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Blog category: Book Reviews

Review: "There Must Be Murder" by Margaret C. Sullivan


There Must Be Murder features Catherine’s triumphant return to Bath, adding some pleasant emotions to memories of her trip just a year previous. Now a bride of two months with Rev. Henry Tilney by her side, Catherine is ready to revel in the romantic triumphs of others, sincerely believing that those others are as earnest and deserving as herself. Ms. Sullivan adds a lighthearted touch to the story by prominently featuring MacGuffin, the Tilney’s affectionate and enormous Newfoundland dog, as well as Lady Josephine, a tabby cat belonging to Lady Beauclerk. Another delightful touch is the presentation throughout of exceptional drawings by Cassandra Chouinard. Continue reading .

Review: "Jo's Boys" by Louisa May Alcott


Jo’s Boys, and How They Turned Out: A Sequel to Little Men was first published in 1886. This final book in the unofficial Little Women trilogy follows Jo’s children into adulthood. Franz and Emil, Tommy Bangs, Dolly, Stuffy, Nat, Dan and Daisy appear, along with the almost-grown-up Bess, Josie, Rob and Teddy. If Little Men was a wonderful fantasy of childhood, Jo’s Boys is a lesson in the cold, hard realities of adulthood. Continue reading .

Review: "Vera" by Elizabeth von Arnim


While the subject matter is dark and grows darker as we read, Vera is not, surprisingly, depressing. It is engrossing and will permeate your thoughts during and after reading, but it is more thought-provoking than mood changing. If you can appreciate Wuthering Heights and even find satisfaction and humor in its pages, you will most certainly love Vera. Continue reading .

Review: "Little Men" by Louisa May Alcott


First published in 1871, Little Men the sequel to Little Women. It continues where Little Women left off set at the school established by Jo and her professor husband, Fritz Bhaer. Jo is the catalyst moving the education process along, the glue holding the school together and the engineer studying and solving the human problems that surface when a multitude of students with widely divergent backgrounds come together. Continue reading .

Review: "The Adventures of Elizabeth in Rügen" by Elizabeth von Arnim


First published in 1904, The Adventures of Elizabeth in Rügen is a travel journal written in the same style as the author’s other autobiographical works Elizabeth and Her German Garden and The Solitary Summer. Elizabeth’s a goal is to ride her coach around Rügen, Germany’s largest island and a popular tourist destination. Von Arnim records her journey with enlightening and always witty observations. Continue reading .

Review: "I Will Repay" by Baroness Orczy


First published in 1906, I Will Repay was the second written but sixth novel in chronological order of the Scarlet Pimpernel series. More than any of the other books in the series, it captures the ominous side of the French Revolution and the ever-present threat of betrayal by one’s acquaintances, friends, loved ones or political bedfellows. The author’s detailed descriptions of mob psychology and political intrigue dovetail notably with her impressive knowledge of Parisian geography and the sartorial preferences of both revolutionaries and “aristos.” Continue reading .

Review: "The First Violin" by Jessie Fothergill


First published in 1877, The First Violin is told in first person from two points of view. It begins with May Wedderburn living a quiet existence in a small town in England. Her quiet is disrupted when she attracts the attentions of the local wealthy landowner, Sir Peter. May has no interest in Sir Peter’s offer of marriage and is even a bit afraid of him. Enter the town recluse Miss Hallam who offers to whisk May away to Germany where music and excitement await her immediately upon arrival. Continue reading .

Review: "Emily Fox-Seton" by Frances Hodgson Burnett


First published in 1901 as The Making of a Marchioness followed by its sequel The Methods of Lady Walderhurst, the two novels were combined into Emily Fox-Seton who is the two works’ primary character. The story follows thirty-something Emily who lives alone, humbly and happily, in a tiny apartment and on a meager income. She is the one that everyone counts on but no one goes out of their way to accommodate. Her fortune changes, however, and the second half chronicles her adaptation to her new life and the dangers that arise from those who stand to lose most from her new circumstances. Continue reading .

"Nachtstürm Castle" now in paperback, review by Joyce

If Northanger Abbey was a little confusing for me, Nachtstürm Castle was not. Author Emily C. A. Snyder describes this work as a Gothic novel in the style of Jane Austen, and it exhibits a visible Austen imprint in the style of prose and in the charming imitation of that author’s habit of addressing the reader. Having read only one novel by Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey, and having read it as a preparation for reviewing Nachtstürm Castle, I can see the resemblance in style and, of course, subject matter. However, the story takes us beyond Austen, where I perceive (rightly or wrongly) snatches of Dorothy Sayers, Mary Shelley, and even Edgar Allen Poe. Continue reading .

Review: "Celebrities for Breakfast" by Shelley Stout


Judith Collington lived in Hollywood and made excellent money as a personal shopper to the stars. For the casual observer, her life might be the stuff that dreams are made of, but Judith was itching to get herself and her pre-teen daughter away from all the glitz and phoniness of the entertainment trade. She longed for a job that would allow her time to connect personally with daughter, Shannon, before the latter’s souring attitude went permanently south. Continue reading .

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