, and had been included in many occasions with very high levels of government figures and so, could have been expected to know better than the average upperclass English woman how carefully one must guard one's tongue when dealing with other cultures to prevent setting off international incidents, it becomes even more puzzling for the author to have made this choice.
Overall: I enjoyed the novel a lot, and recommend it to others, but now have a disillusioned feeling about Heyer. Kind of sad that it will make me wary about going in to another novel of hers - I'll do it, but without that same feeling of purely happy anticipation I had before.
Loved it. Can't tell how much of that feeling is due to the excellent readers in the audiobook version,but they were all note-perfect and highly distiLoved it. Can't tell how much of that feeling is due to the excellent readers in the audiobook version,but they were all note-perfect and highly distinctive. Loved Miss Isola Pribby, the resolute spinster with detective aspirations, loved the writer Juliette round whom all the epistolatory action revolves,loved how the islanders used favorite books and literary quotes to mentally survive the occupation and aftermath.
The authors struck a fine balance between charming, hopeful, resilient moments and moments of simple yet stark recollection of wartime hardships and atrocities large and small. They also succeeded very well in showing how being swept up in overwhelming political/historical tides doesn't prevent individuals from choosing to exercise free choice in treating others like humans or sub-humans.
Among all the small anecdotes, dramatic tension was kept high by the unfolding of two ongoing questions: will the deported islander Elizabeth, founder of the titular literary and potato peel pie society, return to Guernsey? And will Juliette find love or remain primarily bound to her writing career? The way both of these questions were answered made sense and left me satisfied. I'll certainly read this novel again. Highly recommend....more
This story deserves every single accolade heaped upon it. Great observations about how people tick, how unspoken power dynamics work between women, anThis story deserves every single accolade heaped upon it. Great observations about how people tick, how unspoken power dynamics work between women, and what impact quiet acts of heroism like standing up to a bully can have. I'm so invested in these characters I really hope the author's next book will give glimpses of what happened to them after 'The End'.
But - can anyone explain the significance of purple birds on the cover? Apart from the obvious number corresponding with number of POV characters?...more
I had not been aware of this particular chapter of French history; the author did a skillful job of judgi4 Stars, reflective of moving subject matter.
I had not been aware of this particular chapter of French history; the author did a skillful job of judging reader tolerance in how graphic/brief to keep the difficult chapters describing Sarah's wartime experience, and also in showing how longlasting the traumatic aftereffects can hold power over survivors....more