Saturday, October 7, 2017

Yes--Another Bundle of Book Reviews!

(Image: my Darcy quote necklace, courtesy of Cass Grafton and Ada Bright upon the release of their wonderful book, The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen.)

I read voraciously, and I'm struggling to catch up with my spring and summer reading that I reviewed on Goodreads--some in more detail than others, depending upon how quickly I flew through them. My "summer treat" of a month (okay, I admit it: two months!) of Kindle Unlimited resulted in briefer reviews with fewer details, especially since I don't have access to the books to look up a few facts here and there; when I'm reading up to four to five books per week, they often blend together. (Certainly the Pride and Prejudice variations get all mushed up in my head since they pretty much feature the same characters each time!)

So here are my reviews of six books, only half of them P&P variations...and all from the same series by a single author. But we'll start and end with some classics! Enjoy!!

Anne of InglesideAnne of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In my not-so-humble opinion, L.M. Montgomery writes some of the most beautiful prose in the English language. Her imagination sparkles through Anne, now a mother of six, and her children who have the same "scope for imagination" as their mother. This novel covers about six years in the lives of the young Blythes, with stories woven around different happenings to each of the children, thus paving the way for the next book in the series, Rainbow Valley, which, written 20 years before Anne of Ingleside, again shares stories of the young Blythes as well as the addition of a new family in the manse, a family torn apart by the death of the pastor's wife and their children's mother.

I've read the Anne series so many times that my paperback books are falling to pieces; someday I'd like to get a nice hardcover set, perhaps including the newly-published ninth book in the series, although I do have almost all of them on my Kindle.

These books are some of the sweetest and most poignant depictions the minds, hearts, and souls of children. L.M. Montgomery is a masterful storyteller as well as a splendidly-sensitive writer. Each of her books is a treasure.

The Honorable Mr. Darcy The Honorable Mr. Darcy by Jennifer Joy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Darcy is accused of murdering George Wickham during the Netherfield Ball while he and Elizabeth were locked in the library. If Darcy confesses the truth to clear his name, Elizabeth will be forced to marry him. But who actually killed the scoundrel? A mystery which Elizabeth seeks to solve...and which places her in mortal danger...with Darcy to the rescue!

This was my second reading of this suspenseful mystery novel; I'm not sure when I read the first, but when one remembers "whodunnit" only a third of the way through the book, it becomes obvious that one has read said mystery novel. I remember being quite shocked at the perpetrator when I read it the first time, and the suspense is wonderful!! A terrific mystery and a splendid unveiling of Mr. Darcy's true character and his protectiveness of Elizabeth balanced with his admiration of her skillz of deduction. Yes, Lizzy has skillz.

The Indomitable Miss Elizabeth: A Pride & Prejudice Variation The Indomitable Miss Elizabeth: A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Jennifer Joy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A continuation of The Honourable Mr. Darcy, this mystery revolves around the murder of someone very close to Elizabeth, someone whom Lady Catherine threatened the day before the militia parade. Darcy must help Elizabeth through her grief and to solve the mystery before Elizabeth's life is again endangered by a murderer in Meryton.

I really enjoyed this second mystery in the series. I had read the first one before this summer, but the second volume of this series was new to me and very intriguing. When an author as talented as Jennifer Joy combines my love of mysteries with my love of all things Austen, I know I'm in for a treat!! :D

The Inseparable Mr. and Mrs. Darcy: A Pride & Prejudice Variation The Inseparable Mr. and Mrs. Darcy: A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Jennifer Joy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another mystery for Darcy and Elizabeth to solve! Now engaged, Elizabeth and Darcy soon realize that someone is trying to kill a person at Longbourn! Plus, Georgiana must be introduced to her sister-to-be, and many other mysterious hijinks occur that team up Darcy and Elizabeth once again in solving another mystery in Meryton.

A wonderful series, I read all three volumes so quickly that I'm having to press to remember details. A lovely series for mystery lovers as well as fans of Elizabeth and Darcy.

Dark Desires Dark Desires by Eve Silver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Young Darcie has been betrayed by everyone she loved. Alone in a dangerous part of London, a gruff gentleman takes pity on her and takes her into his home. But this gentleman seems to have a strange predilection for bodies...dead bodies. Is he a resurrectionist? Or is his interest much more mundane? And is he falling for Darcie as quickly as she is for him?

A wonderful Gothic mystery--compelling characters and a very original story line. A delightfully chilling read!!

Macbeth Macbeth by William Shakespeare
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are among the most compelling characters Shakespeare ever wrote. She seems heartless in her ambition; he seems almost weak in comparison. Yet as the play continues, Macbeth gains power and thrives on ambition, to the point of killing Macduff's entire family...after killing his best mate Banquo and trying to kill Banquo's son, Fleance. Meanwhile, Lady Macbeth seems to wane in power, finally devolving into madness and eventual suicide.

I taught this play as a four-week high school Shakespeare class at Brave Writer, my second time doing so with the six plays I cycle through each spring. We had some of the most thought-provoking discussions I've ever enjoyed at Brave Writer about power, women's roles, masculinity, violence, ambition, etc. And of course, the role of the supernatural and fate in the actions of the play. I love discussing Shakespeare with teens; they come up with some of the most insightful and surprising observations--often that I didn't notice myself until a student pointed it out to me! I love collaborative learning!! :D

Along with Hamlet, I see Macbeth as being the best of the Shakespeare canon.

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So I hope to post something besides book reviews next time...such as photos and thoughts about the U2 concert a couple of weeks ago, plus Michaelmas came and went with nary a whisper from me. And I've scribbled down some amazing quotations lately, too! 

Have a lovely week, everyone!! 

Reading happily with you, 

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