(Sigh) How I love Duncan and Gemma. Another great mystery - with a lot more Melody and Doug (Duncan and Gemma's respective Sergeants) and an interesti(Sigh) How I love Duncan and Gemma. Another great mystery - with a lot more Melody and Doug (Duncan and Gemma's respective Sergeants) and an interesting Crystal Palace setting. A teensy bit cliffhangery... going to be hard to wait for the next one!...more
Another good entry in the Ian Rutledge series. This time, a mysterious dead body turns up - with only a watch as a clue to who the hit and run victimAnother good entry in the Ian Rutledge series. This time, a mysterious dead body turns up - with only a watch as a clue to who the hit and run victim is.
Although, as with all Charles Todd books, I can't help thinking - "WHY SO MUCH DRIVING??" I realize they're largely set pre-telephone, but still.
Lovely YA romance set in the wilds of "Ouisconsin" in French-American territory. Diane Aubert longs to return to*Sappy sigh* I love this book SO much.
Lovely YA romance set in the wilds of "Ouisconsin" in French-American territory. Diane Aubert longs to return to the civilization of Massachusetts, until she realizes happiness has been under her nose all along....more
Set just after the "Great War" (which for a good while I thought was WW1, before realizing it was a fictional human-fey war), Ironskin tells the storySet just after the "Great War" (which for a good while I thought was WW1, before realizing it was a fictional human-fey war), Ironskin tells the story of Jane Eliot. Jane is an "ironskin" - who was cursed by a fey. Her face is scarred with rage, which will spill out, enraging anyone she comes into contact with, unless she keeps the rage in by covering her face with an iron mask.
Needless to say, Jane has had trouble getting work, until she meets the handsome, elusive Mr. Edward Rochart, who lives in a secluded manor house with his young daughter, Dorie. Dorie's mother is dead - her body was taken over by a fey while she was still pregnant with Dorie. As a result, Dorie is able to manipulate objects with her mind, and refuses to touch objects with her hands. Rochart wants a governess to teach Dorie to use her hands, and to keep her from displaying her fey-like tendencies. (In the wake of the Great War, fey paranoia has taken over, and Rochart is trying to protect Dorie).
Unsurprisingly, the lonely Jane begins to have feelings for her artist employer. Until she becomes suspicious about the "art" that Rochart practices - art that requires ugly women to enter his studio, and leave, fey-beautiful.
I loved the initial set up of Ironskin . I was excited to find out exactly who/what the fey were, and I really liked the creativity of the fey technology (blue-packs) which were just being replaced in the wake of the Great War by coal and other primitive human technologies. The setting was very vivid too - and was recognizably turn-of-the-century England, although it never said that in so many words. And although Jane was a little too myopic for my taste, I really liked a couple of the side characters - particularly the butler and cook.
But, I was frustrated by the unexplained. Ironically I can't really explain that to you, without spoiling the end of the book, but let's just say that I have a feeling this may turn out to be a series, or at least a trilogy. And, I felt like Tina Connolly went a wee bit overboard with the Jane Eyre references. Oh well. At least it wasn't Jane Feyre.
The Kite Fighters tells the story of two brothers, Young-sup and Kee-sup, who are part of a traditional 15th century Korean family. Young-sup has an The Kite Fighters tells the story of two brothers, Young-sup and Kee-sup, who are part of a traditional 15th century Korean family. Young-sup has an especial gift for kite flying - he just senses exactly when and how to fly a kite. Kee-sup can't fly as well as Young-sup, but he's gifted at the artistry of making kites. Between them the brothers make and fly the most beautiful kites in the country, which comes to the attention of the King. He asks them to make and fly a kite for him in the New Year kite competition. They plan to have Kee-sup make the kite, and Young-sup fly it, but then their father forbids it. Because Kee-sup is the oldest, Confucian tradition dictates that Kee-sup must represent the family.
Young-sup is angry that yet again Kee-sup gets more privileges than he does, and Kee-sup is dismayed, because he knows he can't fly a kite as well as Young-sup, and he doesn't want to upset the King.
The way the brothers work out their dilemma, without breaking tradition or disappointing their King is sweet. They discover that they've each been jealous of the other for different reasons, and make up nicely. They also cleverly make up a new kite-flying technique in order to try to guarantee a win for the King.
I really enjoyed The Kite Fighters, and will definitely be looking for other books by Linda Sue Park. And, I was fascinated by the Korean culture of the era - women weren't allowed to leave the house at all! Young-sup and Kee-sup's mother oversaw the household, and the ordering of supplies, but she had to send a male servant to the market to do the shopping, because women weren't allowed to handle money.
