This is my third book by Jodi Picoult. I must say that I liked this one better than the first two, first because it reads more like a mystery and thatThis is my third book by Jodi Picoult. I must say that I liked this one better than the first two, first because it reads more like a mystery and that is one of my favourite genres and secondly because I did like the main characters and what they stood for. My problem now is that I feel that Picoult always chooses subjects that are not only emotionally charged but very polemic and so a guarantee of big sales. I can understand one of these subjects being dear to one’s heart and so wanting to write about them but all 3? That sounds a bit like manipulation and I don’t like that…
Regarding the story itself I did like how she showed the Amish, I have no idea if it’s an accurate picture or not but what I learned about their habits and way of thinking was interesting. By leaving us in the dark about what really happened to the baby she makes us focus on the characters and who they are to try to understand what may have happened. There are a few surprises along the way and she successfully keeps us guessing about the motivations behind the actions.
Besides the type of subjects she chooses I found in this book another common trait with Picoult previous books – a shocking final twist to close the story. I must say that in this story it was one I was expecting from the beginning, I just didn’t think it would come when it did. And somehow it made me like it a bit less because I was ready to appreciate all the good things I learned from it, and suddenly it was just another thriller…
Besides, what about the little girls Elle mentions in the beginning of the book? I wanted some resolution. And Hannah’s ghost? What was that? To bring Adam and Hannah together? I didn’t much like the paranormal element because I don’t it was that well explained or had a purpose.
Girl With a Pearl Earring is one of those books that have been so talked about in a positive way that when the opportunity arised to read it I couldn'Girl With a Pearl Earring is one of those books that have been so talked about in a positive way that when the opportunity arised to read it I couldn't help myself.
I do feel that Chevalier is very good at conveying the right atmosphere for her novels. This is the second one I read and in both of them there's an artistic atmosphere, if you can call it that, and a great concern with describing not only the works of art involved but also the materials and techniques the characters use.
In this story about one of Johannes Vermeer’s most famous paintings, Griet a sixteen year girl is led by the impoverishment of her family to seek employment with Vermeer's family. Griet is an uncommonly sensitive girl who orders vegetables according to size and colour. That attracts Vermeer’s attention and soon she becomes not only the house maid but is assistant in manufacturing the colours he uses. In a society with rigid rules separating religious beliefs and society divisions between people, this transformation of Griet's duties is well hidden from Vermeer's wife, requested by the painter and abetted by his mother in law. Vermeer's demands on Griet won’t stop there as he decides to make her a model for one of his paintings thus making her position in the house even more secretive and fragile.
The atmosphere is indeed everything in this novel where no one comes across as very sympathetic, Vermeer lost in his genius, Griet confused and unsettled by her feelings and the other members of the household more devoted to their own interests. As the action draws to a close it seems obvious that Griet's time with Vermeer would be finished as soon as is painting was. His interest in her as a subject ends when he reaches perfection even if that causes her to lose her job and almost her respectability.
I must confess that although I can see what makes so many love this book that sentiment eluded me somehow. I can see its merits, I'm glad I read it but that's it. Maybe I'm just not a very visual sort of person because I did love the movie where I could actually see the colours and understand them.
Well I have mixed feelings about this book. It didn't "feel" like P&P but maybe I shouldn't have been expecting that. I found it curious that theWell I have mixed feelings about this book. It didn't "feel" like P&P but maybe I shouldn't have been expecting that. I found it curious that the sensible and level headed sister is once again the second daughter and that there's once again 5 of them. The similarities don't end here because there are 2 sisters who clearly take after Lydia. I enjoyed it but I think it lacks the "happy end" feeling I got at the end of P&P, and of course I miss Darcy and Lizzie and probably were they present this story would have been much different :-) ...more
I just finished it and I must say I really enjoyed it. It's an entertaining read and presents the case nicely. I too wondered about the title. To anyoI just finished it and I must say I really enjoyed it. It's an entertaining read and presents the case nicely. I too wondered about the title. To anyone wanting to know more about Richard III I would suggest Sharon Kay Penman's The Sunne In Splendour. It's fabulous!! ...more
I enjoyed it although at first I was afraid it might be too dark - I don't mind reading about what the villains do but I prefer not to have his or theI enjoyed it although at first I was afraid it might be too dark - I don't mind reading about what the villains do but I prefer not to have his or the victim's perspective. It was good suspense story and the bad guy came off as a surprise to me, I knew he was a villain but not THE villain. Will send it to the next person as soon as I have the adress. Thanks for sharing!
