What a beautiful little book. I am so pleasantly surprised. I read it because I also enjoyed another of Nesbit's books for adults, the Incomplete AmorWhat a beautiful little book. I am so pleasantly surprised. I read it because I also enjoyed another of Nesbit's books for adults, the Incomplete Amorist (she primarily wrote children's books). I found the Incomplete Amorist so different and refreshing I decided to give this one a try, and I'm so glad I did! The Red House is different because it skips all the drama of courtship and marriage and starts just after the leads, Len and Chloe, are married and settled into a tiny apartment. Len gets a notice that he has inherited a large, sprawling house in the country, and Chloe just can't wait to move in. Len takes some convincing, as he's not sure he's up for all the work and costs and servants that living in a large house will require. They eventually do move in, and that's where this lovely story gets interesting.
I especially enjoyed how smart and surprisingly modern the characters were. They really thought hard about how to live so that they would be happiest. This is a very romantic book, but not in the sense that we are used to. The leads are undoubtedly in love, but it is more about the little things one does when one cares very deeply about another person than any dramatic scenes with high emotions. The book is also about work and what tradeoffs one must make in order to make one's living but also be a happy person.
As you can see, this novel seems like a very simple story but it contains some surprising deep ideas that get you thinking. In this respect it is reminiscent of Elizabeth von Arnim's writings. I highly recommend The Red House!...more
Venetia ranks with my favorite Heyer (so far, there are so many, thankfully!). I loved that the whole book isn't based on stupid misunderstandings betVenetia ranks with my favorite Heyer (so far, there are so many, thankfully!). I loved that the whole book isn't based on stupid misunderstandings between the hero and heroine. These two understand each other perfectly and are perfectly okay with each other's faults--something the secondary characters can't comprehend and therefore keep butting in where they are not wanted. I like how Heyer contrived a plot oozing with romance and comedy but did not rely on trite plot devices to keep it going. That's a sign of a great author, and a great book. Highly recommended!...more
Somewhat slower than the better Heyer books, she tends to go into great detail about insignificant plot details. But she's such a good writer than it'Somewhat slower than the better Heyer books, she tends to go into great detail about insignificant plot details. But she's such a good writer than it's all enjoyable. I love both the leads, and love the secondary characters perhaps even more. Sherry's friends are just fabulous. Good book, just not as great as my Heyer favorites: Cotillion and These Old Shades for example....more
What an interesting narrator! At first I wasn't sure about her, but I did like the adventure of it all--running away from her father, marrying impetuoWhat an interesting narrator! At first I wasn't sure about her, but I did like the adventure of it all--running away from her father, marrying impetuously, running after her husband across the globe to Australia; we can forgive her impetuousness because she was very young. But as she got older I got less and less forgiving and she got more and more annoying! The transition from young impetuousness to older and deeply flawed character was really well done. It is refreshing to read such an obviously far-from-perfect heroine, and all from her point of view. I will definitely read more Ada Cambridge....more
This book was referred by Alisha who was dug up several lovely books for Girlebooks in the past, and this is no exception. The main character is PhyllThis book was referred by Alisha who was dug up several lovely books for Girlebooks in the past, and this is no exception. The main character is Phyllis, a young woman who works long hours in a badly lighted library full of children. She is a cheerful gal, so the drudgery doesn't get her too down, but after 7 years at the library she can also see her dull future stretching unenticingly before her. One day while daydreaming at the card catalog she makes a wish, or rather three: for a sum of money, a rose garden, and a husband. Within a few days she has the opportunity to fulfill all these wishes in the form of a most strange and interesting proposal.
This was a short and sweet romance, and it was lovely to see the two main characters get to know each other. They are really good people who were just caught in bad circumstances. The drawbacks for me where twofold. One, I would have liked to see more of the interaction between the two main characters--the evolution of their thoughts and emotions. It seemed like the end was too rushed in this respect. The other issue was the slightly xenophobic references to foreigners, which I can partly forgive due to the time period in which it was written, but unsettling all the same....more
This review was originally published at Girlebooks.com.
