We find the narrator Hideo Harada, 47, soon to be 48, and recently divorced. Having become emotionally distant from his wife it was he who asked for tWe find the narrator Hideo Harada, 47, soon to be 48, and recently divorced. Having become emotionally distant from his wife it was he who asked for the divorce, only to be hit hard on two levels - Akayo gets most of the money; mere weeks after the divorce, Mamiya, a producer colleague, informs him that he is going to start dating Akayo.
Hideo lives on the top floor of a building that has slowly been converted from apartments to offices and it's where he both lives and works as a writer. He twigs early on that despite the highway thundering past directly outside, the building is preternaturally quiet. He works out that apart from one place on the third floor, he is the only person to be in the building after hours.
One day, to escape another night on his own and feeling a tad nostalgic, he takes the train out to where he gew up and ends up in a theatre. The performer on stage gets heckled and it's this point that everything changes.....the heckler is the spitting image of his father, who died aged 39 when Hideo was 12.....
The two men strike up a conversation, and the two men end up going for a beer....and finds the man married to a woman who appears to be his dead mother.
Over the next few weeks Hideo is torn between two sets of people...the couple who admit to being his dead parents, which makes no sense but he still can't stay away, and Kei, the woman in room 305 with whom he has started a sexual relationship.
The ghosts are having a detrimental effect however, which Hideo can't see, even when he looks in the mirror when people tell him how sick he looks. Finally it takes an intervention from his old colleague Mamiya, for him to make the necessary breaks and work on his health.
Narrated by Hideo, this is a fairly short book at 200 pages. There is a lot of self reflection as to why his parents seem to have returned now, what their departure when he was 12 really meant for him and his intimacy with other people, especially his now ex wife. Visiting his parents now, even though 10 years older than them, allows his to get some comfort in doing the things he never got to do as a child such as eating ice cold watermelon, playing catch in the street etc
There doesn't seem to be the consideration that this is a man heading into depression and a mental breakdown....it seems to be a straight ghost story. As you can tell from the names this book is set in Japan, and written by a Japanese author. I don't know if this is a standard Japanese ghost story or not. The translated text is rather sparse and clean but there's the occasional word that seems at odds with the rest of the narrative.... Mamiya uses a rosary near the end which has a different connotation for western Christian readers than what the author probably meant. The father figure,whist traditionally formal the first few meetings, starts using some slangy type words later on, possibly to denote how informal things had become,but it does jar the reader a little. Akayo and Shigeki (the son) are one dimensional, with one token "it was your idea" style conversation with Akayo and a rather jilted contact with Shigeki after everything had happen. Not sure what these scenes were meant to add to the story....more
Linwood Breedlove Scott's life has officially hit rock bottom. Her husband of thirty years has run off with a stripper. The IRS has taken everything bLinwood Breedlove Scott's life has officially hit rock bottom. Her husband of thirty years has run off with a stripper. The IRS has taken everything but her coffee table. And her hot flashes are four-alarmers. The only thing that could make being flat-broke and fifty any worse is having to crawl home to her parents' house in Mimosa Branch, Georgia...which is exactly where she's headed.
Lin's barely prepared for the loony bin that greets her, from her controlling, eighty-year-old mother and shockingly blunt father to her long-suffering Aunt Glory and her deranged Uncle Bedford who is convinced a cannibal lives under the furniture. Nor is she ready for the instant love-hate attraction she feels for her handsome new next-door neighbor. Trying to navigate her way through the second act of her life with nothing more than a prepaid calling card, a broken heart, and plenty of Prozac, Lin's about to discover that it's never too late for old friends, new romance, the ties of family, and a second chance to survive it all on the road to becoming the person you were always meant to be...
After a painful betrayal and divorce from her husband of 30 years (who got engaged to a 22 year old stripper whilst still being married, and racked up $200,000 of debt before clearing out) Lin finds herself returning to the parental home in Georgia as the only place she has left. Having gotten married at 19 - as a way of escaping the Southern madness of her family - Lin has never really grown up or learnt to look after herself as number 1. Therefore her emotions on the reality of staying with her parents under the circumstances are that of the 19year old Lin when she left, with all the tantrums and petulance that comes with it. Nearing menopause, and used to Air Conditioning, she has forgotten how to deal with the heat of Georgia in summer, and is often out of her comfort zone, both physically and emotionally.
