Anguish and torment can lead to death. Such spirits are known to haunt those who tormented them in life. In colonial India, one rascally blackguard diAnguish and torment can lead to death. Such spirits are known to haunt those who tormented them in life. In colonial India, one rascally blackguard discovers to his misfortune that he is haunted by not just an agitated spectral mistress, but her entire equipage.
One of my all time favorite books combining many elements I like in a book -- historical, fiction, travel, bit of suspense, and a classic. This is myOne of my all time favorite books combining many elements I like in a book -- historical, fiction, travel, bit of suspense, and a classic. This is my third reading but spread over almost 50 years. ...more
Possibly enjoyed the second reading more than the first time: read it in the proper order and took detailed notes to keep track of Gardam's subtle iroPossibly enjoyed the second reading more than the first time: read it in the proper order and took detailed notes to keep track of Gardam's subtle ironies and plot points. Still agree with the original review and copying the first sentence here: Loved this quiet novel dealing with love, commitment, family, adversaries, secrets, need, convenience and regrets while following a couple from their engagement in 1950s Hong-Kong through the next half century.
Detailed notes could be considered a spoiler so read at your own peril: (view spoiler)[SPOILER ALERT -- reading the following will give away the whole plot as it details what happened when from beginning to end.
Chapters by continuing numbers though book is divided into five parts: PART ONE: THE MARRIAGE 15- Donheads – where they retired, description of house, area. 17-dwarf in big hat mentioned 18 - 50 years previous, young English girl in Hong Kong @Heathrow Eddie accompanied by Albert; 21- Terry Veneering intro; 25 - traveling to HK, Eddied (Filth) tells Albert about Betty McIntosh; 29- Albert says Eddie's fertility may be in question (due to venereal disease suffered and mentioned in Old Filth; 30- Betty says YES, her friend is Isobel (cousin of Filth's best school friend, and Filth's one-time paramour, though she is now gay); 31- Betty's friend Amy is missionary, mother of many, husband is preacher-missionary 35- "Never leave me," Filth's request of Betty 40- Judge "Pasty Willy" is Betty's god-father "uncle" 41- Betty meets Veneering "one hour too late" as she feels great passion for him, yet as just become engaged to Filth. She mets Veneering's son, Harry, age 9, w/whom she immediately develops an attachment 47- Eddie tells her "Please live forever" She's 28, hears of plane crash, in panic because she thinks Harry was on the plane, which he missed. Terry sends car for her, evening date, day after her engagement 52- She buys new dress, gets hair done, goes to meet Veneering 58- She sleeps w/V, glorious yet guilty, calls Amy, goes w/her on health visits, tells Amy she did it for "glorious memory" (61) 64- Albert & driver pick her up for formal dinner, drive to where she had met V, tells her to be true to Eddie, Albert owns the place, had found her passport which she had left behin. 71- Eddie ready to get married, Betty glad she has a "past", 72-mention of Fiscal-Smith, who accidentally becomes best man 74- Spends night at Amy's talf of wedding dress, Mrs. Baxter, old lady who lives w/Amy.
