The re-telling of Rapunzel is a narrative frame that is fully woven in the opening of the novel. This is really a book about an Air mage who uses herThe re-telling of Rapunzel is a narrative frame that is fully woven in the opening of the novel. This is really a book about an Air mage who uses her gifts to earn a living as a sharpshooter. She eventually joins a Wild West show that is touring Germany. There are two perspectives to take on this character. One is that Giselle is an unethical fraud who is only pretending to be the equal of the real historical sharpshooter Annie Oakley. ( Annie Oakley is mentioned in From a High Tower. She was also touring Germany in Buffalo Bill's Wild West show.) The second is that Giselle is a feminist hero. She is a resourceful survivor who has found a really cool way to utilize her magical abilities. Do the ends justify the means? I will allow readers to make their own decisions about Giselle.
What interested me most about this novel is that Lackey portrays German perceptions of the American Wild West as being drastically different from American perceptions. Why should this culture clash matter to 21st century readers? The most important issue was the portrayal of Native Americans.
From a thematic perspective, I consider this a provocative novel about popular culture and national stereotypes.
Since my last review dealt with a novel whose protagonist was a journalist, I noticed that Ivoe's first attempt at an article didn't credit its sourceSince my last review dealt with a novel whose protagonist was a journalist, I noticed that Ivoe's first attempt at an article didn't credit its sources. Yet I realized that Ivoe never had the opportunity to study journalism. She did learn how to write better stories from Ona Darden, a woman who became very important in Ivoe's life. Ona told her, "You are the voice of a community." So Ivoe's journalistic career wasn't just about achieving her own dreams. She was representing African Americans. Ivoe's sense of what it meant to speak on behalf of her people evolved over time as she matured.
The mass murders of African Americans and burnings of their neighborhoods in the early 20th century which are mentioned in Jam on the Vine remind me very much of anti-Jewish pogroms in Eastern Europe during this period. A great wave of Jewish immigration appeared on the shores of England and America. At the same time, a vast influx of African Americans arrived in the cities of the North. This was called the Great Migration which is often framed as a quest for factory jobs. I realized with Ivoe that although such jobs may have been a consequence of this exodus for some, blacks were really fleeing for their lives.
I was very impressed with the coverage of issues dealt with in Jam of the Vine and their relevance to Black Lives Matter. I also loved the way the major characters and their relationships were portrayed. Lesbian love was shown to be the equal of heterosexual love. This is certainly one of the best novels that I have read in 2015.
The title of this book intrigued me. I knew it was a historical romance. I have read and reviewed a few of them. So I accepted a free copy of Hecate'sThe title of this book intrigued me. I knew it was a historical romance. I have read and reviewed a few of them. So I accepted a free copy of Hecate's Moon from the author in return for this honest review.
When the hero Armand arrived in the town of Ilfracombe after fleeing revolutionary France to take up residence at his family's Devon estate he found missing girls, witchcraft hysteria, smuggling and shipwrecks. He also discovered that his house had been named after his estate manager, and mysteriously never even objected to that. I intellectually understood why he was obsessed with returning to France to fight in the royalist cause, but I didn't think it made him sympathetic.
I thought that Esther was the most interesting and best developed character in the book though she is not the romantic heroine. There is a requisite HEA for the romance, but I didn't like Armand. I kept on wishing that the heroine had a more sensible alternative.
Ethiopia in the 1930's was no utopia. There was a nightmare at the heart of Ethiopian society from which it had yet to awaken. Teen protagonist Teo w Ethiopia in the 1930's was no utopia. There was a nightmare at the heart of Ethiopian society from which it had yet to awaken. Teen protagonist Teo was caught up in that nightmare. He was trained to be a pilot and became quite accomplished. When he was sixteen his life took a terrible turn. I wept for Teo. His deceased mother wouldn't have even considered bringing Teo to Ethiopia if it had occurred to her that such a thing could happen to him.
I was captured by the originality and intensity of Black Dove, White Raven until Rhoda's husband, an Italian military pilot, did something that I considered unbelievable. It was against military regulations and wasn't consistent with the love and concern with which he had previously treated his daughter, Emilia. (view spoiler)[The author might have included this as an indication that he secretly resented his wife's independence. Even assuming that he was willing to jeopardize his daughter's safety because he was angry at Rhoda, he would never have taken Emilia along on bombing missions. There is actually an incident that shows why it would be against military regulations. Emilia witnesses an Italian war crime which he then needs to cover up. I was just flabbergasted that he would do such a thing. (hide spoiler)] So it was both implausible and reprehensible. The spell that Elizabeth Wein had woven was broken for me at that point.
For most of this book, I thought it was the best novel that I'd read in the first half of 2015, but the out of character behavior of Orsino Menotti, Rhoda's husband, was significant. This is why it doesn't get a five star rating from me.