It was a lovely story, a traditional regency with a young lady trying to live a respectable life and avoid her mother's scandalous reputation and a jaIt was a lovely story, a traditional regency with a young lady trying to live a respectable life and avoid her mother's scandalous reputation and a jaded rake returning home who finds himself in a compromising situation with said lady.
I really enjoyed it and how Layton crafted a tale about 2 people of less than pristine background and dealt with the subject of how we are seen/judged by others by matters beyond our control and responsability. It's character driven story and it is delightful to see Amanda and North change during the course of the action.
This was a very funny and light read and I really enjoyed it. I really liked Lucy's character and the way she changes throughout the book. It was my fThis was a very funny and light read and I really enjoyed it. I really liked Lucy's character and the way she changes throughout the book. It was my first book by this author and I really didn't know what to expect. I'm glad to say it was a very nice read! Sending it to Jenny as soon as possible...
Well I did enjoy reading it, I think it's representative of Balogh's early style but I also thought it was a very sad book. Because the villain isn'tWell I did enjoy reading it, I think it's representative of Balogh's early style but I also thought it was a very sad book. Because the villain isn't punished and Samantha feels betrayed in the end. I felt the bad deeds weren't punished enough - which is probably more close to the reality LOL. About the h/h I was more or less counting on their HEA being just a matter of time...
It seemed to me there was too little romance, too much description of the heroine's situation and problems and then suddenly they are in love. But I dIt seemed to me there was too little romance, too much description of the heroine's situation and problems and then suddenly they are in love. But I didn't see it happen like in The Duke's Wager for instance...
Sensitive and book-loving Laura is born in the rural hamlet of Lark Rise, where life has followed an unchanging pattern for centuries and the days arSensitive and book-loving Laura is born in the rural hamlet of Lark Rise, where life has followed an unchanging pattern for centuries and the days are governed by the rhythms of nature. This is the unforgettable story of her beloved home: a place where children know the name of every bird, flower and tree; men work the fields; women gossip over the fence; and the last relics of country customs have yet to die out. Whether it is describing ancient traditions such as the Mayday garland procession, bringing the harvest home and singing ballads in the local inn, or introducing characters such as Laura's radical father, the pioneering Mrs Spicer, the eccentric bee-keeping Queenie and ladies who wear bustles to feed the pigs, (...)Flora Thompson's autobiographical Lark Rise to Candleford trilogy captures a vanished corner of rural England and the timeless joys of childhood.
I had planned to read the book before watching the mini series but I only finished it afterwards... the book is very different from the series in it's story.
The series begins with Laura going to the Post Office and here that only happens on page 395, the third part of the book. Overall it is an interesting book telling many stories regarding the people of Lark Rise but I found it overly descriptive. The perfect source for a TV series as it tells of many different people and their stories but for me it didn't work as well as a book. It was interesting to know the way of life in a small hamlet at the turn of the century but I got a bit confused with so many characters being introduced. I think I appreciated it more as a testemonial of past times than as someone's history. No doubt there's much material there yet for a second and even third season of the TV series.
Living on a peach farm in South Carolina with her harsh, unyielding father, Lily Owens has shaped her entire life around one devastating, blurred memoLiving on a peach farm in South Carolina with her harsh, unyielding father, Lily Owens has shaped her entire life around one devastating, blurred memory - the afternoon her mother was killed, when Lily was four. Since then, her only real companion has been the fierce-hearted, and sometimes just fierce, black woman Rosaleen, who acts as her "stand-in mother."
