Sometimes a book is just good. I would have appreciated learning this one in high school instead of bloody Lord of the Flies. I stayed awake for all o...moreSometimes a book is just good. I would have appreciated learning this one in high school instead of bloody Lord of the Flies. I stayed awake for all of it and I closed it satisfied. What else should I say? Go read.(less)
In the same way that I was too young for VC Andrews in sixth grade, I was way the hell too young for The...moreI probably shouldn't have read this aged ten.
In the same way that I was too young for VC Andrews in sixth grade, I was way the hell too young for The Thorn Birds in fifth. Three words: Meggie. And. Luke. (I kind of glossed over a lot of the other parts. They were boring. Meggie and Luke? Classic Trainwreck Syndrome: I couldn't look away.)
I much prefer the other Irish-Down Under (in their case Australia) Meg and Luke, the ones in Brent's Golden Urchin. Go read that instead. Much nicer.(less)
It's not as bad as I was warned it would be, or maybe I just liked what the other person didn't. I think it was Kelly. Anyway, people have different t...moreIt's not as bad as I was warned it would be, or maybe I just liked what the other person didn't. I think it was Kelly. Anyway, people have different tastes, and I'm sure I've disagreed with one or two of you before, or you've disagreed with me.
I don't have too terribly much to say about this novel, but what I do have to say (aside from "Mompellion is the silliest bloody name") is all spoileriffic!
(view spoiler)[The truest romance in this story was that between Anna and Elinor. Oh, Elinor. What cruelty Michael inflicted on you! Perhaps a valid reaction for the period, but God, how awful, to punish you when you had punished yourself so thoroughly. Amazing that she could still love at all, and to love Anna so well -- not sexually, but -- what's the female equivalent of a bromance?
Michael was a no-holds-barred bastard. He was good to people who a) didn't get close to him and b) did what he wanted. How is that decent? I believe Anna consented, at least, to what happened between them, but I wouldn't have believed her sticking around after she found out how awful he'd been to Elinor. Her buggering off to deliver the rich woman's baby, rescuing that baby, and taking herself away to know more of the world (Avicenna! How cool!) -- not precisely a 1660s thing to do, but an Anna thing to do, oh yes. The plague year changed her into a woman of science.
Because isn't that what Anna and Elinor did, in their own way?
Science, at its heart, is the method: question, possible solution, testing, result, analysis, repeat if safe/necessary. That's what they did. They wondered what in those herbs made the poor doomed Gowdies so successful? Surely it wasn't really witchcraft. It was only that the Gowdies understood, from knowledge passed down through generations of women (anathema) what to do in what case. So Anna and Elinor took up the cause, took it into their hearts, and though they could not save anyone, their idea of making people stronger as prevention isn't far off the mark. Hygiene and a few extra cats and dogs wouldn't have gone amiss; they didn't know it was rats and fleas, though George the Redshirt guessed. Anna and Elinor did what logic dictated.
Elinor engendered in Anna a scientist's heart, which was unwelcome in her time and place, so Anna went where it would be appreciated. That it was too far away for anyone to care what happened to Aisha and baby Elinor was a bonus. Ditto the newness of her environment. Why should she be Elinor over again? Who would want to be Elinor over again?
So to me this book made sense and was a fine story besides. Tragic in places, sure. Downright heroic in others. I think of everything Anna and Elinor did together to help that village survive and I want to hug them and kiss them and shove Michael in the path of the fatal knife instead. Let the bastard die. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)