By accident more than design, she ends up covering at the neighbourhood drug store when one of the staff goes down sick and that gives Lin the money and the confidence to settle in, convert her parent's garage apartment into something useful, all whilst getting her real estate licence. It also gives her the excuse to stay away from her family - many of who are getting old and more than a little demented in their old age.
The work brings her not only in contact with much of the local community, but also with Grant, the druggist, an attractive man who is home to clear up his father's estate and store before selling it. Viewed through external eyes, Mimosa Branch politics is greedy, corrupt and racist, and it is soon clear that something needs to be done - and it is for Grant and Lin to be in the thick of things. The Mayor and his cronies are suitably intimidating and threatening and you can understand why the fictional characters of this town feel unable to change the status quo.
The story is told by Lin in the first person, and there is a little bit of casual conversation in the style ("more of that later" and "did I tell you...." kind of thing). It happened enough to be noticeable, and it was borderline annoying - but not quite annoying to turn me off completely. Lin certainly grows up in this story - certainly not the 50-going-on-19 who first turned up at the beginning, and she manages to work through what it means to be a single woman of a certain age.
After being very much in the forefront of the book at the beginning (to show how mad the house is), Lin's parents and Uncle soon disappear from the story about half way through, even after a heart to heart with Aunt Gloria in the car - with the air con on - which demonstrated to Lin she's not the only outsider in the family and many people make sacrifices to be with the people they love. Lin has to deal with her being newly divorced at 50, living in her parents' rambling run down home, and having a teenage crush on her employer which she hasn't decided if she will ever act on or not. Trough this time, she comes to realise that she has buried herself away from her family, not realising how much she has missed out on. She has always thought of her brother as a wastrel and unreliable, but his help and patience whilst clearing the garage, whilst following the tenets of the AA that has allowed him to let go of the things he cannot change.
So this is a book about a "coming of age" that is 50 years in the making and what it means to be a woman, a daughter, a sister and a friend. I know some reviewers dont like Lin as a character (serves me right for reading reviews BEFORE I read the book!), but she's a flawed character who has some redeeming characteristics and it is a satisfactory book in the end. ...more
Captain America's endless war on crime and tyranny sets him against new enemies and old, from an army of robot replicas to the black deeds of Baron BlCaptain America's endless war on crime and tyranny sets him against new enemies and old, from an army of robot replicas to the black deeds of Baron Blood Plus: Captain America for president Guest-starring the Avengers; S.H.I.E.L.D.; and the late, great Union Jack Featuring Cobra, Mister Hyde and Batroc the Leaper The complete Stern/Byrne run, culminating with the standard-setting version of Cap's awe-inspiring origin.
From my TBR shelf, published by Marvel Comics, in Hardback. In the introduction, Jim Salicrup mentions that he comes into the sub-editor space near the end of a story process, where no one was happy with the story, but it was too late to change anything. When he became editor, it allowed him to ditch the previous arc which was out of canon by doing what could be classed as a "Bobby Ewing in the shower" moment by having the previous arc as implanted false memories. It's this story that kicks off this collection. Captain Marvel works with Dum-Dum Dugan and Nick Fury from SHIELD to recover his original memories, as Cap has to face Dragon Man and Machine Man.
The storyline of Cap possibly running for President is as relevant in the current election cycle as when it was written; Mister Hyde has teamed up with Batroc the Leaper to blackmail the New York Harbour with a container of Liquid Gas in exchange for several billion dollars, only for the pair to turn on each other; Cap gets a phone call that calls him back to England to team up with his old friend Union Jack (James Falsworth), who is now bedridden and dying but has to confront the threat of Baron Blood the vampire. Interspersed with these stories are the fact that Cap is still coming to terms that all his old friends are now getting very old or dead whilst he is still in his prime (after being in suspended animation for decades). He is also trying to balance being a super hero (Captain America) against earning a living and paying the bills - something that I dont think is necessarily covered in the current batch of comics. He is also getting out and dating again, whilst wondering when to/if to reveal his secret identity and the reasons why Steve Rogers keeps disappearing at strange moments. Previous partners are either now much older (e.g. Jacqueline Falsworth/Spitfire), or have died as part of the life of the super hero.
