Super-fun gothic mystery set in the 1920s, with a real supernatural shiver and a fabulous, complicated female friendship at its heart. I liked SimoneSuper-fun gothic mystery set in the 1920s, with a real supernatural shiver and a fabulous, complicated female friendship at its heart. I liked Simone St. James's The Haunting of Maddy Clare when I read it last year, but I enjoyed The Other Side of Midnight even more, and this one left me wanting to *immediately* devour all of her other books, too!
There were so many bits I loved in this book, from the intense, complex and compelling relationships (between the heroine and her late best friend/passionate enemy; the heroine and her beloved/resented late mom, whose clothing and life she has stepped into; the heroine and the hero, who share fabulous chemistry) to the real chill of the supernatural that's conveyed in the gorgeous writing and the strong, grounded historical setting.
I'm calling it a 4-star rather than a 5-star review because I wasn't quite sure that I bought all of the logic in the final conclusion to the mystery...but I have to be honest here and say that that really might just be me. I read the last quarter of the book in one large gulp, staying up far too late to do it, so it may be that I was just too tired to pick up on every detail!
Regardless, once I finished reading this book, I put it on my shelf for re-reading in the future...and immediately put all of her other books onto my wishlist! So in other words, I *really* enjoyed it....more
This book is just wildly wacky, funny, and totally entertaining, and I enjoyed almost every moment of it. The humor is surreal in a Daniel-*4.5 stars*
This book is just wildly wacky, funny, and totally entertaining, and I enjoyed almost every moment of it. The humor is surreal in a Daniel-Pinkwater-esque way that worked really, really well for me. The narrator, Daphne, is great, her new friend the (deeply impractical) genius Nate is great, and the sinister secret society deeply devoted to tea AND DEATH is just awesome. (I love their tea breaks!)
Also, this book includes my very favorite talking dog outside of Doctor Who. Bosper is HILARIOUS!
The one and only time I stumbled in my reading was just a 4-line moment...but at one point Daphne responds to something Nate has said by saying, "Mom says girls don't have to make sense" and Nate replies, "Yeah. Dad says the same thing. A lot," and I stopped reading to grit my teeth and roll my eyes VERY VERY HARD.
But I didn't put down the book (which, to be honest, I usually would, if I came across an annoyingly sexist set of lines like that), because I'd been having SO much fun until then...and within a page, I was once again fully immersed in the zany adventure and enjoying it completely. That one sexist joke was an anomaly that didn't fit with Daphne's own character - Daphne herself is smart and brave and strong and awesome - and isn't at all indicative of the rest of the book, which is filled with an enormous amount of fun for both boys and girls. Apart from those 2 small paragraphs in the middle, I really loved the humor and the adventure and the silliness and the characters.
And I am really looking forward to reading Book 2!...more
Honestly, I can't review Julia Quinn's novels with any objectivity. I think some of them are really, objectively great (I would give anyone in the worHonestly, I can't review Julia Quinn's novels with any objectivity. I think some of them are really, objectively great (I would give anyone in the world _What Happens in London_ as a romance intro!), and some of them are less great, but all of them reliably make me happy as I read, and this one made me REALLY happy. It took a couple chapters for this one to click for me, but then I absolutely devoured the rest of the book, mostly with a big, goofy smile on my face, and frequently laughing out loud. I loved it. It's the opening of a new series, which is a prequel series, so it could work for anyone whether or not they've read any of her books before. It doesn't have the absolutely brilliant, spectacular humor of a couple of her top novels, but it's just full of warmth and fun and joy. And I'm so grateful for a writer whose new books, every year, can so consistently be counted on to make me smile and laugh and feel good about the world....more
I absolutely devoured this book, a delicious historical novel set in Tudor England, with a fabulously sharp and spiky narrator who is the cousin (andI absolutely devoured this book, a delicious historical novel set in Tudor England, with a fabulously sharp and spiky narrator who is the cousin (and rival) of Henry VIII's ill-fated wife Katherine Howard. I'm not sure exactly which genre to class it in, as it breaks some of the "rules" of children's literature - it looks from the cover like an MG novel, and starts with Eliza at 12, but by the end of the book she's 20 and has been dealing for years with the questions of how to operate in a licentious and brutal court. There aren't any explicit sex scenes, but the issues discussed are certainly adult...as, of course, teenage girls were expected to be in that era.
It's all incredibly addictive, smart and entertaining and perfectly handled. I loved that Worsley let her heroine be sharp and unlikeable at various points, with her pride getting in the way of her own good. I loved Eliza's voice - and oh, I swooned over her romance! And the historical era is conveyed beautifully throughout. I was already a huge fan of Worsley's historical nonfiction, and this was the most purely fun novel I've read in a while. I can't wait to read her next one!...more