PART TWO - HAPPINESS 81- Eddied as widower thinks back on wedding day; 85- Fiscal-Smith as best man when Albert is no show 88- Honeymoon letters by Betty - 1st to Lizzie mentioning Enigma Years@ Bletchly Park, currently in Bhutan, 2nd to Amy (92) says she wants 10 children, find throne chair she loves (in Malta? and in which she later hears tragic news that Harry has died), moment she decides she loves Eddie when he buys it for her to be shipped to England (95); 3rd postcard to Mrs. Baxter found unposted 50 years later in the cushion of chair; 4th to Uncle Willy 101- Picnic on cliffs in Malta; Eddie admits he killed (evil foster mother, by accident), Betty pooh-poohs the idea. (In Last Friends, Malta cliff later visited by Veneering who punches guide that intimate that Betty may have had an affair. V breaks his ankle and dies shortly thereafter.) 104- Homecoming to Eddie's London apt., messy w/rats 107- Not exactly?? 108- Betty makes the apt. "home" - meets neighbors, deals w/stuff
PART THREE - LIFE 117- redecorating, 120- she's pregnant? 121- YES! (by Veneering or Filth though?) 123- Miscarriage at 4 months 127- 10 years later, runs into Veneering 133- Depressed. Amy takes charge, calls Dr., possibility of cancer 138- London for surgery, Veneering calls, Harry in hospital in London, surgery for possible leg amputation 147- Harry's surgery, cancer? bone issues - Betty is there with him 149- Betty has hysterectomy, pre-cancer, recovery, Veneering sends pearls 158- Betty goes to isolated cabin in Donheads (property where they later retire), finds solace in gardening 163- Time to go home, Filth finds her
PART FOUR: LIFE AFTER DEATH 169- Now 20 years in Hong Kong, Filth almost 70, should they retire to England? 177- In England visiting Pasty Willy & wife, Dulcie, Fiscal-Smith & daughter of Willy & Dulcie, (sullen) Susan, also there. Later a funeral for Willy, Harry Veneering is there. She loves him like a son. Willy and Dulcie live in Donheads. 188- They buy house (p158) which has been modernized, retire, Betty starts gardening; Filth accepts a case in The Hague with Veneering, urges Betty to come too. 193- She goes, orders lots of tulips to be delivered in Oct. (death looming, as we already know she dies in the fall while planting tulips). In museum area she sees carving of man w/hat. Simultaneously hears argument between Veneering and his wife, Elsie. He comes back w/out her, looking small, seedy. Veneering says carving makes him think of dwarf, Albert. He asks her to leave Filth and come with him. She says never. Veneering says he will stay too, never forget each other. 197- Filth watches Betty garden, Regrets that she doesn't discuss anything with him. Handover in Hong Kong (1997?) 202- Filth want to revise wills w/ appt. in London in Nov. Call from Veneering - similar to beginning of 1st book, announces Harry has died.
PART FIVE: PEACE 213- Three years later, Veneering moves in next door. By accident? 222- Veneering gong on a cruise. Filth admits he was w/Isobel while Vetty was w/Veneering after engagement. Asks if Veneering or Filth was father of child --see chap16. ThinksHarry was only one Betty truly loved. 227- Veneering dies after injury on cruise; 230- Filth leaves for Malaysia, new people have put B&B in Veneering's house. 231- Filth dies after plane arrives in Malaysia. Albert comes to memorial service with watch, gives hat to Amy's family. [Thought Albert had previously died??] (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Engrossing, serious, sad and sometimes funny, an emotional and thoughtful read. Loved the variety and depth of the characters, the points of view fromEngrossing, serious, sad and sometimes funny, an emotional and thoughtful read. Loved the variety and depth of the characters, the points of view from three different women, as well as the timeliness of the setting at the beginning of the 1960s civil rights movement. When the plot turns out to involve the making of a book, seemed even more pertinent. Having been to Jackson made the book more alive. Should I see the movie??...more
First novel in a long while that has held my attention long enough to get a substantial amount of reading in one session. This novel, set during the GFirst novel in a long while that has held my attention long enough to get a substantial amount of reading in one session. This novel, set during the Great Depression, is a coming-of-age story about fraternal 15-year-old twins, whose lives are changed when their cousin's actions and Thea's desires cause major family repercussions....more
Alternating between 1942 and 1953 in Hong Kong and switching points of view from the young newly-married Claire Pendleton, traveling to Hong Kong withAlternating between 1942 and 1953 in Hong Kong and switching points of view from the young newly-married Claire Pendleton, traveling to Hong Kong with her husband in 1953; to other characters in 1942, primarily the newly arrived Englishman, Will Truesdale, who becomes involved with Claire in 1953.