This was written and produced in the 1980s, and I'm surprised this style of comic has survived this late. There's lots of exposition via text, lots of "BAM!"s and "THWOCK!"s, the cells are of standard size and colouring, and it's a straight linear narrative (top left to bottom right, same again on the opposite page). I'm much more in favour of the more modern style, where there's less story-dump-through-text, more variation in the cell sizes (where narrative can switch into across the two pages), and the colours are more varied and occasionally darker.
John Lindley Byrne is a British-born Canadian-American author and artist of comic books. Since the mid-1970s, Byrne has worked on nearly every major American superhero.
Byrne's better-known work has been on Marvel Comics' X-Men and Fantastic Four and the 1986 relaunch of DC Comics’ Superman franchise. Coming into the comics profession exclusively as a penciler, Byrne began co-plotting the X-Men comics during his tenure on them, and launched his writing career in earnest with Fantastic Four (where he also started inking his own pencils). During the 1990s he produced a number of creator-owned works, including Next Men and Danger Unlimited. He also wrote the first issues of Mike Mignola's Hellboy series and produced a number of Star Trek comics for IDW Publishing.
**spoiler alert** This is a novella on the short end of things, and as a result things happen very quickly - some say too quickly.
It starts Lauren's c**spoiler alert** This is a novella on the short end of things, and as a result things happen very quickly - some say too quickly.
It starts Lauren's car breaking down on a lonely Texas highway. Not dressed for the occasion (there's much lingering on the high heels and short skirt) she hikes the 5 miles back to the nearest diner to get help.
With her car out of action for several days, and a need to get to Houston to meet her fiancée Frederick, she accepts a lift from one of the local ranchers Steve, a young widower, who seems to be the least dangerous of the cowboys in the diner.
On the way out of town, a tornado makes them turn back for cover, which allows for them to engage in some very explicit sex in various locations and positions.
Lauren had been doubting her future marriage to Frederick before she ever hit town, and meeting Steve helps her make up her mind. She realises that she has not been true to herself (wearing the clothes she hates, because she thinks Frederick likes them being just one example) and now is the time to do so. Both of them then travel to Houston for her to break up with Frederick, which results in a show down between Lauren and his family, which brings up secrets in his family too, with some surprises for all.
As I said, very short, very fast, quite explicit and the sex is certainly not vanilla. Not the one for the easily shocked or offended. There are hints in both Steve's and Lauren's background,s as well as some other situations, that could have been expanded out to bring it up into the long novella/near-novel length. ...more
From LibraryThing's Early Reviewers January 2015 batch in exchange for a review.
Set in 1948, this is a gentle romance where Hayley escapes from her abFrom LibraryThing's Early Reviewers January 2015 batch in exchange for a review.
Set in 1948, this is a gentle romance where Hayley escapes from her abusive father after he loses her in a bet to another abusive man (Ed Thompson). Short of money, she rapidly gets hired by the Sherwoods to look after the youngest member of the family, and essentially keep house for a working ranch. Ben and Tate, two of the Sherwood brothers start vying for her attention and she has to choose between Ben, who is a big town doctor, and Tate, the down to earth rancher. Her new life is threatened by Ed finding out where she is, and coming to claim what he thinks is his. Meanwhile Haley gets to learn more about herself and others - such as not all men are nasty violent drunks, not all American Indians are bad people (and have been treated quite badly by the whites).
This wasn't an overtly Christian (a complaint from another reviewer) but it does have some Christian-morals - no one's sleeping around, the closest they get is kissing under the kissing tree etc. Drinking is bad, Haley's father gets his redemption and Ed gets his "just" reward. Tate and Haley are the most three dimensional characters in the story and the secondary characters are a little one dimensional. In Summary, it's an ok story, some of the characters were ok, but not the best or strongest story I've read....more
Third in the Dukes of War series by Ridley, which started with The Vicount's Christmas Temptation.
We find JaneFrom Netgalley in exchange for a review
Third in the Dukes of War series by Ridley, which started with The Vicount's Christmas Temptation.
