"Annie Taliaferro had that hammerhead look about her, like a breachy range cow, or a bunch-quitting steer."
This was your quintessential Western. Large"Annie Taliaferro had that hammerhead look about her, like a breachy range cow, or a bunch-quitting steer."
This was your quintessential Western. Large (sooo large that he towers over even really quite tall people) and drunk, Casey is duped into helping a beautiful but entitled woman, Annie, find her brother. Annie and her elderly father thought it was an awesome idea to set out on a long trip across an open expanse, accompanied only by a guide they had drugged and who hates them, while carting whole trunks filled with lacy underwear and almost no food, like you do. Annie never got the "taste of the curb bit" she so clearly needed when she was young. It's okay though, because she realises that all the admiration she gets is so eugh and the borderline contempt Casey has for her is way more attractive. Though she *is* hot so Casey can't help but think maybe, even though women, am I right? Anyway, so they wander through the prairie, filled with native americans who only ever think about murder, booze and having white captive women "service" them (classy, Adams, classy), and there's run-ins and weather problems and she literally twists her ankle and then he ditches them to resolve the plot on his own, because he's really very very manly indeed, no seriously you guys.
I was a bit let down by Annie's gun. It's mentioned plenty of times, along with the fact she only has one bullet, and that is not resolved in a satisfying way.
This was not what you'd call a good book, but it was interesting as a sort of microcosm of what sort of things people thought were okay to write in the 1960s. ...more
Parts of this book I flat out loved. The main characters were well fleshed out and events moved rapidly and were engrossing. Really weird sexual politParts of this book I flat out loved. The main characters were well fleshed out and events moved rapidly and were engrossing. Really weird sexual politics though, with a large dollop of homophobia. Personally I think I would have cried a lot more in the same situation - Claire deals with all this extremely well....more
An interesting twist on the governess in a strange environment concept. The tension built well and I really enjoyed the ending. I disliked the changeAn interesting twist on the governess in a strange environment concept. The tension built well and I really enjoyed the ending. I disliked the change of tense in the epilogue, and I'd really like to see a book of what happens next....more
This was an excellent romance. The plot was really good, the writing was strong, and I loved the way the characters grew together over time. The onlyThis was an excellent romance. The plot was really good, the writing was strong, and I loved the way the characters grew together over time. The only thing I felt conflicted over was (view spoiler)[ the decision not to tell Isabel that her baby had been murdered. I understand that she had recently reached a place of acceptance and he didn't want to disturb that, but if I was her I would have wanted to know. (hide spoiler)]
I found this book really refreshing and I'm looking forward to reading others by the same author. ["br"]>["br"]>...more
Eliza's friends have ordered her a mail-order husband, and she's not happy about it. So she goes to town to tell the bloke it's all off, but accidentaEliza's friends have ordered her a mail-order husband, and she's not happy about it. So she goes to town to tell the bloke it's all off, but accidentally hauls away Jackson, who is suffering from a concussion after being robbed on the train. He then escorts her home, and the mail-order husband declares this makes her a fallen woman and for some reason everyone just agrees with him, even though it was a very honourable and respected man who suggested Jackson escort her home in the first place. Of course this means the only thing to be done is for them to get married, except Eliza has a secret that means she doesn't think she can be a proper bride.
In general I liked the romance between the two main characters, but I had a whole bunch of problems with the plot and character development. The robbery on the train is never referred to again, likewise the suspicious looking mail order groom disappears never to be heard from again. There seems like there's a story around the fire, but not so much. The character development feels rushed, (view spoiler)[ for example, when the characters discover a small child who asks if he can call them ma and pa, they say yes immediately, even though they haven't looked into whether he has any living family outside his father, and even though Jackson thinks he's leaving in a year, and even though it makes things super awkward given they're not married or even engaged at that point. (hide spoiler)] I also had a lot of trouble with the idea that if a woman decided to change her plans (by WALKING ACROSS THE ROAD TO A DIFFERENT STORE), if she didn't ask her husband first she was a liar and broke promises. Even for the time period that's excessive.
Overall it was nice but I just wasn't a big fan. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I wanted to like this book so much. I have worked in the law for ages and I am studying (very slowly) for my law degree - you can imagine how excitedI wanted to like this book so much. I have worked in the law for ages and I am studying (very slowly) for my law degree - you can imagine how excited I was to see that the heroine in this was a Regency female lawyer!