This is a captivating story about love and tea. It is told from the point of view of the titulaThis review was originally published at Girlebooks.com.
This is a captivating story about love and tea. It is told from the point of view of the titular character, Ida Mae, a divorcee grandmother living in Ohio. As the story opens she is waiting for her best friend since she was 10 years old, Jane, to arrive for tea. Jane and Ida Mae have always been complete opposites--Ida Mae being the quiet homebody and Jane the bustling actress. But their friendship works. They complete each other, perhaps more than the various lovers and spouses that entered the two women's lives over the decades. In this first scene we learn some devastating news: Jane has cancer and has only a few weeks left.
From there the narrative shifts between flashbacks in the form of Ida Mae's journal entries and the present during the last days Ida Mae and Jane have together. From Ida Mae's past journal entries we see the start of her friendship with Jane and her years in high school with her first boyfriend. Marriage and a daughter follow. In these life changing events both in past and present, one thing stays constant: the enduring connection between the two women and tea.
If you are a tea drinker, as interested in the ceremony as the drink, then you are in for a special treat--"Tea Party" isn't in the name of the book for nothing! The appendix includes several recipes for sweet treats for the tea table as featured in the book. Another treat is an introduction and epilogue in which author Ginnie Bivona chronicles her experiences from when the book was turned into a Hallmark movie, Bound By a Secret. The meta-story behind the story gives this book a personal touch, nicely enveloping the narrative into something you won't soon forget....more
This is a lovely collection of short stories by Emily C. A. Snyder, author of another Austen-themed publReview originally published at girlebooks.com:
This is a lovely collection of short stories by Emily C. A. Snyder, author of another Austen-themed publication Nachtstürm Castle. This time around Snyder treats us to two different styles of paraliterature that draw upon all six of Jane Austen's novels as inspiration.
Part I: Heroes and Histories captures the behind-the-scenes moments of Austen's original works. The short and bittersweet "Something Blue" features the character of Miss Bates' from Emma. We learn that she was not always destined to spinsterhood; in fact there was one of her former acquaintance who took delight in her ways some called ridiculous! Another gem from Part I is "A Most Persuasive Correspondence". Here we are treated to the illicit correspondence between Persuasion's two splendidly-matched villains, Mrs. Clay and Mr. Elliot.
In Part II: Types and Trifles, Snyder runs with her imagination, taking on various "what-ifs" to hilarious results. What if all the villains from Austen's novels were thrown together on one Dark and Stormy Night? Would all of them come away alive? What would all the heroes, meeting at a club, talk about? And would Bingley ever be able to finish a sentence? Most importantly, how would you inspire Mr. Crawford to fetch you a glass of lemonade? The final story, "Pride and Paraliterature" is a satiric take on the phenomenon of monster mash-ups, concluding that nothing proves so dangerous to Mr. Darcy as that original adversary, Miss Bingley.
I have read these stories time and time again and never tire of them. I catch new, subtle references to Austen's beloved novels with each new read. The best parts are when we see the true essence of the original characters in a new situation. And then there is Snyder's writing which is as similar to Austen's in syntax and approach to subject matter as I've read anywhere....more
This long book took me ages to read. It started really well, and I got into the characters especially some of the "bad" ones. I thought she would haveThis long book took me ages to read. It started really well, and I got into the characters especially some of the "bad" ones. I thought she would have more of a sense of humor, a la Jane Austen, but no. Her tone turned out a bit too moralistic for me, with the "bad" characters in the end suffering from their dependency of patronage, the "good" characters suffering a bit at first from not relying on patronage but in the end turning out the better for relying on their own intelligence, good morals, etc. Edgeworth gets more and more obvious with this theme as the book goes on and it is tiresome.
But her writing is impeccable, and the cast of characters very interesting. I just wish she hadn't been so harsh about it all, had a little fun with it, and we would have a little more fun with her....more