Pamelad's New Categories

É uma continuação do tópico Pamelad's Clayton's Categories Continue.

Este tópico foi continuado por Pamelad's New Categories #2.

Discussão2021 Category Challenge

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Pamelad's New Categories

1pamelad
Editado: Maio 14, 5:08pm

My aim is to read a variety of books, and I wasn't. So goodbye to the Clayton's categories, which turned out to be Historical Romances and A Few Other Books that Are Not Historical Romances.

I've read some of the books I planned to: Voss; three books by Henry Green. Also on my original list are Dr Faustus and a re-read of The Man without Qualities. Now adding Ferdyduke, The Case of Comrade Tulayev and Jakob von Gunten.

3pamelad
Editado: Jul 13, 5:57pm

4pamelad
Editado: Jun 16, 10:37pm

3. Books I've been meaning to read for years

Ferdyduke
The Case of Comrade Tulayev
Jakob von Gunten by Robert Walser Completed
Doctor Faustus

The Transylvanian Trilogy
They Were Counted Completed
They Were Found Wanting Completed
They Were Divided Completed

5pamelad
Editado: Jul 13, 5:57pm

4. Challenges

(i) 1900 - 1950 Challenge
1. Author from Australia
The Getting of Wisdom by Henry Handel Richardson 1909
2. Author not from Australia
Pending Heaven by William Gerhardie 1930
3. Classic in its Genre
The Iron Chariot by Stein Riverton 1909
4. Not a Novel
A Jury of Her Peers by Susan Glaspell, Short Story, 1917
5. References WWI or WWII
Yes to Life: In Spite of Everything by Victor Frankl 1946

1900 - 1910
Jakob von Gunten by Robert Walser 1909
1911 - 1920
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka 1915
1921 - 1930
Nadja by Andre Breton 1928
Rain by Somerset Maugham 1921
1931 - 1940
Pack My Bag by Henry Green
1941 - 1950
Concluding by Henry Green 1948
The Exploits of Engelbrecht by Maurice Richardson 1950

(ii) Classics Challenge

1. A 19th century classic - any book published between 1800 and 1899. She by H. Rider Haggard
2. A 20th century classic - any book published between 1900 and 1971. They Rang Up the Police by Joanna Cannan
3. A classic by a woman author. My Lady Ludlow by Elizabeth Gaskell
4. A classic in translation.
5. A children's classic. Cautionary Tales for Children by Hilaire Belloc
6. A classic crime story, fiction or non-fiction, published at least 50 years ago. Murder by an Aristocrat by Mignon G. Eberhart
7. A classic travel or journey narrative, fiction or non-fiction.
8. A classic with a single-word title. Locos by Felipe Alfau
9. A classic with a colour in the title. The Yellow Room by Mary Roberts Rinehart
10. A classic by an author that's new to you.
11. A classic that scares you.
12. Re-read a favourite classic. The Vagabond by Colette

6pamelad
Editado: Jul 19, 6:22am

5. BingoDOG
Second BingoDog


1. One-word title Concluding by Henry Green Completed
2. Marginalised group The Yield by Tara June Winch Completed
3. Dark or light
4. Character as friend Murder by an Aristocrat by Mignon G. Eberhart Completed
5. Arts and recreation
6. Title describes me The reader by Bernhard Schlink Completed
7. Hearty recommendation The Exploits of Engelbrecht by Maurice Richardson Completed
8. Nature or environment When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamin Labatut Completed
9. Classical element Inspector Frost and the Waverdale Fire by Herbert Maynard Smith Completed
10. Two or more authors Who Killed Dick Whittington? by E. & M. A. Radford Completed
11. Impulse read The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn Completed
12. Love story Of Mortal Love by William Gerhardie Completed
13. Read a CAT Circe by Madeline Miller Completed
14. Southern hemisphere Wish by Peter Goldsworthy Completed
15. Made me laugh Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit by P. G. Wodehouse Completed
16. Suggested by another generation A Girl Returned by Donatella Di Pietrantonio Completed
17. New author Jakob von Gunten by Robert Walser Completed
18. Somewhere I'd like to visit Mr Rosenblum's List by Natasha Solomons Completed
19. History They Were Counted by Miklos Banffy Completed
20. 20 or fewer members Pending Heaven by William Gerhardie Completed
21. 200 or fewer pages Yes to Life: In Spite of Everything by Victor Frankl Completed
22. Senior citizen Olive, again by Elizabeth Strout Completed
23. Building A House in the Country by Ruth Adam Completed
24. Time After the Fine Weather by Michael Gilbert Completed
25. Magic Here We are by Graham Swift Completed

7pamelad
Editado: Maio 24, 6:33am

10pamelad
Editado: Jul 5, 6:22pm

9. Historical Romances

Gentleman Jim by Mimi Matthews
Earl's Well that Ends Well by Jane Ashford
Marry in Haste by Anne Gracie
Some Brief Folly by Patricia Veryan
Feather Castles by Patricia Veryan
The Tyrant by Patricia Veryan
The Dedicated Villain by Patricia Veryan
Love's Lady Lost by Patricia Veryan
Married to the Rogue by Mary Lancaster
Midnight Angel by Lisa Kleypas
Married by Morning by Lisa Kleypas
The Autumn Bride by Anne Gracie
The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn
An Improper Ingenue aka A Less Than Perfect Lady by Elizabeth Beacon
The Earl and the Heiress by Barbara Metzger
A Debt to Delia by Barbara Metzger
Tea and Scandal by Joan Smith
Marriage Made in Shame by Sophia James
One Unashamed Night by Sophia James
One Illicit Night by Sophia James
The Dissolute Duke by Sophia James
The Beast of Beswick by Amalie Howard
With This Ring by Carla Kelly
The Parfit Knight by Stella Riley
The Captain's Disgraced Lady by Catherine Tinley
Who's that Earl? by Susanna Craig
The Lady's Deception by Susanna Craig
Waltzing with the Earl by Catherine Tinley
The Makings of a Lady by Catherine Tinley
Lord Somerton's Heir by Alison Stuart
The Heir by Grace Burrowes
The Trouble with Dukes by Grace Burrowes
The Mesalliance by Stella Riley
The Player by Stella Riley
A Wicked Kind of Husband by Mia Vincy
A Passionate Endeavor by Sophia Nash
The Wicked Cousin by Stella Riley
Someone to Love by Mary Balogh
Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh
The Duke's Disaster by Grace Burrowes
To Wed a Rake by Eloisa James
A Duke of Her Own Eloisa James
Heiress for Hire by Madeline Hunter
Duchess by Night by Eloisa James
His Auction Prize by Elizabeth Bailey
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley
Hazard by Stella Riley
To Kiss a Thief by Susanna Craig
Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas
Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas

11pamelad
Maio 14, 6:08pm

I have started, and am reading Jakob von Gunten. It was published in 1909, the same year as The Getting of Wisdom and The Iron Chariot.

12NinieB
Maio 14, 7:13pm

Happy new thread! Hope your new categories help you take your reading where you want it to go.

13pamelad
Maio 14, 7:37pm

>12 NinieB: Welcome!

14DeltaQueen50
Maio 14, 9:22pm

Hooray for new categories and taking your reading in a new direction!

15MissBrangwen
Maio 15, 2:07am

Good luck with your new categories, and happy new thread!

16Jackie_K
Maio 15, 3:59am

Hope you get a good variety of reads with this refocusing!

17MissWatson
Maio 15, 7:38am

Wishing you good luck with the new direction. I'm curious to see what you make of Jakob von Gunten.

18rabbitprincess
Maio 15, 1:33pm

Have fun with the new direction of your challenge!

19pamelad
Maio 15, 5:11pm

>14 DeltaQueen50:, >15 MissBrangwen:, >16 Jackie_K:, >17 MissWatson:, >18 rabbitprincess: Thank you all for your good wishes.

>17 MissWatson: I'm thinking that what the narrator says on the surface is not what he means, and when he professes to love these people, he means something else entirely. The translation is easy to read, and flows smoothly, but the English is very formal and I'm wondering whether the language of the original is, because the tone would suggest that it's not. It's the use of 'one', which is ultra-formal in English, very Queen Elizabeth, but not so in French, so perhaps not in German?

20Tess_W
Maio 15, 5:22pm

Love your new Cats. I switched in the middle of last year and it really energized my reading. I will probably tweak mine a bit when I need to create a new page!

21pamelad
Maio 15, 5:37pm

>20 Tess_W: Thanks Tess. I just returned a pile of historical romances to the library without reading them. It's like throwing the cigarettes away when you decide to give up smoking.

22MissWatson
Editado: Maio 16, 7:30am

>19 pamelad: Interesting point. I noticed the prolific use of "one" while reading The return of the soldier which struck me as typically upper-class. In German, I encounter the equivalent "man" usually in academic texts, rarely in fiction.
ETA: On reflection I find that I use it a lot when writing letters to my sister...

23Helenliz
Maio 16, 7:07am

Hope the shake up works out for you and your reading range roams wider.

24NinieB
Editado: Maio 16, 8:12am

>22 MissWatson: As a speaker of American English, I find the use of "one" very British.

Edited to correct my grammar :)

25Tess_W
Maio 16, 8:32am

>22 MissWatson: In my humble observations, I would say that the use of the word "one" depends upon the situation and the crowd where I'm from. With my family--no. With those I work with--yes, and when writing formally-always!

26pamelad
Maio 16, 6:06pm

>23 Helenliz: Thanks Helen.

>24 NinieB:, >25 Tess_W: In Australia the use of "one" in speech is usually ironic, at least in the circles I move in.

I've finished Somerset Maugham's short story, Rain. A British couple and an American couple are stranded for two weeks in Pago Pago, American Samoa by an outbreak of measles on their connecting ship. The British man is a doctor, and the Americans are missionaries. The four of them had been drawn together on the voyage to Pago Pago, despite having little in common, because the rest of the passengers were coarse and rowdy. They find accommodation in a trader's house and prepare to wait, trapped inside by the torrential rain. The arrival of another passenger, a woman, disturbs the equilibrium. The male missionary decides that she is a prostitute, and intimidates the Governor of the Island into forcing her to leave on the next ship. In the meantime, he will save her soul.

The American missionaries are harsh and self-righteous, and do not question their mission to impose their morality on the Samoans and anyone else they deem to be a sinner. Their methods are forceful and effective. The British doctor, who eventually decides that the missionary has gone too far, is open-minded, belatedly compassionate, but ineffectual. This tragic story is about intolerance, hypocrisy, and power.

Thank you, NinieB, for recommending this.

27pamelad
Maio 16, 7:53pm

It's close to a fortnight since my AstraZeneca injection, but my arm is still sore and a bit red, so I followed the instructions about following up symptoms that hadn't gone away in a couple of days and rang the government advice line. I expected to be told not to worry so was shocked to be told to go directly to the nearest hospital Emergency Department, but not to panic! After a two hour wait I saw a doctor who told me it was nothing, which was a relief. I couldn't really ask him for an explanation because Emergency was too busy with people who were in pain, and some who seemed to be affected by mental illness, including a man who threatened to throw himself in front of a car if he wasn't seen straight away.

As a change from Googling my symptoms, I finished Rain and started a Maigret.

28NinieB
Editado: Maio 16, 9:39pm

>26 pamelad: It's a powerful story, isn't it?

>27 pamelad: Glad to hear your nerve-wracking experience (don't panic!) ended peacefully.

29Tess_W
Maio 16, 9:48pm

>26 pamelad: "one" reminds me of a humorous situation with a pre-teen once. He made a comment to which I replied, "One would think so." His counter reply "Who is this one that you are talking about"? ;)

30pamelad
Maio 17, 9:18pm

Jakob von Gunten by Robert Walser is set in the Benjamenta Institute, a school for servants, where students are taught to be small, and that is what Jakob wants from life. He wants rules and punishment, to lose himself in activity and to stop thinking. "Certainly one must think.... But to comply, that is much more refined, much more than thinking. If one thinks, one resists, and that is always so ugly and ruinous to others........" He professes to love his unthinking fellow students and to want to be like them, but he is proud to be intelligent, to be able to think and to write, and to be admired for it. And he doesn't actually want to comply. "What I mean is: if you aren't allowed to do something, you do it twice as much as somewhere else. Nothing's more insipid than an indifferent, quick, cheap bit of permission.... Everything that's forbidden lives a hundred times over..."

It's a strange book, because it's as though Walser is sharing his thoughts without censoring them, with all their contradictions and diversions. He drifts off into dreams and fantasies, then returns to the mundane as though he never left. He seems to be in despair, but keeping it at a distance, and treating it as comical.

This is a thought-provoking book. I enjoyed it, and would recommend it. I'll read another of Walser's books, but not straight away.

31MissWatson
Editado: Maio 18, 2:44am

Thanks for your review. I think that needs more attention than I can afford at the moment.

32pamelad
Maio 18, 3:09am

>31 MissWatson: It's short, but it certainly requires attention. The formal language stopped, so perhaps it was connected to Jakob's first days at the Bentamenta Institute and wasn't an artifact of the translation.

33pamelad
Maio 18, 10:10pm

A Girl Returned by Donatella Di Pietrantonio

A thirteen-year-old girl is sent away by her middle-class parents to live with poor strangers. The unwelcoming strangers are her birth family: she had never known that the couple who had brought her up were distant relatives who had unofficially adopted her. She cannot understand why the people she thought of as her parents have abandoned her.

In her new life she shares a bed with a younger sister, and her three older brothers share the same room. There is a risk of incest because the girl and the boys have not been brought up together. Food is short. The girl's brothers left school as soon as they could, and the same fate lies in store for her sister. As the mother tells the girl, poverty is more than hunger. The ten-year-old sister shows strength of character and compassion, in contrast to the adults, and by the end of the book the rejected girl is determined to help her sister to a better future.

