I feel rather unequal to the task of talking a lot about this book by Forster—it’s a classic and I am, after all, but a mere consumer of this classic.I feel rather unequal to the task of talking a lot about this book by Forster—it’s a classic and I am, after all, but a mere consumer of this classic. I can say that it’s about three families—the idealistic, educated, flighty Schlegels; the practical, worldly, wealthy Wilcoxes, and the luckless, impoverished Basts, all existing in 1900s England. It’s a heady time, filled with clashing old and new ideas and values, businesses booming and busting, men and women colliding and ruining each other as much as, if not more than, lifting each other up. And as the Wilcoxes, Basts, and Schlegels interact and meddle and insert themselves into eachother’s fates and fortunes, love swell and recede, loyalties are tested, hypocrisies uncovered, and the ultimate question is confronted—how much can such different people connect?
It’s a fantastic work, elegantly capturing the hectic pace of the early 20th century and the struggles that men and women endured to find a place for themselves in it.
As head housekeeper at the Langham Hotel in 1880s London, Sara Smythe has a certain amount of authority and independence. When she’s offered a job inAs head housekeeper at the Langham Hotel in 1880s London, Sara Smythe has a certain amount of authority and independence. When she’s offered a job in America by wealthy hotel guest Theodore Camden, though, she finds herself accepting it and moving to New York City, where she will be the manager of the new Dakota Apartment Homes. This professional success, however, is threatened by her growing infatuation with Theodore…and all of the things she doesn’t know about her employer.
A hundred years later, Bailey Camden is roaming the halls of the Dakota, trying to get her life back together after a stint in rehab. As she helps her wealthy Camden cousins with the renovations of their Dakota apartment, she uncovers trunks of intriguing artifacts and information—things that may alter not only her own life, but the entire narrative of the Camden family history. ...more
Stumped by writer's block, stymied by a lack of ambition to get ahead in academia, and saddled by student loan debt, aspiring novelist Mercer Mann doeStumped by writer's block, stymied by a lack of ambition to get ahead in academia, and saddled by student loan debt, aspiring novelist Mercer Mann doesn't have much left to lose when she is approached by a charming, enigmatic woman named Elaine, who is keen to hire Mercer for a rather unusual job. Several original manuscripts of F. Scott Fitzgerald's have been stolen from the Princeton University Library, and are believed to be hidden away in the vault of Bruce Cable, a rare books dealer living on Camino Island, in Florida. It's been years since Mercer has been to the beachside town where she spent her childhood summers, but she's nonetheless a good choice to infiltrate into Bruce's social circle and learn more about the stolen manuscripts. She's talented, attractive, and has a history with the island--but she's not the deceptive type, nor one prone to seeking out danger, and as she grows closer to the goods, so too do the original thieves who will cheerfully murder anyone they have to in order to recover the manuscripts.
It's been a while since I've a Grisham novel, but the fellow still knows what to create--an efficient, serviceable story with some vaguely interesting character descriptions, a little bit of plot tension, and some whispers of the wealthy life. However...I read A Time to Kill 20 years ago, and still remember it as a gritty, somewhat rambling affair, much less polished than the Grisham of today, and I am not sure that that is too the good. Camino Island is compelling and interesting, yes, but somehow, less...real, less meaty than his older works. ...more