On the plus side, it's a detective story, set in the early days of both the Railways and the Detective Section of the Met Police. The author seems to...more On the plus side, it's a detective story, set in the early days of both the Railways and the Detective Section of the Met Police. The author seems to have done his research, such as having the detective arrive by train into Birmingham at (then correct) Curzon Street, rather than New Street or Moor Street (the current two most frequently used train stations between London and Birmingham).
On the negative side: It read like the author's first novel, which apparently it isnt. The book is riddled with stereotypes: the Irish ex-policeman kicked out the force for drunken fighting who makes his living as a bouncer in a rough pub; the slightly dim-witted and subserviant sidekick; the head of the detective division being harassed by the press and causing friction with his detectives by stopping them doing what they want to do; the well dressed detective who likes bending the rules almost to breaking point.
On the whole, a decent read, but I'm not sure that I'd continue with the series(less)
Not *quite* as good as Miss Buncle's Book, but still pretty good. Barbara is now married to Arthur Abbot, and bored of the socialising they seem unabl...moreNot *quite* as good as Miss Buncle's Book, but still pretty good. Barbara is now married to Arthur Abbot, and bored of the socialising they seem unable to get out of, they decide to move instead.
Finally they find a place that Barbara can "do up" whilst allowing Arthur to still work in Town.
Apart from Sam and his new girlfriend, the supporting characters are not as "large" as in the previous book, but that might be a good thing, to prevent Stevenson from repeating herself. This time the focus is much more on Barbara and Arthur and it is very sweet.
Tracy Chevalier's tale of artistic creation and late-medieval amours, The Lady and the Unicorn is a subtle study in social power and the conflicts bet...moreTracy Chevalier's tale of artistic creation and late-medieval amours, The Lady and the Unicorn is a subtle study in social power and the conflicts between love and duty. Nicolas des Innocents has been commissioned by the Parisian nobleman Jean Le Viste to design a series of large tapestries for his great hall (in real life, the famous Lady and the Unicorn cycle, now in Paris's Musee National du Moyen-Age Thermes de Cluny). While Nicolas is measuring the walls, he meets a beautiful girl who turns out to be Jean Le Viste's daughter. Their passion is impossible for their world--so forbidden, given their class differences, that its only avenue of expression turns out to be those magnificent tapestries. The historical evidence on which this story is based is slight enough to allow the full play of Chevalier's imagination in this cleverly woven tale. (less)
When Elspeth Noblin dies of cancer, she leaves her London apartment to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina. These two American girls never met their...moreWhen Elspeth Noblin dies of cancer, she leaves her London apartment to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina. These two American girls never met their English aunt, only knew that their mother, too, was a twin, and Elspeth her sister. Julia and Valentina move to Elspeth's flat, which borders Highgate Cemetery in London. They come to know the building's other residents. There is Martin, a brilliant and charming crossword puzzle setter suffering from crippling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; Marjike, Martin's devoted but trapped wife; and Robert, Elspeth's elusive lover, a scholar of the cemetery. As the girls become embroiled in the fraying lives of their aunt's neighbors, they also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including--perhaps--their aunt, who can't seem to leave her old apartment and life behind.
This is a tough book to review without giving too much away, so this will be a short review!
Quicker read than I thought this was going to be, this is not a repeat of the Time Traveller's wife. It's a straight linear narrative of Elspeth dying, leaving her flat to her twin nieces (one literally the mirror image of the other) and what happens over the next year when they come from the US to stay.
Highgate Cemetery makes a great "guest billing". The OCD neighbour upstairs seems to accept new people in his apartment a little to easily (especially since his wife of 20+ years has just left him because of his compulsions) but on the whole it's an enjoyable book if I found it a less heart wrenching book the TTTW.(less)
Richard, in between jobs and trying to decide whether to remain in England or move to the US with his wife, spends the summe...moreWell, "Rebecca" this aint!
Richard, in between jobs and trying to decide whether to remain in England or move to the US with his wife, spends the summer holiday in the childhood house of his friend Magnus. A Biophysicist, Magnus has been working on a new drug, which he persuades Richard to try on himself. Richard is taken 600 years in the past, following a steward called Roger and the intricacies of large families and politics with land etc.
The side effects of the trips become worse, and add to the already taught relationship with his wife, all the time becoming more addictive.
Live other reviewers I did find all the 1300 relationships a little confusing, but this was certainly a different book to read, and well worth the time!
