Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wish You Were Eyre

The title: Wish You Were Eyre
The author: Heather Vogel Frederick
Publication: Simon & Schuster, 2012
Got it from: Kobo Books

I promised myself I wouldn't get sad because this was the last book in the Mother-Daughter Book Club series, but when I finished it I went around all morning with a long face.  It does make me sad that this is the end for the adventures of the moms and daughters in this club.

Here are some of the things that happened in this book: a snooty French girl shows up (Sophie Fairfax) and stays with the Wongs.  Megan dislikes her, but is consoled by a trip with her grandmother to Paris.  Sophie flirts with Emma's boyfriend Stewart, causing a rift in their relationship.  Mrs. Wong decides to run for mayor.  Jess is unfairly accused of cheating.  Cassidy is torn between two guys she likes and finally loves one of the books the club is reading.  Becca gets to visit Minnesota with her grandmother and meets a guy who is just like Mr. Rochester.  The Wyoming pen pals come to Concord for a visit.  Oh yes, and the club reads Jane Eyre.

This last book in the series took some time to get into, as the first third is a lot of re-telling of things that happened in the previous books.  Once the action starts, however, I started to get into the world again.  There isn't as much focus in this book on Emma or Cassidy, and I was left feeling that the end of Cassidy's story was too short.  Megan is really the star of this installment, and her visit to Paris makes up the bulk of the middle of the book.  I really enjoyed Becca's visit to Minnesota and the heart of Betsy-Tacy books (which the girls read in the previous book).  Once again, if you haven't read the rest of the series, your head would be spinning with all the characters, especially when the other book club shows up.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this isn't the definite definite end to  the series and that the author will give us a little more at some point.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Study in Scarlet

The title: A Study in Scarlet
The author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Publication: 1887
Got it from: MC

I am deeply in love with the BBC series of Sherlock, and while I read The Hound of the Baskervilles last year, until now I have not read any of the other Sherlock Holmes stories.  I decided to start at the beginning and work my way through the Sherlock canon.  

I tend to be wary of Victorian literature as it can be quite wordy, so I was surprised at how utterly readable this novella was.  I don't think anybody reading it today would find it difficult or foreign.  Much has been said elsewhere about how modern and ahead-of-his-time Conan Doyle's creation was, so I'll skip that and just say it was a cracking good story.

The first part of the novella deals with Watson and Holmes' meeting and is hilarious in the way it portrayes Watson's bafflement over his new roommate.  (A list Watson makes of Sherlock's knowledge of various subjects is a highlight).  The majority of the middle portion of the book involves the back story of the murder case Holmes and Watson are trying to solve, and involves a nail-biting tale of fanatic Mormons, a love affair, a daring escape and a plot for revenge.  I can see why the Victorians went crazy over this.  Whether or not you actually believe Holmes could possibly know what he knows from the clues he's given, he certainly makes you want to pay more attention to the world around you.