I have gradually come to appreciate--dare I say even love?--Hercule Poirot. Even so, this one took three or four chapters to take to this one. At firs...moreI have gradually come to appreciate--dare I say even love?--Hercule Poirot. Even so, this one took three or four chapters to take to this one. At first I thought I couldn't even finish it, I just didn't like the flow of the first few chapters, introducing all these people (often nameless), the focus on a piece of jewelry, all this big build-up before introducing the main characters, etc. The story was oh-so-slow to start. But then at one point, everything started to click, started to move, and the novel became much better.
So what is this one about? Well, let's start with the victim, Ruth Kettering. She's in a very unhappy marriage. She's in love with someone else, her husband is in lust with someone else. (Well, to be fair, I think she's in lust with someone else too. Except I think she honestly thinks that that lust is love, while I think the husband, Derek, is more realistic and realizes it is what it is.) Her affair being somewhat mostly private and out of the public's eyes, his not so much, he's "in lust" with an exotic dancer. Ruth's father is an American millionaire, and he is pressuring her to divorce her husband and start over. When the novel really opens, he's gifting her with some very, very, very expensive and oh-so-rare jewels, rubies. These are gems with a PAST and then some. Several weeks, if not several months, go by, and the novel next opens with a train trip. Ruth is on her way to meet her lover, her husband and his mistress just happen to be on the same train, and yet supposedly no one knows this. But perhaps it isn't right to start with the victim? Since the main character, the main character besides Poirot, is a young woman who's just recently inherited money. Katherine. This is truly more her story. For she's on the train as well, and she met Ruth just hours before her death. The two took a liking to one another, and Ruth confided in her a good deal. Even told Katherine how uneasy she felt about this trip, like something horrible was going to happen to her.
It was easy to see why Katherine was so likable. It really was. This Agatha Christie novel was good. I wouldn't say that it's one of the best, best, best mystery novels ever. Christie wrote so many, so many GREAT novels, that it would be hard for this one to make the top five or top ten, but it is definitely a good novel. I liked it!!! (less)
Not sure if it's my mood or if Pat just isn't as interesting as Anne, Emily, the Story Girl, or Marigold. It is not that I expect every Montgomery her...moreNot sure if it's my mood or if Pat just isn't as interesting as Anne, Emily, the Story Girl, or Marigold. It is not that I expect every Montgomery heroine to be just like Anne. I like that Montgomery's heroines tend to be different from one another. But other than the fact that Pat eventually started liking boys, Pat doesn't really grow or change or transform. The highlights of this one: Pat meets Jingle (Hilary) a poor young boy with an unfortunate name and no mother. From the start, readers suspect that he will be the love interest if not in this one then in book two. Pat also meets a young girl named Bets. The two are good friends. I never felt a connection with Pat really, so it was hard to find a connection with Pat and her best friend. Still, I thought it sad that the only really big thing that happens in the novel (unless you count the oh-so-tense episode with the missing dog) is Bets' death. If readers find Judy interesting--her storytelling fun--then perhaps there is enough to make this one worth reading. I didn't like this one much. (less)
Party Shoes isn't quite what I expected it to be. It started out with great promise, I thought. We meet Selina, a girl living with her British cousins...moreParty Shoes isn't quite what I expected it to be. It started out with great promise, I thought. We meet Selina, a girl living with her British cousins through the war (World War II). One day she receives a present from her American godmother. The parcel contains a beautiful though inappropriate for the times dress or 'frock' and some lovely shoes. Selina knows, as does her cousins and aunt and uncle that there will never be a suitable occasion for her to wear the dress and shoes. Not with the war on, not with the economy being what it is, etc. So the cousins have a meeting. Every person has to suggest at least one idea of how Selina can wear her dress and shoes before she outgrows them. After many ideas are presented, everyone concludes that they will have a pageant on the neighbor's lawn. They set the date for September 20, 1945. And then they each begin writing their piece.
Selina does learn through the process that she is more capable than she ever thought, that she can do things, that she is good at many things, that she is great with working with people, solving problems, etc.
Over half the book is focused on the tiny details of the pageant, each scene of the pageant. We're there for what feels like three hundred rehearsals. Of course, that's not really the case. Probably more like forty. But still. As their scenes are changed, arranged, rearranged, scripted, directed, etc. I found most of the book tedious. I didn't want it to be tedious. I wanted it to be a delight. But most of the delight happened in the first hundred pages. (less)
Because of Winn Dixie is one of my favorite, favorite, favorite books. I love, love, love this one! Opal Buloni, our young heroine, has recently moved...moreBecause of Winn Dixie is one of my favorite, favorite, favorite books. I love, love, love this one! Opal Buloni, our young heroine, has recently moved with her father, a preacher, to a small town in Florida. He is the new preacher at a small church, a church held in an old convenient store building, a church with no pews but lawn chairs. The novel, I believe, is set during the summer. Opal, when the novel opens, is still adjusting. She misses her mother tremendously. Her mother's leaving is not recent, but, as Opal grows up, she is beginning to realize more and more how much she misses her mother. Her curiosity and longing has changed. She feels her father ignores her, not because he doesn't love her, not because he doesn't want her or need her, but simply because he's always busy and quiet. Opal needs friends. Find friends she will and all because of Winn Dixie, the dog she finds at the grocery store. Winn Dixie, the dog with an irresistible smile, needs Opal just as much as she needs him. And with a little love from Opal and her Dad, Winn Dixie sets out to charm EVERYONE in town, even people who don't "like" dogs.
I love, love, love the characters in this one. I love Opal. I do. I love her dad. I love that he listens to his daughter and shares with her ten things about her mother. I love Gloria Dump, Miss Franny, Otis, and Sweetie Pie. And, of course, I love Winn Dixie. I also love Opal coming up with a ten things list for Winn Dixie.
I love the writing. This is one of those novels that is just so easy to quote!!! (less)