This is the third book I have read for my Accidental Book Club and it's been the best so far. Life in 19th century Iceland certainly was bleak, especiThis is the third book I have read for my Accidental Book Club and it's been the best so far. Life in 19th century Iceland certainly was bleak, especially for convicted murderesses who are scheduled to die. The author definitely tries to blend history with fiction by incorporating actual documents from the trial and incarceration of Agnes Mangnusdottir.
The whole time, however, I felt as if this were a poor man's Alias Grace. It made me wonder where I had put my copy of Margaret Atwood's novel. ...more
Warning: This is not a novel to read on a summer weekend while all around you, the neighbors barbeque.
I rather expected a detective novel based on desWarning: This is not a novel to read on a summer weekend while all around you, the neighbors barbeque.
I rather expected a detective novel based on descriptions of Mo Hayder's other work. However, this novel focuses on a young British woman and her obsession with the horrors of World War II and Sino-Japanese relations. Add a mysterious professor with a secret, a campy and sketchy gentlemen's club with a Japanese Marilyn Monroe imitator as proprietress, a terrifying Yakuza boss with a dark past, and lots and lots of mutilation and cannibalism, and well, it doesn't make for summer barbeque weather reading. That's all I'm saying.
This book has a soundtrack. When I was 11, my Gram was reading these novels. I would sneak them off her shelves and read them in my room while listeniThis book has a soundtrack. When I was 11, my Gram was reading these novels. I would sneak them off her shelves and read them in my room while listening to my favorite ABBA albums. I can't think of this novel without thinking of 'Knowing Me, Knowing You.' I must have read each volume of the Kent Family Chronicles at LEAST four times each with the first three (The Bastard, The Rebels, The Seekers) being my favorites. This was in my pre-historical romance phase and I though this book terribly romantic and terribly smutty. After all, Phillippe kisses the "valley between Alicia's breasts." I had no idea what smutty was, but I did quite like Philip Kent and when Andrew Stevens played him in the mini-series I liked him even more.
When I found these had been re-released, my curiosity got the better of me. I am impressed at my 6th grade self's ability to wade through all the boring paraphrases of the treatises by Messrs. Locke, Rousseau, Adams, Franklin. Really. I have no idea how I managed to stay awake because my forty-something self kept falling asleep. American history is really boring. Sorry Americana buffs. Either that or John Jakes is much more boring than I remember.
Oy, and the cliches. The bit of a slut that lives in the heart of Alicia Parkhurst. The virginal, spitfire Anne Ware. That wacky, horny Mr. Franklin etc.
Still, it's been a fun stroll down memory lane. The ebooks are pretty expensive so I may have to troll the used bookstores for the remaining volumes. Maybe I'll even try to find the Dana Fuller Ross Wagon's West series. Now that would be crazy!o...more
I heard this book was rape-y. But damn. I didn't expect it to be THAT rape-y. There is not a single good man in this novel; not a single man who hasn'I heard this book was rape-y. But damn. I didn't expect it to be THAT rape-y. There is not a single good man in this novel; not a single man who hasn't put his penis somewhere adulterous, unwanted, or underage. Except for John Indian. And what a stereotype he was.
The women were marginally better, being mostly victims and passive under the tutelage of their menfolk who were "ministers at home."
Can't decide if this is a scathing indictment of men, Puritans, Christians or history. Either way, there isn't a lot of redemption--either in people or story line.
If you like rape and victimization, well, here you go.
It would seem that I am constantly being thwarted in my search for satisfying historical fiction. While I appreciate the historical accuracy and the mIt would seem that I am constantly being thwarted in my search for satisfying historical fiction. While I appreciate the historical accuracy and the meticulous research McCleary did for this novel (as opposed to the OTHER historical that fell flat) I still found myself wanting something else. I did like the details surrounding the French Anarchists and the cafe society of Monmartre, mais le livre? Il ne m'etait pas satisfait. Pas de tout. Quelle domage.
As intrepid as the character of Nellie Bly was, I would have appreciated more intellect and less ridiculous buffoonery. Not knowing much about Bly herself, I can't make any judgement as to the accuracy of her voice in the novel. The author has definitely done her homework so I have to assume that the voice she gives Bly is one of accurate homage. If that is the case, I have to say I am not a fan of her discourse. I may read the second in the series to see if Bly comes into her own but this was still a bit fluffy for my taste....more
I see that other people couldn't make it past chapter 4. I, however, am not a quitter and powered through hoping for more elucidation, more historicalI see that other people couldn't make it past chapter 4. I, however, am not a quitter and powered through hoping for more elucidation, more historical chapters, more metaphysical. Unfortunately, Ms. Howe prefered vague hisotrical details, ponderous descriptions of the life of modern grad students, and a surface treatment of relationships both past and present.
