Like I said in my review of this first book of this series, And Only to Deceive, I absolutely love this series. I have re-read the books several times...moreLike I said in my review of this first book of this series, And Only to Deceive, I absolutely love this series. I have re-read the books several times and always look forward to a new one being published. Tasha Alexander has created wonderful characters, and it is impossible not to fall in love with them. (Especially Colin, who may very well be the perfect man).
This is my favorite book of the series so far, and one of my favorite books of all time. I love the way Emily and Colin butt heads as far as the detective side of the story goes. There are a couple of hilarious interactions! Colin does not like the thought of Emily putting herself in danger, and Emily doesn't like being told what do do. I understand her desire for independence, believe me. Her strong head is one of the best things about her...but she really needs to get it through her thick skull that giving up a little control for the sake of being with Colin: worth it.
The mystery in this one is just as captivating as in the first novel, if not more so. Who is stealing Marie Antoinette collectibles? Who is sneaking into Emily's bedroom in the dead of night and leaving her creepy notes and flowers? What intelligent-but-reckless thing will Emily do next to try to solve the mystery? Will Colin have a heart attack from worry?
And finally...the last page of this book. Possibly my favorite scene from any book. Ever. I want to blab, I really do. I want to tell you what happens because I know you would all swoon with me. Big time. Suffice it to say, it is romantic and involves books.
Intrigued? Good. Read this series, you absolutely won't regret it! (less)
This is the first book of the Lady Emily series, which is a favorite of mine. Emily is a very strong female character who learns to think and study fo...moreThis is the first book of the Lady Emily series, which is a favorite of mine. Emily is a very strong female character who learns to think and study for herself after her husband's death. When mysterious circumstances are unearthed about her husband's death, Emily has to decide who to trust: Andrew, the man who seems to be in love with her, or her husband's best friend Colin.
The Greek antiquities her husband collected become fascinating to Emily, and she starts studying them as well as Homer, the Greek language and other studies. I love that she takes that on for herself, she is such a great character!
Speaking of great characters: Colin...oh Colin. He is magnificent book crush material. Strong, smart, handsome, rich and capable. He is also understanding and even approving of Emily's attempts to release herself from the woman's normal role: even when she stays in the room with the other men for cigars and port after dinner! Shocking! But, he is definitely man enough to handle Emily in all her port-drinking-Lady Audley's Secret-reading glory, if Emily wants to let him handle her, that is. When this book ends, the jury is still out on that. She won't give up her new found independence easily.
This is a fantastic historical mystery series, with dashes of romance of course. I definitely recommend picking them up! Tasha Alexander really knows how to create fantastic characters.(less)
4.5 stars really, I loved this book! I made a real emotional connection with it when I read it, I don't know if I could again. It just kept reminding...more4.5 stars really, I loved this book! I made a real emotional connection with it when I read it, I don't know if I could again. It just kept reminding me of my grandpa who had just passed away, because I know he would have loved reading it too.(less)
This book has faults. The story was pretty far fetched at times-but I suppose in kind of an endearing "fairy tale" way (which is funny, since a great...moreThis book has faults. The story was pretty far fetched at times-but I suppose in kind of an endearing "fairy tale" way (which is funny, since a great deal of the book is extremely horrible and depressing), and the main character didn't really have any flaws.
Well, I take that back. Fiona, the main character, was in love with Joe. That is a fault, in my eyes. They grew up together, were in love, and had big plans to get rich together. Well, through a horrible chain of events, they ended up on opposite continents. I'm not saying that what happened was really Joe's fault - the whole thing was so pathetic, I was mad at him at first but really just ended up being sorry for him - but I am not a member of Joe's fan club. He is alright, I just think Fiona is better then him. I forgave Donnelly for making Fiona so perfect - because really, she earned it. Bless her heart, she really got run through the mill in the story.
Okay...now for the two main reasons I loved the book beyond all reason:
1. Nicholas Soames. He is officially one of my favorite characters of all time. He DID have his flaws (spoiled rich kid), but bless his heart, he did not live an easy life. I fell in love with him, and so did Fiona (in a friendly way). Their close friendship and devotion to each other is one of the main reasons I forgive Fiona for being perfect. I cannot say enough that I love this guy. From the very second he walked into the story, I knew it was getting five stars. I felt such an emotional connection to him, I have never wanted to be friends with a character so much. Ever. He melted (and then broke) my heart.
2. The book made me feel. Just a few words into Page 1, Donnelly put me into the story...she just makes you feel like you are right there. Once I was in, she never let up. I was a part of that story from beginning to end, and that is a gift. No matter what problems the plot might have, you cannot ignore an author - or a story - that so fully captures you. Her descriptions and words are gorgeous. Also...I cried like a baby at one point (obviously I'm not going to tell you why, but when you read the book - then we'll talk). I mean...I put the book down for a few minutes and just sobbed. A book hasn't done that to me in...I don't know how long. I felt silly, but I couldn't help it. The story broke my heart.
