I read this book for a book club. It's interesting how much we all shared the same experience reading The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell. For the fir...moreI read this book for a book club. It's interesting how much we all shared the same experience reading The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell. For the first half of the book, none of us were thrilled by it, and wondered what exactly we were going to discuss. It started picking up about halfway through, and by the end, we were all hooked. After discussing it (and there was a lot to talk about), we all liked it even more. We agreed it is a book that would stand up well to rereading, to look at the entire book in the light of the ending.
The book is very well crafted, and much of this doesn't become apparent until the very end.(less)
I enjoyed Lauren Willig's adventures outside the world of the Pink Carnation. It still has the split between current times and an earlier generation,...moreI enjoyed Lauren Willig's adventures outside the world of the Pink Carnation. It still has the split between current times and an earlier generation, but the links are much closer here.
I enjoyed reading about the characters and the links between them.(less)
Cascade is an interesting, well-told look at the life of a woman artist from 1934-1947. It's a glimpse into America of that era, a nation that is chan...moreCascade is an interesting, well-told look at the life of a woman artist from 1934-1947. It's a glimpse into America of that era, a nation that is changing in many ways.
It is about a small town, and the need to escape that life. It's about big choices, and the big choices other people make, and the ones you think you can change, and the ones you have no influence over.
It is about all kinds of people. The main thing they have in common is that they have strengths and they have flaws. All were interesting and real, although Dez's husband Asa was a little too close to a stereotypical man of his time. Most of the others went outside that mold in ways good and bad.
This book was suggested to me as a romance, but I don't think that's where I'd put it. This is historical fiction, and the story of a woman. Her life is shaped by love, although I'd say that love for her father is an even stronger force than the romantic love she also deals with for part of the book.
The other thing that I didn't expect coming into this book was the look into what it means to be an artist. Getting Dez's way of seeing the world, seeing what she saw as the difference between her commercial work and her "real" work, and seeing some of how the art scene functioned, all of these were interesting to me.
This was a book that kept me reading, more for the people and places than plot, but I really wanted to know more, so overall, I'd call the book a success. (less)
I found The Lighthouse Road to be an unusual, compelling book, with a setting that grabbed my attention and characters that made me think.
The best par...moreI found The Lighthouse Road to be an unusual, compelling book, with a setting that grabbed my attention and characters that made me think.
The best parts of this book for me were the characters of Odd and his mother, Thea. Odd's an unusual man with an unusual life, and that's fine. He'll do what needs to be done, but he'll put his own spin on it.
His mother's story was even more compelling. Thea left behind everything she knew to come to America. Unfortunately, she did not arrive to see the situation she expected, but somehow managed to keep going, even after a devastating experience.
Hosea was the most interesting character, town doctor and purveyor of merchandise legitimate and otherwise. Nothing was straightforward where he was concerned. He'd do almost anything to earn a dollar, but he rarely intended harm to anyone.
All of this takes place in a richly drawn historical setting, Thea's story in an isolated lumber camp in Minnesota in the 1890s, Odd's in the same place, a little less isolated in the 1920s. The effect that the weather and the geography has on the characters permeates the book, giving it shape and substance.
And then there's the story. It's an interesting one, but much of it resolves around the one major character that didn't entirely work for me. Rebekah played a major role in both stories, and I didn't quite understand her motivations that drove so much of what happened.
I may well have been missing something, and I'd love to be part of a book club discussion. I think there's a lot of good material to talk about, and I think I'd appreciate it even more after sharing ideas.
Even without that, I enjoyed reading The Lighthouse Road.(less)
It's a bit of a different book, largely since it is primarily set in a very different time an...moreThis was a worthwhile followup to A Discovery of Witches.
It's a bit of a different book, largely since it is primarily set in a very different time and place. In many ways, this is a historical novel, and it succeeds very well at this. It's about the small details of life in Shakeseare's England (and yes, he and his peers figure into the story!)
There's a richness in the layers of historical information, the magical world created for these books, and a modern woman attempting to integrate them. This book (like the earlier one) feels like it is written by a smart woman, about a smart woman, for an audience that includes smart women.
The characters are also well constructed, and I found them interesting, if not always relatable or likable.
In particular, I still don't see Matthew's appeal, although I understand him much better now. The tension between him as a man of the time he was born in, a man of all the times he has lived through, a man of science and modern sensibilities, and as not just a vampire but a leader of vampires makes for an interesting character, even if not one that I'd find attractive.
