While reading The Grip of God I felt a nagging feeling in the back of my head, Sofia and her story reminds me of someone, but who? Last night it cameWhile reading The Grip of God I felt a nagging feeling in the back of my head, Sofia and her story reminds me of someone, but who? Last night it came to me, Cynthia Ann Parker.Strange I know but bear with me, (and yes I know Cynthia Ann was a real person) both were abducted at an early age and thrust into a world drastically outside their own and each from a tribe. Violence could have been a daily occurrence and yet, they survived.
Without the comparisons Sofia was well developed and was drawn into her story. She showed depth and liked that she realized how crazy it all was. Sofia grew as character the further I went with The Grip of God, as she mingled with a class unfamiliar with her. This may be a little irrelevant but the first time I read Memoirs of a Geisha I was thirteen and remember reading of a woman wearing a robe with a tie in the front. I thought nothing of it. Later, when I read it as an adult I realized it was for "easier access" I felt her growth was like that, looking back with a new perspective.
As for Sofia's captor, Argamon was a pig, there's really no way to go about, he'd go all Gladiator and come back expecting his romp in the hay. No matter how nicey nicey he may have played, just eww. That is all.
The plot was original and enjoyed that it was based on historical facts. I usually read stories that are on the darker side and felt Rebecca Hazell's novel fit the bill. This not to say that it was scary dark but more like Micheal Jackson's Thriller video right before his eyes glow green. So the best way to describe it would be a combination of Game of Thrones narrated by Vincent Price.
Honestly, my only complaint is there were a lot of characters whose names sounded similar, and it took me a while to keep them straight. Because of this, I found it a little distracting and did take away a bit of the storytelling.
Overall, The Grip of God was a very interesting and unique read. ...more
I read The Collector of Dying Breaths slowly, as if I was taking my last breath. The story was as intoxicating as the perfumes described in its pages.I read The Collector of Dying Breaths slowly, as if I was taking my last breath. The story was as intoxicating as the perfumes described in its pages.
When a story is told in two parts let alone two centuries I am usually drawn more towards one. This was not the case here. I was just as invested in Jac's story as I was Rene's. Throughout the novel's intertwining stories I was torn who I wanted to hear more from. Rene and Cathrine played off the royal intrigue and backstabbing well and kept my interest level up. From the start of the book it was obvious that Rene had nerve, but he played his hand well and Cathrine de Medici's devoted faith in him reminded me a bit of the Tsarina Alexandra and Rasputin. From an outsider looking in, it all appeared off kilter and as odd as some of the ingredients in the perfumes Rene created.
At the start of Jac's story with Robbie's death, Jac's darkness was my darkness and she brought me in. For not having actually lived in the 1500s Melinoe and Serge sure creept the hell out of me. They were dark and ominous; this along with the castle backdrop created the perfect Gothic palate.
I just watched Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, at the very end Indiana Jone's colleague Elsa Schneider gets greedy and tries to take the Holy Grail for herself. She pays with her life and Indy almost falls to the same fate if his father hadn't told Junior to let go. That is how I felt about the fantastic plot of The Collector of Dying Breaths, a temple of suspense, a seemingly unachievable goal that many have aspired to. This novel was wow, just wow, M.J. Rose's book was spellbinding and is a colossal work of fiction which I would highly recommend....more
"Nash first saw her as an apparition, a gilt London trinket set down by mistake at a dusty crossroads three miles north of town."
I'm not a romance kin"Nash first saw her as an apparition, a gilt London trinket set down by mistake at a dusty crossroads three miles north of town."
I'm not a romance kind of girl. It's mushy gushy and not my style. But I do like the regency era so thought I'd give An Untitled Lady a try. It was so much more than that. While the quote above had me questioning I soon realized this was not a book to be associated with Fabio. I was reminded of North & South or Elizabeth Gaskell's writing in general. An Untitled Lady was a fantastic read.
Nicky Penttila writing is so descriptive that I felt like I was there and could feel the buttons , fabric and all things that belong in a mill.
What I feel is at the heart of this novel is a marriage out of convince that slowly kindles to love. I could go on to describe the reasons why but I fear it would be most of the book. I will simple say this gradual affection for one another is a treat to see.