The violence and horror of the Japanese takeover of Hong Kong at the beginning of World War II is graphically described and also contrasts with the more genteel scene of the 1950s. The horrific scenes are quite unpleasant and not well enough offset by the plot requirements to advance the story. The mystery of the location of the Crown Collection could have been handled with a bit more suspense.
Problems: Is Claire's stealing ("lifting") of items from the Chens' related to the British attempt to obtain the Crown Collection or what connection is this supposed to have to the plot? None of the characters were well enough developed for me to understand their motivations, though Will and Trudy perhaps are the strongest characters with Claire being the weakest of the major characters. Claire's husband, Martin, is almost non-existent. A sense of detachment prevails as do the horrors of war.
This rates a low "3" stars -- perhaps 2.6 on a finer scale....more
The seventh chronicle of Brother Cadfael, of the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, of Shrewsbury [subtitle on the front cover]. My apprThe seventh chronicle of Brother Cadfael, of the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, of Shrewsbury [subtitle on the front cover]. My appreciation of this series continues to grow. Though the degree of suspense seems to shrink with each further title, the time period and the descriptions of small town and abbey life; and the deductive skills of Brother Cadfael make this worth reading.
Set in the spring of 1140, this book has little to do with national politics, but focuses on a series of tragedies befalling a well-to-do family beginning during the marriage celebration of the family heir and continuing the next few days.
A traveling minstrel who performed at the wedding party is accused of robbery and murder and taked sanctuary in the abbey. This character reminded me of the Joliffe The Player series about a troupe of players traveling the English countryside in the 1400s, while the Cadfael series as a whole reminds me of the Sister Frevisse series also set in the 1400s. Joliffe and Sister Frevisse books are written by Margaret Frazer....more
This sixthchroniclein the Brother Cadfael series, is set in England during the late fall of 1139, and is the quickest read of the series so far with sThis sixth chronicle in the Brother Cadfael series, is set in England during the late fall of 1139, and is the quickest read of the series so far with suspense from the beginning involving local and national politics in a round about way. The descriptions of the scenes and times are minimal yet convey a sense of realism and everyday life during the times.
Though the suspense is not well maintained (too many clues?) and Brother Cadfael seems omniscient in regards to the crimes or lack thereof, on the part of the injured Brother. Next up, #7, The Sanctuary Sparrow....more
A coming of age story told as written by a mom to her 15-year-old daughter who has run away, focusing on mom's teenage years during the early 1970s inA coming of age story told as written by a mom to her 15-year-old daughter who has run away, focusing on mom's teenage years during the early 1970s in a small town near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Focused more on the Vietnam War than I had anticipated as well as her final years of high school as a boarding student at a Catholic High School. Knowing the author is a man made me more critical of the writing which if the author were unknown wouldn't have occurred to me, but makes me wonder about his motivations. This is Bishop's first novel and is a quick read....more
During a stressful possible career step-up in the late 1940s, banker Charles Gray reflects on his family, home town, and coming of age in the 1920s. TDuring a stressful possible career step-up in the late 1940s, banker Charles Gray reflects on his family, home town, and coming of age in the 1920s. Too introspective, dated, and lengthy to appeal to me despite the historical details. Originally published in 1947. ...more
I loved the American character, Harris Stuyvesant who is trying to track down a high-profile bomber in England and the other main character, Bennett Grey, a Brit still suffering after affects of the Great War.
