Classic French bodice-ripper based around various plots to free the captive Marie Antoinette in French Revolution Paris. Bit slow to start and in dang...moreClassic French bodice-ripper based around various plots to free the captive Marie Antoinette in French Revolution Paris. Bit slow to start and in danger of being as deathly awful and grim as Dickens' Tale of 2, from the same era. Its not easy to sit through grim as grim can be Paris with heads rolling left right and centre, im very loathe to pick up the lengthy Les Mis now. In Dumas style though, there is humour and it does reach a swashbuckling page turner pace for the 2nd half. Really not a patch on Count of Monte Cristo or Queen Margot though unfortunately. (less)
I really did enjoy this, probably a notch under Pride and Predjudice, Im not sure if thats because it was my second Austen and P/P was such a surprise...moreI really did enjoy this, probably a notch under Pride and Predjudice, Im not sure if thats because it was my second Austen and P/P was such a surprise to find I enjoyed so much, or because it had slightly less to it that that one. I have discovered I get a real buzz from reading an historical classic. Its so much more that just the story, its an uncanny insight to another periods customs and morals, written right then and there by someone living in that environment, rather than something written in contemporary times set in the past. Historical fiction is often fascinating too if well researched but I do love picturing the author at work in Regency England. Such a different time. I mean, in all honesty the novel is all froth and bonnets, not a great deal happens apart from 2 sisters fretting In their own different ways over which man they many or may not end up marrying and whether they will be able to secure them a bit of future happiness and stability. Nobody works. Its all tea parties and calling cards. But the dialogue is exquisite and very clever. I loved Mrs Jenings matchmaking. There were several moments where I couldnt help thinking of French and Saunders, the one where Jen is trying to learn her lines for an upcoming Merchant Ivory production.
'Helena Bottom Carter.. Maggie Smith... Me' 'Oh Miss Honeyhives, Miss Honeyhives... ahem ahem, Reverend Bootle I Do Declare' etc etc etc..
I loved the conversations between Lucy and Elinor, both keeping up the pretnence of politeness and friendship, whilst busy weedling information out of each other, Lucy being spiteful and evil and Elinor being quietly superior.
The Wonderful thing about an Austen is that to be honest not a great deal actually happens, but yet it manages to remain entertaining. What I like to...moreThe Wonderful thing about an Austen is that to be honest not a great deal actually happens, but yet it manages to remain entertaining. What I like to call frothy nonesense. Its all Bonnets at Dawn and Whos scheming to marry who to who, who fallen head over heels but has ideas above their station, who looks down on everyone but has the manners of a cart horse, who needs a good lie down or a turn around the garden etc etc.
Austens dialoge is superb and very entertaining.. Her hypochondriac father is a favourite :
"A man," said he, "must have a very good opinion of himself when he asks people to leave their own fireside, and encounter such a day as this, for the sake of coming to see him. He must think himself a most agreeable fellow; I could not do such a thing. It is the greatest absurdity--Actually snowing at this moment!--The folly of not allowing people to be comfortable at home--and the folly of people's not staying comfortably at home when they can!..."
And another example of her wit and way with words
"Some change of countenance was necessary for each gentleman as they walked into Mrs Westons drawing room - mr Elton must compose his joyous looks, and mr John Knightly disperse his ill humour. Mr Elton must smile les, and mr John Knightly more, to fit them for the place - Emma only might be as nature prompted, and shew herself just as happy as she was. "
And more entertaining nonesense :
"Emmas very good opinion of Frank Churchill was a little shaken the following day, by hearing that he was gone off to London, merely to have his hair cut. A sudden freak seemed to have seized him at breakfast, and he had sendf for a chaise and set off intending to return to dinner, but with no more important vie that appeared than having his hair cut. There was certainly no harm in his travelling sixteen miles twice over on such and errand; but there was an air of foppery and nonesense in it which she could not approve."
Mrs Bates never shuting up and finishing a scentece and Mrs Eltons stuck up mutton dressed as lamb were other favourites.
Emma herself is quite flawed - a total snob. But i find Austens books to be such a fascinating glimpse into another society. This really was how life was like amongst a certain set. It certainly has none of the gritty realism of Gaskell - -none of these folk have done a stroke of work in their lives, about as far as anyone will fall is to have to contemplate being a governess. But nonetheless its facinating to see the trials and tribulations of ladies in the country with nothing much better to do with themselves that visit each others houses and matchmake.
Its probably a four and a half - I wouldnt want any more of it, and you definatreely have to be in the mood for it, but i loved it none the less.
I think i liked this just as much if not more than Count of Monte Cristo , it might just be that a bit of time has passed since reading that other won...moreI think i liked this just as much if not more than Count of Monte Cristo , it might just be that a bit of time has passed since reading that other wonderful Dumas book. I watched the film of this and have also read a biograhpy of Catherine de Medici so this may have helped having a background to the characters allready. Theres a lot of names to remember at first, and whos related to who and which faction do they belong to. But once your past that its a gloriously plot rich, colourful and gothic page turner. Larger than life characters, plots, poisonings, subtefuge, power struggles, assignations, secrets, macabre twists and turns, and to top it all the wonderfully wicked Queen Catherine, constantly being thwarted in her ingenious attempts to do the dirty to the King of Navarre. I think book 2 rated at 5 stars has to confirm me as a bit of a Dumas groupie, i think ill have to work my way through his collection now.