When Rosaleen insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily knows it's time to spring them both free. They take off in the only direction Lily can think of, toward a town called Tiburon, South Carolina - a name she found on the back of a picture amid the few possessions left by her mother.
There they are taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters named May, June, and August. Lily thinks of them as the calendar sisters and enters their mesmerizing secret world of bees and honey, and of the Black Madonna who presides over this household of strong, wise women. Maternal loss and betrayal, guilt and forgiveness entwine in a story that leads Lily to the single thing her heart longs for most.
A serious subject - racism - treated in a light manner in this story about a young girl neglected and mistreated by her who runs away after freeing her maid/slave from jail. Lily Owens finds it hard to believe when her father tells her that she accidentally killed her mother and that's what leads to run away. After some time on the road they reach a house with black women who have beehives and produce honey. The relationship that will develop between all of them shapes Lily's world forever and eventually she will find out more about her mother. The outside world can not understand this friendship between the young girl and the women but there Lily will learn about life, friendship and she will have better understanding of herself and her mother's actions.
I think the idea was to have us drawn to this coming of age story so we would end up understanding Lily and appreciating her changes and how she saw her world. Unfortunately I was never that interested in her and ended thinking this was a bit too light.
Angela's Ashes is Frank McCourt's sad, funny, bittersweet memoir of growing up in New York in the 30s and in Ireland in the 40s. It is a story of extrAngela's Ashes is Frank McCourt's sad, funny, bittersweet memoir of growing up in New York in the 30s and in Ireland in the 40s. It is a story of extreme hardship and suffering, in Brooklyn tenements and Limerick slums -- too many children, too little money, his mother Angela barely coping as his father Malachy's drinking bouts constantly brought the family to the brink of disaster. It is a story of courage and survival against apparently overwhelming odds. Written with the vitality and resonance of a work of fiction, and a remarkable absence of sentimentality, Angela's Ashes is imbued on every page with Frank McCourt's distinctive humour and compassion. Out of terrible circumstances, he has created a glorious book in the tradition of Ireland's literary masters, which bears all the marks of a great classic.
I can't really remember why I joined this bookring, maybe it was a recommendation from a friend but when it arrived I had forgotten and had no idea what was inside. I enjoyed reading but in all fairness I must confess it wasn't always an easy read. Life was harsh for a young Frank McCourt in Limerick during the 30s and the 40s as his father was mostly unemployed or spent his money drinking and there was never enough food to keep everyone fed or enough warmth, clothes and what else was needed.
I think what makes it such a fascinating story is that there's a joy in everything he retells. Despite the dreadful living conditions young Frank is always ready to make merry with his brothers or see the bright side of things. The family network that surrounds them is not as supportive as it could have been but they do help when things hit the bottom and religion has a big influence in how people live and behave daily.
A collection of five holiday stories, each set in Victorian England or America, by Patricia Gaffney, Edith Layton, Patricia Rice, Bettina Krahn, and MA collection of five holiday stories, each set in Victorian England or America, by Patricia Gaffney, Edith Layton, Patricia Rice, Bettina Krahn, and Mary Jo Putney, reflects the old-fashioned charm of this popular era.