The (softback) edition I have comes in at just over 1000 pages, and this is one of the reasons that it has been sitting on my bookshelf for a number o...moreThe (softback) edition I have comes in at just over 1000 pages, and this is one of the reasons that it has been sitting on my bookshelf for a number of years now, occasionally glaring at me and daring me to pick it up and read it.[return][return]I am glad that I have read it, and it is not like any book I have read before. Excellent for a first book, there is humour, romance, history (some of which I hope is made up!), and most importantly of all magic, and lots of it. The footnotes are as important as the main text, and all shows an attention to detail that I dont know if the author will ever achieve again, purely for the amount of time this book must have already taken from her.[return][return]The only book I can realistically compare it to (in terms of length, scope etc) is "The Crimson Petal and the White", which I think is another debut novel. Have to admit that whilst I thought "Crimson" finished too soon, in a way I was glad that "Jonathan" did, although I was satisfied with the openness of the ending and the potential of more.(less)
It's 1940, the Blitz is about to hit London. Now in their mid 40s with 2 children, having met and served Britain during WWI, Tommy and Temperance have...moreIt's 1940, the Blitz is about to hit London. Now in their mid 40s with 2 children, having met and served Britain during WWI, Tommy and Temperance have been classed as "too old" to help the war effort and are certainly feeling down and at a loss as to how to help.[return][return]Tommy is made an offer to try and smoke out 2 German agents - N and M - who have infiltrated SIS. The previous operative has been killed, leaving behind few clues, and suddenly Tommy's 20 year gap from SIS is a help rather than a hindrance.[return][return]Based on one of the few clues left behind Tommy heads off to an out of the way coastal town and a B&B being run by the enigmatic Mrs[return][return]He is soon joined by Tuppence, against everyone's wishes, and between them they tackle working out who the Fifth Columists are. There are some red herrings along the way, but it shouldnt be too difficult to work out who the ring leader is. [return][return]The book was first published in 1940, when everyone is still in the midst of the Blitz and seeing German spies all over the place. Even now, in a post 9/11 & 7/7 world, the suspicions of those that are "different" can be understood (replace "Germans" with "Muslims"....?). Even late in the book there are stil some twists and turns, and shows that brains dont always disappear with age.(less)
Late one night, exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters addressed ominously to ‘My dear a...moreLate one night, exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters addressed ominously to ‘My dear and unfortunate successor’. Her discovery plunges her into a world she never dreamed of – a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an evil hidden in the depths of history
Well I enjoyed this. Bit of a love story, lots of history (if that's not real historical stuff it's very well made up!), not TOO heavy on the vampire stuff, though of course Dracula does make an appearance several times.
Whilst the daughter is prevalent at the start of the book, she does get "lost" in the middle, and makes a smallish appearance at the end of the book, which was a bit of a disappointment, as she was the one who initiated the story at the beginning(less)
I remember reading this as a child, and it's interesting how much I do and don't remember.......I knew Simon went a tad peculiar, but never remember w...moreI remember reading this as a child, and it's interesting how much I do and don't remember.......I knew Simon went a tad peculiar, but never remember what happened next. I also thought something else happened to Piggy (whose real name we never know), and a lot earlier in the book. [return][return]Much of the book is now iconic - the painted children, the hunting of the pigs, the conch, the rules versus the return to savage.(less)
Quick read for me and my first book of 2008! [return][return]Short chapters and a small cast make for an interesting, well paced story. Addition of ph...moreQuick read for me and my first book of 2008! [return][return]Short chapters and a small cast make for an interesting, well paced story. Addition of photos of paintings from the period allow the reader to visualise the type of paintings being described in the book(less)
I have read this book several times now and have always been disappointed with it. (I've read Jane Eyre several times as well, and have gone through h...moreI have read this book several times now and have always been disappointed with it. (I've read Jane Eyre several times as well, and have gone through hating it to quite liking it, so am always prepared to change my mind about a book).[return][return]I simply dont understand why people love this book, and Heathcliff/Cathy relationship in particular. I think it's overrated and gets far to much attention, especially when considering there are other Bronte books out there that should be given more attention than they do currently.(less)
<>Meet Sugar, a nineteen-year-old prostitute in Victorian London who yearns for escape to a better life. From the brothel of the terrifying Mrs....more<>Meet Sugar, a nineteen-year-old prostitute in Victorian London who yearns for escape to a better life. From the brothel of the terrifying Mrs. Castaway, she begins her ascent through society. Beginning with William Rackham, a perfume magnate whose lust for Sugar soon begins to smell like love, she meets a host of lovable, maddening, unforgettable characters as her social rise is overseen by assorted preening socialites, drunken journalists, untrustworthy servants, vile guttersnipes, and whores of all kinds.
This is the story fo the well-read London prostitute named Sugar, who believes she can make a better life for herself. You read about the physical practicalities that a prostitute has to deal with - who protects them, what acts they have to perform, the degredations they have to accept (you learn for instance, what they have to endure in an attempt to avoid pregnancy).
Prostitution, rather than frowned upon in all levels of society, is indulged in by many of the wealthy/upper class men by the famous-but-secret publications highlighting where the brothels are, and giving establishments and individuals ratings as to the services provided.
When she is taken up by a wealthy man, the perfumer William Rackham, her wings are clipped and she must balance financial security against the obvious servitude of her position. The physical risks and hardships of Sugar's life (and the even harder "honest" life she would have led as a factory worker) contrast--yet not entirely--with the medical mistreatment of her benefactor's wife, Agnes. Agnes is mollycoddled and allowed to descend into clinical madness and death, all aggravated by the birth of a daughter.
Even though my edition came in at just under 1000 pages, I have to admit it came too soon for me (and many others, but not all apparently). In fact, after releasing it as a Bookcrossing book, this is one of the few books where I brought a second copy!(less)