There were two books that sustained me the most during my first year of marriage - a year when everything was changing, I had moved away from everythiThere were two books that sustained me the most during my first year of marriage - a year when everything was changing, I had moved away from everything and everyone I knew, and I was post-school but pre-job or -kids, when my new husband was working long hours and I had huge spaces of time just by myself, wondering what my purpose was. One book was The Blue Castle, by LM Montgomery. The other was this book, Emily of Deep Valley. The questions and struggles Emily endured, the feeling of something ended without something else starting, the need to "muster her wits" and make her own path ... it all provided such encouragement and hope to my lonely soul!
I love that Emily's love story is secondary to her own self-discovery, that it provides a counterpoint to the lessons she is learning throughout her "lost year" but does not overshadow them. I love that Lovelace is not afraid to go against tradition - we are never sure if her heroines are going to end up with their first loves or with somebody new (in Lovelace's world, Anne Shirley and Roy Gardiner might very well have ended up more suitable to each other than Anne and Gilbert, shocking though that may seem!). I love that throughout everything she does is a thread of love and devotion to her grandfather, and never once is it suggested that she is wasting her life by staying with him. And I have to admit, I love all the descriptions of the clothes from back then!
It is an old-fashioned story, but Emily is a heroine for all ages....more
I think my favorite part about this story is the idea of a more "sporting" chance at suicide - giving a woman with nothing left to live for an impossiI think my favorite part about this story is the idea of a more "sporting" chance at suicide - giving a woman with nothing left to live for an impossible mission, with the candid admission that if she SHOULD survive it, quite likely she should have also found something to live for. The rest of the story, an unreal, dream-like destination with a harsher reality underneath it, and the final twist at the end where, as usual, no one and nothing is as imagined, is typical Christie-fare. A twisty, tricky, clever tale....more
This was one of the earliest Christies I read, and it only cemented my adoration for her sleuths. Bundle Brent is delightful, but it's the collaboratiThis was one of the earliest Christies I read, and it only cemented my adoration for her sleuths. Bundle Brent is delightful, but it's the collaboration between the amateurs and the professionals, as represented by Superintendent Battle, that charmed me most. The denouement itself took me completely by surprise, and even re-reading it for the dozenth time I still find clues hidden and sly humor that one only "gets" when one knows who the villain is. One of my favorite Christies, and one that holds up well even several years after the first reading....more
One of my favorite Christies ever. Anthony and Virginia alike are the type of people I wish I were friends with in real life; Bundle and Lord CatterhaOne of my favorite Christies ever. Anthony and Virginia alike are the type of people I wish I were friends with in real life; Bundle and Lord Catterham are adorable (so adorable that I'm glad we got to see more of them in the Seven Dials Mystery, along with Bill and Codders); Superintendent Battle is, as always, superb. The mystery itself gets a shade confusing in spots, and Anthony himself admits that much of his involvement in the matter comes about by amazing coincidence, but what does that matter in a Christie novel? It is the tricks and turns of the mystery, the tropes getting turned on their heads, as well as the brilliant characterizations, that keep us coming back to Dame Agatha. In The Secret of Chimneys, we see that at its finest....more
The Austins manage in this, the first book featuring them, to be real, idealistic, and lovable all at once. None of them are perfect, but overall theyThe Austins manage in this, the first book featuring them, to be real, idealistic, and lovable all at once. None of them are perfect, but overall they represents exactly what I long for most - a family of loving, thinking, laughing individuals. I can never read a dinnertime scene without fiercely wishing for that in my own house.
If you are looking for an exciting story, this isn't it. If you are looking for a story that seems simple on the surface, yet simmers with quiet joy underneath, that stays with you for a long time after reading, look no further. Meet the Austins is the book for you....more
Re-reading this in 2015 is an entirely different experience from reading it three years ago. It doesn't even read like an Austin family book - ratherRe-reading this in 2015 is an entirely different experience from reading it three years ago. It doesn't even read like an Austin family book - rather like the melodrama of the Poly O'Keefe books. I don't understand how the capable and wise Dr. Austin can suddenly be this naive (and oh my, did I get sick of reading that word) and stupidly idealistic man, how a husband and wife who have such deep trust in each other and respect for each other can turn into the husband treating his wife like a seven-year-old, how grown adults can be so enragingly careless with children's lives, and how on earth Rob Austin got to be seven years old without being told to never, ever trust a person who tells him to keep something a secret from his parents.
I spent most of this re-read sputtering in indignation. Really, if the people in the book would have just TALKED to each other ONCE, the whole mess would have come clear. Instead they all insisted on keeping their secrets and merely giving vague warnings of danger. HELPFUL.
Also, FYI, I don't care how big and protective your dog is, it is STUPID to let your seven-year-old wander around anywhere, but especially NYC when you know you and your entire family are in danger, with no-one accompanying him but the dog. SERIOUSLY, people.
I'm not changing the rating on this, because I don't like to mess with the starred ratings once I've set them, but if I was reading this for the first time ever today, I would give it two stars. I wouldn't mind it so much if it were a stand-alone or a Poly book (though I would still be shouting at the characters to TALK TO EACH OTHER), but as an Austin book it utterly fails....more
Another well-written book by Duane. My chief complaint is that it seems a re-hashing of the first two - same enemy, same stakes, same difficulties, saAnother well-written book by Duane. My chief complaint is that it seems a re-hashing of the first two - same enemy, same stakes, same difficulties, same sacrifices, same ending. New world (literally) and a new protagonist, but everything else seems like we've read it all before. If the rest of the Young Wizards series is more of the same, just the exact same battle fought in various places, I don't think I'll be reading many more of them - a change in location and cast of characters is hardly enough to keep my attention for the same story told over in the same way, no matter how well-written it is or how much I enjoy the main characters....more
A lifelong fan of Wrede's, I found Shadow Magic lacking somewhat in the sharp humor and witty characters I have come to expect from her - unsurprisingA lifelong fan of Wrede's, I found Shadow Magic lacking somewhat in the sharp humor and witty characters I have come to expect from her - unsurprising, given that this is her first book. Judging it by itself, however, not in comparison to her other books (comparisons being, after all, odious), it is a good read. The world-building is intricate; the plot holds together well; the characters are not quite as well-rounded as I would prefer, but still interesting and entertaining. All in all, a book I'm glad to add to my collection....more