Edith Layton - Bird of Paradise A young woman works to support herself and her small brother who gets in trouble when he tries to sell the turkey she got as a Christmas bonus. They are helped by a young man who is very attracted to her. I think the characters lacked some interest and I was never much invested in their story. Grade: 3/5
Patricia Rice - A Christmas Angel The heir of an earldom returns to his estate after several decades in the US, and finds the village suffering difficulties due to the neglect of the previous. He goes about trying to solve things but without disclosing his identity to the girl he feels attracted to. The girl was just too bitter. Grade: 3/5
Patricia Gaffney - Second Chance An old cowboy returns to the woman he once left at the altar when she is preparing to marry again. Not that the new husband to be sounded any good but the cowboy didn't seem hero material to me. Grade: 2.5/5
Bettina Krahn - Kidnapped For Christmas This was funny and original if you can ignore the improprieties. A wealthy tradesman whose profession and birth make him not so respectable sees his daughter’s entrance to a young ladies academy denied. He kidnaps one of the teachers to convince her to accept the child and finds love instead. Grade: 4/5
Mary Jo Putney - The Black Best of Bellaterre My favourite story is a beauty and the beast story. A man known for his ugliness marry a beautiful young lady to save her from being sold by her father to the highest bidder. Although she never sees his face his kindness and companionship make her fall in love with him. Grade: 4.5/5
Novel by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, published serially in Charles Dickens' magazine Household Words from 1851 to 1853 and in book form in 1853. BasinNovel by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, published serially in Charles Dickens' magazine Household Words from 1851 to 1853 and in book form in 1853. Basing her tales on the village in which she was reared, Gaskell produced a gently comic picture of life and manners in an English country village during the 1830s. The novel's narrator (a young woman who periodically visits Cranford) describes the small adventures in the lives of two middle-aged sisters in reduced circumstances who do their best to maintain their standards of propriety, decency, and kindness. Using an intimate, gossipy voice that never turns sentimental, Gaskell conveys the old-fashioned habits, subtle class distinctions, and genteel poverty of the townspeople. Cranford quickly became one of the author's best-loved works.
After having read Gaskell's North and South last year and loving it I was eager to try another one of her stories. I was fortunate to come across a copy of Cranford recently and so this was the one I read.
Unlike N&S where we had a story, and specifically a love story to follow, here it's like we get to know the daily lifes of a few people for a lenght of time. There's no particular storyline but more a number of situations that have to be faced and dealt with so everyone can go on with their lives unperturbed.
The narrator is Mary Smith, a young woman who comes to Cranford to visit the Miss Jenkyns and so is a privileged spectator of their lifes and those of the other Cranford people. Miss Mary notes how manners and society rules are observed, how an interest in neighboors can be both of gossipy nature and true will to help when needed, how when romance is in the air even the old maids become matchmakers. It really is very interesting to get to know all the characters involved, they all seem very simple and straightforward in the beginning but as we know them better we realise there are layers of complexity beneath the surface. And their peaceful lifes are going to be disrupted by the modern, more industrialised, times that approach quickly.
Besides Miss Mary we get to know Miss Matty, always very proper but with a heart broken a long time ago and dreams that will never be, Miss Debora Jenkyns, seemingly the most strict in terms of moral conduct, Miss Pole always ready for a good gossip, the Browns, newly arrived in town, and many others... They go though heartbreak, tragedies, financial problems and sometime they break those cherished society rules but they all help and support each other.
Ride the Wind is not an easy read! Lucia St Clair Robson does know how to write a good story and she keeps us enthralled till the end in the story basRide the Wind is not an easy read! Lucia St Clair Robson does know how to write a good story and she keeps us enthralled till the end in the story based on the true facts known of the life of Cynthia Ann Parker.
Cynthia Ann's story is unique because she was adopted by the tribe, raised by them, married one of the last great Comanche chief's and ended up feeling her rescue was another kidnapping of sorts that kept her away from the people she loved. It's an emotional journey to follow Cynthia Ann from the time she is taken to her new family, through her acceptance of her way of life, the knowledge that other captives weren't treated like her and her identification as a true Comanche, an important member of their society in her own right. No doubt Robson took many liberties with Cynthia Ann's story to fill in the blanks but the result feels real and moving.
The books gives very interesting details of the Comanche culture and society. It is hard to reconcile the People's behaviour towards their own and the children they adopted and the way they treated the older ones who became slaves. How they understood and respected nature with their savagery in battle and towards their prisoners. It's a culture oriented towards warfare as being a great warrior was what men aspired to be and in a period where the clashes with the new settlers in Texas were growing violence and death were very much an every day ocurrence. But their organised society and bigger respect for nature makes wonder what we could have learned from their way of life.
A must read for every person interested in native americans and the history of Texas.