It seemed a dangerous thing read another book, especially an earlier one, in the series when I was so satisfied with the later book. Would the first book seem redundant when the eighth book might inadvertently have lifted many of its veils?
Having just completed the Beekeeper's Apprentice I am pleased and surprised to report that Laurie King's solid writing and diverse array of details kept me entertained and engrossed throughout.
As a literature geek, I always appreciate seeing familiar tales retold.
In this mostly cozy mystery/coming of age story, King draws a winning heroine who would appeal to women who long-ago outgrew (but never quit loving) Nancy Drew and Harriet the Spy.
Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, for me, always reads a bit like Encyclopedia Brown: a barely likable know-it-all bolstered by an impossible knowledge of arcane topics. King offers more psychological layers to the old curmudgeon that increase his empathy without redrawing his well-known sharply rational form.
More than a clever sidekick or a femininely compassionate foil, Mary Russell works in graceful tandem with the aging detective. Her shining characteristics are mercifully not her ability to hug or some form of woman's intuition, but instead include her ability to skillfully and brutally throw a rock. Many of her skills are in the same observational realm as Holmes, so this is no sidekick tale.
While this book will make excellent beach and airline reading, I would caution against reading it while cooking or procrastinating on a deadline; the book's consuming distraction in both these scenarios will surely end in flames.(less)
If someone were to write a contemporary book to appeal to me, it would look much like The 19th Wife.
The unusual tale is woven by first person narrativ...moreIf someone were to write a contemporary book to appeal to me, it would look much like The 19th Wife.
The unusual tale is woven by first person narratives, wikipedia entries, memorandums, 19th Century autobiography, newspaper articles, and personal diaries. It's a romp for anyone who likes the voyeurism and discovery of researching primary documents, but it all comes smooth and easy without any dimes for microfiche or requests for Interlibrary Loan.
The Utah desert offers hot, dusty vistas as Jordan, an excommunicated and apostate son, tries to exonerate his mother in his polygamist father's murder. The Firsts' community echoes the real life Short Creek communities of Fundamentalist Mormons.
A parallel narrative explores the life (and mysterious death of) 19th Century Ann Eliza Young 19th wife to Brigham Young. Though there are some parallels with the real persons represented in the book (e.g. Ann Eliza spoke out against polygamy) the events within are fictionalized (as the author duly notes). The novel offers interesting perspective on the ongoing history of polygamy in America.
Some of the best times I've had this month were prowling the rancid sewers Victorian London with a tosher (sewer scavenger) and a civil engineer.
For years, this unread novel has been mistakenly shelved with our non-fiction books. And while non-fiction on the development of modern sewers intrigues me (in theory) it doesn't leap off the bookshelf demanding attention.
This unusually olfactory novel, kept me spellbound.
Ferraris adds the perspective of a non-Muslim, American woman living in Saudi to this novel. As with her first book, the mystery and the mysterious cu...moreFerraris adds the perspective of a non-Muslim, American woman living in Saudi to this novel. As with her first book, the mystery and the mysterious culture combine for an engrossing tale.(less)