We find Jane on the way to the opera with Grace and her new husband Oliver, who we met in The Earl's Defiant Wallflower. Jane is dreading the upcoming social event, as she knows she will be introduced to the same people as before, only for them to have forgotten her from the last time, and knowing they will forget her almost before they've parted company - a trait she calls "Janenesia".
Sitting in one of the boxes, the small company are joined by Captain Grey, who is still suffering the after effects of the war with Bonaparte, and his guilt of what he did during that time. Jane has always been attracted to Xavier, and believes he is like all the others - forgetting her as soon as he can. Where Jane feels she is instantly forgettable, Xavier feels he is always being watched and lauded as a war hero, something he believes he isnt.
The following morning and Xavier is on his way to his cottage in Chelmsford to wait out the rest of the Season, as he is no fit company. Jane's brother Isaac has to go away on business for a few weeks, and so he leaves the house and his dreaded cat Egui in the care of Jane.
Jane, knowing at 24 she is destined to stay on the shelf and never knowing what sex is really like, decides to follow Xavier to Chelmsford, unfortunately with Egui in tow (as all the servants refuse to look after it). Most of the remaining story has Jane and Xavier in his cottage alone, trapped by impassable snow drifts. Xavier is shocked at Jane's suggestion and does all he can to resist. The few days together makes them realise they dont really know each other, having made assumptions and built up ideals about the other, which are slowly broken down.
The book finishes with a silly but satisfying ending in the theatre two weeks after the show at the beginning of the book.
The lethal cat Egui proves to be a suitable distraction at the right times, and brings on a slight farcical tone to the story (and allows for Jane to show off her unique embroidery skills). I think this is the strongest book in the series to date, possibly because I am now hitting my stride with them or simply because Xavier and Jane are having deeper, more meaningful conversations with no real outside distractions. However, it's still a light, occasionally flirtatious romance set in a period governed by rules....more
Received as an uncorrected proof from Doubleday in exchange for a review. Expected publication date: 1st April 2015.
We find 40 year old Ivo in a hospiReceived as an uncorrected proof from Doubleday in exchange for a review. Expected publication date: 1st April 2015.
We find 40 year old Ivo in a hospice, dying of something only alluded to (diabetes? his kidneys?). As he stares at the ceiling, with little energy or will to do anything including having visitors, Shelia (his carer) challenges him to a game: take each letter of the alphabet, and name a body part starting with that letter, and tell a story.
As the book continues, we get snippets of Ivo's previous life, ranging from the relationships he has with his parents, with his sister Laura, his friends Becca, Kelvin, Mal and ultimately Mia, his girlfriend. We also have a window on his current life, including Amber - the daughter of the woman in the room next door - who is in university and trying to deal with a mother who is dying and a father who seems disconnected from the situation. In turn this allows Ivo to move forward in coming to terms with his own dying.
Ivo was diagnosed as a diabetic quite young, requiring him to do regular injections, but as he comes into his twenties, he is skipping injections on an almost daily basis, skipping out late at night with Mal, Becca and Laura and ingesting various forms of drugs, most notably Heroin and alcohol, usually supplied by Mal.
There is chopping and changing about time periods within each chapter, with some pieces only lasting short paragraphs, some whole chapters. It's a pleasing way to recognise that some memories can be simple impressions of a moment, some that are whole days or weeks. There's been a rift between him and Laura approximately 8 years before the now, which has resulted in people taking sides, and Ivo unwilling to accept visitors or work on recovering his relationship with Mal, who seems to have gone missing after leaving prison.
As things progress we find out why Ivo has cut himself off from his friends and family; what hold the crocheted blanket means to him after so many years; and ultimately why he fears Mal more than he misses him.
This is one of those books that is apparently simple in it's structure, but delivers so much more and gives a sucker punch at the end. Things aren't always explicit especially in the final act when Ivo is full of morphine, but you get the indication that this is the only person Ivo ultimately trusts to do this one thing for him, no matter what the cost might be or what has gone before. Certainly a book to have the hankies out for when you finish! ...more
Beatrice Copeland is companion to Lady Bournaud, an ageing widow who has realised she is in the last years of From Netgalley in exchange for a review.