Reading this book was like eating a salad made mostly from iceberg lettuce. It satisfied me at first but by the end, I found I wanted something more substantial....more
The problem with smutty historical fiction these days is the whole "series" approach. I am tired of sisters, brothers, legacies and the like taking plThe problem with smutty historical fiction these days is the whole "series" approach. I am tired of sisters, brothers, legacies and the like taking place of a really great stand alone novel. This is no exception. Boring third brother Rule, already successful business tycoon, marries for money and leaves teen bride Violet. Three years later bride arrives to annul marriage. Boring third brother realizes he wants her. She proves to be tender-hearted and yet strong and sensible. They face down business threats and declare love. Third brother's marriage finishes trilogy. *yawn* Bottom line: too many cliches, not enough smut.
Writers these days are losing the true flair of the bodice ripper. Gone are the days of the Kathleen Woodiwiss, the Rosemary Rogers, the Valerie Sherwood. Those women knew how to write some smut--epic journeys through exotic lands, tempestuous fights, perils galore, heroines with some serious sass, sweaty sex and dastardly villains. Nary a vampire in sight. No marriageable misses. Definitely not novels of manners. THAT'S how it should be done. ...more
I wasn't sure I was going to like this book at first. I bought it on impulse because I couldn't find anything new and good in paperback. I thought I'dI wasn't sure I was going to like this book at first. I bought it on impulse because I couldn't find anything new and good in paperback. I thought I'd splurge on this since I liked The Historian so much.
I kept trying to read it at night before bed and began to second guess the structure and eventually gave up for a while. A four day week-end proved just the thing.
Owing to the dark subject of Kostova's previous novel, I kept expecting a much more fantastic tale of madness. I was a little surprised the research of an artist's life and his obsessions. I liked the fact that the subject of the book, Robert Oliver speaks hardly at all. The reconstruction of the women he consumes and the art history mystery put me in mind of books like The Thirteenth Tale and made me extremely nostalgic for Possession--the ultimate literary adventure. ...more
I want to state for the record: When I purchase a book from the grocery store, I don't expect Anna Karenina. I want a good story, some good dialogue,I want to state for the record: When I purchase a book from the grocery store, I don't expect Anna Karenina. I want a good story, some good dialogue, some smutty sex and writing that doesn't make me actively cringe. That is all.
That being said, I don't know how this book got published. Clearly Ms. Laurens's previous titles and selling power were enough to release this tripe into the universe. To call this book stupid would be an understatement. Editors were asleep at the wheel and deserve a pay cut for this one. Trees should be planted to make up for the paper used to print this. Myself? I want compensation for the time I spent reading it.
First, let's start with the insipid diary in which the titled Miss pours her heart out over her "one." Her "one and only gentleman just for her." Barf-o-rama. Everysingleentry!!!!!! I started skipping them because they were unreadable. My sister writes more interestingly of love and she's fresh out of high school.
Second, what was with the threat from the cult without a cause? The cultists are coming! The cultists are coming! There was a paragraph towards the end that alluded to the hedonistic cult without a cause--money and wealth and power--led by nefarious sons of Shrewton. As the locus of the group was in England (and I am theorizing here due to a lack of explanation), what was the need for the menacing Muslim-esque jihadist assassins? (They were quite stereotypically extremist, obedient and expendable.)
Next, the sex. How disappointing. There were palms and exploration. Kisses and sighs. Need! Want! Passion! But what happened to the heaving coral tipped nipples and straining erections that lovers of smutty historical fiction relish? I began skimming those parts too. Quelle bore.
Lastly, the writing. Unfortunately, the diary was not the only unreadable part. Commas and convoluted sentences abound and the fragmented sentences were annoying.
I have read some of Stephanie Laurens's other books and expected better....more
I ignored this book for nearly 9 months. I bought it in a fit of purchasing and then heard the hype. Quick to dismiss hyped books, I never found the dI ignored this book for nearly 9 months. I bought it in a fit of purchasing and then heard the hype. Quick to dismiss hyped books, I never found the desire to read it. Flash forward to a teacher waiting for a paycheck and desperate to read SOMETHING.
I found myself drawn into the story of Margaret Lea and the creepy tale of the sociopathic twins. I loved the multilayered textuality, the power of story telling, the gothic elements and the Victorian sensibility.
Not sure about the end though. Where as with Sadie Jones's The Outcast, I wanted a little bit more--an epilogue so to speak. It was all well and good to end on a note of hope but I felt a little bit abandoned. The Thirteenth Tale, however, sewed things up a bit too neatly.
Still, I did read it obsessively until 2 am. Whatever my objections, clearly it wasn't enough to make me quit....more
Rainy three day week-ends demand mindless trash. Mindless this was and marginally entertaining. It could have been better had Hunter actually fleshedRainy three day week-ends demand mindless trash. Mindless this was and marginally entertaining. It could have been better had Hunter actually fleshed out the initial interlude between Leona and Christian or perhaps made his "affliction" more concrete. Mirror, shadows and illusion simply make a lack-luster story. Still, everyone was screwing, avoiding scandal, getting married and cranking out the kids with the blessing of "society." A true bourgeois ending that preserves the status quo. Natch....more
This book is on its way to my house as I write. I eagerly anticipate its arrival. I confess, the history geek in me is eminently disappointed that itThis book is on its way to my house as I write. I eagerly anticipate its arrival. I confess, the history geek in me is eminently disappointed that it is a mere 544 pages.