Rather than immediately retiring from Elizabeth Bennet’s company as decorum would demand, Darcy remains at the Lambton Inn to offer Elizabeth comfort...moreRather than immediately retiring from Elizabeth Bennet’s company as decorum would demand, Darcy remains at the Lambton Inn to offer Elizabeth comfort after she reads Jane’s letter containing the dreadful news of Lydia’s elopement with Wickham. His kind words of understanding become a conversation about Elizabeth’s changed feelings towards him and, finally, a kiss right as the Gardiners return from their walk.
Rather than allow society to force Elizabeth into an engagement with him, Darcy conspires with Mr. Gardiner to give him the opportunity to encourage her to accept his proposal out of love. When Mr. Gardiner acquiesces, Darcy invites Elizabeth to exchange letters with Miss Darcy thereby allowing him to send her clandestine notes as postscripts to his sister’s letters and further their relationship.
While I normally enjoy Reynolds’ variations on Austen’s original novel, I’m afraid this particular “what if” question did not work for me. Most of the novel is spent with Elizabeth and Darcy debating — for lack of a better work — the extent and strength of Darcy’s self-control. Elizabeth seems to take great delight in teasing him with kisses rather than with her wit as she did in the original novel.
Darcy needs a sign that Elizabeth believed him to be a changed man whilst Elizabeth asserts to Jane and Mrs. Gardiner that she needs reassurance he is the man he claims to be. Rather than discuss their hesitations, Darcy and Elizabeth steal kisses when their chaperones, Bingley and Jane, are distracted and exchange clandestine letters that never reach the level of explanation found in Darcy’s first letter to Elizabeth.
The book was not entirely bad — I loved the development of Elizabeth’s relationship with Georgina and the reaction of the later to Elizabeth’s unmarried sisters. Yet so little happens plot-wise that the novel feels like a longer read than 228 pages, and the premise is the weakest variation explored by Reynolds to date.(less)
Right after her thirteenth birthday, Koly's parents announce it is time to find her a husband and begin preparing her dowry. While her mother works on...moreRight after her thirteenth birthday, Koly's parents announce it is time to find her a husband and begin preparing her dowry. While her mother works on her wedding sari, Koly starts on her wedding quilt creating pictures of her village with scraps of fabric and weaving in the anxiety she feels about her marriage -- that her husband will find her as ugly as her bothers say she is, that her in-laws will not think she is an agreeable daughter-in-law. When the matchmaker finds her a sixteen-year-old of a high caste from a good family, Koly and her parents are excited about the match and work harder to increase the value of Koly's marriage to secure the arrangement.
However, Koly and her parents arrive to find the sixteen-year-old is still a boy and a sickly one at that. Her parents are alarmed but cannot delay the marriage or cancel it outright without losing face within the community and ruining Koly's good name and the marriage takes place as planned. Following her marriage, Koly learns other secrets and lies her new family kept from her until she eventually finds herself penniless and alone in a strange city filled with widows wearing white saris.
Whelan's novel has stayed with me since its original publication in 2000, and I was hesitant to reread it for years because I worried my memories of the novel would not live up to another examination. I am so delighted that was not the case -- it was still the beautiful, moving story I remembered it being.
Whelan writes with such vivid imagery and then reminds the reader of those scenes they visited earlier in the story as Koly discusses what she has depicted in her quilts -- sewing along side her mother, the marigolds at the temple in Vrindavan, playing in the Ganges River, the dog chasing the gosling. This style heightens the emotions of the story helping the reader to better understand Koly's suffering and connect the past with the present.
Despite my fond memories, there were aspects I forgot, including the ending, and I loved rediscovering characters who had faded from my recollection. So while I certainly went in with certain expectations, I also felt a bit like I was reading the novel for the first time, which made for an utterly enjoyable reread.(less)
Bored as her sister reads a book without pictures, Alice spies a white rabbit scurrying across the meadow carrying a pocket watch and exclaiming that...moreBored as her sister reads a book without pictures, Alice spies a white rabbit scurrying across the meadow carrying a pocket watch and exclaiming that he is going to be late. Intrigued by this unusual sight, Alice follows the white rabbit down a rabbit hole and finds an unusual land filled with unusual people where she often changes size unexpectedly. At one point, Alice grows as large enough to fill the white rabbit’s house; at another, she shrinks to three inches tall.