I haven't read many of Anne Perry's Victorian mysteries. In fact, I've only read two since I joined Goodreads in 2008. The Victorian period isn't my fI haven't read many of Anne Perry's Victorian mysteries. In fact, I've only read two since I joined Goodreads in 2008. The Victorian period isn't my favorite. Victorian ideas about respectability and class snobbery tend to annoy me. Yet the first wave of modern feminism began during this period. So I keep my eye out for Victorian titles that involve women speaking up for themselves.
The Angel Court Affair attracted my attention because it deals with the disappearance of a woman preacher who was considered blasphemous. Since religion interests me, I wanted to find out what she believed and why people thought it was blasphemy.
Yet what about the mystery? The mystery case itself seemed rather familiar and even predictable. This is part of the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series, and I hoped that Charlotte would play a more active role. Charlotte and the Pitts' teenage daughter, Jemima, did express their views about the preacher Sofia Delacruz. There is also a mention of Charlotte's secret participation in the women's suffrage movement which I appreciated, but most of the investigation was performed by men.
I am one of the many people who loves and cherishes the mythical Pocahontas. In fact, I played Pocahontas in a Thanksgiving play in elementary school.I am one of the many people who loves and cherishes the mythical Pocahontas. In fact, I played Pocahontas in a Thanksgiving play in elementary school. This was long before she became the subject of a Disney movie, by the way. Disney didn't invent the legendary Pocahontas. Disney didn't even popularize the story. Pocahontas became a popular legend during her own lifetime. She achieved celebrity status and was the darling of London society when she was barely out of her adolescence.
How authentic is Hawker? How much authenticity is possible when it comes to Pocahontas? These are questions that I will be tackling in this review. I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher via Net Galley.
It's important to realize that we don't have any contemporary account of Pocahontas written by her. It would have been theoretically possible for Pocahontas to have kept a diary after John Rolfe taught her to read and write in English, but I think she was too busy living her life to write about it. The only contemporary account that we have is the one that catapulted her to the 17th century equivalent of superstar status. It was authored by John Smith. Keep in mind, that this was a man who made his living by writing self-aggrandizing memoirs. He was neither the first nor the last writer whose career centered on inventing himself. Can we believe anything that he wrote? In her author's note, Hawker wrote that she found Smith sympathetic and selectively credible. Unfortunately, it's difficult to decide what is truth and what has been concocted by the author to make him look good when there is only one source available. It comes down to individual judgment and preference. Both of these involve subjectivity. This is how we can have different versions of Pocahontas that are all completely valid. We don't really know the truth about her.
I’ve read books dealing with slavery and the emancipation of the slaves after the American Civil War. I’ve read books dealing with traditional herbaliI’ve read books dealing with slavery and the emancipation of the slaves after the American Civil War. I’ve read books dealing with traditional herbalists from a variety of cultures. I’ve also read books that deal with trance mediums who can contact the spirits of the dead. Yet I’ve never read a book that focused on all three of these themes. Balm by Dolen Perkins-Valdez is that book. I received two copies of this book for free in return for this review. They are a paperback ARC directly from the publisher, and a digital ARC via Edelweiss.
This is a book that is primarily about healing. It's about the slow process of healing from the wounds of slavery, divided families and the mental anguish that resulted from these experiences. I am grateful for the artistry of this author that allowed her to shape a tale of three individuals that is also the story of the beginning of America's emergence from a terrible time in its history.
Because I received two copies I am doing a giveaway of the paperback ARC that I received from the publisher. To participate in the giveaway and read the rest of my review go to http://wwwbookbabe.blogspot.com/2015/...
I wanted to love this book and the mythical stature given to the relationship between the two playwrights, but then there is this emphasis on the greaI wanted to love this book and the mythical stature given to the relationship between the two playwrights, but then there is this emphasis on the great love between Shakespeare and Ann Hathaway, she who was only bequeathed his second best bed. No other author who's written Shakespeare into fiction (that I've encountered) has imagined that theirs was a love match. I've always thought it was a shotgun wedding and an obligation. This idea that Will Shakespeare was in love with his wife makes no sense to me either historically or in the context of this novel. I felt that the book was undermined by this premise even though there was so much that was wonderful about it. ...more
I was looking forward to this book, though I admit I was at first disappointed when I discovered that it took place on Gibraltar rather than in IndiaI was looking forward to this book, though I admit I was at first disappointed when I discovered that it took place on Gibraltar rather than in India which is where Maisie had been headed after the end of the last Maisie Dobb's novel, Leaving Everything Most Loved. A number of the reviews here on Goodreads went far beyond disappointment. I believe that many of Jacqueline Winspear's choices for this novel were dictated by the need for historical authenticity in the series as a whole. Winspear wanted to continue with the series while remaining consistent with Maisie's historical circumstances.
