I had heard of Nesbit from her children's books, so I recognized her name while scrolling around the "romance" section over at Feedbooks. I can't find...moreI had heard of Nesbit from her children's books, so I recognized her name while scrolling around the "romance" section over at Feedbooks. I can't find a review of this book anywhere, and a look at Nesbit's Wikipedia article doesn't mention anything about her writing for adults. I feel like I'm braving uncharted territory!
The Incomplete Amorist is not a children's novel, but neither is it overly adult. The novel centers upon four main characters and their romantic interactions. Betty Desmond is a pretty, naive girl ready to get into all sorts of trouble and cause her step-father and aunt endless worry. Then there's Eustace Vernon, the amorist himself, who means no harm but goes to great lengths to win the ladies just to appease his vanity. Nesbit mixes things up with Lady St. Craye, one of the amorist's many jilted lovers. And lastly Mr. Temple, who makes a clumsy first impression and is not very interesting or threatening...or is he?
If you're looking for your typical romance where you can see the end coming from miles away, you might just be frustrated by this one. The beauty of this novel is that you think you know what's going to happen, and several characters in fact lead you on in the wrong direction most unfairly. But keep in mind Nesbit has her own plans, and not necessarily bad or unpleasant ones.(less)
I have been reading this book for so long, now that I'm done I feel lost without it. What will I do without Grandpa Meriwether, Will Benteen, Suellen,...moreI have been reading this book for so long, now that I'm done I feel lost without it. What will I do without Grandpa Meriwether, Will Benteen, Suellen, Melly, Ashley, and most importantly Scarlett and Rhett to keep me company during my morning coffee and before bed at night? This is definitely the book to take to a desert island as it will keep you entertained for weeks on end and no doubt deserves several re-readings.
In reading some background information on this one I saw that Mitchell got some of her inspiration and factual information about the Civil War from Mary Chestnut's A Diary from Dixie. I was never very interested in this period of history, but now I feel I could read all I can get my hands on. And this Chestnut book also seems it would be a great addition to Girlebooks. Adding that one to my list!
I gave this 4 stars because I can't bear to give a Von Arnim novel less than that. But this book was my least favorite Von Arnim that I've read thus f...moreI gave this 4 stars because I can't bear to give a Von Arnim novel less than that. But this book was my least favorite Von Arnim that I've read thus far. The writing is excellent, plot interesting, but I just couldn't get excited about reading the next chapter. The whole time I was thinking, "Call up this Skeffington guy already!". Von Arnim draws out the action a bit too much. However the end of the novel takes an interesting twist which made it all worth the wait for me.
Some reviews are saying that this novel is anti-feminist, which I think misses the point. Yes, the protagonist is judged by others and most importantly herself by her appearance. Von Arnim doesn't make a value judgment on this, it's simply a fact that as true in this novel as it would be in real life in such a situation. The real point is what do you as the reader learn from that? What does our protagonist learn from that? And how do her circumstances throughout the novel and most importantly at its end change her and your views?(less)
I liked the premise of this book: a 29-year-old woman, who has led a relentlessly uneventful life up until now, finds out she's dying and starts to sa...moreI liked the premise of this book: a 29-year-old woman, who has led a relentlessly uneventful life up until now, finds out she's dying and starts to say what she wants to say and do what she wants to do in spite of her controlling family. Montgomery writes honestly and touchingly about her subject matter up until about 3/4 of the way through when, I suppose, she decides she can't end the thing on a depressing note. Then it gets hokey and not believable and ends (for me) unsatisfactorily. It could have been exponentially better if she had kept up the tone of the beginning of the novel.
I still rate Anne of Green Gables as LM Montgomery's greatest work, but I'm hoping I can find another book by her that lives up to that first one.(less)
I love digging up these excellent novels from decades or even centuries ago that no one knows about today. The First Violin is part mystery, part roma...moreI love digging up these excellent novels from decades or even centuries ago that no one knows about today. The First Violin is part mystery, part romance, and part musical. It starts with 17-year-old May Wedderburn living a quiet, almost boring existence in her small town in England. Her quiet existence is shattered when she attracts the amorous attentions of the local wealthy landowner, Sir Peter. May has no interest in Sir Peter's offer of marriage and is even a bit afraid of him. There are dark rumors about his last marriage and the circumstances surrounding his last wife's demise. Enter the town recluse and sister of said late wife, Miss Hallam, who offers to whisk May away to Germany. May, not only eager to get away from Sir Peter but also pining for excitement of any kind, heads to Germany as a companion to the old woman and to take advantage of some musical instruction.