Recommended because it compares with compassion the lives of the poor and the middle-classes, points out middle-class prejudices and shows how difficult it is for the poor to escape their backgrounds. It's set in the seventies, in Abruzzo. Are things better now?

34pamelad
Maio 19, 5:21pm

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka 1915

I should have read this long before now, but I didn't realise how comical and domestic this famous short story would be. Gregor Samsa wakes up and finds that he has turned into a cockroach, and initially his main worry is that he will be late for work. The concern is valid because the chief clerk turns up to find out why Gregor missed his train.

I read the Michael Hoffman translation from Metamorphosis and Other Stories.

35pamelad
Editado: Maio 19, 6:22pm

I put Gentleman Jim by Mimi Matthews on hold weeks ago so, despite having given up Regency Romances for the moment in the interests of reading more variously, decided to make an exception. (There will be two exceptions because a second hold has just arrived.)

On the Regency Romance scale, this isn't bad. There's a bit of historical detail, the hero and heroine have character, and there's some adventure and tension. Maggie and Nicholas are childhood friends even though Maggie is the squire's daughter and Nicholas is a stableboy. When the book starts Maggie is 16 and Nicholas is 20 and they're on the point of falling in love, but Nicholas is driven away by a neighbour's jealous son who fakes a crime that would see Nicholas hanged. Nicholas swears to return to Maggie, but ten years later Maggie thinks he must be dead. Then she comes across the Viscount St. Clare, heir to the Earl of Amberley, who reminds her strongly of Nicholas.

Edited this to remove multiple commas. I litter them everywhere and should re-read before I post.

36pamelad
Maio 20, 5:09pm

Earl's Well That Ends Well by Jane Ashford

This is the last book in the series, The Way to a Lord's Heart, and the last Romance romance I had on hold. Arthur Shelton, Earl of Macklin, has spent the last four books playing match maker for young men whose lives have been upended by grief. It is ten years since his own wife died, and he realises that it is time to embrace the possibility of falling in love again. Senora Teresa Alvarez de Granada is the one, a Spanish refugee displaced by the Napoleonic Wars. Although she is clearly an aristocrat, she is working as a scenery painter for the acting company where Macklin's friend Tom also works. She says nothing of her past, and is determined to avoid Macklin's attentions, but the need cooperate on solving a mystery involving missing opera dancers brings them together.

Another OK Regency romance. Some historical detail, a bit of adventure. Macklin is a bit too perfect.

37pamelad
Maio 21, 5:44pm

Pack My Bag is Henry Green's memoir, written when he was 35. During WWII he was working with the London Auxiliary Fire Service, putting out fires started by bombs. He recorded his memories in case he didn't survive. He reminisces about his education: private school, public school (unnamed, but it's Eton) and Oxford. Green's description of the violence and the toadying culture of Eton shocked me. This book is a bit of a mess, obviously rushed, but interesting in parts because Green was so honest.

It was first published in 1940.

38pamelad
Editado: Maio 31, 7:01pm

39NinieB
Maio 21, 6:20pm

>38 pamelad: Great job! and such interesting books. I have read . . . not as many. But I'm still on track to complete the challenge this month.

40pamelad
Maio 24, 1:29am

They Were Counted by Miklos Banffy 1934

This has been sitting on my Kindle since 2015 and I'd put off reading it because I thought it was going to be long and difficult. Long it is, but difficult, No! It's a sweeping story of pre-WWI Hungary, written by a Hungarian Count, former diplomat and member of parliament, who is interested in everything going on in Hungary: the balls, the horse racing, the shooting parties, the social climbing, the gossip, the lives of the peasants, horse breeding, forestry, and above all, the politics.

The story starts in 1905. Transylvania is a part of Hungary, as are a number of Slavic states, including Croatia. The two main characters are the cousins Balit Abady and Laszlo Gyeroffy. The noble, honest and well-meaning Count Balit Abady is an independent member of Parliament, having refused to join either of the two main parties, which are bickering about superficialities while behind the scenes the Austrians are planning to subsume Hungary. Balit is in love with a friend from his childhood, Addy, who is trapped in an unhappy marriage with a violent and possessive man. Balit's cousin, Count Laszlo Gyeroffy, orphaned as a young boy and never quite belonging anywhere, is a potentially brilliant musician who is starting to destroy himself with drink and gambling.

Six hundred pages whipped by, and I'm looking forward to They Were Found Wanting.

41Tess_W
Maio 24, 3:12am

>40 pamelad: On my WL this goes!

42pamelad
Editado: Maio 24, 6:40am

Marry in Haste by Anne Gracie

The new Earl of Ashendon has two unruly half sisters and a surprise niece but is fully occupied in searching for an assassin, so he marries a governess who can manage the girls.

Fixed the touchstone - this is a very popular title.

43pamelad
Maio 25, 6:30am

The Stone of Chastity by Margery Sharp 1940

Professor Pounce investigates Norse Legends, and has come across references to a stone that forms part of a path across a stream. Chaste women make their way across easily, but unchaste women fall off the stone into the stream. The professor has rented the largest house in the village where the stone is rumoured to be, and is staying there with his sister-in-law, her son Nicholas, who is Pounce's nephew, and an artist's model, Carmen. Pounce's tactless investigations insult the village women.

This is far from Margery Sharp's best. In her other books (I've read 11), she likes her characters and is tolerant of their quirks, but she doesn't extend that broadmindedness to the village women in this book. Amusing in parts, but I didn't like the tone, which I thought was, for this author, unusually patronising and judgemental.

44MissWatson
Maio 26, 7:27am

>40 pamelad: I've got this burid in the piles somewhere. Good to know it's a quick read!

45pamelad
Editado: Maio 27, 5:43am

I've been reading Patricia Veryan's Georgian and Regency romances on the Internet Archive. Some Brief Folly and Feather Castles are the first two books in the Sanguinet series. Sanguinet is a French villain who doesn't appear until the second book, but the two books are are linked by other characters. They're set in the time of the Napoleonic wars, and many of the main characters are soldiers. There's plenty of historical detail, lots of adventure, and the writing flows. I also started the third in the series, The Lord and the Gypsy, but it measures up to its title so I didn't get far.

The third Veryan I read is The Tyrant, which is a Georgian romance featuring escaped Jacobites. People who harboured Jacobites were beheaded, and if they were the head of the family their estates were forfeited to the Crown. Phoebe's idealistic young brother Sinclair has been helping Jacobites to avoid capture, but Lance Lascelles is too injured to move on. Pheobe and Sinclair enlist the help of "The Tyrant" a childhood friend of Lance's. Of the three books this is the one I enjoyed the most, so I'll read another from this series, The Golden Chronicles.

Patricia Veryan wrote very readable, entertaining historical romance and is definitely worth a try. Where she falls down is in the plotting. She relies too much on MacGuffins, and the reveal is too trivial to survive the build-up.

What's a MacGuffin you ask? According to Alfred Hitchcock, It might be a Scottish name, taken from a story about two men in a train. One man says, 'What's that package up there in the baggage rack?' And the other answers, 'Oh that's a McGuffin.' The first one asks 'What's a McGuffin?' 'Well' the other man says, 'It's an apparatus for trapping lions in the Scottish Highlands.' The first man says, 'But there are no lions in the Scottish Highlands,' and the other one answers 'Well, then that's no McGuffin!' So you see, a McGuffin is nothing at all.

46pamelad
Maio 27, 5:37am

>44 MissWatson: It's definitely worth digging out of the pile.

47pamelad
Maio 27, 9:16pm

Winter has hit Victoria early, and there's already a Covid outbreak. 29 cases of community spread, 1,400 contacts in quarantine, 120 published exposure sites, the whole state in lockdown for a week. The plan is to go early, go hard, and nip it in the bud.

On the bright side, most of the vaccine hesitators have stopped hesitating. Mass vaccination hubs that were half-empty are now full, with hundreds more people queueing. Everyone over 40 is eligible to be vaccinated now, plus younger people in risky occupations.

48pamelad
Maio 27, 9:39pm

What to read in June?

1. Finish The Yield.
2. They Were Found Wanting, They Were Divided HistoryCAT
3. Finish Seven Brief Lessons on Physics
4. Strumpet City
5. The Oppermans

49pamelad
Editado: Maio 28, 7:15pm

A House in the Country by Ruth Adam

During the Blitz, when friends were bombed out they moved into the narrator's house, already home to herself, her husband, and three children. In the evenings the crowd of friends, most of whom were connected with the BBC, would fantasize about moving to the country where they would have plenty of space and fresh food, so when they read a newspaper advertisement for a thirty-three room manor in Kent, they all moved in together. At first, living in the country was idyllic but eventually things fell apart. This pleasant, often humorous book is the story of the narrator's eight years in the country manor.

I quite liked this, although I'm not very interested in domestic things. People who are should love it.

Using this one for the Building BingoDOG square.

Just remembered. I think this might have been edited for American readers because flashlights were used a few times. Outside America they're called torches, and that's the term I'd expect to find.

50DeltaQueen50
Maio 28, 8:16pm

>47 pamelad: I hope they get on top of this outbreak quickly. We are just coming out from a pretty tight shutdown and are hoping that we will be returning to some sort of normality soon.

51pamelad
Maio 29, 3:15am

>50 DeltaQueen50: Thank you. It's looking promising, touch wood. 56,000 people were tested yesterday, with only five new cases, all of which have been traced back to their source. I hope things in Canada will improve soon and you will be able visit your mum.

52pamelad
Maio 29, 3:30am

The Dedicated Villain by Patricia Veryan is the last book in The Golden Chronicles series.

Roland Mathieson is the bastard grandson of a duke. His father was an evil man who treated his son and his son's mother appallingly and brought the boy up to believe he was evil, though some of Roland's behaviour suggests that at base he is a brave and honourable man. These qualities come to the forefront when he falls in love with a young woman who is helping the Jacobites retrieve Bonnie Prince Charlie's hidden treasure so that it can be restored to his supporters who are now destitute because of English reprisals.

I wasn't too sure that this book was going to have a happy enough ending, and at over 400 pages it was very much too long, so it was a slog to the finish. I am not looking for suspense, or at least not much, in a historical romance, and prefer a more relaxing read. But that's my personal taste, so I wouldn't like to put anyone off this well written, exciting Georgian adventure-romance.

53pamelad
Maio 29, 6:09pm

Love's Lady Lost by Patricia Veryan writing as Gwyneth Moore

This one was nice and short, mainly light-hearted, with a bit of humour. Leo Savage's father and grandmother are trying to push him into marriage before he is ready. On his way to his grandmother's country house, Leo runs into bad weather and ends up staying at a boarding house run by a young widow who has a little daughter. The whole family, consisting of widow, daughter, young male cousin and old nanny, is recovering from chicken pox. When the cousin becomes very ill and the widow sprains an ankle, the normally selfish Leo stays on to help and becomes very attached to the widow and her little girl. However, the widow has a terrible reputation, so it seems that Leo must extricate himself.

I liked this, except that Leo's behaviour was too inconsistent to believe.

54RidgewayGirl
Maio 30, 2:00pm

It's good to hear about busy vaccination sites! Here, in South Carolina, while vaccinations are easily available to anyone walking in over 12 years old, the number of fully vaccinated is only 33% and it's now the issue of convincing people to be vaccinated. It's maddening.

55Tess_W
Editado: Maio 30, 2:32pm

>56 Ditto in Ohio, only 36% of people vaccinated. Our state health rep says that won't work in the long run as 50% of those vaccinated are in long-term care facilities and incarcerated; so that means only 18% of the people, ages 12+ in the general population have been vaccinated. I'm just livid that churches and such have been preaching against the vaccine.

56Helenliz
Maio 30, 3:35pm

>55 Tess_W: That's dreadful, how can they possible justify that? We've had Muslim leaders making clear that being vaccinated in Ramadan was not breaking the fast, in order to encourage their communities to not hold off until Eid.
We're at 58% have had their first dose, and 38% have had 2 doses.

57Tess_W
Editado: Maio 30, 6:14pm

>56 Helenliz: We are at 44% for first dose and 36% for both. Keeping those numbers low are large number of Amish and Mennonites who are anti-vaxxers. But also I know of several middle of the road Protestant churches preaching "Don't count on a vaccine to save you, only God can save you." It is interesting to note that they very same anti-vaxxers had to have their children vaccinated with MMR and several others to get into school!

58pamelad
Maio 30, 6:15pm

Only 2.5% of the Australian population is fully vaccinated and 20% have received at least one dose. The vaccine rollout has been far too slow, with Federal politicians reiterating the point that "it's not a race", but Victorians in lockdown think, "Yes it ****ing is." We were shocked to find that the much-promoted vaccination of the elderly in aged-care homes was nowhere near complete, though we'd been told that they'd all be fully vaccinated by Easter.

>54 RidgewayGirl: Is it some sort of fatalism? Have people accepted the death rate from Covid in the same way that they accept gun deaths, with hopes and prayers instead of action?

>55 Tess_W: Most of our churches are supporting vaccination, and it's only the Evangelicals who are remaining silent. But none of them are publicly preaching against vaccination. It's truly shocking that they're doing that in Ohio.

>56 Helenliz: Our Muslim leaders are also supporting the vaccination program. it's great to see that your vaccine rollout is going so well.

59Tess_W
Maio 30, 6:19pm

>58 pamelad: I do live in the Bible belt; and most of the time I really love it. However, this just doesn't make sense! And then you have all the "patriots/libertarians"......the government can't make us get a vaccine--in America we are free.....blah blah blah.....

60pamelad
Editado: Maio 31, 6:21am

Married to the Rogue by Mary Lancaster

This is the fourth book in the Season of Scandal series, where four young women have been lured under false pretences to stay overnight in a building where an orgy is going on. Because her reputation is ruined, Deborah accepts Christopher Halland when he offers a marriage of convenience. Christopher needs to get married straight away to get his hands on his inheritance so he can build a school for poor children, but he has no intention of falling in love with his wife. This was a bit bland and unimaginative, but readable. It is a traditional Regency Romance.