The last 100pages and several other bits and pieces warranted a definate 4. This was my first Dickens and I loved his character observation and humoro...moreThe last 100pages and several other bits and pieces warranted a definate 4. This was my first Dickens and I loved his character observation and humorous style..however the book was seriously incohesive in the middle, jumping about without enough plot to keep you going, there was a definate considerate to bin it half way through, but im glad i stuck it out to the final gripping scenes. And to say ive read the book that starts with 'It was the best of times it was the worst of times.. ' and ends with 'Its a far far better thing...'. Actually writing that Ive suddenly realised what he possibly meant with the opening line. Bloody horrific murderous times, yet brought about a social upheval resulting after a long long time in a better French Society.(less)
What to say, what to say ... such a complex novel overall. It intrigued me to be inside the head of a central character whos not particularly likeable...moreWhat to say, what to say ... such a complex novel overall. It intrigued me to be inside the head of a central character whos not particularly likeable. Charles is egotistical, obsessive, possessive and at time phychotic. There are times you want to shout at him. And parts of the book seem totally implausible. But its written so well, the mood and setting are fantastic, its introspective, reflective, phychological and surprisingly full of page turning drama. I came to feel a certain affection for deluded old Charles in the end and theres something for everyone to think about with the monsters in our minds. (less)
Bloody Brick-Tastic! Possibly the best book I've ever read, certainly the longest. 1243 pages of action, revenge, retribution, planning, plotting, sec...moreBloody Brick-Tastic! Possibly the best book I've ever read, certainly the longest. 1243 pages of action, revenge, retribution, planning, plotting, secrets, affairs, Parisian glamour and romance. The pace barely lets up, its pretty much a page turner all the way through, and the second half has plenty of OMG moments. I never would have attempted something so daunting seeming if it wasn't recommended by GR friends, i seriously thought it would have to be one of the stuffiest old books going. Wrong, wrong wrong!... read it!(less)
Despite abandoning for six months after tiring a of the middle where its a bit slow and Londons a bit miserable, I returned to it in my Christmas cott...moreDespite abandoning for six months after tiring a of the middle where its a bit slow and Londons a bit miserable, I returned to it in my Christmas cottage in the countryside. It seemed very fitting for a wintery read in a village. I really did enjoy it again by the end. Though the end itself is quite sad and a bit disappointing in some ways...or is it... re reads last scentence again..
I love Joe Gargery, what a lovely bloke, love his dialogue. Theres lots of good character dialogue actually.
Im sure ill return to another Dickes at some point. This was an improvement on Tale of Two Cities(less)
Cutting commentary on morals and 19th Century class system, hypocracy and society by a man infamous for his own fall from grace
What i liked about it Wi...moreCutting commentary on morals and 19th Century class system, hypocracy and society by a man infamous for his own fall from grace
What i liked about it Wildes Acerbic Wit - theres so many lines you would have heard before - "Theres only one thing worse than being talked about and that not being talked about" for example. Hes at his best commenting on social situations and society in general. Theres some great cameo characterisation, Great Ladies and eccentric Duchesses. Plenty to make you smile and admire Wildes brilliance. I really had no idea of the plot before reading amazingly enough - quite an interesting concept. I really wasnt prepared for the Macabre Gothing Horror story it turned into - that took me by surprise a bit, it made a nice change from dinner party conversation after dinner party conversation.
What I didnt like Wildes Acerbic Wit - you can have too much of a good thing. You can only take so much of Lord Henryisms page after page, no matter how witty. The prose is overly descriptive, nice at times, but does he have to describe in infitate detail every single piece of luxurious furnishings. Overkill. Almost without exception all the main characters are thoroughly dislikable - wicked and horridly snobbish, whether it was satire or not i dont know but they didnt give a hoot for anything that happened to anyone not of their rank.(less)
Loved it, The language was breathtaking at times. Not a fast read, it seemed to take forever to do 500p, but so worth it though. Great to have a feist...moreLoved it, The language was breathtaking at times. Not a fast read, it seemed to take forever to do 500p, but so worth it though. Great to have a feisty strong willed yet humble and socially sound female lead in a Victorian novel. Why didnt i get into classics earlier?! (less)
I do seem to be developing a penchant for a good epic saga, I used to be a bit brick-phobic, thinking id never get through a long book without boredom...moreI do seem to be developing a penchant for a good epic saga, I used to be a bit brick-phobic, thinking id never get through a long book without boredom setting in. But ive seen the error of my ways, its so good to get stuck into good characters and have the time to see them develop and change. Mccullough's writing and characterisation for the main characters is great. Touchy subject matter at times, does make you question how right it is for Catholic priests to be 'married' to God and the whole celibacy thing - cant be natural. Ralphs obsession with the child Meggie is a bit squirmy. I did enjoy reliving the cheesy mini-series and having Rachel Ward, Barbara Stanwyck, Gene Simmons and Chamberlain play out in my head. I loved how Meggie changed from being sweet and inoccent to vitriolic and bitter. Theres a lot of tragedy in this book. Loved the Aussie setting, even a mention of the suburb I live in. I always had a soft spot for Drogheda up at the big house, despite the heat and hard work.(less)
Im not going to rate it - it wouldnt be fair, i just dont think i was in the right frame of mind for the work involved and didnt persevere. slopes off...moreIm not going to rate it - it wouldnt be fair, i just dont think i was in the right frame of mind for the work involved and didnt persevere. slopes off guiltily knowing probably missing something amazing and being a fully fledged book-snob. When so many people tell you its better the third time around, you think to yourself ..theres so much else for me to get stuck into i havnt got the patience for a first time let alone a third. psst - i only picked it cos i liked the title.(less)
Complex and full of literary brilliance but unfortunately mostly nonsense to the lay (i.e me) mind in terms of a cohesive storyline. One point for enj...moreComplex and full of literary brilliance but unfortunately mostly nonsense to the lay (i.e me) mind in terms of a cohesive storyline. One point for enjoyment, one more for the undoubted technical wordmanship - there were some enjoyable moments, but even the abridged audio-book which id hoped might make it a bit less painful proved to be a struggle. Oh well - crossed it off.(less)