I got this as a pre-publication book in an exchange for a review. It has taken me a long time to read because I found it very hard to follow. I starteI got this as a pre-publication book in an exchange for a review. It has taken me a long time to read because I found it very hard to follow. I started it over again at least twice. I really wanted to like this book, but it didn't live up to its promise. The characters never clicked for me as they were constantly acting in ways that were not consistent either with the earlier descriptions or with common sense. For example, Eleanor, the main character who has inherited a large estate near the home of Emily Bronte, goes to visit the Bronte's home. Eleanore is a great fan of Emily Bronte who has been appearing to her as a ghost in her newly inherited house. All she says about the Bronte's home is that it is small and depressing and then says that the whole trip would have been wasted except that she sees a little blue bird hopping on a branch. Since she is talking to the ghost of Emily Bronte, the reader would assume that she would gain some insight from seeing her birthplace and the area that that influenced her writing, but Eleanor feels that the trip was a waste of time and dismisses it.
Since this was a prepublication copy of the book, I expect that there will be changes before publication, but I feel that it needs to be rewritten. There are elements of the story that are good and should be developed more and the main characters need to act more consistently. For example, Eleanor catches her boyfriend, whom she has loved since childhood, in bed with another woman. She then leaves for England immediately, as she has just inherited a large property in Yorkshire. After some time, her boyfriend shows up in England ostensibly to explain and make amends. This is never resolved. Eleanor sleeps with him and then troops back to Yorkshire and continues to develop a relationship with another man. Near the end of the book, her old friend reappears, after having been in London for some sort of business and there is a peculiar incident which leaves readers scratching their heads. ...more
I loved this book so much I marked as both a read again and a comfort read. The way Daniel and his father feel about books is the way I feel about theI loved this book so much I marked as both a read again and a comfort read. The way Daniel and his father feel about books is the way I feel about them. I just never thought anyone would put that love into words. I could see having a library were the souls of books exist.
For years I have been asking people what book influenced them in a way changed their lives. Some book such as Uncle Tom's Cabin changed a nation, others just change the direction of our lives.
Daniel is take to a special library where all the books ever written exist. He is told to find a book that speaks to him and that book is his responsibility for the rest of his life. He has to protect it, but someone is buying up all the copies of Daniel's book and the other books written by this author. What is going on?...more
This book turned out to be pretty good. I wasn't sure in the beginning. Sarah Piper was working at a temp agency and she was interviewed by the dapperThis book turned out to be pretty good. I wasn't sure in the beginning. Sarah Piper was working at a temp agency and she was interviewed by the dapper and handsome Alistair Gellis, who had a interesting proposition. He wished to hire her to help him make contact with a ghost...a man hating ghost. Sarah doesn't have many options, so she agrees to the task.
The ghost, a 19 year old serving girl named Maddy Clare, hanged herself in a barn which she continued to haunt. The two elderly ladies who had once employed her have sensed her increasing distress and want to help her make the transition to the afterlife.
There is more going on though. Sarah makes contact with her and senses her tremendous anger. Something is not right and Sarah and Alistair, with the help of his assistant, Matthew Ryder, begin to suspect that she has not committed suicide, but has been murdered.
There are interesting plot turns and a bit of romance and intrigue which make for a very entertaining ghost story. I will be reading more of this author....more
This is the second book of the Winterthurn series and is marginally better than the first. The plot centers around a small plot of land with an unrepeThis is the second book of the Winterthurn series and is marginally better than the first. The plot centers around a small plot of land with an unrepentant sinner buried on it and a reputation for sinister happenings. Five shop or mill girls end up being murdered there by what they call the "Gentleman Suitor." It is pretty easy to figure out who the murderer is as the reader follows the young detective, Xavier Kilgarvan around his home town of Winterthurn. Even getting the proof of the murders is not too difficult, but the trials are something else. There is a lot that doesn't ring true and while Xavier solves the crime, the reader is left very unsettled.