“Begin at the beginning, the King said, very gravely, and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”
Each of the twelve chapters covers a different adventure — in chapter two she meets a mouse swimming through her pool of tears; chapter four is the caterpillar smoking hookah; chapter six is the Cheshire Cat; chapter seven is a tea party with the Mad Hatter; and chapter eight is her meeting with the infamous Red Queen. During almost every encounter, Alice gets in an argument with a new character about the way things are supposed to be. She just cannot wrap her mind around this strange little world, but Alice is determined to make it to the garden she spied through the door at the end of the rabbit hole and she certainly cannot say she is bored now.
This was my first time reading the novel and, while I did enjoy it, I do not think the original tale will ever replace the scene in my mind where Alice paints the roses red and plays croquet with the flamingo as depicted in the 1951 Disney adaptation. There are, of course, scenes in the book that were not in the film and vice versa — I missed Tweedledee and Tweedledum! And how sad that the never-ending tea party wasn’t actually a celebration of a “unbirthday”.
The whimsy I expected because of the film adaptation was missing in the later chapters of this short tale, although I enjoyed the way Alice cleverly exposed the trial at the end of the tale for the sham that it is. She clearly loves a good debate, and I appreciated that part of her character. It came across much stronger in the novel than I can remember from the film.
The novel contains multiple poems and songs interspersed throughout Alice’s adventures, which is one argument I can offer for listening to it on audio. I always struggle coming up with the right tune in my head when I read novels with songs in them so it was lovely to have Frasier choose a ditty for me and sing the songs. She has a nice voice, but her ability to provide the characters with different voices was stretched in this novel. There were just so many different characters in this story; by the end, I could not always distinguish which character was speaking.(less)
Icelandic murderers generally don’t leave anything behind but a mess. Inspector Erlendur is called to Reykjavík to follow-up on the only clues in the...moreIcelandic murderers generally don’t leave anything behind but a mess. Inspector Erlendur is called to Reykjavík to follow-up on the only clues in the murder investigation of an single, elderly man named Holberg — a cryptic note left by the killer saying “I am HIM” and a photograph of a young girl’s grave from the 1960s. In the course of his investigation, Erlendur learns the man was accused — yet not convicted — of the rape of the young girl’s mother, Kolbrún, leading to him to reopen both the case and Audur’s coffin.
Amid this investigation, Erlendur is struggling to help his drug-addicted daughter, who recently announced she is pregnant, stop her drug abuse and thwart the men hounding her — and now Erlendur — for money. His ex-wife, whom Erlendur has not talked to in years, has instructed their daughter, Eva Lind, to demand Erlendur also investigate the sudden disappearance of a bride at her own wedding.
Jar City refers to a room where human organs — some donated to science and some stolen from the morgue — are stored in glass jars. At first glance, the title seems like an odd choice for the novel but, without giving away major spoilers, the novel explores how Iceland, as a small island nation with little immigration, has a very small gene pool allowing genetic diseases to be easily traced through the population. Thus, Iceland is a living “jar city”.
A rather chilling observation that I appreciated for everything it is not — shootouts, knife fights, car chases. And Indriðason’s novel exhibits exactly what I look for in a crime novel — a narrative that unfolds without pretense and without gimmicks to keep the intrigue high. He writes the reaction of his characters learning about chilling crimes rather than describing them in action, which gives the book a certain punch to it.
Although this book is touted as the first in Indriðason’s series, it is actually the third in the series in Iceland but the first to be translated into English. I worried a bit about coming into the series as an odd jumping point, but Indriðason quickly gets the reader up to speed as to who Erlendur is and what his backstory may be.
Erlendur is as straight-forward as characters come, but his mind works quickly twisting clues to find the answer like the best detectives in crime novels. There was a bit too much going on in this novel for how short it is; the subplot of the missing bride could have easily been an entirely different novel. Yet, as in life, Erlendur’s troubles with Eva Lind do not pause so he can close a case.(less)