When Mr. Baldwin retires from his position as an insurance clerk, he looks forward to filling his leisure time with gardening and history, while his wWhen Mr. Baldwin retires from his position as an insurance clerk, he looks forward to filling his leisure time with gardening and history, while his wife Edith expects that he will fit into her daily routine with ease. But boredom sets in, and their orderly lifestyle is upended by the growing tension between them as they struggle to adapt to their new circumstances. Then one day, they take a walk, and find a dream house where they least expected it.
In addition to being a beautifully delineated character study, Greengates also sheds light on its time and place, 1920s Britain, when many people left the city to take up a new suburban existence. As in The Fortnight in September, Sherriff excels at the small details which create the characters, setting, and situation. The style is simple, yet held my attention as I grew to know Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin and sympathize with their plight.
This is a very worthy addition to the Persephone line, and I hope they continue to reprint Sherriff. (Ooh, they've also done The Hopkins Manuscript, so I guess I'll have to get that soon.)...more
I'm so pleased this finally came out. It's a lovely and satisfying conclusion to the trilogy, wrapping things up while leaving the door open for furthI'm so pleased this finally came out. It's a lovely and satisfying conclusion to the trilogy, wrapping things up while leaving the door open for further adventures....more
Tell the Wind and Fire is a reimagining of Dickens' classic novel A Tale of Two Cities. In a world divided between Light and Dark, Lucie is a child ofTell the Wind and Fire is a reimagining of Dickens' classic novel A Tale of Two Cities. In a world divided between Light and Dark, Lucie is a child of both cities, born in the Dark to a Light father and Dark mother. When she meets her beloved Ethan's magically created doppelganger Carwyn, the secrets they keep threaten to destroy them all.
What I liked most was the writing. It's not as funny as Rees Brennan usually is (though there's some entertaining dialogue), but that fits with the tone of the book. Her descriptions are often beautifully lyrical, and evocative to the point that I could visualize them in my head (not usually a strong point of mine).
Lucie is named after her analogue in Dickens, but is far more intelligent and has more agency. Even her dumb decisions (and blindness concerning others) seemed to grow out of a convincing teenage shortsightedness. I wish that Ethan (and some of the supporting cast) had been more developed, but I was reasonably happy reading along in Lucie's POV.
However, when it comes to worldbuilding (often a deal-breaker for me) I liked the concept, but not so much the execution. The worldbuilding is very slender -- how did the world divide into Light and Dark? Why? Was there magic before that, or did it come out with the division? I do get tired of YA dystopias with artificial divisions which aren't explained or which don't make any sense (I'm looking at you, Divergent).
I did get pulled in at the end, almost in spite of myself and in spite of knowing what the ending had to be. For that and for the writing, Tell the Wind and Fire was worth my time reading. I hope, though, that next time Rees Brennan has a potentially interesting concept like this, she gives herself a little more space to develop it....more