The above is basically the first couple of chapters, and from there it's hard to put this book down. May does indeed encounter the excitement she's in search of almost immediately upon leaving home. She also experiences a great musical awakening in the land of Bach and Schumann.
If I could give this a 4 1/5 I would, only for a slight disappointment at the very end of the novel where author Fothergill takes advantage of some seriously unbelievable coincidences. Otherwise, it is a perfect novel, one I will be revisiting many times in the future. I will be sure to brush up on my classical composers before then, which will no doubt heighten my enjoyment of this excellent story.(less)
The first half is a quaint romance. While both the hero and heroine could be a little more interesting, I believe the point is that they aren't intere...moreThe first half is a quaint romance. While both the hero and heroine could be a little more interesting, I believe the point is that they aren't interesting at all. Emily borders on being annoying for her stupidity and letting everyone trample all over her, but she's so sweet one can't completely dislike her. Lord Walderhurst is simply an older, utterly logical fellow looking for a gal--and not just a pretty face, which is admirable.
The second half has been called racist in recent times for its treatment of Indians. However, if one takes it as simply a portrait of the attitudes at the time, there's no offense taken (at least for me). I don't believe Burnett was trying to make a moral statement about anything, but undoubtedly she had some interesting views on India and it's people (similar to The Secret Garden). Where did she get this from? I don't see anywhere in her biography ever living in or visiting the place.
Despite the controversy, I actually enjoyed the second half more than the first. The ending was rather strange but not dissatisfying. I will have to think a bit more on what she meant by it...(less)
This one is u-turn from Stout's other novel, Radium Halos, which was based on historical--and tragic--events. Celebrities for Breakfast is a purely fi...moreThis one is u-turn from Stout's other novel, Radium Halos, which was based on historical--and tragic--events. Celebrities for Breakfast is a purely fictional beach read that will have you laughing and possibly wincing throughout. Some of the best moments for me came from pre-teen Shannon who gets to live every pre-teen's fantasy of meeting her favorite movie star. One of the best lines, which will give you an idea of the tone of the novel, comes from Shannon's mom referring to said movie star, "He may be famous, but he's still just a human being who puts his leather pants on one leg at a time, just like everyone else."(less)
Just like with Camilla, I've been reading this book for so long that I can't believe I'm done. I don't know what to do with myself, after waking up to...moreJust like with Camilla, I've been reading this book for so long that I can't believe I'm done. I don't know what to do with myself, after waking up to David Copperfield and going to sleep to David Copperfield and dreaming of David Copperfield... The book starts with a bang--the humor is excellent, pace is good. Being so long though, it of course drags a bit. Dickens has a way of dragging out those endings doesn't he? But all is made up in his excellent writing. We all should read more Dickens...but for now I think I'll read something else. Something short and maybe not with a roll-your-eyes happy ending. I'm craving to read some Virginia Woolf or Edith Wharton.(less)
I didn't want to read this one straight after The Pursuit of Love because I didn't want to get the two confused. But turns out that I did read it stra...moreI didn't want to read this one straight after The Pursuit of Love because I didn't want to get the two confused. But turns out that I did read it straight after, and in hindsight I should haven't have worried. While the plots of the two novels are intertwined, this one is very different from Pursuit.
The story mainly deals with Polly, a friend of the narrator Fanny (who also narrates of Pursuit). The characters are grown-up in this one, which is a shame because the charm from the first story came from the childhood antics of the Radlett children. There are a few characters that are interesting, if not lovable. Cedric was my favorite--the flamboyant Canadian who moves to Paris to find his true identity and ends up Lady Montdore's plaything. In my mind's reenactment he was played by Tom Hollander, in the same style as his character from Bedrooms and Hallways--if you've seen that.