For me, this was two books. The book about the persecution of Catholics under Queen Elizabeth was touching, tragic and inspiring. The other book was aFor me, this was two books. The book about the persecution of Catholics under Queen Elizabeth was touching, tragic and inspiring. The other book was about the protagonist's relationship with William Shakespeare. This storyline was lurid, cynical and totally uninspiring. The only link between the two story lines is that the protagonist was involved in both of them. I sincerely wish that Shakespeare had never crossed her path.
Other reviews call Shakespeare, as portrayed in this novel, evil. I'm not sure I'd go that far, but he was certainly narcissistic and immature. Shakespeare was in his twenties, but many men in their twenties behave like adolescents. The novel deals with Shakespeare before his career as an author began. He hadn't published anything. So this was Shakespeare before he was Shakespeare. At one point Katherine wonders if a line he had written in his narrative poem "Venus and Adonis" was addressed to her. "Before I know myself, seek not to know me." Aside from the awkward construction of this sentence, I think that it did reflect Shakespeare's perspective at this point. He didn't know what he wanted and certainly not what he would become. The trouble is that I'm not very interested in Shakespeare at this stage.
I wanted to know more about what would become of Katherine's family, the De L'Isles. I found them more sympathetic than the central characters of other novels about Elizabethan Catholics because they were simply trying to practice their faith under extremely adverse circumstances. They weren't conspiring against Elizabeth by attempting to replace her with a rival. I saw the De L'Isles as underdogs who'd been treated unjustly. ...more
What interested me about Sturley’s novel is that I’ve never read anything about the deaf in the UK. Apparently the predominance of exclusive oralism iWhat interested me about Sturley’s novel is that I’ve never read anything about the deaf in the UK. Apparently the predominance of exclusive oralism in deaf education has continued in the UK. This doesn’t just mean that lip reading and speaking are encouraged. It means that signing is prohibited in the classroom. I wanted to understand why this situation continues unchanged.
Innocents of Oppression dramatizes the impact of exclusive oralism on a group of UK deaf students at a boarding school for deaf boys. Those that were not totally deaf tended be more successful with the oral method. All the students were required to wear hearing aids even if they were completely deaf. Instructors had microphones and thought that they could somehow reach students with no residual hearing by increasing their volume. Teachers who rely solely on oral communication could shout into their microphones all day and still wouldn’t be heard by the students who had no hearing. This is common sense. I can’t imagine what the teachers, or the school administration were thinking. It’s as if they didn’t know that it’s possible for someone to be completely unable to hear. It’s like assuming that the blind are just near sighted, and requiring them to wear prescription glasses. If they were that uninformed, they obviously shouldn’t have been allowed to teach deaf children.
There was some good characterization and character interaction in this book. I also learned a great deal about deaf education in the UK. British families who can’t afford to send their deaf children to the U.S. for a better education need more advocacy. I’m sure that this is Sturley’s central purpose and I applaud him for that.
I feel that Kerry Greenwood did her circus homework, that it shows in the portrayals of circus characters and that she loves the circus as I do. PhrynI feel that Kerry Greenwood did her circus homework, that it shows in the portrayals of circus characters and that she loves the circus as I do. Phryne says toward the end of the book, "The circus is too strong. It can't die." I would like to echo this. The circus has re-invented itself over time and I think it will continue to evolve in the future. I recommend the science fiction novel Angel on the Ropes by Jill Shultz as an example of one future possibility....more
I feel it’s important to state that I would categorize The Witch of Painted Sorrows as horror. The description did give me the impression of horror, bI feel it’s important to state that I would categorize The Witch of Painted Sorrows as horror. The description did give me the impression of horror, but I hoped that I was mistaken. After all, the Reincarnationist novels that I had read by M. J. Rose did not seem horrifying to me at all. They are books about fearless explorers of strange phenomena. They encourage readers to broaden their ideas and experience rather than narrowing them. I really liked the premise of the Reincarnationist series which is why I agreed to participate in the blog tour for The Witch of Painted Sorrows and accepted a free copy from the publisher via Net Galley.
I think that a woman like Sandrine, the central character of this book, should be inspiring rather than a cautionary tale. She escaped from a terrible marriage and she had aspirations to become an artist. She was evolving and becoming stronger. Yet like many women in horror novels, she makes the wrong choices. Her choices are self-destructive because she isn’t aware of alternatives. The ethos of horror constricts choices. There is more than one sort of relationship possible between the dead and the living. There was potential for the evolution of a symbiotic relationship in this novel rather than a parasitic one. That would have been a very different story, but it would have been more original and it would have been more worthwhile to me as a reader.
I did like the historical aspect. This novel introduced me to the real mythic symbolist painter, Gustave Moreau. Rose seemed to be emphasizing his more conventional side in The Witch of Painted Sorrows, but there were hints in the novel that he could be more of a radical than his contemporaries realized.
Although there were parts of this book that I enjoyed, I can’t say that I liked it very much in its entirety. It wasn’t my sort of book. Other readers who are inclined toward horror would probably like it a good deal better than I did.