This was my very favourite book for a while when I was around 9 years old, I must have read it at least 10 times in a few years' time. When a certainThis was my very favourite book for a while when I was around 9 years old, I must have read it at least 10 times in a few years' time. When a certain nostalgic mood strikes me I sometimes still read a chapter here or there, and I still know the story almost by heart. To me this is one of those few old favourites that can take me back to my childhood in an instant. You know the phenomenon. I wanted to be that girl so badly, being the pupil of a witch on a Scottish island (or no, not Scottish exactly, in Dalriada!) in the early middle ages seemed like the ideal life to me. I'm not so sure about that now but as a plot for a children's book, it's perfect in any case...more
The blurb says "It will be a long time since a book has made you care so much" and I thought "Yeah right we'll see about that" but halfway in it comesThe blurb says "It will be a long time since a book has made you care so much" and I thought "Yeah right we'll see about that" but halfway in it comes true. This book made me cry more than once, and it made me suprise myself by calling out anxious "No!"s several times. I like Andrew Greig's way of writing, it isn't very striking or fancy, there's seldom a word too many and it works wonderfully....more
I loved the few books by Daphne Du Maurier that I've read so far, and the few things I knew about the author's life (from the tv movie "Daphne", whichI loved the few books by Daphne Du Maurier that I've read so far, and the few things I knew about the author's life (from the tv movie "Daphne", which is great by the way) made me want to learn more. So this book should have been just right for me. And it was, from time to time. As I suspected, there were fascinating things to learn about Daphne's life in Menabilly and London, about her husband and her family etcetera. I also liked the storyline about the student, set in our own time. Even the Symington story had its fascinating moments, especially towards the end of the book. Only it's a pity I'm not much of a Brontës fan (I've read and liked Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre but I've never come anywhere near obsessing about them, and I hadn't even heard of Branwell Brontë before), and such a big part of the book is devoted to them. It was a good way to tie the storylines together, and Branwell's life is pretty interesting to read about, but my favourite parts were definitely the ones where little of no mention of the Brontës is made. I felt like these should have gotten more of the attention that went to the Brontës instead. I'd have liked to learn more about Paul and Rachel, for example. To make a long story short: not convincing enough to enthrall none-Brontë-fans, but almost!...more
I don't play chess (hardly even know the rules), have never had any talent for maths or music, and never guess what's going on in any mystery. Any (orI don't play chess (hardly even know the rules), have never had any talent for maths or music, and never guess what's going on in any mystery. Any (or all) of those things would probably have helped to make this book less confusing and frustrating at times. I liked the scope of it - the big number of characters (purely fictional as well as fictionalised historical), the places all over the world where the action takes place, the historical events that are involved. I like the idea of making something up (the Montglane chess set) and using it as a device to connect big parts of western and mid-eastern history. Very cool, in other words, and in the end it does all come together nicely, after some extremely nerve-shattering scenes that really had me on the edge of my seat, but sometimes the mystery just got too heavy for me. Questions, secrets, shadows, and more secrets. And the players' motives sometimes don't make any sense. Why would they all be so secretive all the time to those on their own side? Why recruit people without telling them anything until they have (sometimes quite needlessly) risked their lives 25 times? Why, when it comes down to it, would that nun dig up those pieces in the first place - seems like there wasn't much chance of anyone finding them despite the revolution if she hadn't told about a thousand people and scattered them all over France without any security, just to struggle and give her life (and that of most of her nuns etc.) just to bring them all together again like 2 weeks later? The answer to all of those questions is, of course, because otherwise the plot wouldn't be worth much... All in all, certainly good enough to make me want to read the sequel, but not my favourite historical mystery/thriller....more
Just as good as I've come to expect from Sarah Waters, i.e. definitely one of the best books I've read this year. As usual, the setting is fascinatingJust as good as I've come to expect from Sarah Waters, i.e. definitely one of the best books I've read this year. As usual, the setting is fascinating, and so are the characters and the things that happen to them as well as their relations to each other. At the end I still wasn't exactly sure what happened at Hundreds Hall (which is lovely, by the way, I loved the mixture of open ending and suggestion), but the image of doctor Faraday now haunting the house on his own, driving himself mad, is going to stay with me for a long time. The same goes for some other images from the book; this isn't a horror novel exactly, but some moments are genuinely horrific nonetheless (the cufflinks falling into the shaving bassin from thin air! the key in the snow! Caroline on the second landing...).
Sarah Waters has now "officially" become one of my favourite writers, and I can't wait until her next novel comes out, only a few more years to go, hopefully!...more
**spoiler alert** A disappointment, I don't think I'll read any more books by Katherine Neville after this one. Alright, "The Eight" was confusing, but**spoiler alert** A disappointment, I don't think I'll read any more books by Katherine Neville after this one. Alright, "The Eight" was confusing, but very enjoyable nonetheless. This one's just plain confusing. It still had its moments, but there was just too much going on. So every time something interesting happened or was mentioned, it was dropped immediately, never to return or be properly discussed, because a million other things had started to happen since. This also means I never started to feel anything for the characters (whereas I really sympathised with Cat, Lily and Solarin, in the first book). Also minus one star (in other words, the difference between "passing" and "failing") for having the "lesbian" fall in love with a man on the last page - of course it was just a phase, like the rollerblades. After all, the original instructions (and so the entire Game) were all about men and women falling in love, to sum it all up. The end. That was just the final drop, I was glad to finish this one!...more
Some of the characters in this book do incomprehensible, stupid things that make them very hard to sympathize with (I thought Nell was bad at first, bSome of the characters in this book do incomprehensible, stupid things that make them very hard to sympathize with (I thought Nell was bad at first, but reconsidered when I "met" Adeline, then reconsidered again when Rose's biological clock went off. And Linus deserves a mention here, too, yikes...). Luckily there's Elisa, who does some uncomprehensible things herself but at least she's not a complete bitch about it, and is a very compelling character on the whole. Also, the central mystery is quite satisfactory, so three stars sounds about right to me.
By the way, I listened to this as an audiobook and while the narration is pretty good generally speaking, I kept getting distracted by the narrator's take on the French word "poupée". Hard to seriously follow along in Linus' demented nostalgia about his POOPIE, unfortunately :D...more
Great setting and characters, but strangely enough that doesn't make it very engrossing. I have a feeling I'll enjoy remembering this more than I didGreat setting and characters, but strangely enough that doesn't make it very engrossing. I have a feeling I'll enjoy remembering this more than I did reading it....more