An Untitled Lady was a pleasure to read and knocked me out of my addiction to Candy Crush -- and that's saying a lot.
While I was reading Queen Elizabeth's Daughter I felt like a foreign Bachelorette was being played in front of me, only with the Queen handing out theWhile I was reading Queen Elizabeth's Daughter I felt like a foreign Bachelorette was being played in front of me, only with the Queen handing out the roses. It was clear that the bulk of this story would be about Mary's love life and after being denied young love Queen Elizabeth feels it is her duty to find a match of power and wealth for her ward.
A ball is held at the beginning of the novel with all perspective suitors being introduced into the story and like the Bachelor each is more slimy than the last. I could only wait until Mary shooed them away, rolling my eyes at their pettiness and pictured "hot tub scenes" from a certain show on ABC.
Mary did not belong in one of those hot tub scenes she was sweet and as innocent as one could be under the roof above her head. I was instantly charmed by her and could see how she had so many suitors waiting in the wings to claim her hand.
Elizabeth exhibited terrible two syndrome, (I want what I want and get what I want) granted she is the Queen but has anyone ever heard of the magic words? Perhaps my teaching in manners has gotten the better of me but her snide attitude and gleaming greed in her eye hit a nerve with my blood pressure rising each time she entered the page.
I thought having Mary's love being Catholic in a Protestant world was very interesting and kept up a certain sense of intrigue which no date in the Bachelor could inspire. I immediately took a liking to Sir John Skydemore, he seemed down to earth and cared for all no matter what their station in life. Theirs was a love that one could route for groaning with each misstep and aww at the blooming romance.
Queen Elizabeth's Daughter was well-paced and held my attention for much too long a time, taking everything in my power to slow down, but while reading a good book that is never the case and was over much too soon....more
With the exclusion that Josephine was married to Napoleon Bonaparte I knew next to nil about this historical figure. I instantly fell in love. The desWith the exclusion that Josephine was married to Napoleon Bonaparte I knew next to nil about this historical figure. I instantly fell in love. The descriptions were vivid, the story sweeping, and immediately rooted for Josephine. She led a very interesting life with difficulties that could have caused her to roll into a ball and huddle in the corner, waiting until the coast was clear, but she stood tall. It this regard she reminded me of Scarlet O'Hara and her gumption. Perhaps it is just my love for the novel, but I could see Josephine creating a dress out of curtains to seduce a Rhett Butleresque character if it would be to her benefit.
While I enjoyed Heather Webb's novel from beginning to end the section that most caught my attention was Josephine's time at Les Carmes prison. I found her stint there to be revealing, not only of the strength of her character but also how much her story had gripped me, I needed to read this book like I needed to breath oxygen. To be cliche, I was spellbound.
After a tantalizing time the meeting and eventual relationship between Napoleon and Josephine emerges. The moment that had been just beyond the horizon had come and frankly, I was indifferent. Bonaparte encompassed a spoiled toddler going through the "terrible twos" and the peripheral was family squabbles. It was still a very interesting soapbox with Josephine coming off as Mother Teresa. I think, because said relationship is all I knew about the heroine I was expecting some big bang and instead was only as large as Bonaparte. Even still, I was in rapture by the storytelling, only this time I slowed down a bit and enjoyed the view.
Overall, Becoming Josephine was a worthwhile read and captured my imagination long after my Kindle had been switched off....more
Wake has a restrained power over the reader. Anna Hope's writing gives such love to the characters and holds the reader's breath with its elegance andWake has a restrained power over the reader. Anna Hope's writing gives such love to the characters and holds the reader's breath with its elegance and tackles a difficult subject with tenderness and unbridled strength.
All three characters were unique and could have been a novel on its own. Although, Evelyn, and Ada were the standouts. Their stories interested me more and had a more defined purpose to the plot.
Each time Ada came across the stage my heart broke for her loss. She was a strong character with a moving demeanor and looked forward to her parts in the novel. Her son lost at war was also an interesting (if not sad) addition, and read with reluctant veracity to learn of the actions that led to his unknown death.
Evelyn had a great resolve about her, a refined person trying unsuccessfully to make sense of it all. I felt that under the right circumstances, she could have risen to the occasion but could never quite reach that cloud and for that reason, I was a little disappointed in her.
