Monthly Archives: May 2014

Only Three Stars for Goldfinch…

The GoldfinchThe Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Three stars and I am being nice. The basic plot of the novel is that Theo Decker’s mother dies in a terrorists bombing when he is a teenager. Theo then floats through life trying to make emotional connections with various people and suffering the consequences of positive and negative relationships.

While the writing is good, something about the narrative never grabbed me. I never truly felt connected to Theo in his search for a life after tragedy. For me it was a long book to suffer through in this way—never really invested in the main character.

Additionally, there were too many “coincidences” along the way that made me skeptical of the book. Theo just happens to find people are the right time…. umm… okay.

The final few pages of the book turned me off completely. I won’t give away the ending. But once the plot is reveled, the author goes on a multi-page rant about the pointlessness of human action….. I am not against her theme— but does she really think readers are SOOO dumb we need a cliff notes explanation at the end of the novel?

So why 3 stars and not too… I didn’t HATE it. It just never clicked with me. We read the book for my book club and lots of women in the group liked it. It just never hooked me and it is NOT a book I will be thinking about for years, days or even minutes to come. Nothing about it lingers.

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The Last Plantagents

The Last Plantagenets (The Plantagenets, #4)The Last Plantagenets by Thomas B. Costain

This is the last in a series of books on the Plantagenet Dynasty. I enjoyed the final chapter in this family’s history!

Costain takes the reader all the way through the War of the Roses to the ascension of Henry II. Although, it is trickery to follow. If you have an interest in that period, I recommend you seek another book that focuses solely on the rivalry between the Lancasters and Yorks.

One interesting point is Costain’s treatment of Richard III. He is clearly pro-Richard and makes no bones about it. Costain’s bias is very clear when it comes to the “Princes in the Tower”. He even ends the book with a discussion of how he became interested in history— which includes a discussion of his opinion on Richard.

For myself, Richard ‘s guilt of innocence is a fascinating topic. But, I am more included to a middle ground. I think he did dispose of the boys out if necessity but was not really a black hearted tyrant.

For those who enjoy Costain’s historical tangents— and, I do— you will find them in this volume too! I particularly liked the discussion of the handkerchief as well as ladies riding side saddle.

My favorite in this series remains The Three Edwards. None-the-less, I recommend reading them all.

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#3 is the Best Incorrigible Book Yet

The Unseen Guest (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, #3)The Unseen Guest by Maryrose Wood

I was lukewarm on book two in the series, but I have really come to enjoy book three!

This time around the incorrigible are back at Ashton Place and the cast of characters who join them are an intriguing wacky group. Lord Ashton’s mother arrives and regales readers with the details of her husband’s grim death. It seems he drowned in a tar pit!

Mother Ashton also brings her friend and paramour, the Admiral with her. He is an over-the-top rake who is trying to marry Mother Ashton for fortune in order to start a business raising, selling and cooking ostriches.

The gypsy from book two makes a return appearance along with Simon, when they come to conduct a séance. They are trying to contact the dead Lord Ashton.

Tangles and mysteries end the book and readers will have no sense of closure. But as we have heard so often— The Hunt is On!

I am looking forward to see what wild and zany antics readers will be treated to in book 4!

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The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place Book 2!

The Hidden Gallery (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #2)The Hidden Gallery by Maryrose Wood

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I came across The Incorrigible Children of Aston Place quite by accident. We are reading and researching all things British and I found this book. In this book, a young governess, Penelope and her students embark on a trip to London.

I got the audio version and didn’t realize it was the second in the series until the kids and I were already listening. I wasn’t really loving it at first. But my kids thought it was great so we kept going. And, in the end, I was pleasantly surprised.

So now– to my review.

In my opinion, the story starts out a little slowly. We learn the children were found in the woods and adopted by a rich British couple. They survive in the woods under the care of wolves and so have some wild behaviors. The young governess is helping them learn the ways of society. There is also Lady Ashton a twenty something socialite who is the children’s adopted mother. Lady Ashton is very annoying character— as I believe she is meant to be—.

Penelope and the Children are off to London! I enjoyed this section mainly because of the sites they visit—the British Museum and the Royal Drury Lane Theater.

Mystery follows the children and governess as they encounter a gypsy, a playwright and a man posing as a judge.

In the end, little is resolved and we are set up for more adventures in book three.

The author does an excellent job of introducing children to new vocabulary. She presents the word, offers a cleaver description of it, and then uses the word several more times in the story. This is great technic.

I also enjoyed the chatty writing style and asides throughout the book. Although, if you don’t care for those elements–run! It’s not a very long book and it mainly counting on the style and not plot or characterization to carry it through.

The kids have me listening to the second book— so here goes!

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