Normally I don't enjoy Jane Austen fanfic (Joan Aiken's Jane Fairfax being the one exception), but I did like this. Baker stretches the P&P characNormally I don't enjoy Jane Austen fanfic (Joan Aiken's Jane Fairfax being the one exception), but I did like this. Baker stretches the P&P characters pretty far; probably far enough to say they are really different characters from the ones in Austen's book, and certainly far enough to outrage some P&P fans (I'm guessing).
But still, an interesting look at what might have been going on outside the drawing rooms Austen painted so brilliantly....more
3.5 stars. Love the setting: A late 19th century in which New England is a stand-alone nation, populated a couple of centuries earlier by witches and3.5 stars. Love the setting: A late 19th century in which New England is a stand-alone nation, populated a couple of centuries earlier by witches and their families from all over the world. But the Brotherhood has since taken over, eliminating witches by putting them to death or locking them up. Women in this society are subservient, and always suspect of being witches.
Cate and her two younger sisters are all witches--a fact she must keep carefully hidden from the Brotherhood. She is also facing down her 16th birthday, when she must decide if she will join the Sisterhood or marry. I got a little frustrated in the end by Cate's sometimes overly wordy narration and by the of-course-we-are-totally-in-love-even-though-we've-only-spent-about-half-an-hour-together nature of her romance. Still, I think lots of teen girls will eat this up....more
Dang. I really liked this, but politically, I just can't get behind it. I'm pulling an Abby!
This is a reimagining of the Old West with magic and magicDang. I really liked this, but politically, I just can't get behind it. I'm pulling an Abby!
This is a reimagining of the Old West with magic and magical creatures. Also, some prehistoric animals of the americas (mastadons, saber tooth tigers, etc.) still exist. I liked the world and the characters and the sibling drama. But it completely erases Native Americans. I get that it's a re-imagining, and you can reimagine whatever you want in your fictional alternate history. But really, morally, what are you doing by erasing a whole continent of people? Nothing good I fear....more
I think calling this book either suspenseful or a mystery is kind of overselling it. It's not terrible, but I wouldn't have finished it if I weren't rI think calling this book either suspenseful or a mystery is kind of overselling it. It's not terrible, but I wouldn't have finished it if I weren't reading it for review. I'm having trouble imagining the reader that goes with this book, though I think that there probably are a few out there.
Nora is really into Latin, so she gets involved in a translation project at the local college, along with her charismatic friend Chris. They are translating letters from the late 16th century which discuss the Lumen Dei, a device that is never much explained but apparently would give its owner the power and insight of the Big Guy himself. But then Chris gets murdered. Who can Nora really trust, is anyone who they say they are, etc.
Like I said, not terrible, but to me it was slow for a book that is presumably supposed to be suspenseful. I wanted to hear more about the Lumen Dei, and what would happen if someone used it correctly, and why exactly everyone thought Nora was some kind of Chosen One. There is no indication on my ARC that this is the first in a series, but I imagine it probably is. YAWN.
Subtitled "A Chilling Prelude to Wuthering Heights," this book imagines the early life of Tabby Ackroyd, beloved maid of the Bronte sisters. Hired toSubtitled "A Chilling Prelude to Wuthering Heights," this book imagines the early life of Tabby Ackroyd, beloved maid of the Bronte sisters. Hired to be nursemaid to a strange young child at Seldom House, she soon finds that the house is filled with eyeless ghosts who terrorize Tabby and her young charge. Meanwhile, the villagers treat her strangely, and the master of the house has strange, seemingly violent arguments with his maid. By the time she discovers the house's secret, will it be too late? It's not necessary to have read Wuthering Heights to enjoy this atmospheric ghost story, but Bronte fans will be particularly drawn to it. It made me want to reread Wuthering Heights....more
Basically, this is an Austenian world where in addition to painting screens and playing the pianoforte, accomplished young ladies also work "glamours.Basically, this is an Austenian world where in addition to painting screens and playing the pianoforte, accomplished young ladies also work "glamours." Glamours, which are somehow pulled from the ether, are used to create beautiful illusions, usually from nature or mythology.
The characters are borrowed pretty heavily from Austen. Jane and Melody are very much Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, although Jane is not as patient a sufferer as Elinor, and Melody is not as sweet as Marianne. Their mother is 100% Mrs. Bennett.
