This is a book for someone looking for something different. It is the story of two women meeting in a mental hospital. The story of the younger women is told by the older woman. It is difficult to decide whether or not she is an unreliable narrator. Gradually bit by bit, the younger woman’s story emerges. This book should appeal to readers who are looking for an unconventional method of telling a story.
I like R.F. Delderfield, but sometimes he goes on and on. This book would have been better if it were 1/3 the length. The third book in the Swann Family Saga, by the time were down to grandkids and greatgrandkids, I had trouble telling them apart. At the heart were Henrietta and Adam Swann, founder of an transportation empire and parents of several children, whose number escapes me at the moment, except to say there were too many of them. By the time of this book, we have gone through their marriages and offspring, until my head is reeling.
Daphne du Maurier
Well, did she or didn’t she? Or is it all an illusion in the mind of an immature boy? These are the questions raised but never answered in du Maurier’s cleverly constructed book.
I read a lot of du Maurier when I was younger, but I moved on to other books before I reached this one, and I’m glad. I’m glad I read it when I was old enough to appreciate the deft handling of her character and the pacing. The book starts slow and picks up speed, until by the end, it is racing along, taking the reader with it.
Here’s the set up: Philip Ashley is the nephew of Ambrose Ashley, a bachelor, who raises the boy with a love of the estate which is to be his one day. In middle age, Ambrose travels to Florence for his health and the warm climate. He sends home a few mysterious letters, which describe his declining health and his marriage to a widow, Rachel. Then he abruptly and unexpectedly dies, leaving everything to Philip.
Philip is stunned and builds an imaginary picture of Rachel, blaming her for his uncle’s death. When she appears in England, he is stunned to meet a beautiful, delicate widow. Vulnerable and delicate, she evokes a passionate love from the boy.
The deliberate ambiguity of the book is never resolved. Is Philip under a delusion of love? Is Rachel deliberately playing with his emotions? Is she an innocent victim or the manipulative woman taking advantage of the infatuation of a raw, inexperienced youth?
In this short (55 pages) interlude between The Man of Property and In Chancery, Galsworthy explores the situation of an older man (old Jolyon, who has bought Soames’ house) and a beautiful young woman (Irene Forsyte, who has left her unhappy marriage and ekes out a living giving piano lessons). He is drawn to her beauty as so many men have been, but perhaps because of his age, he simply appreciates her without the desire to possess her. For a few short months, he takes her out to dinner and the opera while his daughter June, and his son and his wife, are traveling on the continent.
The title is apt, for this is Jolyon’s Indian summer, a sweet short time of flowering before the chill cold of winter settles in.
I was attracted to this book because, although I have read many about Victoria and her obsessive love for him, I hadn’t read one devoted entirely to him. This fascinating account of Albert gets bogged down occasionally in the minutiae of politics of the time, but it manages to shake it off for the most part. It is the story of the inner man that appeals to the reader. From a wretched childhood to his own problems with his children, Albert did not live a happy life.
His growing importance to his adopted country, and his influence over his wife gave him the most scope to showcase his best side. He was a voice of temperance and moderation in a time of excess. His was not the nature to push himself forward, but rather working behind the scenes, he earned the respect of a succession of infinitely different prime ministers. His early death was indeed a loss to country as well as to Victoria.
Robert A. Heinlein
I first read this book a looooong time ago, when I was young and impressionable. Unfortunately, I have to say the years have not improved it. I know a little more than I did 50 years ago and no longer admire characters that are thinly disguised versions of the author, complete with misogyny and homophobia. There are pages and pages of preachiness that don’t add anything to the book, and actively take away from the story. There is Heinlein’s deliberate misunderstanding and misinterpretation of chosen Bible verses to discredit the Bible.
I could go on, but the only redeeming portions of this book are Jubal’s interpretation of Rodin’s sculptures. Those I could read and reread. The rest of it—meh.
Jill Paton Walsh
This book was not quite terrible, but close. I can read and reread Sayers’ writing for her wonderful characters, who are missing from this book. Each book in the series has weaker and weaker characters until they are missing in action in this one. And when they do appear, they do unbelievable things. No way would Lord Peter have forced Bunter to sit down and eat dinner with him and Harriet. I hope she doesn’t write any more. It’s like fan fiction by someone who isn’t really a fan.
So many memoirs of famous people are ghost written. If this was one of them, props to the writer. Every page glows with honesty about Tig’s life, her mother’s death, her relationship with her stepfather, her struggles with health, and her personal relationships. It’s a refreshing look at person’s life struggles.
Best of luck to her in her career and continued good health.
As an editor, I know how authors struggle writing sex scenes. Fighting embarrassment, not wanting to reveal their own experience, or just general reticence hamper their ability to write believable sex scenes. This book is an account of how Gabaldon approaches a sex scene. Complete with examples from her work, she describes good sex, sex between characters of the same sex, and bad sex (rape or non-consensual sex).
It should be of help to anyone struggling with putting a sex scene or several in their books.
This woman is funny in any language, and it’s a good thing she is. Instead of whining about the terrible things that have happened to her and her family, she chooses to see the humorous side of things. I suspect she does her grieving in private, covering it with light-hearted recollections of her time in America and trips back to Iran. The result is a completely amusing account of her attempts to adjust to a new culture, a new language, and a new society, while coping with her family (especially her father), and extensive relatives.