Midnight Angel by Lisa Kleypas wasn't bland. Melodrama from the first page! Tasia is a Russian Princess who is to be hanged at dawn for murdering her depraved fiance. She takes a potion, just like the one Juliette took, and appears to be dead, so she is taken away for burial and escapes to England where she becomes a governess to the daughter of the widower Luke Stokehurst, who has hook where his left hand used to be. Tasia's distant cousin Nikolas, brother of her dead fiance, has sworn that Tasia will pay for his brother's death, so she is not safe.

From time to time Luke acts very much out of character for the sake of the plot. This type of thing happens a lot in historical romances.

This was entertaining, but the plot was ridiculous, and there were too many pages of sexual activities, which become much the same after a while. There was also a fortune teller, which is cheating.

Married by Morning by Lisa Kleypas started off like a traditional Historical romance, with a governess and a Viscount who is very much attracted to her. But the governess, Catherine Marks, has a terrible secret and is hiding from danger, and the Viscount, Leo Hathaway, has a sordid past and a dead fiancee whom he loved so much that he is afraid to love again. This is the fourth volume of The Hathaways series, and in the earlier volumes two sisters married gypsies, and one married a hotelier who used to be cruel before she saved him.

I quite enjoyed this one, but from the evidence of the two of hers that I've read, it looks as though Lisa Kleypas loves a melodrama and likes to get her characters into bed asap.

The Lisa Kleypas books were both Victorian romances.

61spiralsheep
Maio 31, 8:45am

>60 pamelad: Nobody has ever lured me to an orgy. Disappointing. >;-)

"There was also a fortune teller, which is cheating."

Lol! :D

62pamelad
Maio 31, 6:38pm

>61 spiralsheep: That's probably because you're not a lady-in-waiting to the wife of the Regent.

63pamelad
Maio 31, 7:00pm

I finished off the month with a crime novel first published in 1929. E. M. Channon's The Chimney Murder is one of three Golden Age Mysteries in the E. M. Channon Collection.

Harbottle Binns is a domestic tyrant who makes the lives of his wife and adult son and daughter a misery. He works in the city and makes just enough money to support his family, with nothing left over for anything pleasurable. The Marleys next door are even worse off, and Mrs Marley doesn't get enough to eat.

It's Mrs Binns's birthday, and her children have saved up so they can take her out for the day. They have to wait for Mr Binns to leave, and to arrive home before he does, because he would not countenance the expenditure and would be enraged that the house was left empty for the day. Mrs Marley and her son accompany the Binns family, so no one is home there either. A murder is committed and Mr Binns's foul temper puts him under suspicion.

This was interesting for the picture of lower middle-class domestic life in the London of the twenties. There's not much of a plot, but the characters are interesting and there are touches of humour.

64christina_reads
Maio 31, 7:16pm

>61 spiralsheep: >62 pamelad: Just wanted to say that this exchange made me laugh out loud. :)

65pamelad
Editado: Maio 31, 10:12pm

Books Read in May: 45
Historical Romances: 24
1900 - 1950 Challenge: 15, including 2 short stories

Best reads:
Concluding by Henry Green
The Exploits of Engelbrecht by Maurice Richardson
Jakob von Gunten by Robert Walser
They Were Counted by Miklos Banffy
Pending Heaven by William Gerhardie
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Also recommended:
A Jury of Her Peers by Elizabeth Gaskell
Rain by Somerset Maugham
The Chimney Murder by E. M. Channon
When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamin Labatut
The Iron Chariot by Stein Riverton

Best romances:
The Work of Art by Mimi Matthews
The Tyrant by Patricia Veryan
The Marchington Scandal by Jane Ashford

111. Mr Rosenblum's List by Natasha Solomons
112. The Getting of Wisdom by Henry Handel Richardson
113. Yes to Life: In Spite of Everything by Victor Frankl
114. Stiff Upper Lip Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse
115. The Gilded Web by Mary Balogh
116. The Iron Chariot by Stein Riverton
117. The Devil's Web by Mary Balogh
118. Pending Heaven by William Gerhardie
119. A Radical Arrangement by Jane Ashford
120. First Season by Jane Ashford
121. Bride to Be by Jane Ashford
123. Man of Honour by Jane Ashford
124. The Marchington Scandal by Jane Ashford
125. The Work of Art by Mimi Matthews
126. The Banishment by M. C. Beaton
127. The Homecoming by M. C. Beaton
128. Three Weeks to Wed by Ella Quinn
129. A Jury of Her Peers by Elizabeth Gaskell
130. Concluding by Henry Green
131. Brave New Earl by Jane Ashford
132. Miss Goodhue Lives for a Night by Kate Noble
133. Madness in Spring by Kate Noble
134. A Holiday by Gaslight by Mimi Matthews
135. Nadja by Andre Breton
136. The Exploits of Engelbrecht by Maurice Richardson
137. When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamin Labatut
138. This Rake of Mine by Elizabeth Boyle
139. Rain by Somerset Maugham
140. Jakob von Gunten by Robert Walser
141. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
142. Gentleman Jim by Mimi Matthews
143. Earl's Well That Ends Well by Jane Ashford
144. Pack My Bag by Henry Green
145. They Were Counted by Miklos Banffy
146. Marry in Haste by Anne Gracie
147. Some Brief Folly by Patricia Veryan
148. Feather Castles by Patricia Veryan
149. The Tyrant by Patricia Veryan
150. A House in the Country by Ruth Adam
151. The Dedicated Villain by Patricia Veryan
152. Love's Lady Lost by Patricia Veryan
153. Married to the Rogue by Mary Lancaster
154. Midnight Angel by Lisa Kleypas
155. Married by Morning by Lisa Kleypas
156. The Chimney Murder by E. M. Channon

66Tess_W
Jun 1, 2:25am

>65 pamelad: Certainly a great May, reading wise. Congrats!

67pamelad
Editado: Jun 2, 5:42pm

The Autumn Bride by Anne Gracie

Abigail Chantry and he sister Jane were left penniless by the deaths of both parents and were brought up in an orphanage for the children of gentlemen. Abigail has been working as a governess and Jane is on her way to start work as a companion when she is abducted and sold to a brothel. In the process of saving Jane, Abigail meets Demaris, another abducted girl, and Daisy, a servant who put herself at risk to save Jane and Demaris. The four girls decide to look after one another and create their own family, the Chance sisters.

This is the first book of a series, and features Abigail. In a desperate attempt to get money to pay for a doctor to treat the very ill Jane, Abigail comes across an elderly lady who is being mistreated by her cruel servants. She and the other Chance sisters, including the recovered Jane, move into the old lady's house to look after her. The old lady's nephew, Max Davenham, soon arrives from some unnamed foreign country where he has been for nine years working to pay off his uncle's and father's debts.

Most of this book is pleasantly cosy and tidy. Max and Abigail are upright people who certainly deserve a happy ending, but the threat from the violent brothel-keeper lurks in the background.
Anne Gracie's writing is a bit pedestrian, but this was quite readable and I'd try another in the series if there was nothing better to hand.

The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn

Miranda falls in love with her friend's kind brother, Turner, when she is 10 and he is 19. By the time she is 20 and about to make her first season, Turner has been trapped into marriage by a manipulative woman who cares nothing for him, then widowed. He is very much attracted to Miranda, but his dead wife has poisoned his emotions and he has lost his kindness and good humour.

I enjoyed this, because the writing is lively and Miranda is an appealing character. However, I don't think that "will he realise that he loves her?" is enough of a plot.

I'm counting this one for the Impulse Read square of the BingoDOG because I saw it, bought it and read it all in the same day.

68pamelad
Jun 2, 8:56pm

The Worst Duke in the World by Lisa Berne

I'm giving up on this because of the leaden, try-hard humour. I keep groaning, and muttering, "Get on with the story."

69pamelad
Jun 3, 2:41am

An Improper Ingenue aka A Less Than Perfect Lady by Elizabeth Beacon

Ludicrous plot. Lots of talking. Culminates in an interminable wedding night. I skimmed a lot of this book, and should have stopped reading altogether. Not recommended.

The ebook contains a second book Rebellious Rake, Innocent Governess, which I did not read.

70pamelad
Jun 3, 4:51am

An Affair in Winter by Jess Michaels

Abandoning this for stilted writing.

71christina_reads
Jun 3, 11:53am

>68 pamelad: I think I may have hit you with that book bullet, so I apologize! I just bought The Worst Duke in the World myself and haven't read it yet...now I'll know to go into it with lowered expectations.

72pamelad
Jun 3, 5:30pm

>71 christina_reads: Absolutely no apology needed! A new author is worth a try in case they're a lucky find, and I was quick enough for Amazon to refund my $1.42, which I will spend wisely.

73pamelad
Jun 3, 7:03pm

Melbourne is in lockdown for another week, but things are looking better. Nearly everyone is complying with the restrictions without complaint because it's worth it to stop the virus circulating.

74pamelad
Jun 3, 10:57pm

>73 pamelad: Spoke too soon. A new outbreak. But we’re locked down, so it might not spread.

75pamelad
Jun 4, 2:26am

The Earl and the Heiress by Barbara Metzger

This was a traditional Regency, OK but a bit dull. It features Maltese terriers.

Twenty-two-year-old Nellie lives with her younger sister and brother in the country. Both parents are dead, and their charming, spendthrift father, a viscount, has left them very little. When Nellie inherits her great-aunt's London house, she decides that the family can afford a season in London. She plans to meet members of the ton by selling them Maltese terriers, and this is how she meets the Earl. The younger sister, of very small brain, falls into many scrapes and is nearly ruined.

76spiralsheep
Jun 4, 5:26am

>74 pamelad: I'm sure you know already that I'm wishing y'all the very best!

77pamelad
Jun 4, 4:29pm

>76 spiralsheep: Thank you. People are doing the right thing - getting vaccinated, staying home, wearing masks and getting tested - so we should be back to zero cases soon. The goal here is elimination i.e. no community spread, which is why whole states lock down with fewer than 10 cases.

78pamelad
Jun 4, 5:05pm

A Debt to Delia by Barbara Metzger

In case The Earl and the Heiress was one of Metzger's lesser works, I decided to try one that had won a prize. Delia's brother saves Major Tyverne on the battlefield, then dies himself, so the major decides to repay the debt by marrying Delia, whom he believes is pregnant. I found this book to be tasteless, with its convenient deaths, misplaced humour, and sentimentality. There are happy endings for multiple characters, some of whom require personality changes to achieve them.

79Tess_W
Jun 4, 10:20pm

>77 pamelad: Nice that people will cooperate! Our state had 490 cases reported last week with 12 deaths...and we are no longer required to wear masks or social distance.

80pamelad
Jun 5, 12:52am

>79 Tess_W: It's hard to understand why not even social distancing is required. The pandemic clearly isn't over, with so many new infections and 12 deaths. Today we have a few people out demonstrating against the lockdown but there aren't many of them and they have hardly any support. Another small group is protesting against Covid vaccinations, which aren't even compulsory. They're breaking all sorts of Covid rules, so some of them will end up being arrested and only the Murdoch press will support them. As an Australian I'd like to disown our ex-citizen Rupert Murdoch.

81pamelad
Jun 5, 1:04am

Who Killed Dick Whittington? by E. & M. A. Radford

This started off really well, with lots of colourful theatrical characters. The principal boy of the pantomime, Dick Whittington, dies onstage and the prime suspect is his cat. The death turns out to be linked to a series of fires, suspected insurance frauds. Unfortunately the story became bogged down in the tedious ratiocinations of the scientific detective, Doctor Manson, who burbled on about paraffin and indium and analysed a lot of soot.

This has two authors, so it fills a BingoDOG square.

82pamelad
Jun 5, 4:57pm

Tea and Scandal by Joan Smith

Jane Lonsdale has been unfairly sacked from her teaching job after being molested by the music master, so with nowhere else to go she is relieved to receive an invitation from her aunt, who has spent the last ten years employed as a companion to Lady Pargeter. This is a quick, tidy, undemanding read, with no great drama. Happy endings for all who deserve them. No one is lured to an orgy, sold to a brothel or abducted by a blackguard.

83spiralsheep
Editado: Jun 6, 8:49am

>82 pamelad: "No one is lured to an orgy, sold to a brothel or abducted by a blackguard."

Also no runaway Ruritanian royals. The Regency is cancelled and Victoriana is my new best friend.

84pamelad
Jun 6, 8:54pm

>83 spiralsheep: No runaway Ruritanian royals, pirates, gipsies or fortune tellers because one has to draw the line somewhere. Aristocrats turned highwaymen are borderline.

Brothels could be associated even more strongly with the Victorian era than the Regency. William Gladstone springs to mind. Victorian romances sometimes escape aristocratic circles, which is good, and it's more democratic for people to be travelling by train rather than carriage, though that eliminates the overnight stays at inns, which are a common way for unlikely characters to meet.

85pamelad
Editado: Jun 6, 9:46pm

Marriage Made in Shame and One Unashamed Night by Sophia James

I gave Sophia James a try because she is a New Zealand writer, so we speak a similar sort of English. These books both have damaged heroes who are trying to keep their injuries secret One is impotent and the other almost blind., and kind, generous, strong-minded heroines. Both heroes are current or former spies, much above the heroines on the social scale. Both heroines are in danger. They're about a 2 on the lust scale.

I'll probably read another by this author.

86pamelad
Jun 7, 7:25pm

One Illicit Night and The Dissolute Duke by Sophia James

These are books 3 and 4 in the Wellingham family series. One Unashamed Night was the second, and I didn't read the first because it was about pirates. One Illicit Night is the story of Cristo, the illegitimate Wellingham brother who, when working undercover in France, deflowers a drugged English virgin because he thinks she is a prostitute. Iffy.

In The Dissolute Duke, Lucinda believes she has been deflowered by the duke, Taylen Alderworth. Her brothers force the duke to marry Lucinda, then bribe him to leave the country. He makes his fortune and returns to claim his bride.