Hettie, I really could have done without, she seemed unnecessary to the plotline and sighed when she came back on screen. Hettie felt underdeveloped and not as clear as Ada and Evelyn. Just ho hum.
The writing was beautifully lyrical but I felt the narrative was a bit erratic, jumping from one woman to the next without warning and had to take the time to adjust.
I did think including the unknown soldier was brilliant. He brought an intensity to the novel that a marked soldier never could and those scenes were vividly told creating a bright picture of what Anna Hope was conveying, to the tears of the surviving loved ones, and the helmet they all wore, it was a very emotionally draining time and added a large depth to Wake.
Anna Hope's Wake is not a novel you close the cover and say wow. It is only upon the next day, having time to reflect that you realize what a heart-wrenching impact the novel has left on you. ...more
I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series growing up. Twenty years later, I still set aside time for Hallmark's Little House on the Prairie MI loved Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series growing up. Twenty years later, I still set aside time for Hallmark's Little House on the Prairie Marathons and am just as enraptured by her books as I was at age eight. It recently came out the Laura's daughter Rose may have been the steamroller behind the writing. Between my nostalgic love and curiosity by this new snippet of information the novel, A Wilder Rose grabbed my interest.
During a rewrite of By the Shores of Silver Lake Rose takes the time to reminisce with a young aspiring author, making the bones of this storytelling. As informative as these break-ins were I think I preferred the flashbacks, Rose's protege annoyed me and felt it took some meat away from the bones. As for Rose herself, she came off as a whiny kid. maybe my childhood self was siding with Laura but Rose got on my nerves and had to put down this book numerous times.
Rose's story got repetitive, she lives at Rocky Ridge until she feels stifled and must purge herself of Mansfield. After her leave, she complains of the burden editing the Little House books is and prohibits her from working on her own material. Eventually she ends up back at Rocky Ridge and the cycle continues. It became tedious.
While I found Susan Wittig Albert's writing to be agreeable the fan girl in me was disappointed. Laura came off as petty and was described by Rose the way a sixteen year would after being grounded. I did think the concept was a good one and does make me want to read a biography or even some of Rose Wilder Lane's original work but as for A Wilder Rose, I think it could have been better executed. ...more
Excluding the Boleyn sisters I have read very few books on Henry's many wives particularly his sixth and last wife, Kathrine Parr.
Elizabeth Fremantle'Excluding the Boleyn sisters I have read very few books on Henry's many wives particularly his sixth and last wife, Kathrine Parr.
Elizabeth Fremantle's novel is soaking in detail from the descriptions of the elaborate dresses and jewels to the filth of living conditions creating a vivid portrait of 1500s court.
I have always enjoyed books that are told from different perspectives which Queen's Gambit conquers seamlessly. I was interested in Kathrine Parr's point of view but let's face it, we all know her most pressing problems were her inability to produce an heir and circumvent being burned at the stake. I preferred reading the novel through the eyes of secondary characters, the Queen's maid-servant Dot and personal Physician Huicke. Both were devoted to the queen and had unique, original voices with a story just as interesting to tell. I would have been devastated if either had been sent to the guillotine.
The pacing of Queen's Gambit was thrilling, reading at top speed to see what would happen next. Wait a minute, didn't I just say that Kathrine Parr's story was predictable? Perhaps, but as I stated earlier I know very little of Henry's spouses. Thus everything was a bright as a new spring morning.
Queen's Gambit is an enthralling novel of epic proportions, being a fantastic novel of historical fiction.
I received a readers copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review...more
When I began The Secret of Raven Point my first impression was that this is a novel of devotion. How far would you go for someone you love? It soundsWhen I began The Secret of Raven Point my first impression was that this is a novel of devotion. How far would you go for someone you love? It sounds a little sappy, like a Nicholas Sparks novel, the difference is that Juliet has grit. That trait is what carries The Secret of Raven Point. While I knew Juliet's mission of finding her brother Tuck was a fool's errand her determination and courage is what persevered
Even though it was fiction The Secret of Raven Point showed an interesting view-finder that can go overlooked, that of an army nurse. Jennifer Vanderbes, drew an elaborate picture of an army hospital. There were moments when I wish she hadn't painted such a vivid image as it was an unimaginable sight. Although, one cannot simply turn their head aside and wait for it to pass, I tackled it head on riveted by each character's role.