Beatrice Copeland is companion to Lady Bournaud, an ageing widow who has realised she is in the last years of her life, so has decided to throw a last "Hurrah" in terms of a Christmas House party. Lady Bournard has identified 4 twenty-somethings that she hopes will form a certain attachment. She also invites Sir David as a counterpoint to Beatrice, without realising that Beatrice and David have "history".
Things dont go according to plan, when the younger quartet refuse to settle into their prescribed pairs.
Lord Vaughan is being pressurised by his father to get married and is threatened with being sent to the colonies (Canada to be precise) if he doesn't get hitched soon. He cares little for whether he marries the right woman or not, simply that he marries someone of suitable breeding.
On paper at least, Lady Silvia is the right candidate, titled, from the same social circle etc. Unfortunately, she has eyes only for the Reverend Mark Rowland, an impoverished vicar who has yet to start out properly in his own parish.
Verity Allen is a wild Canadian, having been brought up in the rugged frontier being the only girl in the family. She's loud, climbs trees, rides horses like a man, takes risks, is unladylike, unfashionable, and utterly suitable for Lord Vaughan if he would only take the hint that Lady Silvia cant stand him.
It's not long before David realises there is a certain history with Beatrice that he needs and wants to find out why she is so cold towards him, even though they both know there's a certain chemistry. Through some flashbacks we find out a little more of what went on 20 years previously and why both Beatrice and David have some personal hurts. David has come to terms with the past, and this allows Beatrice to move away from her guilt.
Whilst Beatrice and David are the centre couple, there's enough time spent with the other two couples to keep the story balanced. Lady Bournaud is kept safely in the background, prone to napping by the fire and taking meals in her room for her to only make the occasional appearance.
The ending was different enough in that it wasn't immediately tied up cleanly, meaning that not everyone got what they wanted. However, there was a last gift that brought it all together, which was a lit more realistic that the usual straight to “happily ever after”.
What I'm liking about the author is that as per her previous two books Married to a Rogue and The Vicount's Valentine, this book covers older lovers (over 40s), who are meeting their proper loves later in life (sometimes having loved and lost them years before) ...more
From amazonDeath at the Manor is the first in the Asharton Manor Mysteries series: a four part series of novellas spanning the twentieth century. EachFrom amazonDeath at the Manor is the first in the Asharton Manor Mysteries series: a four part series of novellas spanning the twentieth century. Each standalone story uses Asharton Manor as the backdrop to a devious and twisting crime mystery, from bestselling crime writer Celina Grace, author of The Kate Redman Mysteries
Obtained on promotion from Amazon as an ebook.
This is a short book that certainly has the possibility to be expanded out as a longer story, if not a fully fledged book. Joan starts work at the Asharton Manor as Senior Kitchen Maid, but it isn't long before she becomes aware of the tensions in the house. Delphine Denford's brother John Manfield is not long back from Africa and is unmarried, rakish, exotic and seems to have an eye for the ladies. Delphine's husband spends much of his time working in London. Delphine's best friend Cleo lives in the house and for a while it appears that she is having an affair with one or more of the men. Delphine herself is constantly falling ill from unknown illnesses and her final illness proves to be fatal.
Joan has previously worked in London, where her best friend Verity (shockingly well read and educated for a parlour maid) still works. Between them, they discuss and solve Delphine's death with amazing ease. The acceptance of Verity arriving for a day's "busman's holiday" was a little implausable but not impossible. I was going to say something about the speed of getting from London to the West Country but checking the times of modern trains it can be done in under 2h30mins - so not impossible to do in 3 or 4 hours in the 1920s.
As number 1 in the series, the story could have done with some padding out and therefore adding to the tension. As the series is based around the Manor and gardens, for example, the ritual pagan site could have become a lot more threatening - it was never discussed in the house and only made one appearance during a walk.
In all, not a bad story, with any perceived failures more due to the novella format than the author's skill.
From my TBR shelf, having picked it up from a charity shop. I became aware of this series of books - which have a lovely presentation, cover etc - aftFrom my TBR shelf, having picked it up from a charity shop. I became aware of this series of books - which have a lovely presentation, cover etc - after being given another in the series as a Christmas Present (The Mystery in White by J. Jefferson Parjeon). They are "British Library Crime Classics", and this book can be brought from the British Library website.