This is enough Sophia James for now. I'm not keen on the sordid interludes, or the lust at first sight trope, and much prefer froth.

The Beast of Beswick by Amalie Howard

This book has received many good reviews on LT, and I cannot understand why. It's talky and repetitive with an anachronistically feminist heroine and many random plotlines. The Beast is a duke who has been hideously scarred in battle and isolates himself in order to avoid people's cruel reactions to his appearance. The heroine offers him marriage because she needs a husband to protect herself and her sister from her mercenary uncle. There are many, many pages of sex scenes. If the author had left most of them out, as well as the repetition, the irrelevant plotlines and a lot of the talk, this book would have been about 100 pages long instead of 384. I skimmed a lot of the second half.

87pamelad
Jun 10, 1:05am

With This Ring by Carla Kelly

Lydia's mother favours her younger, more beautiful daughter, who is brainless, selfish and superficial, just like her mother. Lydia's father is kind but weak and cannot control his wife, or even prevent her violence towards Lydia. When Lydia is nursing wounded soldiers, she meets a major who needs a wife immediately, and circumstances drive Lydia to accept his proposal.

The theme of the book is Lydia's self-discovery. This is one of the most witless, infantile examples of the historical romance genre that I have ever read. Nauseating. Carla Kelly mentioned rat's asses again, which is crass and unBritish. Pig's arse! It's time I gave up on her.

The Parfit Knight by Stella Riley

A snowy night, a carriage accident, an earl seeking shelter at the nearest manor. He finds a beautiful blind girl, alone except for servants. Her brother, thoughtless rather than bad, spends little time with her and has not considered her future. The girl and the earl are on the point of falling in love, but there is a secret that prevents him from declaring himself, so he drags himself away. The earl convinces the brother to bring the blind girl to London and introduce her to society. Will the earl and the blind girl find happiness despite the many mis-steps that drive them apart?

I liked this one, despite the earl being excessively ironic and amusing, and will read another by Stella Riley. This is a traditional Regency.

The Captain's Disgraced Lady by Catherine Tinley

The heroine and her mother live in Brussels, but are on their way to England to stay with friends. At an inn they meet a soldier, kind but impolite, who turns out to be the hero. Rumours begin to circulate that the heroine is illegitimate, so she is cut by the ton. She and her mother return to Brussels, despite the dangers caused by Napoleon's escape from Elba and the imminence of Waterloo. The hero and the heroine are in love, but he believes he is unworthy because he is a coward, and she believe she is unworthy because of her illegitimacy.

This is a traditional Regency. I will try another Catherine Tinley

Who's that Earl? by Susanna Craig

Aa soldier on a tropical island receives news he is now an earl, journeys to Scotland and arrives at his castle under his non-earl identity to find that the girl he once loved is living there, calling herself a widow. She is a famous writer of gothic romances, but is pretending to be the writer's secretary. This was entertaining, despite a bit too much sex and sentimentality towards the end.

The Lady's Deception by Susanna Craig

The heroine escapes her wicked brother who is trying to sell her to a drunken Irish nobleman whose wife died in suspicious circumstances. Due to a misunderstanding she is employed by a barrister as governess to his young sisters. He is an Irish patriot who blames himself for the death of a comrade, so believes himself unworthy of the heroine, with whom he falls in love.

This one is awash with sentimentality. Nearly drowned.

88MissWatson
Jun 10, 3:32am

>87 pamelad: This one is awash with sentimentality. Nearly drowned.

This one had me giggling insanely.

89christina_reads
Jun 10, 10:26am

>87 pamelad: I'm so enjoying all your Regency reviews! Glad you found Who's That Earl entertaining, as I haven't gotten to it yet. Stella Riley is an author who's been on my TBR list forever, so I'm happy to see a positive review for that one as well.

90Tess_W
Jun 10, 3:11pm

LOL almost drowned! Here's a lil something for ya, missy!

91pamelad
Jun 11, 6:44pm

>88 MissWatson: You know you're on the slippery slope when someone rescues a kitten.

>89 christina_reads: I'm reading Stella Riley's The Mesalliance, the second in the series, and hoping that the next book in Susanna Craig's Live and Let Spy series will appear on Overdrive soon. Perhaps she will become less sentimental as she goes, because The Lady's Deception was an earlier book.

>90 Tess_W: Thanks, Tess! It would be a terrible thing to drown in treacle.

92pamelad
Jun 11, 7:37pm

Waltzing with the Earl by Catherine Tinley

Charlotte Wyncroft's father, a soldier, deposits her with his cousin in London, with the expectation that she will be introduced to society, but his cousin's nasty wife resents the imposition, and the perceived competition with her daughters, particularly the hysterical Henrietta. The Earl of Shalford, who is the object of Henrietta's ambitions, is attracted to the kind, capable and generous Charlotte, but wants a bride with a large dowry that will enable him to restore his debt-ridden estate.

This was a pleasant, predictable read.

The Makings of a Lady by Catherine Tinley

Four years ago, the eighteen-year-old Olivia Fanton fell in love with her brother's friend, Jem Ford, a wounded soldier whom she helped restore to health. But Jem had no prospects, so he accepted a promotion to a penal colony in Australia, hoping to make his fortune. He has now returned, fortune established, and is staying with Olivia's family. Both Jem and Olivia try to convince themselves that their past romance meant nothing, but the attraction is still there. George Manning, a handsome and charming man who is staying with a neighbour, is competing for Olivia's attention, and Jem cannot tell whether his mistrust of Manning has its basis in reality or is a product of his own jealousy.

Another pleasant, predictable read.

Lord Somerton's Heir by Alison Stuart

I read this because Stuart is an Australian writer (born in Kenya, but living in Australia since 1960). She writes in a number of genres and I think this might be her only full-length Regency romance. It has many pluses: good writing; engaging characters who remain consistent throughout the book; adventure; a plot with no major holes; a low-key romance. The negatives for me were: too much religion; the nature of the villain. The combination of these negatives wrecked for me what could have been a good read.

I plan to read another book by Alison Stuart, The Postmistress, which is set in Australia, in case the things that put me off Lord Somerton's Heir were a one-off.

93pamelad
Jun 11, 8:05pm

My qualms about Lord Somerton's Heir stem from reading so many books with stereotypical villains that make me cringe. If a book dates back to the twenties, or even the fifties, I know that these prejudices were so widespread that people didn't even question them e.g. Jews were mercenary and untrustworthy; gay men were cowardly and vicious; Chinese people ran opium dens and plotted to destroy the western world. Today they're sickening.

In Regency romances, my preferred villains are privileged people gone wrong, drawn from the middle and upper classes.

94pamelad
Jun 12, 6:13pm

Inspector Frost and the Waverdale Fire by Herbert Maynard Smith

This is the second Inspector Frost book that I've read, the first being Inspector Frost and Lady Brassingham, and I enjoyed them both. Inspector Frost is a kindly, amused, ironic and tolerant observer, and both books were witty and amusing. There seem to be only two copies of this book on LT, which surprises me because it's a Black Heath Crime Classic available for less than $2, an absolute bargain.

The Earl of Lidcombe, family name Maynard, has sold the family mansion, Waverdale, to a socially ambitious businessman, Oldroyd. Frost, along with his offsider Sergeant Billy Smith, is called in when Waverdale burns down and the famous Corleone emeralds, owned by Oldroyd, go missing. This was first published in 1931.

95NinieB
Jun 12, 11:05pm

>94 pamelad: Not available in the US on Kindle, sadly.

96pamelad
Jun 13, 12:52am

>95 NinieB: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B083D7RT8M/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i2

I can see it on the US site, but is that different from your end?

97Tess_W
Jun 13, 3:05am

>96 pamelad: The description is there, but it is listed as not available either in Kindle or paper. There are 36 other titles available, though, listed under Black Heath Classic Crime for only 99 cents per book. (Kindle only)

98NinieB
Jun 13, 10:23am

>96 pamelad: >97 Tess_W: Yeah . . . "The Kindle title is not currently available for purchase". But I'll happily see what the 36 others are!

99pamelad
Jun 13, 7:54pm

>97 Tess_W:, >98 NinieB: The 36 others are some consolation, and the H.M. Smith books might turn up eventually. It happens the other way round, when books available in the US aren't initially available here, but appear months later.

A related problem. Because links from an LT book page work better on the Amazon US site than the Amazon Au site, I usually go via the US site. So pleased when I see that the book I want costs $1.99 US then so disappointed to see that the local price is $12.99. I suppose these are copyright issues, though price gouging by publishers could be a possibility. Hachette!

100pamelad
Jun 13, 8:12pm

The Heir by Grace Burrowes

So long! So slow! The Earl of Westhaven falls in love with his housekeeper, who acts more like a lady than a housekeeper. For inane reasons she refuses to accept him, although they spend a lot of the book in bed together. Too graphic!

Not my cup of tea.

I thought I'd give Grace another go, because she gets good reviews, so I bought a bargain Kindle boxed set, The Windham Brides, thinking these were novellas so they'd have to be faster and it just wouldn't be possible to fit in so many sex scenes, but I've read the first, The Trouble with Dukes and thought it was never going to end. But it's not as graphic, so that's an improvement.

101pamelad
Jun 13, 8:21pm

The Mesalliance and The Player by Stella Riley are the second and third books in the Rockliffe series. I preferred The Player because you can have too many sardonic dukes, but enjoyed them both and will read more in the series.

102NinieB
Jun 13, 8:56pm

>99 pamelad: Thanks for alerting me to this publisher. I'm definitely interested in some of the others that are available.

103spiralsheep
Jun 14, 9:19am

>100 pamelad: I suppose one advantage of bedding the housekeeper is that you're less likely to have to sneak around in rooms without fires or beds that haven't been warmed. Stately homes are cold and draughty!

104pamelad
Jun 14, 5:52pm

>103 spiralsheep: He's stayed in London over summer for peace and quiet, so the housekeeper is keeping the house cool and fragrant and supplying him with iced lemonade and all his favourite food. She's an excellent housekeeper, and will make a very good wife, just as long as she can overcome the tedious BS that makes her refuse the hero's proposals.

I've put Emily Larkin on my list of historical romance writer possibilities. She classifies her books using a "sensuality scale", which sounds more tasteful than a swollen shaft scale, so I am planning to adopt it.

105pamelad
Jun 14, 6:16pm

A Wicked Kind of Husband by Mia Vincy

Cassandra's father married her off to one of his friends, the businessman Joshua DeWitt, then died. It is a marriage of convenience and Cassandra has not seen her husband since the wedding. He expects her to stay in the country, out of his way, but Cassandra needs to come to London so that she can convince her grandmother, a duchess, to launch Lucy, her difficult younger sister, into society. Cassandra chooses a time when her husband is supposed to be in Liverpool, but their paths cross in London.

I chose this book because Mia Vincy is an Australian author, so I was hoping for no gottens, fall, normalcy, wraps.....There are a few gottens. Perhaps the editors put them in when they Americanised the spelling.

The book is a hodgepodge - too long, with too many plot strands. It rates about a 2 on the sensuality scale (the scale is a work in progress). I'll probably try another by this author because she's local, and this is her first book.

106pamelad
Jun 15, 2:17am

I just received a paperback book The Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore from LibraryThing Early Reviewers, posted from the US. This is a big surprise! I was expecting an ebook full of typos.

107ELiz_M
Jun 15, 7:17am

>106 pamelad: a new translation?

108pamelad
Editado: Jun 15, 5:50pm

>107 ELiz_M: I don't think so. Surendranath Tagore. It's published by Mint Editions, who appear to be republishing classics.

109pamelad
Jun 16, 2:24am

A Passionate Endeavor by Sophia Nash

The hero, who is heir to an earldom, has dyslexia so his younger, nastier half-brother has taken over the running of the estate and the hero has become a soldier. He arrives home wounded, and is treated by the doctor's plain spinster daughter, with whom he falls in love, and she with him, but he has promised his father that he will never marry.

This book appears to be written for people with a reading age of 9. Not recommended.

The Wicked Cousin by Stella Riley

This is the fourth book in the Rockcliffe series and I enjoyed it. The hero's over-protective family allowed him no freedom, so as soon as he was old enough he escaped and kicked over the traces, becoming notorious for his exploits all over Europe. When he receives news that his father is ill, he returns to England, determined to live a quieter life, but he is pursued by a mad ex-mistress who won't give him up. When the hero falls in love, the mad mistress is determined that if she can't have him, no one will.

It's about a 1.5 on the sensuality scale. So far the scale starts with Georgette Heyer at 0 (a kiss on betrothal) up to Stephanie Laurens at 4 (lots of graphic detail, all through the book).

110spiralsheep
Editado: Jun 16, 4:48am

>109 pamelad: "The hero, who is heir to an earldom, has dyslexia so his younger, nastier half-brother has taken over the running of the estate and the hero has become a soldier."

Because earls famously don't have men of business to do things for them, while officers all have secretaries to write their dispatches.... >;-)

111pamelad
Jun 16, 5:29am

>110 spiralsheep: The soldier has his batman, a boy who used to play the fife and can now set a broken leg as well as dealing with correspondence. I made a mistake about the hero's rank - he's a duke's heir, not an earl's heir. So many dukes! You'd think Britain was littered with them.

112Helenliz
Editado: Jun 16, 5:51am

>111 pamelad: So many dukes! You'd think Britain was littered with them. common misconception. There are far more plebs in real life than literature of this kind tends to make out!

113spiralsheep
Editado: Jun 16, 6:12am

>111 pamelad: What a surprisingly well educated batman! Not sure the military hierarchy would take to receiving official dispatches from a servant though. >;-)

A Duke transformed into an Earl isn't especially noteworthy. Some of my favourite faux pas in "historical" novels are the impossible English Counts and unlikely placenames in noble titles. :D

"So many dukes! You'd think Britain was littered with them."