One patient Christopher Barnaby, may hold the answers to Juliet's burning question which is slowly revealed through the rise and fall of his battle fatigue. As this held a key point of the novel one could longingly anticipate the return to this story but there was so much swirling around that I didn't feel the need to speed through to Barnaby's next confession, instead it became the cream inside a Hostess cupcake.
On two separate occasions Jennifer Vanderbes incorporates a chance at romance. Thank goodness these were short lived, I thought that if advances were included it could be likened to an action film with the directors adding a little romance to draw female viewers. They did add a softening to a hard edged book, but I'm glad they puttered out.
The recovery of her brother Tuck soon became a novelty idea, a lost cause that was clung to. Despite no good deed going unpunished, this misguided hope is what held the novel together. My one complaint was the ending, while concluding on a cliffhanger I almost felt that the author didn't know how to end it and just stopped mid sentence. The epilogue ties everything together but if not for that I would have been left with something missing, an incomplete story. Overall, The Secret of Raven Point is worth the read and a different look at WWII.
I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review...more
I went into Mrs. Poe knowing very little of Mr. Edgar Allan Poe. I read The Raven in high school, but like most class literature, it was required, a cI went into Mrs. Poe knowing very little of Mr. Edgar Allan Poe. I read The Raven in high school, but like most class literature, it was required, a chore, and thus other than a nice poem it was a blip in my high school career.
Having said that, I read Lynn Cullen's Mrs. Poe the week leading up to my brother's wedding. It was the worst time possible to begin this novel as I had difficulty putting it down. I would sneak into the 1800s as often as I could, even if it was only for a moment or two.
In those fleeting moments I would fall into Old New York with descriptions that made me feel as if I were there, rather than surrounded by flowers and ribbon.
While reading Mrs. Poe I was reminded of the 1939 Wizard of Oz. Not for its yellow brick road but its transformation from black and white to color in the blink of an eye. Whenever Frances Osgood entered the Poe residence the colors would fade with the subdue atmosphere, with air you could cut through with a knife. Although, just as Dorothy steps though the door into Munchkinland I breathed a little and took in the change of scenery as we walked out of the dreary home.
As for its characters, I expected to find all of them despicable and loathsome. Yes at times Edgar and his lover Frances were unlikeable, how could they not with their infidelity? Although, I was just as wary with Mrs. Poe and her mother. Despite her frail nature there was something a little off, itching to be discovered.
The Gothic feel to Mrs. Poe was wonderfully paced and I was left rapt with attention. My heart palpitated with the novel's conclusion with an ending I would never have fathomed.
I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review...more
Nancy Horan once again brings life to a woman behind a famous man. In Under the Wide and Starry Sky Fanny Osbourne is drawn vividly with a tapestry ofNancy Horan once again brings life to a woman behind a famous man. In Under the Wide and Starry Sky Fanny Osbourne is drawn vividly with a tapestry of a story to tell.
What I liked about Robert Louis Stevenson and Fanny's courtship was that not only did they value each other as equals (for the most part) but that it did not immediately start after her son's death, but instead had a "Ten Things I Hate About You" beginning. You knew they would come together but the chase and understanding of one's feelings are what makes it interesting.
I absolutely enjoyed reading of the life they made together and the struggles regarding Louis's health as well as his successes. Although I did feel sorry for Fanny as I felt she never rose to her full potential, a woman lost in the shadow of their significant other is always tragic with Nancy Horan expertly showcasing Fanny's acceptance and disappointment, echoing the reader's own.
Under the Wide and Starry Sky did not have a house fire fast-paced ending but rather went at its own speed with an enjoyable stroll to the novel's conclusion. Like Loving Frank, Nancy Horan spins a beautiful story commanding the reader's attention to the very end. ...more
I first heard about Eve in Hollywood through an ad on Goodreads. I saw the words "All About Eve" splash across the screen and immediately clicked on iI first heard about Eve in Hollywood through an ad on Goodreads. I saw the words "All About Eve" splash across the screen and immediately clicked on it as the 1950s film of the same name is my favorite movie. I was slightly disappointed until I scrolled down and saw Gone with the Wind mentioned, my second favorite movie. That was when I decided that I had to read Eve in Hollywood.
