Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Book Review - Harriett

HarrietHarriet by Elizabeth Jenkins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Set in 1875, this sad but very readable story revolves around Harriet, who is a mentally deficient woman of money, much adored and cared for by her family. She is sought out by Lewis, who only wants her for her money. He craftily plans the way to marry her and thus begins a series of steps to keep her out of his life, with the help of his brother and wife.

The tale is well written, with the reader not being sure of what is coming next. The coldness with which Lewis and his cohorts treat Harriet and the baby she has is definitely chilling. They seem to find it an affront when anything appears to threaten their actions and they find it perfectly acceptable to use whatever means necessary to meet their goals.

Harriet and her baby come to a tragic end and the conspirators have their day in court.

Evil has always been and will always be with us.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Book Review - What the Butler Winked At

What the Butler Winked At: Being the Life and Adventures of Eric Horne, ButlerWhat the Butler Winked At: Being the Life and Adventures of Eric Horne, Butler by Eric Horne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Marvelous stories of servant hood from the 1860s until 1922. Mr Horne tells of a time when servants worked very hard and were not honored by most of their employers. I felt like he was sitting talking with me about his life and work, trying to do it in an orderly way, but now and then throwing in an out of sequence account or a funny story. Very engaging.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Book Review - The Invention of Hugo Cabriet

The Invention of Hugo CabretThe Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a unique delightful book into the world of a train station and a young boy who inhabits it. All alone in life and facing mistreatment, Hugo shares with us a world of enchantment through his ability to work with his hands and bring an automaton back to life.

This book is a treasure of beautiful black and white drawings that fill the mind with the action of Hugo. For both children and adults, a clever trip into the minds of creative people of the past.

A one-of-a-kind book that you not only "read", but experience.

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Book Review - Consequences

ConsequencesConsequences by E.M. Delafield

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Such an appropriate title for the what happened to young girls in Victorian times and the way they were brought up.

Alex Clare is one of 5 in a well-to-do family in Victorian England, and is mainly cared for by the family nurse. She longs to develop a close bond with a parent but finds it impossible, due to the strict schedule of what is deemed appropriate for children. Her spirit strikes out at her loss and lands on the heads of her siblings. She is sent away to school at a convent where she again strives to find one who will bond with her.

After returning home and her "coming out" into society at age 18, she thinks she will soon find out what it is that she has been waiting for in life by finding one to love and a life of fulfillment as an adult. A short enagagement to the first young man she knows ends in disaster and more disillusionment. She decides to enter the church as a nun, without any true understanding of her actions, but due to a great attachment to an older nun who befriends her.

This also ends, tragically, so her life goes. Still a young woman, but looking years older and without the abilitiy to organize her own life, she returns to her siblings but finds it impossible to endure the surroundings.

This story gave me a great sense of what was expected of girls in Victorian times and what the possible outcome could be when they did not fit into the plan of their family.

Alex is a pitable character and Delafield gives us a good story to cause us to ponder those not so long ago times.

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