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Readers Summer Book Club 2012 > Book #4; Bleakly Hall by Elaine di Rollo

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message 1: by Simon (new)

Simon (savidgereads) | 449 comments Mod
The third episode of The Readers Summer Book Club airs on the 18th of June, we will be recording the first part of the show very soon with Elaine di Rollo and we want your questions and discussion points. First of all here is the synopsis to the fourth choice of mine and Gavin’s, Bleakly Hall by Elaine di Rollo...

“Monty and Ada last saw one another on the frontlines of the First World War, when Monty was a nurse and Ada an ambulance driver who drove like the devil. Now, the two friends have been reunited at crumbling Bleakly Hall, where Monty has been hired to look after the grumpy, gouty guests who have come to take the Hall's curative waters. But the end of the Great War has brought changes for everyone at Bleakly, and not all of them are good. Monty, mourning the death of her beloved Sophia, has a score to settle with the elusive Captain Foxley; Ada misses her wartime sense of purpose; the Blackwood brothers must reinvent Bleakly for a new era; while Foxley has his own ways of keeping his demons at bay.”

So what we would love to know from you is...

What would you like to ask Elaine about the book and the research behind it?
What were your thoughts on the book (the bad, the good and the indifferent)?
Were there any particular parts of the book you would like the panel to discuss?
Anything else you have to discuss?

Do let us know and we will get your questions to Elaine di Rollo and the discussion panel, and of course get discussing the book below too...


message 2: by Elizabeth☮ (last edited Jun 04, 2012 10:13AM) (new)

Elizabeth☮ i haven't read this, but after looking at the synopsis, i would like to know why it's set during WWI. it sounds like the story could be set during any time period really. so what about this time period was appealing to di Rollo?

what fiction and non-fiction books would she recommend focused on this time period?


message 3: by Tasha (new)

Tasha I'm piggy-backing on Elizabeth's question...I've only just started and am only about 1/4 of the way in but I'm really intrigued by the setting of Bleakly Hall: Bleakly Hall Hydropathic. I'd love to hear her talk about this a bit and how she came to use this as a background to her story. I've never heard of this and am intrigued. I'm a bit intimidated in forming this question so I give you free reign to shape it into a reasonable question. ;)


message 4: by Ruthiella (last edited Jun 06, 2012 09:09AM) (new)

Ruthiella | 272 comments I don’t have any questions for Elaine actually. I did like the book and I think I am going to look up her first novel A Proper Education for Girls. I did expected (purely from the title) that the book would be more gothic and set about 50 years earlier. It did have its gothic elements, however, the crumbling sanatorium, Nurse Monty’s big secret, etc.

Simon, would you ask in the panel if anybody was reminded of Angela Carter while reading? I think there was a blurb on the edition that I read that made that link. I have only read Wise Children by Carter, but I think I can see the similarity in the dark humor and madcap atmosphere.


message 5: by Tasha (new)

Tasha I was not a fan of this book. Glad it is over but I do look forward to the podcast with the author.


message 6: by Ruthiella (new)

Ruthiella | 272 comments Tasha wrote: "I was not a fan of this book. Glad it is over but I do look forward to the podcast with the author."

Hi Tasha! What were some of the aspects you didn't enjoy in Bleakly Hall? I am really curious because you really liked Half-Blood Blues, which I found to be "just ok", whereas I liked Bleakly Hall (but admit it wasn't perfect).


message 7: by Tasha (new)

Tasha Haha, that's funny! :)

I just never connected emotionally with the characters or the story. It all just felt so flat to me. I do tend to read non-fiction war accounts so the war descriptions in this one just didn't cut it for me either.

(view spoiler)

The story just felt disjointed to me, I think. I was hoping for more and it just didn't deliver...for me.


message 8: by Ruthiella (last edited Jun 08, 2012 10:29AM) (new)

Ruthiella | 272 comments Tasha wrote: The story just felt disjointed to me, I think. I was hoping for more and it just didn't deliver...for me.

I agree about "disjointed". The WWI flashbacks worked well for me, but I was occasionally confused in the present narrative...characters would pop up out of nowhere and then disappear. And it took Monty a ridiculously long time to confront Foxley.

I loved the scene where Foxley is catching the bees, however. It was both loony and sad.


message 9: by Tasha (new)

Tasha I agree, that was a good scene. I like the idea of each bee carrying a memory.


message 10: by Tasha (new)

Tasha characters would pop up out of nowhere and then disappear

Perhaps that''s a better description of what I meant by disjointed. :)


message 11: by Simon (new)

Simon (savidgereads) | 449 comments Mod
The discussion was recorded today with the lovely Jennifer. Really interesting and mixed thoughts. Should be a good episode. Even if I still sound nasal Hahahaha.


message 12: by Elizabeth☮ (new)

Elizabeth☮ i am eager to hear this one. my library doesn't carry the book, so i'll have to order it from amazon.


message 13: by Ruthiella (new)

Ruthiella | 272 comments Elizabeth wrote: "i am eager to hear this one. my library doesn't carry the book, so i'll have to order it from amazon."
I can send you my copy Elizabeth. Just send me a message on my goodreads page.


message 14: by Elizabeth☮ (new)

Elizabeth☮ thanks ruthiella. i sent you a message.


message 15: by Simon (new)

Simon (savidgereads) | 449 comments Mod
This podcast will go live later today (I have been away and so edits got delayed, sorry) but I think it will be interesting for you to listen to as we all liked it, yet oddly we all really picked it apart.


message 16: by Elizabeth☮ (new)

Elizabeth☮ i've listened to the podcast (all but the last segment with spoilers), but i haven't read the book.

after listening, i thought the book i started last night may have some parallels. so i am listing it here in case any of you might want to read it.

Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall


message 17: by Tasha (new)

Tasha That looks so interesting! I put a hold on at the library. Thanks for the rec.


message 18: by Elizabeth☮ (new)

Elizabeth☮ I am almost done with this one and I have to say, I really like it. I didn't look forward to reading it, because it seemed so many were lukewarm on it. But I have found it to be quite interesting and heartbreaking.


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