After reading Eve in Hollywood I realized that while Eve Harrington was not the star of the show, Eve Ross was very similar as these short stories explore the allure she held over others both out and in the business. However indirectly Eve and her imperfect scar left a mark on those who even fleetingly crossed her path.
Although my favorite paths crossed was that of Olivia de Havilland. Eve so calm and collected and Olivia ready to jump into the game. While at the Santa Monica piers the pair came off as carefree, and childlike, discovering the world for the first time. It was refreshing. As for Eve's story, we learn all about Eve. One would think, that with my love of old Hollywood that her encounter with David O. Selznick would have been my highlight of that short story, yes I did enjoy reading that part but Eve getting coffee at an establishment with percolating steam coming out of it was so vivid and would love to have sat down with a cup and just write in my journal or take in the sights.
Amor Towles created a vivid portrait and was enthused to oversee Eve cross-out her list of fifteen "must sees"....more
Charles Lindbergh flew the Spirit of St. Louis to Paris and his baby was kidnapped. That's the gist of my knowledge of the Lindberghs. Much has been rCharles Lindbergh flew the Spirit of St. Louis to Paris and his baby was kidnapped. That's the gist of my knowledge of the Lindberghs. Much has been researched/documented on Charles Lindbergh but what about Lucky Lindy's co-pilot, his wife Anne Morrow Lindbergh? Like her first two novels Melanie Benjamin gives us a look at a magnificent woman behind the man.
I'm just going to come out and say it, Charles Lindbergh was an ass. I never got the impression that he genuinely cared about others nor did he always take into consideration other people's needs. It was very much Lucky Lindy's way or the highway. In short, because of his fame he came off like a spoiled brat.
Two examples of this involve their firstborn Charlie. At a very young age Charles Lindbergh (senior) practiced the Ferber method on his son. Not just letting him "cry it out" at bedtime but anytime and deprived him of a Mother's comfort as that would soften him up. Second, during Charlie's infancy, despite Anne's misgiving, the two of them hop on his plane and are gone for almost a year exploring the world with Lindbergh trying to regain some of his glory. Also, there is that whole thing about being anti-Semitic and buying into Hitler's pure race agenda. These heinous believes blackballed him, with the United States losing faith in their hero at a time so desperately needed.
It is also briefly mentioned that Charles Lindbergh went to (if only for a semester) the University of Wisconsin which is where my dad went as well. I mentioned this to him, and told me he was actually embarrassed about that as after reading a biography on the aviator, someone he admired, came up with the same conclusion as me: "Charles Lindbergh was an ass."
Anne, is the unpopular, plain one in the Morrow family until she is thrown into a whirlwind with the marriage of the century to Charles Lindbergh and immediately becomes a tabloid sensation, with her every move being watched. Anne, is submissive to her husband and (although did find her voice later in life) while I myself am not the most outspoken person found it irksome that this intelligent, college graduate woman would degrade herself so.
Despite that I found that she was the Lindbergh to look to as a role model. Not only was she fluent in aviation/coordinates but was also the first female to obtain her pilot's licence and a best selling author to boot. An example of her thoughtful mind is her disagreement on Charles believe in cleansing the Jewish population as Anne just saw them as people looking past the Star of David on their chest. And in spite of it all, I believe Charles admired her too.
Now for the second thing I know about the Lindbergh's, the kidnapping of Charles A. Lindbergh Jr. when he was only 20 months old. It was heartbreaking to see these events play out not as Mr. and Mrs. Lindbergh but as two parents facing their greatest nightmare, to only have their hopes crushed like their baby's skull.
I have read several articles on the case and it has been speculated several times that Little Charlie's father may be to blame, a practical joke gone wrong. If true, it makes it even more horrific. How could one live with themselves?