Basic plot is thus: fifty years ago a teenaged girl named Laurel witnessed a violent act that her mother, Dorothy, was involved in. The family hushed Basic plot is thus: fifty years ago a teenaged girl named Laurel witnessed a violent act that her mother, Dorothy, was involved in. The family hushed it up, and hasn't spoken of it ever since. Now Dorothy is dying, and Laurel, an Oscar-winning actress, is determined to get the answers to the mystery before her mother dies. Laurel's questions keep leading her back to the war - and to the life her mother lived long before Laurel entered the scene. So the story is told in alternating chapters between Laurel in the present day, and young Dorothy just before and during WWII.
I guessed 'the Secret' really early on. But then I second guessed myself, based on later clues. I really appreciate that about Morton's writing; it was good enough that I didn't mind that I was pretty sure I knew the answer, and that she almost tricked me into thinking I had got it wrong. It was a fun journey from point A to point B....more
The "surprise" in the mystery felt a bit predictable, (I saw it coming about 200 pages earlier...) but I didn't guess the murderer till later. And I LThe "surprise" in the mystery felt a bit predictable, (I saw it coming about 200 pages earlier...) but I didn't guess the murderer till later. And I LOVED Patrik and Erika's developing relationship. Camilla Lackberg totally nails those dating jitters. I kind of want to be friends with her now, after reading two of her books. ...more
In The Walnut Tree, Charles Todd--the mother-son writing team behind the popular Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawford mystery series--turns to romance, withIn The Walnut Tree, Charles Todd--the mother-son writing team behind the popular Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawford mystery series--turns to romance, with a story that shares the same First World War setting as their earlier books, including a tangential reference to Bess Crawford herself. The book opens as war begins, and Lady Elspeth Douglas finds herself trapped in Paris. Her almost-fiancé, the gallant Alain, is off with the French army, and Elspeth feels compelled to return to England and be of service. As she attempts to reach Calais, she gets drawn into a battle and is rescued by handsome Captain Peter Gilchrist, a childhood acquaintance.
With Peter's aid, Elspeth eventually makes it back to England; against her guardian's wishes, she begins training as a nurse. Abandoning her title and privileged lifestyle, Elspeth serves as a regular member of the service. Nursing takes her to bloody field hospitals in France, back to England accompanying injured men, then to her ancestral home in Scotland and eventually to Sussex, where stands an old, beloved walnut tree. Along the way, Elspeth learns eye-opening lessons about class, society and coping. And she'll have to choose between the dashing Alain and the dependable Peter.
The Walnut Tree is a sweet, simple little book--a perfect holiday tale to read with a mug of hot cocoa (and a must-read for Downton Abbey fans). It conjures up an earlier time, a genteel era obliterated by the onslaught of war.
If you know someone who has read Charles Todd or Jacqueline Winspear, or just someone who likes romantic easy reads - this would be a perfect gift. It's a short book, with likeable characters, and a plot that moves gently. I didn't like it quite as well as the mysteries, but it was still a very enjoyable read. Although really, I think the "A Holiday Tale" subtitle is slightly misleading, because it wasn't as Christmas-y as I was expecting. But I could easily see it joining my usual December re-read rotation....more
I adored the All-of-a-Kind Family books by Sydney Taylor as a kid. They're a series of books about five sisters: Ella, Henrietta (Henny), Sarah, CharlI adored the All-of-a-Kind Family books by Sydney Taylor as a kid. They're a series of books about five sisters: Ella, Henrietta (Henny), Sarah, Charlotte, and Gertie, ages 12, 10, 8, 6, and 4.
They live in a tiny apartment in turn of the 20th century New York City. Their family is devoutly Jewish, and the girls' lives are regulated by school, their Friday trip to the library, and their weekly Sabbath celebration.
It's funny, because I never realized it till I reread All-Of-A-Kind Family, but a lot of what I know about Jewish culture, I got from these books. They discuss the foods they eat, the major Jewish holidays, and how life functions in a poor, hard-working Jewish family. Their father is a "rag man" - who collects rags from peddlers, and then bundles them and sells them. Their mother is a very busy woman, who keeps their tiny apartment spotless and keeps five little girls neat and tidy in their dresses and petticoats and itchy woolen stockings. As the eldest, organized Ella and tomboyish Henny are the leaders, but all five girls are sweet and full of character - even when a very big surprise comes to the All-of-a-Kind-Family at the end of the book!
This would be a great book to read aloud to a younger kid chapter by chapter, because each chapter pretty much stands alone. Several center on their visits to the library, one is about the five girls shopping for a birthday gift for Papa, in one chapter Gertie and Charlotte sneak crackers into their bed, and in another chapter Sarah and Ella get scarlet fever. Other chapters cover Rosh Hashanah, the 4th of July, and a trip to Coney Island. ...more