I'm now worried that all these innocent Regency maidens, especially the lower classes and thinly disguised Americans, have been taken in by con-men falsely claiming to be aristocrats! >;-)

114VivienneR
Jun 16, 2:32pm

While romance novels are not my thing, I have to congratulate you on the number you've read but mostly on your entertaining reviews! To say nothing of the entertaining and enlightening comments from others. :)

Here's hoping your state will successfully increase the vaccination rates and end lockdown. Here in British Columbia we are since yesterday beginning to relax lockdown restrictions now that more than 75% of those eligible have had at least the first jab. I just don't understand anti-vaxxers.

115spiralsheep
Jun 16, 4:03pm

>114 VivienneR: "I just don't understand anti-vaxxers."

I was so relieved when I got my second / booster vaccination!

116pamelad
Editado: Jun 16, 6:31pm

>112 Helenliz:, >113 spiralsheep: There seem to be only thirty dukes, some with more than one dukedom. Most of them are too old to be the answer to a maiden's prayer, though perhaps the Duke of York would be willing to give it a shot.

thinly disguised Americans I think it was in a Grace Burrowes book that the heroine said, instead of "as I (do)", "like I", just like Lorelei in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Whatever happened to editors?

>114 VivienneR: Thank you. There's something very comforting about the historical romance formula and reading with a disengaged brain.

The vaccinations are still going well and many more people want be vaccinated, except that the Federal Government is in charge of vaccine supply and cannot be relied upon. We're still getting new cases in the community, so even though the lockdown is over there are many restrictions which are being eased gradually. From tomorrow we don't have to wear masks outdoors, which is a very good thing because it's been a choice between the mask and the glasses. Just as well cars are big enough to see.

There's a lot of vaccine hesitancy, particularly amongst the over-fifties who are worried about the clots associated with AstraZeneca. Under-fifties get Pfizer, of which there is a shortage. The press doesn't help, because they magnify every problem and don't seem to understand maths and science.

In my parents' generation people died of diseases like diphtheria and polio and lived in fear of epidemics, but anti-vaxxers don't seem to understand how essential vaccines are in preventing disease. And they're selfish - relying on other people getting vaccinated.

117VivienneR
Editado: Jun 16, 7:28pm

>115 spiralsheep: "I was so relieved when I got my second / booster vaccination!" Same for me! And even though we are still wearing masks and physically distancing, I feel safer. When I arrived at the vaccination clinic it felt like a big celebration. Everyone was so happy we might have been visiting Santa!

>116 pamelad: There are so many so-called "experts" providing confusing information that it's difficult to tell what the official line is. I have respect for the press but if one person has a bad reaction it hits the front pages and is given an importance out of balance with reality. And with each province having different rules for lockdown and vaccine registration it's all a big muddle.

Just before the pandemic arrived I bought Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World by Laura Spinney. My son read it immediately (gave it a rave review) and was shocked to read about the high mortality rate for children in the year he was born. He had heard about polio, diphtheria etc. but had no idea of what it was like to live through the epidemics that killed so many.

I'm old enough to remember getting vaccinated when travelling to other countries. Today some think it's against their civil rights.

118pamelad
Jun 16, 11:51pm

A Dangerous Kind of Lady by Mia Vincy

This started off well, but lost pace towards the end. Guy Roth and Arabella Larke played together as children and their manipulative, managing fathers wanted them to marry, so when Guy returns from 8 years abroad, he declares publicly that he will not marry Arabella, which is fine with her. But Arabella is trying to avoid becoming betrothed to the sleazy Lord Sculthorpe, who makes her skin crawl, so she tries to persuade Guy into a fake engagement so that her father cannot force her to accept her repulsive suitor.

Despite its being too long, with too many plot strands, too many sexual encounters and too much pop psychology I enjoyed this book. Guy and Arabella are likeable; there's humour; the writer is Australian and there were no gottens.

Australians of my generation (antediluvian) were taught that 'got' is a sign of bad writing and should be replaced with a better word, or removed altogether. Gotten didn't exist at all. My eye will glide over the occasional got, but never over gotten. I stop to consider what word should replace it.

119pamelad
Jun 17, 12:29am

>117 VivienneR: I'm old enough to remember getting vaccinated when travelling to other countries. Whenever I plan to go overseas I make a doctor's appointment to check which vaccines are recommended, and to get a malaria pill prescription. Not needed for Europe so much these days, but definitely for a lot of Asian countries. My travelling companion, who believes himself to be sensibly cautious, likes to be vaccinated against every possible disease, including rabies.

I am glad that very few Australians insist on their "civil rights" regarding vaccinations. After all, they're not compulsory. They are in some jobs e.g. aged care workers, but people are free to work somewhere else rather than insisting on their civil right to infect vulnerable elderly people.

120VivienneR
Jun 17, 2:06am

>119 pamelad: Wise decision. Smallpox is another one that I was vaccinated against. Thanks to the vaccine it's no longer an issue.

121pamelad
Jun 17, 5:53am

The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare

This was a quick read because I skipped a lot of it. I thought should read a Tessa Dare because she's so popular, but I find that I've already read one and rated it 1.5*. Giving this .5* for banality, sentimentality, kittens, baby goats, orphans, lack of plot, contemporary Americans plonked down in a featureless Regency England. It's a lust at first sight plot with one-dimensional characters.

122spiralsheep
Jun 17, 5:58am

>116 pamelad: Many earlier dukedoms are extinct now and they haven't been tossing out new ones for some time. Interestingly, George I created rather a lot of new dukes / dukedoms, although many of them were extinct by the Regency, while Georges III and IV created a grand total of four between them and two of those were for royal princes (and a third for Wellington, obv). One doesn't have to aim quite so high, however, there are also Marquesses, Earls, and Viscounts, although I note very few romance novels about Barons. I used to go out with a man who could've made me Lady spiralsheep but he'd given his stately home to the National Trust so, unlike Eliza Bennet, I had nothing to fall in love with....

On Covid-19: "The press doesn't help, because they magnify every problem and don't seem to understand maths and science.

In my parents' generation people died of diseases like diphtheria and polio and lived in fear of epidemics, but anti-vaxxers don't seem to understand how essential vaccines are in preventing disease."

Quoted for agreement.

123VictoriaPL
Jun 17, 8:14am

Just catching up on your thread. That is a large amount of Dukes! 😊

124pamelad
Jun 17, 6:47pm

>122 spiralsheep: Even allowing for a significant decline in the Duke Density Factor between Regency times and today, dukes of the handsome saturnine variety would have been thin on the ground.

Barons have a bad reputation. They are usually minor characters, and often wicked.

>123 VictoriaPL: Hi Victoria!

125pamelad
Jun 17, 7:59pm

They Were Found Wanting and They Were Divided by Miklos Banffy

These are the second and third books in the Transylvanian trilogy, which begins with They Were Counted. The trilogy, which is really one long book, starts in 1905 and ends with the outbreak of WWI. Balit Abady, the main character is, like the author, a Hungarian count and an elected parliamentarian. While the world outside Hungary moves closer to war, Hungarian politicians argue about trivialities, fail to implement the parochial policies for which they were elected, and block all efforts to modernise the military. Meanwhile, corrupt notaries and bankers cheat illiterate peasants of their land and men gamble away estates that have been in their families for centuries. The lavish balls and hunts continue, and Banffy describes them in brilliant detail. His descriptions of the Translylvanian countryside he loved are beautiful. He is recording the lost world he loved.

Highly recommended.

126Tess_W
Jun 17, 9:15pm

I am of Transylvanian heritage. My paternal grandfather was born in Brasov, Transylvania at the time, now Romania. His parents immigrated to this country when he was only 4, but kept their heritage very much alive by joining the Transylvanian Saxon club.

127NinieB
Jun 17, 9:57pm

>40 pamelad: >125 pamelad: These sound really interesting. I don't know much about Hungary or Transylvania, or about this time period.

128spiralsheep
Jun 18, 1:53am

>124 pamelad: "Barons have a bad reputation. They are usually minor characters, and often wicked."

Yes, true for literature as a whole (wicked robber barons!) but odd in the context of "Regencies" as Jane Austen's most ennobled gentlemen were baronets (below barons on the desirability-by-title scale) and knights who were at worst vain rather than wicked. I've always assumed "Regency" romances descend from Heyer rather than Austen but Heyer didn't throw titles around willynilly either so I wonder where the convention came from? /rhetorical question

129pamelad
Jun 18, 6:34pm

>126 Tess_W: Have you ever been there? From Banffy's descriptions the countryside is beautiful. The series definitely merits moving up the tbr pile. There are a lot of minor characters who are hard to keep track of, but you don't really have to. The important ones were memorable. Also, there are a lot of political machinations. The internal politics are interesting in that they illustrate the futility of the Hungarian parliament, but the external politics show the stages by which Europe moved towards WWI.

>127 NinieB: The series might make a good group read. I've never read much about Hungary, and thought of Transylvania only in connection with Dracula. Banffy was a very cultured man, a diplomat before he was a politician, and the product of many generations of noblesse oblige. He had a wide perspective and was interested in everything. I've read The Radetsky March and The Man Without Qualities, which also describe the decline of Austria-Hungary, but they're both written from an Austrian frame of reference.

>128 spiralsheep: I'd never classify Jane Austen's books in the Regency Romance genre. She's above genres. Agree that the genre started with Georgette Heyer.

130pamelad
Jun 18, 10:16pm

A Beastly Kind of Earl by Mia Vincy

I read this one because the author is Australian. Thea pretends to be her sister Helen so that Helen can escape the spies of the evil Lord Ventnor, father of her betrothed, and marry in Scotland. Lord Luxborough schemes to marry Thea under Helen's name so that the marriage will eventually be shown to be invalid, but will, in the meantime, allow him to claim a bequest from his mother that depends on him being married. Luxborough has physical scars due to an encounter with a jaguar in South America, and emotional scars due to the death of his first wife. Thea has been publicly ruined by the the lies of the vicious son of Lord Ventnor, and has been disowned by her parents. Even so, Thea retains her optimism and joie de vivre. Clearly, Thea and Luxborough will make a brilliant couple if they can only overcome the obstacles in their way, many of them, in the tradition of the Regency romance, of their own making.

I enjoyed the book, and was amused by the comic bits, particularly in the first section. The book sags in the middle and Thea's playfulness started to get on my nerves (Bah, Humbug!), but I appreciated her strength and good humour. I sympathised with Luxborough, who avoids society and thinks people talk too much. About a 2.5 on the sensuality scale. Plenty of anachronisms, particularly the way the heroine talks, and there could be Australianisms that I didn't notice, but Mia Vincy is definitely worth trying.

131Tess_W
Jun 18, 11:45pm

>129 pamelad: Never been!

132NinieB
Jun 19, 12:09am

>129 pamelad: I have the 1900 novel A Strange Marriage by Kálmán Mikszáth, in English translation, as well as an anthology of Hungarian stories, but I haven't gotten around to reading either.

133pamelad
Editado: Jun 20, 2:11am

Lately I've read a few historical romances that I'd classify as "if they'd only known then what we know now" because they're about people with medical conditions - dyslexia, bipolar disorder and depression, so far. Fair as a Star by Mimi Matthews is one of them and I found it dreary, although I usually enjoy her books. I do not like psychology and excessive talkiness in a historical romance, and much prefer froth. Fortunately it was short.

Inspector Frost's Jigsaw by Herbert Maynard Smith

This is the first Inspector Frost book, the third I've read, and the second to feature the caning of a small boy. The canings make me uneasy, so I have lost faith in the jovial and paternal Inspector Frost and will probably not read another in this series. It's longer than the other two, and more confusing, with rather too many plot strands.

>132 NinieB: Couldn't find a copy of this one, but St Peter's Umbrella is free on Gutenberg. Antal Szerb's The Pendragon Legend is worth a try.

134pamelad
Editado: Jun 20, 5:47pm

Someone to Love by Mary Balogh is the first book in the Westcott series. Anna Snow was brought up in an orphanage and is still teaching there when she finds that she is the legitimate daughter of a deceased, bigamous earl. The purpose of this book is to set up the characters for the rest of the series: the new earl who never expected to be one; the now illegitimate son and two daughters of the dead earl; the earl's bigamous wife; Anna Snow's new aunts and cousins.

This book is shorter than Mary Balogh's norm, but repetitive even so. Anna experiences something...talk, talk, talk.... then she repeats it all in a letter to a friend. Anna's love interest, the small but perfectly formed Avery, Duke of Netherby whose body is a lethal weapon, is a collection of quirks rather than a fully-developed character. There's no tension, no pace. I cannot recommend this book, which reads as though the author couldn't be bothered with Avery and Anna and was struggling to fill the pages. I'd be tempted to read the third one though, which features the new earl.

135DeltaQueen50
Jun 21, 12:06pm

>134 pamelad: It's too bad that the series starts off with a dud, although having a body that is a lethal weapon is interesting ...

136pamelad
Jun 21, 6:26pm

>135 DeltaQueen50: I just can't make myself believe that the little blonde bloke is dangerous, however many times Mary says so, and I wish he'd drop the expression of ennui and put down the quizzing glass.

Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh

The Earl of Riverdale, Alexander Westcott, inherited the title and entailed property from his wicked, bigamous cousin, but the money went to the deceased earl's daughter. The old earl allowed the estate to decline. The house is crumbling; the tenant farmers and their families are close to starvation due to low wages and their cottages need urgent repairs; more efficient farming methods need to be implemented in order to improve production. The honourable and responsible Alexander needs money to restore the estate and improve the lives of his tenants, so he needs to marry a rich woman. He is a dutiful, gorgeous man with not much personality.

Wren Hedley has inherited enormous wealth from her uncle, a glass manufacturer, and is a capable businesswoman. She has spent the last twenty years as a recluse, leaving the house only when heavily veiled. Wren's tragic past could destroy her future. Believing that money is all she has to offer to a potential husband, she attempts to buy one, and Alexander is by far the best candidate.