There was a happy ending though, no worries. Don't let my crying put you off.
This is a great story, it is a long one...but I really think it is worth the time. It, in many ways, isn't very original...but there are plenty of twists you won't see coming. It is a strange combination of Gaskell's North and South, Dumas' Count of Monte Cristo, and heck...I'll even through in the musical Rent. (Ha! If that isn't an intriguing combination, I don't know what is.) (less)
Jennifer Donnelly does it again! She is definitely at the top of my favorite authors list.
One of the main things that kept me from being 100% in love...moreJennifer Donnelly does it again! She is definitely at the top of my favorite authors list.
One of the main things that kept me from being 100% in love with Tea Rose was Joe Bristow. His character was very well portrayed, don't get me wrong--I just didn't have much use for the guy. He did a couple of things in this book that really pissed me off. Then I finally realized...Donnelly is just so bloody brilliant with characterization that Joe was just being a man! Stupid, bull-headed and...wrong! He could have been a real person. Once I made that revelation, I liked him better, not his fault after all :) Plus...he did a couple of really cool things in this book. He decided to run for Parliament and he didn't even think he had a shot at winning-he just wanted to corner his opposition into making promises to help the poor that Joe was dead set on making sure they followed through with post-election. I thought that was so amazing and selfless.
"Sid" was the tortured hero. Here again is Donnelly's talent shining through. Normally, these types of characters have to be taken with a grain of salt. Not Sid. She takes you straight into his head and you see what he is going through. We saw him in the background of Tea Rose, and he comes forward in this and steals the show. He is one of the most truly portrayed characters I have ever read about. Every single thought she puts in his head was a MILLION percent dead-on.
The plots of these books are very edge-of-your-seat/hard to read at times/beautiful on their own...but when you put in her gorgeous lyrical writing and unparalleled talent for creating real and magnificent characters...she can't be beat.(less)
Well, it is much slower then Outlander, and not as emotionally connecting...and although I would recommend it for Outlander fans, I would also warn th...moreWell, it is much slower then Outlander, and not as emotionally connecting...and although I would recommend it for Outlander fans, I would also warn them not to expect another series like Diana Gabaldon's.
This story is truly heartbreaking...the way women are treated is disgusting...if things like that happened here in America we'd all be sharpening our...moreThis story is truly heartbreaking...the way women are treated is disgusting...if things like that happened here in America we'd all be sharpening our shovels. It is really eye-opening to read this and see and understand how lucky we are to live in such a forward-thinking society.
The way Hosseini writes is magnificent, he captures the thoughts and feelings of women so accurately. I couldn't be more impressed, its like he really was a woman living in Afghanistan. Some of the things he wrote absolutely blew my mind. For example: She held her breath, and, in her head, counted seconds. She pretended that for each second that she didn't breathe, God would grant her another day with Jalil. That was such an insightful passage to me, because I used to always do silly little superstitious things like that...like, if I was expecting a call, closing my eyes and counting to 50 thinking that when I was done the phone would ring. It just made me feel that much more connected to Miriam.
Miriam's story is probably the most gut-wrenching awful thing I have ever read. I loved the way she was so closed off to Laila at first. After everything she had gone through, how could she not be? I really appreciated how he made her a real character in ways like that, instead of an unrealistic robot.
I wouldn't describe the end of the book as happy, but at least Laila has a little bit of hope for a happy life....as much as is possible in that culture. It really was an eye-opening novel about the horrors of life for women there.
I definitely recommend reading this book. It isn't a fun read, or a happy one. But it is important...necessary even. It is a tribute to Khaled Hosseini's ability to capture a terrible reality, and a testament to the strength of the women living in it.(less)
This book is just...a collosal achievement. The Thornbirds is just "eh" for me, her take on P&P made me really appreciate her as a skilled author...moreThis book is just...a collosal achievement. The Thornbirds is just "eh" for me, her take on P&P made me really appreciate her as a skilled author and storyteller...but THIS book makes me revere and idolize her as one of the best authors in existance.
This is an almost 1000 page book about the ancient Roman senate, and I was addicted to every single word. How awesome is that? I was terrified to start it, when I glanced over the almost 300 page glossary, all I could think was "man, what if I'm not smart enough to read this?" I shouldn't have worried! All you have to do is trustingly place yourself in McCullough's hands, and her book will entertain as well as inform. She made this story so captivating that I was on the edge of my seat more than once-over such things as a massive grain shortage and the passing of a bill to grant basic Roman citizens (the 'Head Count') land.
These people with their 3 and 4 word ridiculous names will quickly become real people, and by the end you'll feel like you've been reading about them for years.