Diana has a balancing act as well, being a witch that was raised with no apparent power of her own, a modern academic, a student learning about her unusual flavor of witchcraft, wife of a powerful vampire, all while trying to fit into life in a much earlier era. This makes for an interesting combination. In spite of being even more intriguing, I think I related to her even less here than in A Discovery of Witches. It didn't matter, I still wanted to keep reading.
All in all, this was a successful story, and I'm looking forward to the third book.(less)
She *is not who she claims to be *is a smart, competent heroine *knows how to take care of herself *(with a well-placed knee when trul...moreA fluffy bit of fun!
She *is not who she claims to be *is a smart, competent heroine *knows how to take care of herself *(with a well-placed knee when truly necessary) *is beautiful, but more importantly, she's a nice person.
He *has his own experience with life on the run *is back now, and intends to stay *is willing to drop everything to rescue the woman he loves *doesn't object to her playing a major roll in her own rescuing
For those who have read Just Like Heaven, this book starts at the Smythe-Smith performance where that book leaves off. There's no need to read it first, as familiarity gives some of the side characters more background, but doesn't effect the primary story at all.
A Night Like This has a gentle comedy running through, and the steam factor is relatively mild. Mostly, it's a fun story about two appealing people with some adventure, romance and a little humor thrown in as well.(less)
I enjoyed this sweeping story of a shoemaker and his wife.
This is how you make an interesting story about two seemingly ordinary people. "Turned over...moreI enjoyed this sweeping story of a shoemaker and his wife.
This is how you make an interesting story about two seemingly ordinary people. "Turned over to a convent to raise" isn't a common story, but it doesn't have to be an interesting one. "Heading to America to work menial jobs and send money to family at home" is a common story, one told many times before. In Trigiani's hands, even the ordinary details serve to bring the characters to life, to lift them off the pages of the book.
I loved the characters, who weren't perfect, but were real. They were interesting people, inspiring in a small way, the kind you can believe, the sort of people you could imagine knowing. They'd have interesting things to say, great stories to share.
Trigiani's writing makes it all come alive. I feel like I have a real sense of rural Italy, of New York and New Jersey, of Minnesota, of life in the shoe maker's shop, in the sewing factory, and at the opera.
I loved the relationships in this book. The straightforward friendships found in unexpected places, the loving parent-child links, the more troubled parents and children, the complicated siblings, the love interests that were good while they lasted, the marriages that lasted... In all these cases and more, they rang true.
I never quite connected with this pirate tale. There wasn't anything wrong with the story, but I suspect all detail will be gone from my memory within...moreI never quite connected with this pirate tale. There wasn't anything wrong with the story, but I suspect all detail will be gone from my memory within days.(less)
I love this series, and I think this book is an example of everything the series does well.
What the cover blurb (and description above) miss...more4.5 stars
I love this series, and I think this book is an example of everything the series does well.
What the cover blurb (and description above) miss is the framing contemporary story line, which continues through the series. American graduate student Eloise is living in England researching spies in Napoleon's time. She discovers that this is harder than she expects, gets tied up in some intrigue of her own, and along the way, finds her own romance, one that doesn't wrap up quite as tidily as those in the spy stories she's encountering in her research.
I admit that as of the last installment, I thought the contemporary storyline was getting pushed further and further into the shadow of the historical. As the historical stories were becoming even stronger, I didn't exactly mind, but I was happy to see it back with some real oomph here. It had real relationship questions mixed in with an absolutely goofy movie set plot, and I found it delightful.
I didn't like the historical story quite as well as the last few, but that's a high standard to hold. Certainly, it still stands up well to the genre as a whole.
As is typical for a Lauren Willig heroine, Emma is not your run of the mill society miss, and isn't afraid to stand out in society. Her links to the Bonaparte family put her in an situation of interest to the network of spies these books center around, but her flirty personality and interest in her late husband's mechanical endeavors make her interesting to read about.
I wasn't enamored with her love interest, but he didn't pose a problem for me either. Between the fun and frivolity of the masque the two teamed up to put on, the excitement of the spy story, and the interesting historical details, I was well entertained.
I always appreciate Lauren Willig's notes from her historical research-- the most unlikely seeming characters and events turn out to be those pulled from the past.
The big question when reviewing book 8 of a series is whether this is a good place to start reading. This book would be fine as a standalone, but the series is worth starting at the beginning, and watching the plot build and the characters come and go.(less)