The story starts with the Vicar (The Reverend Dodd) and the local Doctor (Pendrill) sitting in front of the fire after their traditional Monday night dinner, and choosing who is going to get which books that have arrived that week. Both men are fans of crime novels, something that unites them better than religion (with the Doctor refusing to attend Sunday Services). It is a stormy night outside, with heavy rain and thunder. Suddenly, the phone goes, and it is Ruth Tregarthan from the house next door - her uncle has been found in the sitting room, dead from a gunshot to the head!
Inspector Bigswell of the local force is assigned to the case, and is pressurised by his Superintendent to solve the case quickly before the need to call in Scotland Yard. There is an immediate theory, when Ruth's close friend Robert Hardy (with whom she seems to have an "understanding") disappears the same night, after an argument with Tregarthan. Close to making an arrest, new facts come to light which scuppers the whole motive, and here is where Todd's "instinctual" detective work helps break the case.
This is rather a cosy detective novel, written in 1935, whose strengths seem to be in the "dot to dot" line of detective work, rather than the sparkling jumps around of Christie et al or the later procedurals of CSI and all the derivatives. There are some techniques that are surprising that they 1) exist and 2) aren't standard procedure in the police force (i.e. the use of string and poles to determine where shots were fired from which the vicar used, but the inspector kicked himself for not doing as standard)....more
Witness the startling creation of one of the Avengers most deadly foes: the insane automaton known simply as Ultron.
Discover what drives this metallicWitness the startling creation of one of the Avengers most deadly foes: the insane automaton known simply as Ultron.
Discover what drives this metallic menace, as it undertakes a terrifying (a scheme that will leave the Avengers changed forever! Plus, change is afoot as two mysterious new members, the Vision and Yellowjacket, join the team. Collecting Avengers vol. 1 #54-60 and Avengers Annual #2.
From my TBR pile, when at the time of reading, the second Avengers movie (Age of Ultron) is still in post production with an expected release in 2015, exact date dependant on region.
This is NOT the book of the film. This is a collection of early Marvel comics, charting the initial appearances of Ultron (Ultron-5), plus a few additional lesser known cast members in the Avengers canon. There's no "original publication date" I can see for the source comics, but judging on style, presentation etc, I'm guessing they were originally published in the 1960s. Of course, Marvel have a back history of the character.
The makeup of the Avengers here is not the team set up that modern audiences are currently used to (Thor, Iron man, Hulk, Black Widow etc). There is a "New" Avengers consisting of the lesser known Giant Man, Wasp, Black Panther, along with the better known Captain America) and Hawkeye.
The presentation as a Graphic Novel is lovely, with the hard cover, a collection of related strips etc. I have to admit that this is not my style of Comic Strip. I am very much a fan of the later style of Comic/G.N. with related narrative, violence and design, where as this is from the 1960s/1970s with a much more "innocent" (retro) style of cell construction, drawing and violence. Cells colours are lighter and brighter, exposition and story line is progressed though chunks of in-cell text explaining what's going on to the reader. There are also occasional handy arrows guiding you from one cell to the next in case you hadn't worked out where to go next! It reminded me somewhat of the Adam West Batman series - all gaudy colours, cheese and make believe fighting. There is also some bad alliteration at the start of each episode as to who wrote or drew what. These are the strips I would expect to see in the weekly "funnies" and that I would be able to pass onto Nieces and Nephews as a more "acceptable" level of violence.
Several characters are introduced, such as Ultron-5, The Vision (an android sent y Ulton to kill everyone, only to have a change of heart), and YellowJacket - yet another SuperHero character for Hank Pym to add to his other alternate characters of Ant-Man, Giant Man etc.
In summary: nice to have read as a backfill to the new Avengers movie, but not really my style of Graphic Novel
It's 1900 America, and Emeline's father is dying of stomach cancer. Emeline has hopes to return to college to.
