Eat your heart out Wilkie Collins. What a fantastic book this is! I just loved every minute of it (and there were a LOT of minutes – for some reason iEat your heart out Wilkie Collins. What a fantastic book this is! I just loved every minute of it (and there were a LOT of minutes – for some reason it took me an age to read). For about three weeks I felt like I was living in the middle of a Victorian soap-opera. There was murder, betrayal, divorce, disguises and death and all this set among a backdrop of stately homes and horse-and-carriages. What’s not to love?
I can’t understand why this book is not better known or held in higher esteem. Hallelujah for Oxford World Classics reviving this book (with a fab cover too). I haven’t read anywhere near the amount of Victorian classics that I want to yet but for me, this ranks among my favourites now. Classed as a sensational novel in the 1800’s when it was written, this book was serialised in a weekly newspaper. How I would have waited with baited breath for each new edition to hit the news- stands!
The books main character is Lady Isabel Vane who lives at East Lynne (a grand stately home) with her Father. When her Father, the Earl of Mount Severn, dies and his debts are discovered Lady Isabel is proposed to by the lovely young lawyer, Archibald Carlyle (much to the heartache of one Barbara Hare who, unbeknown to Archibald, is in love with him). Lady Isabel and Archibald seem happy together and go on to have three children, but all the while Archibald is helping Barbara Hare to clear her brother’s name for a murder that was committed some years ago and for which he escaped the scene of the crime and hasn’t been seen since. With all the clandestine meetings between Archibald and Barbara, Lady Isabel is overcome by jealousy and in the heat of the moment abandons her entire family for a man of very dubious character. I don’t want to say too much else for fear of spoiling the book for anyone, but needless to say that this is most definitely not the last we see of Lady Isabel (or the “cad” she ran off with). With misinterpreted conversations gallore, hushed secrets and christmas-cracker disguises this book gallops along with you not daring to let go.
I can honestly say that, for me, there was not a dull moment in this book. It is very accessible and easy to read, even for those who find Victorian literature hard going, and long though the book was, I was sad when I came to the end.
I think I can honestly say that the sensational novels of the Victorian era are becoming my favourites, having also loved Lady Audley’s Secret (Mary Elizabeth Braddon) and The Woman In White (Wilkie Collins). I love the dramatic story-lines and the fact that you can almost hear the swish of the stage curtain at the end of a chapter and the “DUN DUN DUUUUUUUN”!!!
Fabulous book. Highly recommended! Why oh why is this book not better known???
Wow! I LOVE it when I read a book that I'm not expecting to enjoy and I do! I listened to the audibook of this (which I normally don't like either butWow! I LOVE it when I read a book that I'm not expecting to enjoy and I do! I listened to the audibook of this (which I normally don't like either but I'm doing so much driving lately that it turns out to be a great way to while away those tedious hours on the motorway!). OK so this version took some artistic licence by adding in voices and a made up language but this really successfully added to the experience.
The Time Traveller is a Victorian scientist who gets in his time machine and travells to the year 802701 A.D where he discovers that life really is not as we know it. It is inhabited by the Eloi, as race of people half our size who speak a strange language and live in harmony. Nobody works, nobody toils, there is just sun and flowers and green grass. The Time Traveller reaslises that the human race has regressed because they don't have to use their brains or braun anymore.
It is only a short book but I was amazed where I expcted not to care and enraptured where I expected to be bored. I had a hard time remembering that this book was written in victorian times too - H G Wells was so far ahead of his time. I can't wait to read more from him.
This book was written by an 18 year old which, when you consider the richness of the narrative and the emotions involved, I find quite astounding. OrThis book was written by an 18 year old which, when you consider the richness of the narrative and the emotions involved, I find quite astounding. Or maybe I've just got too old and have forgotten how complex emotions are when you're teetering on the brink of adulthood. Either way, I thought it was brilliantly done.
Bonjour Tristesse (Hello Sadness) is a tale of one tragic summer through the eyes of a seventeen year old girl. Spoilt and extrovert, Cecile is used to living the high life with her 40 year old Dad whom she goes out drinking and gambling with as if she were his contemporary. They head off from Paris to a villa in the south of France for 2 months one summer (taking along Elsa, her fathers current girlfriend) and spend the first few weeks doing little else other than sumbating and swimming in the sea. Then Anne arrives (Cecile's dead mothers best friend) who is sensible, intelligent and calm (everything Cecile and her father are not). Cecile loves Anne, but having been used to doing exactly as she pleases, she is not pleased when Anne treats her as the child she is and makes her study for her exams. Cecile is adamant that she doesn't need exams - she is already leading the life she wants (living in luxury and partying none stop). This sort of attitude reminded me so much of those vile brats on MTV's My Super Sweet Sixteen - the ones who make my blood boil by demanding and expecting everything and you know damn well they will never have to work for anything in their lives. Shortly after, Anne and Ceciles father announce that they are getting married and here Cecile hatches a plan to stop the wedding at all costs (fearing for the lifestyle she loves with her father and knowing that it will all change). She involves Elsa, the spurned girlfriend, and Cyril, the boy from the next villa whom she has been sleeping with, to help her plot the undoing of the engagement. Everything seems to be going according to plan, and then it all goes horribly wrong...
I loved it. I don't know if it is because Sagan was the same age as Cecile herself or that she was an incredibly perceptive young lady, but she really captures the fine balance of not being sure whether you're an adult or a child. Interestingly, although Anne appears to treat her as the latter and her father as a contemporary, Cecile herself says that she feels like their pet kitten (something to be cooed at and petted).