This was a big improvement on Someone to Love, but there's still too much repetition. The internal monologues are a waste of space and I skipped them because they go on and on about things we already know. Show, don't tell, Mary!

The Duke's Disaster by Grace Burrowes

Noah Winters, Duke of Anselm, has been courting the young debutante Marliss Endmon, but she has just become betrothed to another man. Because, for no good reason, Anselm needs to marry before he turns 32, he proposes to Thea Collins, Marliss' paid companion and daughter of an Earl. Thea accepts because by marrying Anselm she can look after her younger sister. The head of Thea's family is her younger brother Tims, who fails to meet his responsibilities and protect his sisters, who are at risk from his dissolute friends. Thea almost refuses Anselm's proposal because she has a secret. She should reveal it before the marriage, but there is never an opportunity. Unknown to Thea, a vicious, jealous man plans to use her secret to humiliate the duke.

I quite liked this, despite conversations so cute they made my teeth ache.

137pamelad
Editado: Jun 22, 7:33pm

To Wed a Rake by Eloisa James turned out to be a novella. Emma Loudon and Gilbert, the Earl of Kerr, have ben betrothed since childhood, but they've met only a few times and haven't seen one another for three years. When asked when he plans to marry, Gilbert quotes Shakespeare, "not until she has a baby in her belly and my ring on her finger." Emma takes this as a challenge and determines to seduce Gilbert.

To Wed a Rake was lively and funny, so I read A Duke of Her Own.

A Duke of Her Own has a ducal cluster. Eleanor is a duke's daughter, in love with Gideon, a duke she has known since childhood. Gideon, who had slept with Eleanor and really should have married her, married the frail and lovely Ada. In order to avoid unwanted suitors, Eleanor has announced that she will only marry a duke, so when she meets Leopold, Duke of Gilner, she has to take him seriously.

Leopold wants to marry a duke's daughter because he has six illegitimate children whom he wants eventually to launch into society and needs a wife with an unassailable social position who will be a good mother to his children. There are only two possible candidates, Eleanor and the eccentric Lisette, who is reputed to be mad. On learning that Leopold will be staying at Lisette's place (very unlikely!) Eleanor's mother, who is unwilling to let another duke escape, invites herself, Eleanor and Eleanor's sister Anna as well. Leopold is torn. He and Eleanor are very much attracted to one another, but Lisette's disregard of social conventions is an asset to the potential mother of six by-blows.

This was utterly inauthentic, but very entertaining. I enjoyed the humour and the energy, and thought the characters were well-developed, so will read another Eloisa James.

Heiress for Hire by Madeline Hunter had some turns of phrase so odd that I wondered whether English was the author's first language. It is, and Hunter has written many books, so the clumsiness could be due to inadequate editing.

Minerva Hepplewhite is living in London under a false name because she is suspected of murdering her violent husband. When she receives an unexpected legacy from a duke she has never met, and who died in suspicious circumstances, she becomes a potential suspect in his death as well, and part of the investigation being carried out by Chase Radnor, the dead duke's nephew, investigator for hire. Miranda decides to investigate the murder of her husband and the death of the duke, and her investigation becomes entangled with Chase's. Chase and Miranda become entangled as well.

I expected that a novel involving two detectives would resolve both deaths. Ha! If Chase and Minerva had spent less time in bed and more time investigating, they might have discovered both murderers. Not recommended.

138pamelad
Jun 23, 3:05am

https://fundraise.unicef.org.au/t/immunisationcoalition

This is a fundraiser for vaccinating the world against Covid. This is the Australian site, but I'm sure there are sites in other countries,

The Immunisation Coalition is calling on recipients of covid vaccine to donate to UNICEF* (tax deductible) so that the whole world can be protected. By giving just $10, another deserving person can be fully vaccinated in a low-income country. $200 could vaccinate 20 people!

The G7 has just promised vaccine supply for 500 million people – a great start – but we need over 5,000 million (5 billion) to be protected to get this virus under control. The task is very big and very important.

139spiralsheep
Jun 23, 3:31am

>138 pamelad: Thank you for the link. The site automatically detected my location and switched to payment in "British Pounds". :-)

140VictoriaPL
Jun 23, 8:17am

>136 pamelad: >137 pamelad: quizzing glasses, yes, they can be overused!

141pamelad
Jun 23, 6:39pm

His Auction Prize by Elizabeth Bailey

Raoul Ruscoe, Marquis of Lynchmere, bids for an unknown young woman's company at a ton party (very unlikely). She is Felicity Temple, an orphan who teaches at a girls' school, attending with her guardian and a chaperone. They abandon her, leaving her to the care of the marquis, a socially perilous situation for them both.

This is a traditional Regency, so the story isn't interrupted by chapters full of thrusting manhoods and other cringeworthy euphemisms. Unfortunately it's dull, with little humour or character development.

Duchess by Night by Eloisa James

Because I liked A Duke of Her Own I read another in the Desperate Duchesses series. Harriet's husband committed suicide when he lost a chess match, and she has been rusticating ever since. Tired of her staidness, she decides to dress as a man and attend a debauched house party hosted by the infamous Lord Strange. James's energy and humour are there, but the plot is ludicrous and the characters are inconsistent. There's a chapter of tedious conversation towards the end, which attempts unsuccessfully to explain the characters' motivations. It shouldn't be necessary and it doesn't work.

Although this was a disappointment, it was entertaining enough. I have another on the Kindle, and hope it's a good one.

142christina_reads
Jun 24, 9:59am

>141 pamelad: "Harriet's husband committed suicide when he lost a chess match" -- ??? I think I will agree with your assessment that the plot is ludicrous!

143pamelad
Jun 24, 6:15pm

>142 christina_reads: There's plenty of odd behaviour in Historical Romance World!

Marry in Scarlet by Anne Gracie

Because the mother of Redmond Hartley, Duke of Everingham, is selfish, dishonest and manipulative, he believes that all women are the same. Being left at the altar by Lady Rose Rutherford has compounded his mistrust, but when he hears about Rose's niece Georgiana(of similar age to Rose), who is reputed to be honest, straightforward and independent, he thinks she might suit him. He plans to settle her in the country where she can breed dogs, horses and children, while he lives a single man's life in London. Georgiana has no plans to marry and doesn't much like the arrogant duke, but he manages to trap her into marriage.

The characters are two-dimensional and the plot is even more predictable than most. Like the other Anne Gracie books I've read, this is pleasant but bland.

144pamelad
Jun 24, 7:18pm

St Peter's Umbrella by Kalman Mikszath

NinieB mentioned this Hungarian writer's A Strange Marriage. I couldn't find a copy of that book, but this one is available on Gutenberg. It was first published in 1895, ten years before the start of Miklos Banffy's They were Counted, and is set in a Slovak village in what was once the Hungary of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Unlike Banffy's books, which are centred on the upper classes, St Peter's Umbrella is concerned with the middle and lower classes. As in Banffy's books, there are many ceremonies and celebrations with lots of food and drink, and dancing to gypsy orchestras.

The book reads like a fable related by a kindly, humorous and ironic narrator. It consists of five sections, linked by the journey of an old red umbrella. The umbrella makes its first appearance when a mysterious, bearded old man shelters a little girl from the rain. She is the sister of the priest, who uses the umbrella for a rainy funeral ceremony during which an unlikely event occurs, which the villagers believe is a miracle. The villagers think that the mysterious old man who gave the priest's sister the miraculous umbrella must have been St Peter.

In the middle sections the umbrella's journey begins. A young lawyer, heir to a missing fortune, sets out to find the umbrella, which has been missing since the death of his benefactor.

As in all good fables there is a moral, and a happy ending. I enjoyed St Peter's Umbrella, particularly because it added another a layer of detail about pre-WWI Hungary.

145Tess_W
Jun 24, 7:25pm

You are quickly adding high numbers to my wish list!

146pamelad
Editado: Jun 25, 6:47pm

>145 Tess_W: I just checked your profile and discovered that your wish list contains 2,452 books. High numbers indeed!

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley

Ian Mackenzie is autistic, not mad, but his father committed him to an asylum as a child. It wasn't until his father died and his brother became head of the family that Ian was released. Due to their mutual interest in Ming porcelain, Ian is acquainted with the disreputable Sir Lyndon Mather, who is engaged to Beth Ackerley, a young widow, formerly poverty-stricken, who has inherited a fortune. Ian apprises Beth of Mather's true nature and offers for her himself, despite never having met her before. Beth refuses, but Ian is determined to marry her.

This is a well-plotted, well-written book that romps along. There are many deep, dark secrets in the Mackenzie family, enough for a series. In this book, the initial mystery is the murder of a courtesan in which Ian and his brother Hart, the duke, are implicated. A second murder occurs and Ian is the main suspect.

For me, the main problem with this book, apart from the lust at first sight trope, is the character of Ian. He is a savant, able to remember every conversation he has ever heard and every document he has ever read, whether or not he has understood them. He can play musical pieces faultlessly after one hearing. He is a mathematical genius. This seems to me to be a false, cliched and exploitative rendition of an autistic character.

147Tess_W
Jun 26, 12:13am

>146 pamelad: doing a WL instead of indiscriminately buying everything I see/think I want! I still have about 500 books on my shelves--real and ebooks. For the past several years I've been on a book "diet" (down from 1400 books to 500) and have only been buying books when someone gets me an Amazon gift card or its my Thingaversary; but I have fallen off the wagon a few times!

148pamelad
Jun 26, 1:55am

>147 Tess_W: Wish lists are good for that, particularly with ebooks, because it's so tempting to read about a book that looks interesting and buy it straight away. I've seen ebooks on my Kindle and thought, "Where did that come from?" Lately I've been culling my wish list from time to time because it used to be a black hole.

You have to fall of the wagon sometimes! What if there's a book you just have to read right now?

149pamelad
Jun 26, 2:46am

The Absolute at Large by Karel Capek

It's short book, full of big ideas, that made me snort with laughter. Just about perfect.

The engineer Marek has made a machine that produces energy from matter not by burning, but by releasing the energy stored in its atoms, so it runs cheaply on minimal amounts of fuel. The problem is that God is in everything, so when the atoms are used up God, the absolute, is set free. The people working on Marek's prototype, which he has named the carburator, show signs of the absolute's effects: loving their fellow man; giving away their worldly goods; performing miracles. Marek foresees enormous problems and wants the responsibility of carburator out of his hands, so he gives the machine to to an old school friend, the businessman Bondy who, motivated by profit, improves on the prototype and sells thousands of carburators, releasing the absolute all over the world.

Banks collapse because the staff give the money to the poor. Religious cults form around carburators. The absolute takes over industry and produces goods in such quantities that they can't be sold, so there is no commerce and goods of all kinds are in short supply. The leaders and followers of the world's religions insist that there is one absolute, one religion, and it's theirs, so a religious war breaks out.

Some of the bits that made me laugh the most were the experts' - religious, scientific, political - rationalisations of the absolute. I particularly enjoyed the Catholic Church canonising the absolute, and the scientists denying miracles such as restoring life to a man whose head had been severed from his body and insisting that there is a rational explanation.

Highly recommended.

150Tess_W
Jun 26, 8:07am

>149 pamelad: Although his War with the Newts was an average read for me, I'm willing to give him another try---another WL entry!

151pamelad
Jun 26, 7:18pm

>150 Tess_W: I thought War with the Newts was brilliant, so I don't know whether you'd like The Absolute at Large, but it's short, and available for free, so definitely worth a try.

Hazard by Stella Riley

This is the fifth book in the Rockliffe series. It features Aristide Delacroix, part-owner of a high-class gaming establishment. At a small reception he meets the widowed Lady Genevieve Westin, whom he knew when she was a girl in France. She is shunned by society because her dead husband was an evil man.

Madeleine Delacroix is Aristide's sister, still in love with Nicholas Wynstanton, brother of Rockliffe the duke, still refusing him for his own good.

Aristide, Genevieve and Madeleine are at risk from Sir George Braxton who has accused Aristide of cheating him at cards, years ago in France. Braxton is determined that Aristide return the lost money, one way or another.

I am enjoying the Rockliffe series and have one more book to go.

To Kiss a Thief by Susanna Craig

Sarah's wealthy merchant parents have, with a huge dowry, bought her a viscount who is not happy to have been compelled by his father to marry out of his class. At a ball to celebrate the wedding, Sarah is found in a room alone with an army officer, her clothing disarranged and an heirloom emerald necklace missing. She has been set up, but no one believes her, so she escapes to a small fishing village where she makes a new life for herself. Her family believes she is dead. Her husband, St. John Sutcliffe, Viscount Fairfax escapes to Antigua where he spends three years working as a clerk and opening his mind. On his return to London he finds that Sarah is alive, and tracks her down with the idea of getting the emeralds back.

This was well-written and the story moved along, only to be bogged down in talkiness towards the end. The viscount's character didn't make much sense to me - it mutated to fit the plot.

152Tess_W
Jun 26, 8:31pm

>151 pamelad: I always give an author a second chance--and free and short are good at the mo!

153pamelad
Editado: Jun 28, 5:56pm

I found this this challenge on Birgit's thread and plan to have a go. https://www.librarything.com/topic/333254#7540348

1. A 19th century classic - any book published between 1800 and 1899.
2. A 20th century classic - any book published between 1900 and 1971.
3. A classic by a woman author.
4. A classic in translation.
5. A children's classic. Indulge your inner child and read that classic that you somehow missed years ago. Short stories are fine, but it must be a complete volume. Young adult and picture books don't count!
6. A classic crime story, fiction or non-fiction. This can be a true crime story, mystery, detective novel, spy novel, etc., as long as a crime is an integral part of the story and it was published at least 50 years ago.
7. A classic travel or journey narrative, fiction or non-fiction. The journey itself must be the major plot point -- not just the destination. Good examples include The Hobbit, Around the World in 80 Days, Unbeaten Tracks in Japan, Kon-Tiki, Travels with Charley, etc.
8. A classic with a single-word title. No articles please! Proper names are fine -- Emma, Germinal, Middlemarch, Kidnapped, etc.
9. A classic with a colour in the title. The Woman in White; Anne of Green Gables; The Red and the Black, and so on.
10. A classic by an author that's new to you:
11. A classic that scares you. Is there a classic you've been putting off forever? A really long book which intimidates you because of its sheer length? Now's the time to read it, and hopefully you'll be pleasantly surprised!
12. Re-read a favourite classic. Like me, you probably have a lot of favourites -- choose one and read it again.

