Fans of Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen would love this book. The characters are vividly presented, the witty banter of the protagonist is delightfulFans of Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen would love this book. The characters are vividly presented, the witty banter of the protagonist is delightful and the fact that the book is more about friendship than romance is nice breath of fresh air.
There is nothing suspect in the book despite the title and the rather misleading back cover and the only reason for my four stars rather than five was that some of the characters just seemed too insensible to be true. ...more
My first Georgette Heyer novel and I'll definitely be going to read more from her.
A romance set in the Regency Era, Frederica Merriville although jusMy first Georgette Heyer novel and I'll definitely be going to read more from her.
A romance set in the Regency Era, Frederica Merriville although just 24 is the matriarch of her family, considers herself "on the shelf" and is determined to have her beautiful younger sister, Charis marry well. The Marquis of Alverstoke's (for purely selfish and mischievous reasons) helps introduce the Merriville sisters into London society changing his own life and view of the world in the process.
Heyer's characters in this novel are very personable and real with their own individual quirks and personalities. The dialogue is witty and charming with a lot of good humour thrown in.
What I especially like is that Frederica and her family don't change Alverstoke's character. To quote Jane Austen, in essentials he remains the same , but from their own behaviour and attitudes, they brought out the best that was already in him. ...more
A crime-solving child protege with a poison obsession coming from a slightly dysfunctional family was not what I was expecting from a book with the tiA crime-solving child protege with a poison obsession coming from a slightly dysfunctional family was not what I was expecting from a book with the title The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie . But that's not a bad thing in my book.
Set in 1950s England, Flavia de Luce, the protagonist, finds herself in a middle of a murder mystery when she stumbles upon a dying man in her garden in the middle of the night after eavesdropping on a late night argument between her father and a person she does not know. Her father is charged with the murder. Armed with her trusted bicycle, Gladys, and her brains, she seeks to unravel what happened in the past to find out who the real murderer is.
A light read mixed in with sombre moments and moments of hilarity (Flavia has some of the best lines). Oh yes, be prepared to learn a lot about stamp collecting. ...more
Cranford - a bittersweet sort of read about a small town dominated by elderly ladies of the single variety. More anecdotal rather than plot-driven andCranford - a bittersweet sort of read about a small town dominated by elderly ladies of the single variety. More anecdotal rather than plot-driven and set in a time where the class distinctions were slowly breaking down. ...more
Great storytelling and thoroughly researched. Lawhead places the reader in Wales during the time of the Norman conquests giving the legend of Robin HoGreat storytelling and thoroughly researched. Lawhead places the reader in Wales during the time of the Norman conquests giving the legend of Robin Hood a realistic backstory. Most of the story is told through the rather sardonic retelling of Will Scatlocke aka Will Scarlet, while in prison awaiting his sentence, where we find out what has happened since Bran ap Brychan's flight into the forest. The book was initially difficult to get into at the beginning due to the jump in plotlines and narratives but the book reaches the "thoroughly engaging so much so you can't put it down stage" eventually....more
A great book about WWI which pays homage to the women of the time who, though not able to go to the front lines, volunteer in any way they can to contA great book about WWI which pays homage to the women of the time who, though not able to go to the front lines, volunteer in any way they can to contribute to the war effort from setting up canteens in the rail stations to "ambulance" drivers and VADS for the Red Cross. The great mix of letters and third person narrative transports the reader back in time and allows for greater identification with the characters.
But the best was how the book manages to convey how the indomitable human spirit shines through the horrors of war. ...more
Though somewhat misled by the summary on the back cover (I was expecting a hilarious double-life scenario), this was an enjoyable read due to its deliThough somewhat misled by the summary on the back cover (I was expecting a hilarious double-life scenario), this was an enjoyable read due to its delightful and hilarious characters and the wonderful setting of Vienna. Though there are many references to the classical operas, the reader does not get lost if the operatic references are not understood.
Likes: The little quirky elements such as a tub of yoghurt called, "The Mother"; Guy's foster mother, Martha Hodge who is very happy having only what she needs and by helping others; the portrayal of the "pretty, self-absorbed and vain" fiance; the love for music shared by the two protagonists and their ingenous schemes taken to get out of their individual engagements.
Dislikes: How short it was... :)
I also love the way Eva Ibbotson writes and this book is no exception....more
I watched the movie first before reading the book and they are both fantastic. The book is written from a first person perspective but from the pointI watched the movie first before reading the book and they are both fantastic. The book is written from a first person perspective but from the point of view of the three protagonists, Aibileen, Minny and Skeeter. Set in the 1960's Jackson, Mississippi the reader is plunged into a world of societal lines - lines between white and black as well as lines between higher class and lower class whites - and irony/hypocrisy. These lines are shaken when Skeeter decides to write a book about the black maids working in white families and experiences and enlists the help of Aibileen who in turn enlists the help of Minny.
The various characters and their personalities really shine forth in this book and if you've seen the movie, you'll be reading in a Southern accent you didn't know you had. You shudder at what these women and people have gone through and you wonder at their sense of humour. Aibileen's pearls of wisdom and Minny's tongue lashings are joys to read and I am utterly grateful that my mother is not like Skeeter's.
But what I love is the fact that these are women that can and should be emulated in terms of their courage in standing for what's right. Skeeter sticks to her guns even though she becomes an outcast from her white social circle and her could-have-been fiance leaves her, Aibileen and Minny both risk their livelihood and even their lives by telling their stories and getting the other women to tell theirs. ...more
I have a mixed opinion on Michael O'Brien's books. I loved Plague Journal, could not appreciate Strangers and Sojourners (though I did finish it) andI have a mixed opinion on Michael O'Brien's books. I loved Plague Journal, could not appreciate Strangers and Sojourners (though I did finish it) and Eclipse of the Sun was especially poignant.
Sophia House joins Eclipse of the Sun in terms of poignancy but O'Brien's use of language is pure craftsmanship. He easily immerses you in every situation from the protagonist's mind and thoughts to war-torn Warsaw and to the tiny bookshop where a majority of the novel is set. The book has amazing character development, in particular, that of the protagonist Pawel Tarnowski, and the other characters have so much personality that you do not forget who they are.
Various themes are explored in this novel but the two that I think makes this book stand out is that of hope and the dignity of the human person. Hope for those who think they have nothing to hope and for those who think that they are unworthy of life that there is always something to live for. And the dignity of the human person is defended particularly in visual arts as well as in human relationships. Philosophers would enjoy the various discussions that Pawel and David have about words and communication; and those interested in reading more about a Jewish perspective would like O'Brien's respectful treatment of their teachings and beliefs. And I personally enjoy what he has to say about religious icons.
Like most of his works, this novel does have a religious undertone but one does not need to be a Catholic (nor a Jew for that matter) to understand the message he's trying to pass on. There are also homosexual elements within the novel which may be a cause of concern for some readers but there is nothing graphic and is dealt with in a rather intelligent manner.
In summary, it is a challenging read due to the subject matter but beautifully-written and definitely thought-provoking. ...more
Not my favourite of De Wohl's but he gives an excellent depiction of the various political and religious conflicts/climate of the time of St BenedictNot my favourite of De Wohl's but he gives an excellent depiction of the various political and religious conflicts/climate of the time of St Benedict and how he and his order was and is a much needed breath of fresh air. It is also great for the gems of wisdom by both Benedict and Boethius interspersed throughout the book. ...more