I found this book to be more satisfying to read than the first one until the end of the trial. From then on, I felt like the book unraveled. As with the first of this series, the book could have been good, but it just doesn't quite make it. The author may want to demonstrate that in real life, crimes don't always wrap themselves up neatly, but if that was what I wanted, I would read true crime, which I also enjoy. The best true crime writers, however, manage find as much background as they possibly can to attempt to explain the workings of the criminal's mind and to present as much of a resolution as is possible. I feel like good fiction should go even further since the murderer is known to the author and has been created with a personality which should follow a kind of logic, even if it is twisted, at least as it applies to the most important aspects of the crime. ...more
This book was very stange. I have read everything I could find on the web to get an idea of what I was missing. Apparently it was written this way inThis book was very stange. I have read everything I could find on the web to get an idea of what I was missing. Apparently it was written this way in the misguided idea that rarely in real life to we have all the answers in a mystery. What this means is that the reader is struggling to figure out what the various strange happenings and murders in the Honeymoon bedroom mean, who did them, why, and most importantly, how. Well, you are never quite sure of most of the above, especially the "how."
I also read that is was a parody on the Gothic mystery, but I wasn't really satisfied with that. I agree with one reviewer that it needed to be either a parody or a Gothic mystery, but not both. On the other hand, the book was very interesting. It had the feel of The Moonstone and The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins and I think it could have been as good if there was an explanation of the mystery. I did like it and I figured out enough of the solution to feel somewhat satisfied, but it could have easily been a great book....more
This book was as good as it was unsatisfying. What can I expect considering that Dickens died in the middle of the book. He stopped writing, had a strThis book was as good as it was unsatisfying. What can I expect considering that Dickens died in the middle of the book. He stopped writing, had a stroke at dinner and never regained consciousness. At first I wondered what the point would be to reading a mystery that wasn't finished, but it was much more interesting than I thought. It appears that Dickens was half-way through the book when he died, so the scene was set, the characters developed and the major clues laid down. There is fairly wide agreement on who did the murder, if there actually was a murder. On the other hand, some people feel like Edwin did not die, but survived the attack and disappeared. They feel that he would reappear at some point and confront the supposed murderer.
There is also a pretty fair agreement as to why Edwin Drood was murdered, if he was murdered. There are still plenty of mysteries left though. Was Dickens salting the book with red herrings and he intended a complete plot twist? Does he have one or two characters in disguise so that the book actually has two less characters than would appear? There are at least two possible romances set up...how do the turn out? What happens to Neville?
Fortunately, I was doing this with a book group and we could bounce ideas off each other. It has made it even more interesting. ...more
Reclusive biographer Margaret Lea has grown up in her father's bookstore. She has been asked to write a biography of the dying Vida Winter. The mysterReclusive biographer Margaret Lea has grown up in her father's bookstore. She has been asked to write a biography of the dying Vida Winter. The mysterious Ms. Winter has been a wildly popular writer whose real background has been clouded in secrecy. It is not that Ms. Winter won't tell of her past, it is that she makes up wild stories that are obviously untrue. She published a book called the Thirteen Tales, but there were only twelve. But now she is dying and she wants to finally have her tale told.
As Margaret begins to interview her in her brooding mansion she finds that she is in the dark about what she is to write. Ms. Winter seems to be spinning a tale again and Margaret does some investigating. What follows is a tale that is eerily like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. As Ms. Winter becomes weaker, the story becomes more twisted and sinister.
I enjoyed this book. I found the idea to be completely original while serving up a true gothic mystery with all the false trails, the sinister seeming servants and the derelict old mansion. I will probably read this one again as I am sure I missed quite a bit the first time....more
I'm reading this for a book group on Ravelry. I've read it twice before, but there is always more to get out of it. I've finally finished and I have tI'm reading this for a book group on Ravelry. I've read it twice before, but there is always more to get out of it. I've finally finished and I have to admit that I devoured the last 10 chapters. Mother and I had to have TV dinners because I was 85% finished and couldn't put the Kindle down...and I already vaguely remembered the end.