Considering:
1. She by H. Rider Haggard
2. Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini
3. Aurora Floyd by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
4. The Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore
5. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
6. Monsieur Lecoq by Emile Gaboriau
7. The Desert Road to Turkestan by Owen Lattimore
8. Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
9. The Mystery of the Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux
10. Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
11. Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann
12. The Vagabond by Colette

154pamelad
Editado: Jun 28, 12:34am

I was about to give up on Grace Burrowes' Too Scot to Handle but then I would have missed this quote, which made me laugh, "When he moved her skirts up, and moved his sporran to his hip, Anwen was ready."

Skimmed a lot and finished it. Creaky plot, stock characters, repetitive. The sporran interlude above occurs in the office of an orphanage.

155MissWatson
Jun 28, 4:26am

>153 pamelad: Have fun with that! Monsieur Lecoq and The mystery of the yellow room are quite entertaining, I thought.

156Tess_W
Jun 28, 6:31am

>153 pamelad: I saw that online, but got too much going this year. Going to save it till 2022. Good luck. I love challenges, but I tend to get involved in too many at one time.

157pamelad
Editado: Jun 28, 9:16pm

>156 Tess_W: Which leaves no room to read what you feel like. Historical romances have become a bad habit of mine, so I'm looking for ways to break it. So far this year I've read 134 historical romances. The 1900-1950 challenge worked well, and I think this one will too.

I've started with She and The Vagabond and, outside the challenge, am reading The Yield.

Classifying the historical romances I've read. Can't guarantee complete accuracy because most of them aren't memorable.

158pamelad
Editado: Jun 29, 2:56am

Traditional Regency and Georgian and a few Victorian Romances

In these, young women are ruined if they're found alone in a room with a man. The ton and its rules are important, and a girl can be humiliated if she shows emotion on the dance floor at Almacks. There's a lot of detail about clothes, horses and carriages. Young women yearn, but don't lust.

Georgette Heyer is the original and the best. She did the historical research, invented the plots, and wrote with verve and wit.

Joan Smith and Alice Chetwynd Ley also wrote traditional romances.
Patricia Veryan's characters, and to a lesser extent, Jane Aiken Hodge's, get out and about and have adventures.

Modern Traditional Romances

Many are similar to the category above, but there's often a chapter about the wedding night and young women often lust lasciviously rather than yearn innocently. Some are set in the Victorian era and move outside the ton. Some of the Men in Kilts romances fit here.

Jane Ashford, Anne Gracie, Mary Balogh - Regency

Mimi Matthews - Regency and Victorian

Nichole Van, Julia Brannan - Scottish heroes

160pamelad
Editado: Jun 29, 11:07pm

Favourite Romances Read in June

A Duke of Her Own by Eloisa James
The Parfit Knight by Stella Riley
Who's that Earl? by Susanna Craig

161pamelad
Editado: Jun 29, 7:07pm

The Vagabond by Colette was published in 1910, the first under her own name. Renee, like Colette herself, is divorced from an unfaithful man who has exploited her and taken her earnings, and is supporting herself as a dancer and mime. Her husband's betrayals have left her humiliated and mistrustful, unwilling to marry again and subject herself to a man's control. When Renee falls in love with a wealthy admirer, she leaves to go on tour, postponing the decision to live with him but imagining that she will return.

Colette brings this theatrical world to life: her fellow artists, some with success in their grasp, others ill and close to destitution; the theatres, large and famous, small and local; the people in the audience, rich idlers, working people, petty criminals; the cold and grime; the costumes, the make-up, the smell. She reminisces about the countryside of her childhood, and sees the beauty in the places she passes through.

The Vagabond is a piece of history, acclaimed as a feminist classic. In her time Colette was as well-regarded as Proust and read much more widely. Highly recommended.

The Translations.

I started with the new translation by Stanley Appelbaum for the Dover 2010 edition. The introduction is useful in that it names the real people behind some of Collette's characters, and reveal's Appelbaum's opinion of Colette. He is not in sympathy with the writer or the book. His translation is clumsy, and he has converted to French of 1910 into American. I gave up after a few pages and found the 1955 Enid McLeod translation in the Open Library.

The Enid McLeod translation has its own problems in that the French slang of 1910 is translated into Britishisms, currency is translated into pounds and shillings, and I suspect that it's more genteel than the original. But unlike the Appelbaum translation, it's poetic and it flows. Where Appelbaum writes of vaudeville, McLeod leaves the original French, cafe-chantant and cafe-concert, which are clear enough because Colette describes them. These terms evoke 1910 France. Vaudeville evokes America.

By transposing France to America, Appelbaum underrates American readers and alienates the rest of us.

162pamelad
Editado: Jul 8, 5:57pm

June
Books Read - 51
Historical Romances - 43 (I am appalled. Some of these were terrible.)
Other Books - 8

Year to Date
Books Read - 206
Historical Romances - 134
Other Books - 72

Best for June
They Were Found Wanting
They Were Divided
The Absolute at Large

Plan for July
Continue Classics Challenge
Read at least 3 for the BingoDOG Done
Read a long book that's not a historical romance
Start Doctor Faustus
HistoryCAT
GeoKIT

163VivienneR
Jun 30, 1:06pm

>162 pamelad: Congratulations on a great reading month!

164pamelad
Jul 1, 3:32am

Thanks Vivienne.

The Yield by Tara June Winch

August, a Wiradjuri woman, has come back to Prosperous House for the burial of her grandfather Albert Gondiwindi . Prosperous was the mission run in the early 1900s by the Reverend Ferdinand Greenleaf, a well-meaning Lutheran who tried to replace the Wiranjuri religion with Christianity, its indigenous foods with European crops, and its traditional culture with that of Europe. The brave and misguided Greenleaf did his best to protect the aboriginal men from murderous attacks by the angry whites from the nearby town of Massacre Plains, and the women and girls from rape and abduction.

When Albert, called Poppy by his family, realised he was ill with cancer, he started writing a dictionary to preserve the Wiradjuri language. In his dictionary entries are the histories of his people and his family. They make up one of three narrative threads. The other two are excerpts from Greenleaf's diary, and August's experiences in the present.

August returns to find that a mining company has taken over Prosperous, and her grandmother Elsie is to be evicted. Prosperous was originally built on Wiradjuri lands, so this is a double eviction. August knows that to establish Native title over the Wiradjuri land, and prevent the tin mine, she needs to prove a continuous cultural connection to the land and Poppy's dictionary is the start, if she can find it.

This is a confronting book. It deals with the aboriginal peoples' displacement from their lands, destruction of aboriginal culture and language, massacres by early settlers, the separation of aboriginal children from their parents, the incarceration of aboriginal people, drugs and alcohol. Even so, it ends on a note of hope.

Highly recommended.

165pamelad
Jul 2, 6:48am

After the Fine Weather by Michael Gilbert

Laura has travelled to the Tyrol to stay with her brother, the Vice-consul. There's a political situation involving the Tyroleans, the Italians and the Austrians, in which Laura inadvertently becomes involved and which puts her in great danger.

This wasn't one of Gilbert's best, with too many deaths for my liking, but it was quite readable. I chose it for the Time Word Bingo Square because "after" in this context is a time word.

166pamelad
Jul 3, 8:01pm

Classics Challenge - 19th century

She by H. Rider Haggard

The academic, Horace Holly, living in a university residence, adopts Leo Vincy, the son of the man in the rooms next door. Leo's father gives Horace a box, to be given to Leo on his 25th birthday. It contains proof of Leo's descent from an Egyptian prince 2000 years ago and evidence of his forebear's murder, which over many generations Leo's ancestors have sought to avenge, without success. Leo takes on the quest and Holly accompanies him. Holly, Leo and their loyal servant end up in a remote and almost inaccessible cave system in Africa, built more than 8000 years ago by an ancient civilisation that died out, now inhabited by a primitive tribe, the Amahagger, under the command of a 2000 year-old white woman, Ayesha, known as "she who must be obeyed".

She was written in 1885, and reflects the racism and imperialism of the times, with many of the Amahagger being violent cannibals ruled for their own good by white people. There are, however, some brave and trustworthy Amhagger. Initially I thought that the book was misogynistic, but on reading further, I decided that Hagger was being facetious. She is wildly imaginative and adventurous, bloodthirsty in parts, philosophical in others, with an underlying vein of sardonic humour.

An entertaining read.

167pamelad
Jul 4, 7:54pm

BingoDOG

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

The fifteen-year-old Michel Berg is seduced by thirty-six-year-old Hanna. He reads to her before they make love. They meet nearly every day, then Hanna disappears without warning. Years later, when Michael is a law student, he sees Hanna again when she is a defendant in a trial of concentration camp guards.

Does Hanna's illiteracy reduce her culpability? No. Is this book making excuses for the perpetrators of the holocaust? Yes.

I disliked this book.

168pamelad
Editado: Jul 4, 8:35pm

Because I thought The Reader was dishonest, exploitative, pretentious trash, I read some cheery, unpretentious trash.

Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas is a Victorian romance. Devon Ravenel inherits an earldom when his cousin Theo dies in a riding accident three days after his wedding. He plans to break the entail and sell the properties in order to pay the debts, and feels no responsibility for Theo's wife, sisters and tenants. But then his better nature comes to the fore. His dissolute younger brother West also discovers his better nature and finds a purpose in helping Devon run the estate.

Devon and Theo's widow, Kathleen, are madly attracted to one another, but Devon wants neither wife nor children, and Kathleen doesn't want an affair, so things between them don't look too promising.

I enjoyed Cold-Hearted Rake because I was in sore need of a happy ending.

169Tess_W
Jul 5, 3:32am

>168 pamelad: tell us how you really feel!

170pamelad
Jul 5, 6:21pm

>169 Tess_W: It's not often you can!

Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas is the second book in the Ravenals series. The romance between kind and lovely Helen, sister of the late earl, and the rough diamond Winterborne, friend of the current earl and madly wealthy department store founder, was cut short in Cold-Hearted Rake, so I wanted to see what happened. After Kathleen's interference, it looks as though the engagement between Helen and Winterborne is over, but that's not what Helen wants. Things are tooling along nicely until a big secret from the past threatens to destroy the relationship.

Another undemanding, enjoyable read.

171VictoriaPL
Jul 5, 7:35pm

>166 pamelad: She sounds interesting!
>167 pamelad: I read The Reader but I don't remember much of it. I only gave it 2 stars.

172pamelad
Editado: Jul 7, 6:46am

>171 VictoriaPL: She is entertainingly weird - worth a try. Relieved to see that you gave The Reader the same rating I did. We're in the minority.

Forbidden by Jo Beverley

Not the frothy Regency Romance I was looking for. There's a plot, and I wanted to know how things turned out for Serena and Francis, but it was too sordid for my liking. I should know by now, because that's typical of Beverley's books.

Hazard by Jo Beverley

In Forbidden Francis had been expected to marry Anne, a duke's daughter and a very nice person, though not quite right for Francis. She's been dumped again, by another member of the Company of Rogues (Francis is one too), so they've sent a man to check that she's OK. He's Race DeVere, who has attached himself to Anne's brother to get to know her. He and Anne fall in love although Race, the son of a tradesman, is an unsuitable match for a duke's daughter. Anne behaves cretinously for the sake of the plot, but none of the characters are depraved, as they are in Forbidden.

173pamelad
Editado: Jul 7, 7:31am

Locos by Felipe Alfau

Felipe Alfau emigrated from Spain as a fourteen year old and wrote this book in 1928, in English. It took a long time to find a publisher and was finally published in 1936. It's a collection of short stories, set mainly in Madrid, linked by recurring characters, but the characters change names, appear in unlikely places at unexpected times, and escape the author's control.

Once I was at the Cafe de los Locos in Toledo. Bad writers were in the habit of coming to that cafe in quest of characters, and I came now and then among them. At that particular place one could find some very good secondhand bargains and also some fairly good, cheap, new material. As fashion has a good deal to do with market value, one could find at that place some characters who in their time had been glorious and served under famous geniuses, but who for some time had been out of a job, due to the change of literary trend toward other ideals.

Here is Dona Micaela, whose hobbies are going to church and to funerals. She spends a few months of each year being dead.

...there was something about Dona Micaela that was weird........It was that appearance of a wax figure that no matter how faithful an imitation it may be of nature, is always sordid. Her clothes did not wrap Dona Micaela with a warm, soft caress as they do other people; they just lay on her with apprehension and coldness, visibly displeased by the close contact. Those clothes did not cover a resilient flesh that yields and adapts itself to its surroundings, they seemed to cover a stiff frame and that reluctantly as one who complies with a distasteful duty. Seeing Dona Micaela one realized that clothes sometimes have feelings.

Felipe Alfau was before his time. In the afterword Mary McCarthy compares Locos to Nabokov's Pale Fire and to the works of Italo Calvino. I highly recommend this weird, witty, imaginative book and plan to read Alfau's only other novel, Chromos

174pamelad
Jul 7, 5:41pm

Classics Challenge

Adding Locos to A Classic with a single word title and My Lady Ludlow to A classic by a woman author.

