The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

The Winter Rose I should start by saying I got this book as a review copy. I did go back and read The Tea Rose for which this is the sequel, of sorts. It is not necessary to read The Tea Rose first, but I liked knowing who half the characters were going in.

The Winter Rose was built differently than The Tea Rose. The Tea Rose packed all the really terrible stuff into the first 100 pages. The Winter Rose dribbles it throughout the book.

India Selwyn Jones is a woman doctor in 1900 who has turned her back on her parents’ money because she wants to help the poor women and children of East London. Her fiance, Freddie Lytton, wants her to give up doctoring and marry him already (she doesn’t know he only wants to marry her because her parents have promised him scads of money if he gets her out of the lab coat, so to speak.) Freddie is a really bad, bad man.

India runs across another bad man and falls in love with him. Sid Malone is a gang leader. He owns brothels and opium dens, he extracts protection payments from business owners in his area, and he pulls off huge robberies, but the police can never pin it on him. He also takes care of the people in his neighborhood. He tries to give the men jobs and make sure the children have something to eat. He’s a right regular Robin Hood, he is.

I promise, I haven’t told you too much. Again, this is only about the first 100 pages. There is so much intricate plotting in this book, it would take forever to tell you the whole thing. Suffice it to say that the principal characters end up in Africa, which I thought was a pretty unique setting.

Also, if you have a heart condition, you may not want to try it. The last 200 pages or so, are incredibly action packed. It took me about 2 hours to read them and my heart never stopped pounding. That’s a lot of heart-racing, let me tell you.

Cassandra’s Sister by Victoria Bennett

Cassandra\'s SisterI can’t remember which blogger clued me in to this book. I found it at my library.

It’s a YA novelization of a part of Jane Austen’s life. Mostly from ages 17 to 27. This is when all the romantic bits of her life happened. So it figures that it’s a YA novel.

I’m not sure that section of her life makes for a great story, though. There’s no big pay off at the end. But that could just be because I already knew what would happen, having read a bazillion Jane Austen biographies already.

I suppose if you have a teen girl who is not familiar with Austen’s life (gasp!) this might be a good way to introduce her. Adults might require more info.

Whine!

I realize I played a bit of catch-up with all my posts, there. I’ve been getting behind. We’ve started week 3 of sick kids at Chez Bookmark.

My son had a fever for 5 days before it was diagnosed as strep throat. The day he finally got well enough to go back to school, my daughter woke up with a fever and whatnot. We thought it was strep throat as well, so the doctor called in a prescription for anti-biotics. Now, it’s been 6 days and we’re still going. Mike took her to the doctor today where they did a swap of her sinus cavities (!!!) for the flu test and took blood from her finger for a white-blood cell count. Then, they decided it’s a virus. Just ride it out.

We’re all exhausted and nearly out of sick time.

Lost in Austen by Emma Campbell Webster

Lost in Austen: Create Your Own Jane Austen AdventureSuch fun! Remember all those Choose Your Own Adventure books from the 80′s? This is just such a one, only you are Elizabeth Bennet and your mission is to make an advantageous marriage. In order to do that, you will need Fortune, Intelligence, Confidence, Connections, and Accomplishments, which you gain by choosing paths throughout the book and answering trivia questions. Some choices will take you into other Jane Austen novels, but look out! The wrong decision, and you end up in prison or the loony bin. No marriage for you.

January Recap

It’s been awhile since I’ve done this, but here goes:

Books read: 13
Pages read: 4330

Fiction – 10
Non-fiction – 3

Books from my shelf – 6
Borrowed – 7

Best of January – The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
Rhett Butler’s People by Donald McCaig

Rhett Butler’s People by Donald McCaig

Rhett Butler\'s People Let me just say that I liked this one better even than Gone With the Wind because of the ending. I’ll just start with that.

The rest of the book was great, too, but I appreciated that the end of this one went well past the ending of GWTW.

Rhett Butler had kind of a bit part in GWTW, so there was lots to work with. This book starts with his childhood. The characters are so believable, and they intermingle with the original GWTW character so well, it’s hard to remember which ones are actually new.

I hate to say anything else so I won’t give anything away. If you are at all interested in that era, I would suggest giving this one a gander.

Cotillion by Georgette Heyer

Cotillion After the depressing subject matter of Snow I had to read something lighter. This was it.

Georgette Heyer writes Regency Historical novels. They are vaguely reminiscent of Jane Austen’s work, but with less irony and dry humor.

In this one, Kitty’s curmudgeonly benefactor has decided she will inherit all his fortune if she marries one of his great-nephews. She just happens to be in love with one of the nephews, but he doesn’t come to the meeting at which all the other great-nephews offer for her. She persuades one of the men, Freddy, to pretend to be engaged to her and take her to London so she can lure in Jack, the one she loves. In London, she manages to get herself into several scrapes and delicate situations regarding the ton.

The best part about this book was that it ended just the way I would have wanted it to. Freddy reminded me a lot of The Scarlet Pimpernel in that he looks like a dandy and professes to be an idiot, but he knows exactly how society works, and how to maneuver in it.

Snow by Orhan Pamuk

Snow I read this while I was home with my son who had strep throat for 9 days. It was cold out (not that I ever went out) so it was perfect weather for reading about a Turkish border town in a blizzard.

Ka is a Turkish poet who has lived in exile in Frankfort for several years. He returns to Turkey for his mother’s funeral and decides to track down a college friend he heard was divorced and ask her to marry him. He goes to the little town of Kars on his errand, but also to write an article about some elections scheduled to take place in the city.

The day after he arrives, the city is the setting for a political coup staged by a traveling acting troupe who decided the town being snowed in would be perfect.

The main action of the book takes place over 3 days. It is beautifully written even though it is a depressing subject.