I would give this one 3 1/2 stars if I could. The Pursuit of Love deserves a full 4 stars. As you can tell, I didn't like this one as much due to the fact that I was bored with Polly and wished Mitford devoted more pages to the interesting characters. But the book ended quite abruptly and left me wishing for more.(less)
The prequel to Finding Grace is about Grace's big brother, Jack. Much of the story I knew already, since I read Finding Grace first. However author Pa...moreThe prequel to Finding Grace is about Grace's big brother, Jack. Much of the story I knew already, since I read Finding Grace first. However author Pawley's enjoyable writing style kept me reading. I really enjoyed the part that is not mentioned in Finding Grace, Jack's stint in the army during WWI. I was surprised at how realistically Pawley portrayed life in the trenches, in the hospital, and on the streets of France during wartime. I slightly preferred Finding Grace over this book, however that has more to do with personal preference (possibly preferring to read a story from a female point of view) than for any fault of the story. In fact, I think this one is the more polished of the two--it seems Pawley is becoming quite adept at telling a tale! I look forward to more from her.(less)
Sarah Pawley has been a long time supporter and contributer to Girlebooks, graciously offering her two books for free on the site. I've had her books...moreSarah Pawley has been a long time supporter and contributer to Girlebooks, graciously offering her two books for free on the site. I've had her books on my "to read" list for almost as long, and I finally got around to reading Finding Grace. This was her first written of the two, but actually second in the chronology. "Oh, That I Had Wings" tells the story of young Jack Langton growing up in rural Virginia and then off to WWI. Finding Grace follows his younger sister, Grace, in her transition from her humble roots in Virginia on to the big city of Chicago in the 1920s.
Grace is a feisty yet lovable character. Anyone who has read many of the popular books on Girlebooks will recognize her own heroines: Jane Eyre, Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice, Margaret from North and South. Pawley was obviously inspired by these books herself, and she weaves her references to them into the plot. Our hero, of course, comes on the scene in unflattering circumstances but gradually becomes more likable to both the reader and Grace as the story progresses.
I highly recommend this one, and you can't be the price for the ebook! I already have her other book loaded up on my kindle, and the beginning chapter is promising.(less)
I finally found this on ebook! A nice surprise is that the edition also contains Love in a Cold Climate and The Blessing. I had been wanting to read s...moreI finally found this on ebook! A nice surprise is that the edition also contains Love in a Cold Climate and The Blessing. I had been wanting to read something by Mitford for a long while, having heard of her distinct sense of humor and colorful family history. I have to say she lives up to the hype, somehow successfully blending serious, sometimes tragic circumstances with searing wit. I can see how some would be turned off though--the viewpoint of her narrator is decidedly upper-class and has no patience for opinions other than her own. But that's part of the charm, and part of the point, actually. Great read.(less)
Anura Bufonida is a fairytale princess waiting for her prince to claim her. A decendent of the Frog Prince, whose curse was broken long ago when he wa...moreAnura Bufonida is a fairytale princess waiting for her prince to claim her. A decendent of the Frog Prince, whose curse was broken long ago when he was kissed by his princess, Anura is sure of her happy ending. Rana, who has not had so happy a family history, is her steadfastly loyal cousin and best friend. One day, not long after Anura's sixteenth birthday, a fire-wielding wizard appears set on rendering the beautiful princess to ashes. But he fails. What does this mean? Is Anura not to have her happy ending? Where is the prince who is supposed to save her? Is something wrong in the fairytale Domain? The happy ending Imperative seems broken, but who will fix it?
It took a few chapters to get into and understand the logic and terminology in this variation on the fairytale theme. It reminded me of that musical "Into the Woods" where all the fairytales collide into one big story. There's the Frog Prince of course, but also Little Red Cap, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Rumpelstiltskin and Rapunzel. We all know these stories, and author Palmer seemlessly stitches them together into a surprisingly believable story.
Not only the story, but also the characters draw you in. Despite being a princess, Anura is just a whiny side character to fiesty Rana. The wizard, Jannin, makes a charismatic villain, even if you never know which side he's playing for. Step-mother Amarynths and loyal castle guard Mascon round out the core characters.
I'm not an avid fantasy fiction reader, but I was completely enchanted by Palmer's story. It would seem a good introduction to the genre, or just a solid story for anyone looking for some action, suspense, romance, dragons, and princesses on a lazy weekend.(less)
This book was an excellent overview of the Brontes, and much shorter than Elizabeth Gaskell's "The Life of Charlotte Bronte". It ends, of course, with...moreThis book was an excellent overview of the Brontes, and much shorter than Elizabeth Gaskell's "The Life of Charlotte Bronte". It ends, of course, with Emily's death, and goes into much greater detail of Branwell's life (and death) than Gaskell's book. There is a nice overview of "Wuthering Heights" towards the end which is interesting even for people who have read it multiple times. Overall I feel that I understand Emily Bronte better after having read this book, but of course she will always remain much more of a mystery than not. I plan to add this as a free download at Girlebooks.com in the near future.(less)