My Lady Ludlow by Elizabeth Gaskell is one of the Cranford Chronicles. Lady Ludlow's family has owned most of the land around Cranford for many generations. The locals look up to her, so she has a great deal of influence. She is kind, generous and well-meaning, but her attitudes belong to the past so she obstructs the efforts of her agent and the vicar to start a school and refuses to countenance new farming methods. But times are changing, and Lady Ludlow must reconsider.

I enjoyed this as a piece of history. A long digression about the French Revolution slowed things down, but it was interesting for the insight into the impact of the French Revolution on the British upper-classes, and their fear that educating the masses could lead to revolution in Britain. Because I enjoyed My Lady Ludlow I've now started Cranford.

175Tess_W
Jul 8, 2:56am

>174 pamelad: Cranford was my first and probably favorite read of Gaskell's.

176pamelad
Jul 8, 6:08pm

>175 Tess_W: I thought I'd read it, but it was Lark Rise to Candleford. I read Mary Barton, Wives and Daughters and North and South many years ago, but missed Cranford.

By the way, I really liked Lark Rise to Candleford, against expectations.

177pamelad
Jul 8, 7:45pm

Classics Challenge - Children's Book

Cautionary tales for Children by Hilaire Belloc

Just as funny as I remembered it. My two favourites are Jim, Who ran away from his nurse and was eaten by a lion, and Matilda, Who told lies, and was Burned to Death.

The Book of Nonsense by Edward Lear

A collection of Lear's limericks. Not at all funny on this re-read, sadly.

178pamelad
Jul 10, 6:01pm

Classics Challenge - Crime

Murder by an Aristocrat by Mignon G. Eberhart

A happy find on the Internet Archive, a Sarah Keate novel I hadn't read. Sarah Keate has been employed to nurse Bayard Thatcher, vicious ne'er do well cousin of the rich and aristocratic Thatcher family. Bayard has been shot in the shoulder, an impossible wound for the purported gun cleaning accident that caused it. There's a large cast of Thatchers and hangers on: Miss Adela, the oldest sister and head of the household; Hilary, Adela's blustering lawyer brother and his pragmatic wife Evelyn; youngest brother Dave, reclusive and unwell, who is married to the young and beautiful Janice; Alan, brother of Evelyn, in love with Janice; Florrie, a nosy, malicious maid; the loyal, deaf servant Evangeline; the doctor, whose mother is a Thatcher; an untrustworthy gardener. When there is a murder, everyone is suspect.

I enjoyed this leisurely period piece. Nurse Keate spends a lot of time going over what has happened and saying how frightened she is, building atmosphere. The plot is dependent on timetables: who could have entered the house to carry out the crime? Suspicion passes from one character to another in the traditional way. Not one of the author's best, but I liked it.

There's only one Sarah Keate I haven't read, apart from a short story collection, but From This Dark Stairway is only available as a very expensive hard copy from overseas.

179pamelad
Jul 11, 6:36pm

Melora by Mignon G. Eberhart

The young and unsophisticated Anne has recently married Brent, a successful lawyer. His sister-in-law, Cassie, has managed Brent's household since her husband died and would like to marry Brent, so she tries to stir up trouble between Brent and Anne. Brent is divorced from Melora, and Cassie tries to convince Anne that he still pines for her. The other members of the household are Cassie's teenage children, Tod and Daphne, the butler Cadwallander, a maid, Daisy, and a couple of other servants.

Brent makes a last-minute decision to go to France for work, leaving Anne behind. Cassie has gone away for a short trip, the children have left for school, the servants have finished work and gone home, so Anne believes she is alone in the house. Daphne, however, has been sent home from school with a fever, which is just as well, because she shows a lot more gumption than Anne does when they find themselves alone in the house in a snowstorm, with the telephone wires cut, menaced by a knife-wielding stranger. Anne continues to behave so idiotically, putting herself at risk for no good reason, that I almost stopped reading, but after reading thirty of Eberhart's books I know better than to expect intelligence from her heroines.

The plot involves Brent's Paris case, his ex-wife Melora, and the knife-wielding stranger, and leads to two deaths. Cassie is also implicated, and Anne is very much at risk.

I enjoyed the book, but Anne is such a drip.

180pamelad
Jul 11, 7:30pm

Romance Roundup

The Taming of the Duke and Pleasure for Pleasure by Eloisa James

These are books 3 and 4 of the Essex sisters series. In book 3, Imogen, who was widowed after only two weeks of marriage, has decided to have an affair, and the newly-discovered illegitimate brother of her alcoholic guardian, the duke, seems like a good candidate. This was ridiculous but I enjoyed it because it was light-heated, energetic and humorous.

In book 3 Sophie, the youngest Essex sister, is having a miserable first season because some nasty young men have labelled her as the Scottish Sausage. The Earl of Mayne, who is betrothed to the icy Sylvie, gives Sophie some good advice over a couple of bottles of champagne. Sophie falls in love with him, but he believes he is in love with Sylvie. Another enjoyable read, but that's probably enough of the Essex sisters.

What Happens in London by Julia Quinn is the second book in the Bevelstoke series. I enjoyed the humour and liveliness, but towards the end the cuteness became almost unbearable. The beautiful Olivia has refused many proposals because there is no spark. When she finds out that her new neighbour, Sir Harry, is rumoured to have murdered his fiancee, she watches him from her window, believing him unaware. When the pair finally meet, they dislike one another, but as part of Harry's work for the War Office he is asked to keep an eye on Olivia and as they get to know one another better, their dislike is replaced by attraction. However, a Russian prince also fancies Olivia, and it's difficult for her to avoid his attentions.

Rescuing Lord Inglewood by Brenda Hiatt

Esther saves the life of Silas, Lord Inglewood, when she pushes him out of the path of a falling statue, but her action is misinterpreted by the malicious gossips of the ton and she becomes the victim of rumour. Silas, who turns out to be an old friend of Esther's brother, arranges for he to get out of London and stay with some friends of his. Esther is being shunted around without being consulted, as she has been for most of her life, so is unhappy. Another unfortunate incident results in Silas marrying Esther - he arranges the marriage without consulting her and she has little choice. She believes that Silas does not care for her. Will Silas and Esther find love?

This was OK, but Silas was too inconsistent, thoughtless and unreasonable to be believable.

181NinieB
Jul 11, 9:28pm

>179 pamelad: Young and unsophisticated drips . . . it does make you wonder why Eberhart was so popular.

182pamelad
Jul 12, 1:33am

>181 NinieB: Perhaps her incompetent, self-destructive clinging vines make readers feel like very stable geniuses!

183pamelad
Jul 12, 3:42am

Classics Challenge - a colour in the title

The Yellow Room by Mary Roberts Rinehart

Carol Spencer, compelled by her selfish and unreasonable mother to open up the Spencer holiday mansion in Maine, arrives with her three servants to find a burned body in the linen closet. No one knows who the dead woman is, but it turns out that she had tried contact Carol at her home in New York, so the police suspect that Carol knows more than she is saying. When the victim's identity becomes known, other members of the Spencer family are implicated in the death.

This 1945 mystery has a large cast of characters. There's an ex-FBI man, recovering from a leg wound received in the war, who undertakes to find the murderer in order to relieve his boredom and protect Carol. There are a number of servicemen, including Carol's brother Greg, a young man called Terry who may or may not be on the West Coast, and Carol's dead fiance Don, believed by his father to be alive. Lucy, the Spencer's housekeeper, is in hospital being held incommunicado by the sheriff. She knows something about the night of the death. Elinor, Carol's callous and selfish older sister, married to an obscenely wealthy man, could shed light on death, but prefer to avoid troubling herself. Don's father, the colonel, is no longer welcome at the home of his old friends, the Wards, and Nathanial Ward has armed himself with a pistol.

The plot is enormously convoluted and the resolution unlikely, but the book clearly shows the impact of WWII on people's lives. The war overshadows everything. Worth reading.

184Tess_W
Jul 12, 4:06am

>183 pamelad: added to my ever burgeoning wish list

185NinieB
Jul 12, 8:28am

>183 pamelad: You know, I must have read this in my MRR phase, 25 years ago, but I have no memory of it whatsoever . . . .

186JayneCM
Jul 13, 10:06am

>177 pamelad: I just read Cautionary Tales For Children with my son, and he thought it was hilarious!

187pamelad
Editado: Jul 13, 6:02pm

>183 pamelad: To remember one crime novel read during a binge 25 years ago is a very big ask!

>186 JayneCM: What excellent taste your son shows! It's great that a 114-year-old book is still making kids laugh.

From the Wishlist, Classics Challenge - 20th Century

They Rang Up the Police by Joanna Cannan

LT kept recommending this book and told me I'd love it, which is a bit strong, but I definitely liked it. The Cathcarts made their money in trade (the other characters call them "biscuits" which seems to mean "parvenus"). Mr Cathcart is dead, which is fortunate for the four women of the house because he was bad-tempered, loud and smelly. Mrs Cathcart and her three spinster daughters are devoted to one another, or so they seem. Gentle Nancy is the home body, Stella the highbrow, and Delia the man of the house - capable, reliable and bossy. Delia, who is always right, has made a few enemies, so when she disappears, there are plenty of suspects. Because the Cathcarts have connections, Scotland Yard sends Inspector Northeast to investigate.

They Rang Up the Police was first published in 1939. It gives many examples of gradations in the British class system, which I always find fascinating. A good, quick read.

188pamelad
Jul 15, 8:40pm

BingoDOG - senior citizen protagonist
GeoKIT - North America

Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout is a collection of linked short stories about Olive and her fellow inhabitants of Crosby, Maine. The book starts with Olive's marriage, in her late seventies, to Jack, a retired Harvard professor, and continues for ten years, ending with Olive in assisted living. Olive is a wonderful character, abrasive and brutally honest with herself and everyone else. She has mellowed, so is recognising the prejudice and short-sightedness that causes her to be so dismissive of people who don't meet her expectations. The stories are sad because the characters are ageing, recalling the mistakes and tragedies of their lives, but there are sunny moments of connection and recognition.

I very much liked Olive Kitteridge, and this sequel is just as good. Highly recommended.

189pamelad
Jul 15, 9:01pm

Two Historical Romances

The Honorable Choice by M. A. Nichol Victorian

Marriage of convenience between two dull, honourable people. Lifeless.

Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn Regency

Lively, entertaining, humorous. This is the third book in the Bevelstoke series. I've enjoyed all three.

190pamelad
Editado: Jul 18, 7:27pm

More Historical Romances

Scandal Wears Satin by Loretta Chase

With her two sisters, Sophy Noirot, runs an exclusive dress salon. The Noirots were aristocrats, but learned to be tough when they lived on the streets in Napoleon's France. Lord Longmore is pursuing Sophy despite her being unacceptable to the ton. This was lively and entertaining, but the plot doesn't hold together.

Viscount Vagabond by Loretta Chase

The hero of this book, Lord Rand, is almost identical to Lord Longmore, despite being in a different series altogether. He saves the heroine, Catherine, from a brothel. Once again, lively and entrtaining, but don't examine the plot too closely.

The Heiress Effect by Courtney Milan

Jane Fairfield is big, loud and tactless, with a taste for bold bright clothing. She's desperately trying to avoid marriage for at least a year and a half, until her sister turns 21 and is no longer subject to her guardian's control, so she's exacerbating her most annoying qualities in the hope that even her large inheritance won't make her acceptable. Oliver Marshall sees past Jane's pretence, but he's an ambitious man who thinks he's looking for a meek and tactful wife. Even so, when Jane's sister is in trouble, Oliver is there to help.

Jane's sister is subjected to some ghastly medical treatments, and the historical background to these is interesting, but overall this book is dreary. I think it's Courtney Milan's writing style: bland, obvious, narrow vocabulary, preachy.

A Night Like This by Julia Quinn

Not one of her best. Far too long, with great slabs of writing that have nothing to do with the plot and are so cute they made my teeth ache.

Daniel Smythe-Smith, Lord Winstead, is back in London after three years of avoiding hired assassins. Anne Wynter is the governess to Daniel's cousins, hiding under a false name from a man who wants to kill her. Daniel wants Anne, even though she is an unsuitable wife for an Earl. When Daniel's carriage is sabotaged and he and Anne are almost killed, who is responsible? Is it Anne's assassin, or Daniel's?

191JayneCM
Jul 18, 7:32pm

>190 pamelad: Lockdown is useful for reading, isn't it?! I've read a book a day so far.

192pamelad
Jul 18, 7:53pm

>191 JayneCM: Me too, and sometimes more. Thank goodness for Overdrive. It doesn't look as though the lockdown will be over by Wednesday, but the case numbers aren't exploding so it might not be too long.

193JayneCM
Jul 18, 8:01pm

>192 pamelad: Luckily I had plenty from the library!

194pamelad
Jul 18, 8:13pm

Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

In Cranford, the story of a country village, most of the characters are spinsters or widows, not very well off, gossiping, attending small social gatherings, looking after one another. It's kind, gentle and humorous. I loved it.

195NinieB
Jul 18, 9:21pm

>194 pamelad: I agree, Cranford is entirely loveable.

196JayneCM
Jul 18, 10:12pm

>194 pamelad: Cranford is wonderful! And I love the BBC series, so well done.

197MissWatson
Jul 19, 4:09am

>196 JayneCM: Yes, yes, yes.

198Tess_W
Jul 19, 8:23am

Glad you enjoyed Cranford. I loved the book and the mini-series.

199pamelad
Editado: Jul 19, 5:28pm

>195 NinieB:, >196 JayneCM:, >197 MissWatson:, >198 Tess_W: Good morning Cranford fans. I watched the miniseries for the first time just recently and loved it. Now reading a novella, Mr. Harrison's Confessions, which is also delightful. A newly-qualified young doctor moves into a village and becomes entangled in the matrimonial expectations of at least three women.

200Tess_W
Jul 19, 6:20pm

>199 pamelad: Loved that one also!

201JayneCM
Jul 19, 9:04pm

>199 pamelad: I haven't read that one - looks great too.
Este tópico foi continuado por Pamelad's New Categories #2.