OK, I'm cheating a tiny bit by putting this on my "historical fiction" shelf, because this is nonfiction: the true account of a family from Arkansas,OK, I'm cheating a tiny bit by putting this on my "historical fiction" shelf, because this is nonfiction: the true account of a family from Arkansas, written by one of their descendants who was assisted in a research project by her community and by a small team of genealogists and archaeologists. But it was very colorful and entertaining and as far as my brain is concerned, I read a story. So there, it's on my historical fiction list—true or not :)...more
Beautifully and masterfully written. I was so eager to sink my teeth into more work by Margulies that I ended up buying a middle-school textbook (sighBeautifully and masterfully written. I was so eager to sink my teeth into more work by Margulies that I ended up buying a middle-school textbook (sigh—not as good as Belle Cora, alas). Extraordinarily well-crafted... a gripping, tender portrait of a complex female character. And by a male author! Five stars, bro. Five stars....more
Overall I felt this story had a strong plot concept, and the author managed to add some new dimension to the vampire genre... no mean feat, by the wayOverall I felt this story had a strong plot concept, and the author managed to add some new dimension to the vampire genre... no mean feat, by the way! But the order in which the story is presented is—I feel—badly chosen, because the whole diary concept in the early-middle is SO BORING. Finally breaking through that, I found that the pace picked up a little but not a lot. It's too bad because the beginning (James Norbury's backstory) is very nicely done. I can see how people have struggled to finish the book.
And I must add this, too: kudos to Owen for including the historically-accurate bathroom scene in London! We ladies are always heading off to the lavatory... unless of course we're in a historical novel, and then we never do. I appreciated the colorful detail, and thought it was worth mentioning. (A sheaf of papers on a string? Nice.)...more
I picked up this book because my own Southern heritage drives me to read stories that might shed light on the truths of slavery in America... especial
I picked up this book because my own Southern heritage drives me to read stories that might shed light on the truths of slavery in America... especially when they are stories about women. I dug into this book with enthusiasm, on a friend's recommendation, and was a little taken aback when the "art studio" appeared in the 1850s Virginia home. You see, I'm also a painter. Oh, neat! thought I, it's also a book about an artist! These are all my favorite themes all rolled into one! But alas, I can only suspend disbelief for so long. For one thing, Southern women did not paint, not even as a little creative hobby. Why? Because paint materials were absolutely not available. (Perhaps if Missus Lu had been written as a very well-connected, worldly Northerner who could have conceivably had ultramarine blue powder shipped to her by a source located in Philadelphia or New York...? Maybe?)
In the book, American Painters on Technique: The Colonial Period to 1860, researchers Lance Mayer and Gay Myers discuss the techniques and materials that were available to artists in America from 1830-1860, and after flipping through a book like that, it becomes eminently clear why we have no famous painters from the antebellum South. This was a place for farmers and merchants, not painters and sculptors.
Also, please don't get me started on why the slave girl would not have been permitted —AT ALL—to touch the painting supplies, should they have been available. It would have been a stretch for slaveholders of that time to entertain the idea that Josephine might have possessed of the talents or gifts we humans might enjoy. This was, by all accounts, a dark place and time—not without its moments of love and happiness, surely—but not the rosy picture that Conklin conjures in this very, very fictional book. And there lies the shame of it.