Not amazing, but short and fun. Would probably be enjoyed by Austen's teen readers who like stuff like Sorcery and Cecelia....more
This alternate history imagines what would have happened if pretty much all Europeans had been wiped out by the medieval plague, instead of just lotsThis alternate history imagines what would have happened if pretty much all Europeans had been wiped out by the medieval plague, instead of just lots of them. How would the Americas have been discovered? Would there still have been world wars?, etc. It's really more like ten novellas than a novel, because it depicts several souls as they are reincarnated over and over, trying to become better and make the world a better place. It's nearly 800 pages, which for me is a bit much, but I finished it so I guess it must have good....more
16-year-old orphan Jennie has lost both her twin brother Toby and her half cousin/fiance Will to the Civil War. Poor and alone, she lives with her cru16-year-old orphan Jennie has lost both her twin brother Toby and her half cousin/fiance Will to the Civil War. Poor and alone, she lives with her cruel aunt and emotionally absent uncle in Brookline, MA. She tries to make herself valuable by doing servants' work and nursing her other cousin, Quinn, who is newly home from the war with an eye injury. But the house seems filled with evil. Jennie becomes convinced that Will is haunting her, and leading her to answers about what really happened while the three boys were away at war.
Not perfect, but there's a nice Gothic feel, and the illustrations by Mrs. Lemony Snicket are fun. And there's an endnote that separates the real history from the ghost story. I'll try this one on older middle school and younger high school girls who liked The Little Princess or the Lemony Snicket books as children....more
Ida Mae Jones, 19, lives on a farm in rural Louisiana in the early 1940's. She knows how to fly her father's crop duster, and dreams of saving up enouIda Mae Jones, 19, lives on a farm in rural Louisiana in the early 1940's. She knows how to fly her father's crop duster, and dreams of saving up enough money to go to Chicago to get her pilot's license. In Chicago, even Negro women like Ida are allowed to take the test. When WWII breaks out, Ida thinks she's missed her chance to fly. But then her little brother shows her an article about the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) program, and she makes up her mind to go to Texas to sign up. Women of color aren't allowed to be WASP, but Ida Mae is light-skinned enough to try to pass. So she does, not even telling her closest friends who she really is.
Flygirl gets a little dry after Ida joins the WASP, morphing quickly from a story into a history lesson. I didn't find the ending very satisfying, either. But it does bring to light an interesting and worthy piece of history, and is worth including on lists for that reason....more
**spoiler alert** "By far the weirdest Austen novel. And my least favorite heroine. Fanny is hopelessly good. I'd hate to be stuck next to her at a di**spoiler alert** "By far the weirdest Austen novel. And my least favorite heroine. Fanny is hopelessly good. I'd hate to be stuck next to her at a dinner party."
I just reread this over the weekend, and my review from above still stands. But this actually might be the most fascinating Austen book.
Fanny Price, the heroine, is not very interesting to the modern reader. She is very obedient and good, timid, anxious, and afraid of almost everyone and everything. She hardly ever says anything, and she has no sense of humor. Elizabeth Bennet would be nice to her if they met at a party, but I doubt they'd be friends.
Fanny's object of interest is her cousin Edmund. I realize that marrying your cousin was a perfectly acceptable life goal back in the Regency period, but the incest angle is constantly underlined by the narrator, who points out over and over that they were raised as siblings, Edmund loves her like a sister, etc. etc. Edmund also has no sense of humor and is very good.
The most intriguing character by far is Edmund's love interest, Mary Crawford. Mary was brought up in the city--she's funny and maybe even slightly bawdy (at one point she makes a joke that seems to be about buggery among naval officers). She falls in love with Edmund, and her brother falls for Fanny.
The narrator admits that if Edmund and Fanny had married the Crawford siblings, they probably would all have been happy, but of course that's not what happens because CITY PEOPLE ARE BAD NEWS. But the narrator has to resort to telling, rather than showing, that Mary Crawford is no good. I'm sure her unmaidenly ways read much more scandalously to readers of Austen's time, but still--she doesn't quite gel as a villainess.
So the cousins have to marry, although it's never explained how Edmund gets over Mary and transfers his affections to Fanny, who is the polar opposite of Mary in every way. Just, you know, some time passes and they get married.