The Aviator's Wife is so rich in detail that if I were to describe it all it would be as long as Lucky Lindy's flight. I will only say that the drenching beautiful storytelling is filled to the brim with discovery. Whether it be sexual orientation or finding your voice, I was flying on cloud nine while indulging in The Aviator's Wife. Melanie Benjamin shows us that there is so much more to Anne's story than just Charles Lindbergh's wife....more
If given the opportunity to travel back in time would you risk changing history and its potential future, or would you let sleeping dogs lie? This isIf given the opportunity to travel back in time would you risk changing history and its potential future, or would you let sleeping dogs lie? This is the question Jake Epping is faced with. After finding a portal into the past Jake is transported into September 1958, with a mission-- prevent the JFK assassination. Easier said than done. Jake spends the next five years as George Amberson as he tracks Lee Harvery Oswald's every move with each step changing the course of history.
Jake tests the waters by saving the family of the high school's janitor, and after his success feels he is given the go-ahead to bigger and better dealings. I was surprised that the time portal (which felt a lot like Alice's rabbit hole) did not emerge in 1963 but the five year gap was thrilling. The majority of the first half was taken up with the Dunning family who if Jake didn't save would be beaten to death by Mr. Dunning with a hammer. I could not read fast enough to find the ending to this fate and let a sigh of relieve after learning their outcome. After his job is done he moves to a small town in Texas and begins to teach (his profession in 2011) and while killing time for Oswald to return from the Soviet Union he falls for the school librarian. Personally, I thought that Sadie added nothing to the story and was really just a distraction from Jake's tailing Lee Oswald.
The main event, 11/22/63 was thrilling and to use the cliche, I was on the edge of my seat. Jake/George and Sadie racing to the Book Depository Building was like an episode of The Amazing Race, literary a race against time. When Jake and Sadie raced up the stairs to the sixth floor my heart was pounding, meeting Lee Harvey Oswald was chilling, it was a compelling read.
After all is seemingly right in the world Jake Epping returns to 2011 only to find the world as we knew it not to exist, turning Bedford Falls into Pottersville.
Unfortunately, I found the ending to be lack luster, although I think it would have been a difficult feet to "tie up lose ends" considering the subject matter but does an acceptable job. Instead of a happy ending leaves us thinking the past is obdurate....more
Wench follows four slave women and their masters as they vacation at the Tawawa House, a resort in Ohio in the 1850s in which white men from the southWench follows four slave women and their masters as they vacation at the Tawawa House, a resort in Ohio in the 1850s in which white men from the south would vacation with their slave mistresses. Although, due to Ohio being a "free state" the northerners frowned upon such behaviors eventually closing the retreat. Wench is the story of those four summers that the Tawawa House was open.
Lizzie, our lead protagonist visits the camp with her master Drayle and looks at this time as a mini-vacation to spend with her friends, Sweet, Reenie and Mawu. Wench was an interesting concept but went absolutely nowhere. The bases of the plot was the girls doing some sort of chore, followed by anal sex and maybe popping out a baby or two. There were several opportunities to "take it somewhere" such as a difficult childbirth, attempted escapes or a vague description of life in the slave quarters. Unfortunately each opportunity ended with master and slave heading back to the cabin for anal sex.
So much potential but such a disappointment. I think part of the problem was that a plethora of historical fiction novels has been written on the topic of slavery, (Gone with the Wind, Cane River, Uncle Tom's Cabin) and Wench brought nothing new to stand out from the rest of the crowd and could easily be picked last for "Red Rover". ...more
There is a woman behind every man. An amazing woman. That's what The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb is about, Mercy Lavinia “Vinnie” Bump, the wife oThere is a woman behind every man. An amazing woman. That's what The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb is about, Mercy Lavinia “Vinnie” Bump, the wife of Tom Thumb.
Most know of Tom Thumb through a cute fairy tale or a Disney production, but not the real story. That is what I like about Melanie Benjamin's writing/novels; as she did in Alice I Have Been, she took a well known fairy tale and gave the reader an "inside scoop" to the truth behind it, sometimes fact is stranger than fiction.
Vinnie is determined to be remembered, instead of her name being covered up in weeds. Thus, she is recruited by a "cousin" to preform on a Mississippi Showboat; with the conditions and treatment being heinous, devoid of the luxury one may associate with show business. I found this very interesting, not only for its depiction but because of where they stopped; two of their dockings, Davenport, Iowa and Galena, Illinois, I live about thirty minutes from Davenport and have visited Galena several times, so I found their descriptions interesting, fiction or otherwise; although I was particularly peeked by Ulysses S. Grant's appearance in the book.