What let this book down for me was the attitude towards intelligence, beauty and traditional gender roles. The story revolves around law-obsessed Esme, her solicitor brother and his friend and associate Quintus as they attempt to investigate a mystery. Esme was from the very first shrill, annoying and constantly "proving" her knowledge by telling her lawyer brother and his associate what the law was. When she and the hero are sent on the quest, she is ambivalent until the hero points out that she should be grateful to her brother for letting her do so much in the firm.
And that was when my head exploded. LET HER do all his drafts? She's saving him a fortune! Yes, sure, it is fortunate for her that he has non-traditional ideas about her value as a woman, but he still just gives her housekeeping money, not a wage, and saves a fortune by not having to hire a junior or a clerk to do all the drafting work Esme is doing.
But anyway, Esme and Quintus pretend to be married and she wears prettier clothes and they go to some parties, all the while Esme tries to hide both her intelligence and the fact that she secretly loves wearing pretty clothes. She occasionally slips because of the force of her personality but she's falling in love with Quintus and being a Lady so that makes things easier. *sigh* And Quintus talks a good game about being attracted to her intelligence, but there's an awful lot of word count spent on what she's wearing and her boobs and how these two things make him feel. And then at the end I feel that while lip-service is given to her dream, she has willingly accepted a far more traditional gender role that undermines a lot of who she was to begin with.
I felt during the whole novel nothing much needed to be done by the characters to solve the mystery. Sure, the protagonists undertake tasks designed to help them gather information, but (without going into too much detail) in the end they could have done nothing at all and the only thing different would be they wouldn't have been forced into close proximity long enough to fall for each other.
So I would say that while there was nothing wrong with the writing per se, I didn't enjoy the book overall. Some of the lines were brilliant and I actually really liked Quintus (though I would have liked a little more of his and his family's back story). 2.5 stars. ...more
I read this straight after The Devil Earl and I enjoyed it much more. I loved the hero and I loved the relationship that develops between him and theI read this straight after The Devil Earl and I enjoyed it much more. I loved the hero and I loved the relationship that develops between him and the heroine as she attempts to solve the mystery of the missing necklace. In particular, several parts of the book made me laugh out loud.
But it wasn't perfect. In particular, the heroine at the beginning of the book says she is a devotee of Plato, giving the impression that her methods of deduction are all about logic. And then she goes on to try and solve the crime based solely on intuition, leg-work and things she was fortunate enough to overhear. She complains that no-one takes her seriously - I had trouble taking her seriously. I was also fairly ropable when at the end of the book (view spoiler)[ she decides that her life-long dream to be a famous detective and be known for her "expertise" in solving mysteries was completely satisfied by being respected by the man she loved. Look, I have love and it's great. But it's not the be-all and end-all. I hate to see women in books put down their dreams because a guy enjoys their company. But it's completely cool, gals, because there will be heaps of domestic mysteries for her to solve at his estate. In the very last paragraph there's a suggestion that she will continue doing what she does, but I felt sad that she seemed to give up her ambition. (hide spoiler)] In addition, it was frustrating how she completely ignores the obvious solution for about half the book.
But the problems weren't overwhelming and I enjoyed this for being sweet and for having the relationship develop because he found her unusual and started wanting to make her happy by helping her achieve her goals, not just because he wanted to see her with her clothes off. A nice romance. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
As mentioned by several other people, the hardest thing to get over in this book is the constant comparisons you keep drawing in your head with GeorgeAs mentioned by several other people, the hardest thing to get over in this book is the constant comparisons you keep drawing in your head with Georgette Heyer. It did feel like the author said "You know what would be awesome? If Sylvester had more explicit sex scenes and smugglers!"
That said, on the whole I enjoyed this book. It definitely made me interested to read more by the same author. ...more
I find it really hard to give this book a star rating.
I didn't like it as such. It wasn't, to my mind, an enjoyable book. But the characters were engI find it really hard to give this book a star rating.
I didn't like it as such. It wasn't, to my mind, an enjoyable book. But the characters were engaging and once the author got past the whole "Look how clever I am with my literary conceit of DEATH narrating a novel!" I found the writing quite good.
The book made me cry for a good half of it, but it felt structured to evoke a tearful reaction. I guess my real problem was that I was never able to forget the author - the writing was so self-conscious - and therefore I never really got lost in the events and the characters.