Listened to this on Classic Tales Podcast in eight episodes, one per week. A great book to be enjoyed this way since the book is divided into eight "aListened to this on Classic Tales Podcast in eight episodes, one per week. A great book to be enjoyed this way since the book is divided into eight "adventures" or mysteries set over several years in the life of the protagonist, Horne Fisher, and his friend Harold March, set in pre-World War I England. Though some of the mysteries seemed obscure, the setting and strong characters made this a great "listen." Maybe I would like his Father Brown series of short stories?...more
Not quite as good as St. Peter's Fair, but still a good read and glimpse into a leper colony close by the Benedictine monastery at Shrewsbury where BrNot quite as good as St. Peter's Fair, but still a good read and glimpse into a leper colony close by the Benedictine monastery at Shrewsbury where Brother Cadfael in the herbalist. This # 5 in the Chronicles of Brother Cadfael series is set in October of 1139, and concerns a wedding to take place at the abbey between an aging nobleman and a very young bride who has been coerced into accepting the arrangement by her greedy guardians. Though there is some suspense there are also some obvious clues which lessen the surprise. Ready to move on to #6 in the series, The Virgin in the Ice, right after I get a good dose of Hamlet which I've let slide recently. ...more
The Game is #7 in the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series, and true to form, builds slowly in suspense, but includes more action and adventure thaThe Game is #7 in the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series, and true to form, builds slowly in suspense, but includes more action and adventure than in some of the previous titles. Set in a remote northern kingdom of India in the mid-1920s, there is some political intrigue, but mostly action in the last half of this historical mystery. Once again, Mary's abilities are almost beyond belief, but for the sake of her alliance with the also beyond-belief Sherlock Holmes, and a good story, this can be tolerated. On to #8, Locked Rooms....more
Knox County, in central Ohio, north of Columbus, contains the Kokosing River and many bridges. Mount Vernon is the County Seat. Kenyon College is alsoKnox County, in central Ohio, north of Columbus, contains the Kokosing River and many bridges. Mount Vernon is the County Seat. Kenyon College is also located in Knox County. This book, about the county's bridges, is a chronicle of disasters, repairs, and replacements. A great book if you are interested in Knox County or bridges. Otherwise, not much reason to read it. I enjoyed learning more about the history of the County, the old roads and the shifting in bridge priorities. ...more
For an author that only gradually reveals the suspense and builds to finale – then the denouement and the book is over. Patience is required, but leavFor an author that only gradually reveals the suspense and builds to finale – then the denouement and the book is over. Patience is required, but leaves me eager to start the next book in the series to see what adventures Mary and Holmes will have next. Justice Hall is #6 in the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series.
Though it begins some five years after the previous book in the sereis, O Jerusalem, the same characters Mary and Holmes encountered in Palestine, are now back in England and require their assistance. Thus the reason for O Jerusalem being out of order chronologically is revealed and is appreciated. ...more
History of the small mining towns in southeastern Arizona, mostly located in Graham County along US-70. This area was quite isolated until the early 1History of the small mining towns in southeastern Arizona, mostly located in Graham County along US-70. This area was quite isolated until the early 1900s. Interesting but rather confusingly arranged. An index (and a map) would be helpful, but Arcadia Publishing books typically do not have indexes.
Communities include: Artesia, Clifton, Eden, Fort Thomas, Geronimo, Morenci, Pima, Safford, Solomon (originally Solomonville), and Thatcher (a Mormon settlement). Although Solomonville was the first county seat, it was later moved to Safford. Solomonville also fell into decline as the railroad did not go through the town. ...more
An Arcadia Publishing town history of Arlington, Ohio, a small town located in Hancock County in north west Ohio. History typical of many small townsAn Arcadia Publishing town history of Arlington, Ohio, a small town located in Hancock County in north west Ohio. History typical of many small towns in the midwest, but nicely arranged, with interesting selection of pictures and memorabilia. ...more
My favorite of the first three Brother Cadfael books, though when I started this one before I'd read the first two in the series, couldn't get into itMy favorite of the first three Brother Cadfael books, though when I started this one before I'd read the first two in the series, couldn't get into it. Obviously the series builds on each preceding book and Brother Cadfael becomes a more interesting character as the series progresses.