Eventually, after some lude conduct Vinne comes back home and again is signed, this time to no other than P.T. Barnum. Everything before was just a prelude. Here Vinnie's story really begins, she gains the fame she has craved for and finds a partner in Charles Srattan i.e. General Tom Thumb , even if it is only a business move. This is where I started getting annoyed with Vinnie, she became self-centered and a little thoughtless always keeping her eye on the prize, by using people to further her career. There is nothing wrong with wanting to better yourself, but it did make me lose a little respect for her.
But there is one person she would do anything for, not her husband but her little sister Minnie the only sibling who is over the same height as she. Vinnie is an over-protective sister, shielding her from all the evil in the world and giving Minnie (almost) anything her heart desires.
By almost I mean a baby. After she and Charles marry, the world awaits a child from the dwarfed couple. Despite Vinnie inability to conceive Barnum creates a baby Stratton, replacing it each time the baby got too big. Like giving up a puppy, it killed Charles' and Minnie's heart every time a baby was taken from them; and this longing was the reason for Minnie's undoing.
The last quater of the book was a whirlwind, so much was crunched in the the last 75 pages that I was reading as quickly as I could take it in. Lives are threaten and lost, with business going sour. The last twenty pages, including a mass fire at a Milwaukee Hotel had me engulfed with curiosity to the end of the book, which I found to be all too tragic, but the show must go on. ...more
Boston blueblood Charlotte Vale has led an unhappy, sheltered life. Lonely, dowdy, repressed, and pushing 40, Charlotte finds salvation at a sanitariuBoston blueblood Charlotte Vale has led an unhappy, sheltered life. Lonely, dowdy, repressed, and pushing 40, Charlotte finds salvation at a sanitarium, where she undergoes an emotional and physical transformation. After her extreme makeover, the new Charlotte tests her mettle by embarking on a cruise—and finds herself in a torrid love affair with a married man which ends at the conclusion of the voyage. But only then can the real journey begin, as Charlotte is forced to navigate a new life for herself.
Now, Voyager is a classic novel which was later popularized by the 1942 film starring Bette Davis. I first became antiquated with the novel through the cinema due to my favorite actress being Bette Davis. Therefore, I knew the story going into it but this did not tarnish the novel. The film followed the novel to a tee and while one could easily have pictured Bette Davis in the role of Charlotte Vale (like Daniel Radcliff to Harry Potter) she was described in such detail that the reader was able to picture their own version of the character. So as not to give too much away, I will just add a few more thoughts on particular main characters, Charlotte's mother is like Cinderella's Wicked Step-Mother, a selfish creature who holds her daughter hostage until her dying day. Jerry Durrance, her lover is considerate aware that he is ruining his lover's chances of happiness but is still torn between doing the right thing. In short, Jerry is an adulterer that I loved and routed for. His daughter Tina, is the knot that ties the two lovers together, a younger version of Charlotte before she broke free of her uni-brow. She is the reason that her father and guardian ask for the moon, as they have the stars. ...more
No Angel by Penny Vincenzi chronicles the lives of the Lyttons, a wealthy family who owns a publishing house in London around the first world war. AtNo Angel by Penny Vincenzi chronicles the lives of the Lyttons, a wealthy family who owns a publishing house in London around the first world war. At the center of the story is Lady Celia Beckenham, a strong-willed, blue-blooded beauty who forces her parents to bless her marriage to the lower-ranking Oliver Lytton, by getting pregnant. Motherhood is not quite as fulfilling as she or others would have hoped and eventually works her way into Lyttons, becoming an accomplished editor and asset to the publishing house. As WWI breaks out, Oliver feels it to be his duty to enlist and leaves Celia in charge while he is away. Along the way she makes a discovery both professionally and personally that effects her outlook on life.
No Angel is a a page turner and what I felt to be an accurate account of that time of history; with references to the woman's suffrage movement, medicine, social affairs and the after effects of war. There are very few cliff-hanger at the end of No Angel as most have been tied up, but not in a cutesy "It's A Wonderful Life" kind of way. If this had been a stand alone novel, which it quite possibly could be; I would be extremely depressed that it was over, but fortunately, it is the first in the Spoils of Time trilogy and therefore have two more books to read in this amazing series....more