Oh dear, if only this author had not taken one of my very favourite fairy tales to adapt I might have had a different reaction. I first discovered "Th...moreOh dear, if only this author had not taken one of my very favourite fairy tales to adapt I might have had a different reaction. I first discovered "The Princess of Tomboso" while listening to C'est la vie on CBC radio one afternoon several years ago. The woman who told this story obviously loved it and told it with much feeling and great glee. I was captivated. After that I scoured libraries and bookstores, finally finding it in Marius Barbeau's delightful collection : The Golden Phoenix and other French-Canadian fairy tales (1958). Eventually I found a copy for myself at a local used bookstore. Now I would like to get another copy to give to a niece who is expecting in the fall. Imagine my delight when I discovered this book by Jan Andrews, with an adapted version of this wonderful tale. But then I started to read it and could not believe my disappointment. Why she adapted it at all I cannot fathom. The original is old-fashioned but lively, and shows the three brothers in all their faults and foibles. No reason to sugar-coat their true natures! That is part of the charm and indeed, the point of the story. Most fairy tales have a moral or lesson of some kind--if you take away the character flaws, there is no longer a reason for the lesson. I must confess I did not read the other two stories as I did not have the heart to. I'm giving this two stars only because I hope this book inspires readers to look for other Canadian fairy tales and to try to find the original of The Princess of Tomboso. It is worth the hunt.(less)
Val Leftman was shot in the leg by her boyfriend and has spent the summer recuperating, more or less in isolation in her bedroom. Now it’s September a...moreVal Leftman was shot in the leg by her boyfriend and has spent the summer recuperating, more or less in isolation in her bedroom. Now it’s September and it’s time to go back to high school for her senior year. But as the day approaches she is more and more certain that this is not something she can do. She was not the only one shot that day in May. Her boyfriend, Nick, shot many of their classmates at school before shooting himself. Val was shot when she tried to stop him. Although some might see her as a hero, she knows that’s not true and far more see her as complicit in the crime. She didn’t pull the trigger, but she bears guilt from the rampage because Nick chose his victims from the “Hate List” that the two of them had compiled. Started at first as kind of a joke and a way of working out frustrations, it included names of students who bullied and humiliated them, teachers they disliked, and sometimes whole groups of people who caused them grief or pain. Now Val will have to return to the classmates who survived, some dreadfully scarred physically or emotionally, and face the reality of their fear or animosity.
I read this in two days and would have read it all in one sitting if I’d had the time. Very engrossing, very emotional, and very easy to empathize with Val and her situation. She’s a young girl whose boyfriend committed an atrocious crime, but she still loves him and misses him--not the guy who did the shooting, but the one she loved, before all this happened. She is filled with guilt and confusion for not having seen this coming and not being able to prevent it somehow. She feels terribly, terribly alone.
Eventually, Val is able to move along with her life, but there are many hurdles along the way and many, many tears. Be prepared for a few yourself (less)
Interesting look at the politics behind the scenes in 18th century Russia, leading up to the time of Catherine the Great's accession to the throne. T...more Interesting look at the politics behind the scenes in 18th century Russia, leading up to the time of Catherine the Great's accession to the throne. The story of Catherine II's rise to power is told from the point of view of one of the palace "tongues" or household spies, and it is a delicious combination of history, politics, intrigue and gossip. When Varvara Nikolayevna becomes an orphan, she is taken in by Empress Elizabeth because of a promise she'd made to Varvara's father, a skilled bookbinder. Varvara is noticed by the Chancellor and trained in the ways of spycraft. Her story is spellbinding, partly because of the history and its backstory but also because of Varvara's own story. As a spy she understands just how precarious her life is and how quickly and easily fortunes and loyalties change. Can anyone really trust anybody else? Intriguing, but in the end kind of a sad view of the world as Varvara realizes some hard lessons about love and friendship and whether they can exist in this context or are simply an illusion.
First in a mystery series introducing Walt Longmire, sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming. A young man is found dead near the Northern Cheyenne Reserva...moreFirst in a mystery series introducing Walt Longmire, sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming. A young man is found dead near the Northern Cheyenne Reservation, and although there are many who might not be that unhappy about it (two years earlier he and three other high school boys had been given a suspended sentence for raping a local, mentally challenged Cheyenne girl), the field is narrowed somewhat when it turns out the murder weapon was a long-range Sharps .45-70 buffalo rifle. Someone means business. With the help of his best friend, Henry Standing Bear, and his rough-talking deputy Victoria Moretti, Walt tries to solve the mystery before the killer can strike again. Along the way we meet a few more interesting characters and Walt finds some much-needed additional assistance from an unusual source.
Enjoyed this first one very much (except for the ending) and will definitely read more.