(view spoiler)[ And what was with the ending? The entire block she lives on is destroyed by a bomb and she is the only survivor. After all the hints through the book, it felt as though the author had been leading up to something big and meaningful but then rocks fell and everyone died. I suppose he was trying to comment on the futility of war and the pointlessness and unpredictability of death, but honestly it felt like a cop-out. I was disappointed with the ending even as I was bawling my eyes out. (hide spoiler)]
I should add that I've never been keen on "literary" books. A lot of them feel pretentious to me. This was a little along those lines, but the I did fall for some of the characters so I can't say I wish I hadn't read it. So no star rating, just a mass of confused feelings. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Hannah, from an impoverished but hard-working, loving family, has a final night with her boyfriend before he leaves to make his fortu3 and 1/2 stars.
Hannah, from an impoverished but hard-working, loving family, has a final night with her boyfriend before he leaves to make his fortune on the Goldfields. She's pregnant, but her boyfriend is suddenly uncontactable and it looks like Hannah is heading for doom. When her boyfriend's brother, Judd, finds out she's pregnant he offers her a marriage in name-only so the baby isn't born a bastard, adding that they can get divorced when his brother receives her letters and returns.
I liked a lot of aspects of this book. The relationship between Judd and Hannah is sweet and builds fairly naturally over time, as does Hannah's resignation to the loss of her boyfriend as months go by with no contact. The mother and housekeeper characters were a little one-dimensional, but the bravery with which the author tackled some of the harder issues raised by Hannah's plight more than made up for it - (view spoiler)[at first I had assumed the boyfriend would come back married, or dead. I was very satisfied that he came back loving Hannah still and expecting her to feel the same way. The way she ends up with Judd felt more like the result of her forthrightness (is that a word?) and less like a cop-out. (hide spoiler)] Also, I liked that there weren't too many misunderstandings between the characters that weren't cleared up within a page or so by people actually talking to each other.
The main thing I didn't like was that I felt one of Judd's main plot lines was unresolved, and the other resolved in a way so off-handed as to make it meaningless. (view spoiler)[He never confronts his mother about her feeling that he caused his father's death, and he never really deals with that guilt himself. And his PTSD (at apparently NOT shooting his friend) being cured by a night of cuddles was sweet but really? (hide spoiler)]
On a personal note, this made me feel like such a baby for the way I gave birth. (view spoiler)[Hannah is in the back of a wagon in snow drift and doesn't even cry out, (hide spoiler)] whereas I had a nurse come in and ask my husband to ask me if I could not swear quite so often or so loudly because I was scaring passers-by. I think he knew what mood I was in because he didn't pass that along till after I was cuddling my bub later.
Overall this was a really nice book about accepting change and being honest with others and yourself. Really enjoyed it.
More of a 3.5 - I liked the main characters, but felt the misunderstanding between them was a bit facile. I'd just like to give props to the ending -More of a 3.5 - I liked the main characters, but felt the misunderstanding between them was a bit facile. I'd just like to give props to the ending - I'm so glad (and this might be a spoiler) (view spoiler)[ no-one found out they were secretly royalty and she wasn't a bastard herself - they were just who they were. That was what drove me nuts about the less-that-social-equals one I read earlier this week. While some of the characters in this book were a bit one-dimensional (for example, I think the Father was a bit of wasted potential) the ending doesn't pull its punches. (hide spoiler)]...more
I absolutely love Phryne Fisher - she's smart, sassy and very open minded. The story was interesting and refused to every go where I expected it to. TI absolutely love Phryne Fisher - she's smart, sassy and very open minded. The story was interesting and refused to every go where I expected it to. The opening is indicative of that - a set-up that would have taken Christie an entire book takes 2 minutes of our time, a sort of nod from the author that she has read and is moving on from those works. If I have any complaint, it's that the writing at the beginning feels a bit rushed. The real strength here is the characters. I liked Dot and the Doctor and they seem pretty well set up to be continuing characters.
(view spoiler)[About the ending. This is a spoiler. Honestly - a sex diversion? Really? She could have just shot them. That's what I would have done - I would have been all like "Ew, I'm gone for 2 seconds, you have both been locked in a cage with no bathroom overnight, and now you're getting it on? Get a hold of yourselves within the count of three or I'll shoot you." I should totally be the King of Cocaine. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>...more