Monk's Hood involves murder by poisoning over an inheritance or lack thereof, a woman from Cadfael's past, and another visit to Wales. Minor mentions of the political climate of 1138 in England....more
Second of theChronicles of Brother Cadfaeland a better appreciated book on my part. The political mysteryinvolving Stephen, King of Englandis set in tSecond of the Chronicles of Brother Cadfael and a better appreciated book on my part. The political mystery involving Stephen, King of England is set in the summer of 1138 in Shrewsbury, depicting Stephen's dispute with Empress Matilda, daughter and heir of King Henry I. Though 94 "traitors" to King Stephen are executed, Brother Cadfael finds there are 95 corpses to be prepared for burial, thus creating the mystery, not to mention the missing treasure. Slight romantic twists involving a "boy" who has taken refuge in the Abbey, a military officer, a rich young woman whose brother has been killed, and a
Definitely my favorite Shakespeare romance but the history plays are still my favorite. Here are some notes and favorite parts:
Marjorie Garber’s perspDefinitely my favorite Shakespeare romance but the history plays are still my favorite. Here are some notes and favorite parts:
Marjorie Garber’s perspective on As You Like It
Touchstone is the personal equivalent of the forest, an index of human behavior and a way by which other characters come to confront themselves. Consider his answer to Corin’s innocent question ‘And how like you this shepherd’s life, Master Touchstone?’
Truly, shepherd, in respect of itself, it is a good life; but in respect that it is a shepherd’s life, it is naught. In respect that it is solitary, I like it very well; but in respect that it is private, it is a vile life. Now in respect it is in the fields, it pleaseth me well; but in respect it is not in the court, it is tedious. As it is a spare life, look you, it fits my humour well; but as there is no more plenty in it, it goes much against my stomach. Hast any philosophy in thee, shepherd?
Jaques: All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant, Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms. And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel And shining morning face, creeping like snail Unwillingly to school. And then the lover, Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier, Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard, Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel, Seeking the bubble reputation Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice, In fair round belly with good capon lined, With eyes severe and beard of formal cut, Full of wise saws and modern instances; And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon, With spectacles on nose and pouch on side, His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice, Turning again toward childish treble, pipes And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history, Is second childishness and mere oblivion, Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
The choice of seven for the ages of man was a popular one in Shakespeare’s time, although some experts contended that there were three, or four, or six. But seven was the number of the planets, and the virtues and vices, and the liberal arts, and so on. the character types mentioned by Jaques do match up with the planets – the schoolboy is mercurial; the lover, venereal; the soldier, martial; the justice, jovial; the old man, saturnine. More strikingly, in a play so concerned with language and poetry, each ‘age’ is described in terms of speech. The infant mewls; the boy whines; the lover sighs and writes poems; the soldier’s speech is full of strange oaths; the justice utters wise saws, or sayings, and modern instances, or examples; the old man’s voice turns higher and thinner, as he returns from ‘manly’ maturity back toward childhood. Speech is here a rite of passage marking the ages of man....more
A much more exciting book in the series than the previous, The Moor, though slower going because of the holidays with less time to read. Political intA much more exciting book in the series than the previous, The Moor, though slower going because of the holidays with less time to read. Political intrigue, spies, and counter-spies in British occupied Palestine after the overthrow of the Turkish.
A bit disappointing considering the various praises I had heard regarding this series while I was reading the somewhat similar Dame Frevisse series(reA bit disappointing considering the various praises I had heard regarding this series while I was reading the somewhat similar Dame Frevisse series (read all 17 from April to November 2012). There are similarities between the series: both having a historical and a religious setting in England in the somewhat distant past – Dame Frevisse in the first half of the 1400s and the first of the Brother Cadfael series set in 1137.
The pace of A Morbid Taste for Bones, the first in the Chronicles of Brother Cadfael of which there appear to be 20 (plus a book of short stories) was boringly S-L-O-W. There were a few pages of strong suspense but hardly enough to carry even this short book of 197 pages. The characters were well described as to their physical characteristics but not much character development, and only a few hints about the background of Brother Cadfael himself.
The major plot point / mystery here involved the grave in Wales of a long neglected saint. The Benedictines think the acquisition of the saint's bones will benefit Shrewsbury Abbey and native Welshman Brother Cadfael is sent on the expedition to translate.
Hoping I'll be hooked on the series after the next book or two or there will be no completion of this series on my part. ...more