Judging by the author blurb in the back of the book,The McCloud Home for Wayward Girlsis Wendy Delsol’s first book for adults, as opposed to young adults. It shows, particularly in the first couple chapters, as Ms. Delsol lays the groundwork for the book’s mystery and begins to build suspense around the tissue of lies the characters have created for themselves. But as the novel gains speed, Ms. Delsol gains confidence, and the writing becomes less clunky and much smoother.
By the end of the book, the reader realizes that the main character, Jill, and those closest to her have been living in a world of lies for decades. Nothing is as it seems, and the entire house of cards comes down when Ruby, Jill’s mother and family matriarch, begins acting very strangely. All’s well that ends well, but it is an emotionally wrenching journey to get there.
I do recommend this book — stick with it through the first couple chapters and you will be well-rewarded. Four out of five stars.
Posted by Elizabeth C on March 12, 2012
I’m trying something new — reading a poet & then writing one or a few poems in his or her style. Today I want to share some lines in the style of Robert Frost.
We went to Bozeman in the green valley
Past the canyon where the river doesn’t shilly-shally
But leaps and roils in great passion
Carrying the huge logs and trying to refashion
Posted by Elizabeth C on June 27, 2011
Love Letters, by Katie Fforde, is a sweet story of a shy bookstore clerk, Laura, meeting her favorite author and falling in love with him. The story is improbable at times, as it relies on happenstance and Laura’s amazing ability to suddenly be in just the right place at just the right time, but also believable. Who among us has not managed to be right there, in the moment, at the right moment?
I was rooting for Laura, as she navigates the tricky waters of overcoming her shyness and finding a new job after the bookstore where she works closes, along with meeting and persuading her favorite author to come to the literary festival she has fallen into organizing.
A good book, with a believable romance, yet not cheesy. I liked it very much. I wish I could read Ms. Fforde’s books as soon as they come out, but since she is a UK writer and I am in the US, I think that is not to be. I see on her website that she has a new book out in the UK, and her preceding book is now available in hardcover in the US. I read the one before that, Love Letters, in paperback from my library’s new book section. I sense a long wait before me for her other books.
Five out of five stars.
- Love Letters by Katie Fforde (alleganylibrarycollections.wordpress.com)
- This Week’s Reading (lizbethsgarden.wordpress.com)
Posted by Elizabeth C on April 11, 2011
Cover of Fly Away Home: A Novel
I just finished Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner. It was a good book. I don’t really have anything to say about it except that I enjoyed it very much and it certainly made me think about the choices I have made in life, the choices every married woman makes, and that are magnified ten times over for the wives of politicians.
And since I don’t write about my personal life online, that’s about all I do have to say about it. I wouldn’t be writing this review at all, because one paragraph hardly makes a book review, except it came to my attention (reading the comments on a post over at Uppercase Woman) that one is not supposed to like Jennifer Weiner. Somehow, her books are not considered Literature.
I want to make it clear that the commenters over at Uppercase Woman were disregarding this, and even found it somewhat ridiculous. But it occurs to me that, in the list of books that one is supposed to be ashamed of reading, are an awful lot of women authors.
Why should we be ashamed of reading authors who make their characters come alive, who present real people with real problems to be solved, and make us interested in the solutions? Why should we be ashamed of reading women authors who write about women, for women? And there, I think, is the key. Just as women’s voices have been marginalized throughout history (Oh, they have nothing to talk about except family and home) now we see women’s voices being marginalized in Literature. Oh, they only write about other women. Oh, they don’t write about real issues.
And while others have said these things before, and better than I can, I want to say it again. Because it is only by bringing these thoughts into the open that we can fight them. No one can fight shadows, and so we need to bring our lights and shine them on Literature until all good writers are included, not just those who won their battles already, or never had a fight at all.
Posted by Elizabeth C on March 10, 2011
Having finished The Mistaken Wife, by Rose Melikan, I must say that it’s not as good as the first two books in her series about Mary Finch. In the first two books, The Blackstone Key and The Counterfeit Guest, I got a sense of Mary in accidental danger, of secrets hidden and discovered without intention, of danger blundered into. This is not to suggest that Mary was an idiot or prone to taking too many risks, but rather that Mary seemed an innocent young woman who had a talent for finding secrets and tumbling into danger. I enjoyed this sense of accident, and felt that anyone could have Mary’s adventures. Ms. Melikan also did a superb job of setting the scene in the first two books, and dropping little hints to help the modern reader feel at home in the eighteenth century.
But in this third book, I feel cheated. Ms. Melikan’s specialty is eighteenth century England, and English law of the same period. The Mistaken Wife is set almost entirely in France, and Ms. Melikan’s lesser familiarity with that country shows. The book is still researched in depth, but not to the same exhaustive degree as the first two books.
And even worse, the plot of this book feels contrived. Mary does not accidentally step into danger, but willfully accepts it, even if she is pushed into it slightly by her spymaster friend, Cuthbert Shy. It’s all explained well enough in the book, but I think that sending Mary to France at the height of the Napoleonic Wars smacks of an author’s desperation to find another hair-raising situation for her heroine.
The other books had a grace to them, a sense that the whole thing had an over-arching beauty to it with a form that the author, at least, understood. But this one lacks that grace, and feels more pushed together and plodded through.
Still an excellent book, but only 3 out of 5 stars.
Posted by Elizabeth C on March 3, 2011