From Netgalley in exchange for a review
It's 1900 America, and Emeline's father is dying of stomach cancer. Emeline has hopes to return to college to train in nursing, but these hopes are dashed when her father dies, and the family are forced into bankruptcy. Emeline takes the unusual step of approaching the Dorr family and asking if she could marry the son John, an up and coming lawyer.
Within months they are married and on the way to Labellum, a small town setting, where John has been sent to prove himself. The house they move into has been left fully furnished, and despite Emeline's disquiet and dislike of the furnishings, John refuses to let her redecorate.
Emeline finds that married life is not what she expected - she finds her husband remote and unreachable, the house disturbing and frightening, and the day to day housework unrelenting and unappreciated. Lottie, her one housemaid, can only work 3 days a week and "lives out" as they can have someone living in. Not only that but she is heavily pregnant.
Emeline's behaviour is soon marked as "hysterical" - she imagines people inhabiting empty rooms, the furniture moves of its own volition and there is a monster that lives in the woods. She is also confronted with the women of the town, few of whom are welcoming, and some are domineering and expect to be followed.
Rescue comes in the form of Emeline finding a purpose outside of the home - helping the poor with non medical issues (usually teaching people about germs). However, it's not long before it becomes dangerous - she ends up performing an abortion on Lottie, which doesnt go well and everything comes to a head.
The source of Emeline's "hysteria" isnt fully explained, and you are not entirely convinced she isnt making at least some of it up - however, there is a hint when her brother James comes to visit that she has done similar things before and essentially overreacting to new experiences where she's out of her comfort zone. The relationship with her husband John isnt all her own fault, as he's performing how he believes a new husband with a new job should act. It's only after returning from a trip to St Louis where his behaviour changes for the better, but it only makes Emeline's suspicions worse.
Had the book continued in the gothic style of her hysteria, I suspect I wouldnt have finished the book - it would have suited a much shorter book. However, once Emeline got out of the house and found something useful for her to do, it became much more interesting. There are some flashbacks to when Emeline was slightly younger that shows her desire to help people, no matter if you have to do something legally wrong in order to do something morally right....more
From my bookshelves. This edition is a "Not for resale" that looks like it was a freebie with a copy of Red magazine. I (attempted to) read this slimFrom my bookshelves. This edition is a "Not for resale" that looks like it was a freebie with a copy of Red magazine. I (attempted to) read this slim novel immediately after The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory. The former is twice the size of the latter, and whilst The Constant Princess is focussed on Catherine of Aragon, this book tells of Anne Boleyn. Anne Boleyn
Whilst in The Constant Princess, the first affair acknowledged by Catherine of Aragon is Anne Boleyn (thus setting up the rest of the Tudor series) The Queen of Subtleties presents that Catherine knew of previous affairs and attended the baptism of the illegitimate Fitz, even if she never formally acknowledged him.
The book starts the day before Anne's execution and she's looking back on where it all started, as a letter and a warning to her daughter Elizabeth. As with other fiction books about Anne Boleyn, she is betrayed as scheming, manipulative, but ultimately rather naive and deluded.
Henry didnt divorce Catherine because of me. For me, yes; in the end, yes. But not because of me.
It is interspersed with the narrative Lucy Cornwallis, the King's confectioner, whose narration covers 1535 - 1536.
The following from an article in The Scotsman about this book makes both Lucy - as the maker - and Anne as the received, both Queen of Subtleties
Subtleties are, or rather were, intricate sugar sculptures and statues created as beautiful centrepieces for Medieval feasts - the beginnings of modern-day sugar craft, although this was rather more like sugar art. The exquisite adornments are thought to have been created in the early 15th century with subtleties appearing at the coronation feast of eight-year-old Henry VI in 1429.
I have to admit this was a DNF. I got about 50% through (bearing in mind this was a very short book) before the anachronistic language was simply too much. Anne called her parents "mum" and "dad". When angry she said words like "fuck" and "christ". I know this is classed as a "reimaging" but Dunn and her publishers would do well to look at books like Longbourn by Jo Baker (loved the story AND how it was told) or Death Comes to Pemberley by PD James (not so sure about the story, but liked how it was told). In other words - you shouldn't sacrifice the way the book is written in order to get attention....I do wonder whether the book or the deal with Red's publishers came first, and am I being snobbish about Red's circulation?...more