This is one of the most famous example of Gothic Literature. It is a story that seems to rise up from the barren moors. The characters are complex and seem driven by forces as strong as the winds that howl through the story. Old Mr. Earnshaw sets everything in motion when he brings home the street Arab whom he calls Heathcliff. He sees strengths in Heathcliff that he doesn't see in his own son and seems to care more about him arousing jealousy in his son, Hindley. Heathcliff and Earnshaw's wild and ungovernable daughter, Catherine, bond quickly and run wild on the moors. They form a bond that the whole story revolves around.
This is a wonderful story about love, obsession, betrayal, degradation and redemption. The motives of the characters are complex and have a depth that even Freud would find worthy of study.
I've read this several times in my life and I am reading it again for a group I belong to. I had forgotten how good it was. It has all of the elementsI've read this several times in my life and I am reading it again for a group I belong to. I had forgotten how good it was. It has all of the elements of a Gothic mystery. There is a spooky old mansion with a lovely and rich young girl, an earnest but poor young man who loves the girl but can't marry her, a capable older sister, a weird, reclusive old uncle/guardian, a mysterious suitor/husband, a creepy Count and the mysterious "woman in white" who appears and disappears throughout the story.
Of course, the beautiful young girl, Laura, marries the mysterious suitor, Sir Percival Glyde, who turns out to be a cruel monster, terribly influenced by the Count Fosco and his wife, who happens to be the sister of the reclusive uncle and is bitter about her lack of inheritance. Her sister, Marian Halcombe, comes to live with Laura and tries to protect her from her husband and Count Fosco. Her devotion to Laura knows no bounds and there is a wonderful scene where she proves her mettle by climbing on the roof of the mansion and listening to an important conversation between Sir Percival and Count Fosco in the pouring rain. The poor young lover, Walter, comes back into the picture after he returns from a long time in the jungle in Ecuador, where he attempted to recover from his devastation over the loss of Laura. Walter then attempts to solve the mystery of the Count and Sir Percival and their machinations.
The two best characters in the story are Marian and Walter, and that was one of the things that bothered me about the book. When Walter first meets Marian, he sees her at a distance and she appears to have an especially beautiful figure and presence, but when she turns around, he sees that she is ugly. When he meets Laura, he finds her beautiful and falls in love with her even though, Marian is, by far, stronger, more intelligent and interesting of the two. As the book proceeds, Marian becomes his friend, partner and confidant and yet all his love still goes to Laura. I am sure I am being unfair to Collins, as he was a product of his time, but to my way of thing Marian was a much better candidate for a life companion! ...more
I have read this just about every decade of my life since I was in high school. It is one of my favorite books. I can actually remember some of the meI have read this just about every decade of my life since I was in high school. It is one of my favorite books. I can actually remember some of the mental images of people and scenes that I laid down in that Sorry about that; the image can’t be replaced.
Collins has created some incredible characters that seem to have lives of their own. Gabriel Betteredge, the head steward and his love of Robinson Crusoe is unforgettable. He is the first narrator and sets the stage. Drusilla, the super Christian with her endless supply of religious tracts, is the one you love to hate. Sergeant Cuff is the premier detective who loves roses and is farsighted to keep notes his own conclusions even if no one believes him at the time. And then there is Ezra Jennings, a man so battered by misfortune who is so appealing and yet tragic. Interestingly enough, I find the side characters more compelling than the main characters, especially Rachel. Franklin Blake also could have been developed better, especially in the early chapters.
The plot is so convoluted, that it’s a book that can be read again and again. I get confused when I read it again after 10 years or so and I am constantly wondering is this the thief or is this the person I thought might be the thief? I say convoluted advisedly. It isn’t just a plot devise, the mystery is so complex it is hard to follow at times, but the random clues and dead ends are actually part of the solution.
This book goes on the top of my list for all time favorite mystery books. ...more