Tag Archives: romance

Poldark: Ross Poldark

By Winston Graham

A good and easy read for me. I wouldn’t call it exactly light, and it didn’t have the battles of Bernard Cornwall, but I found this first book in the Poldark series interesting. It’s well written and easy to read. There are likeable and unlikeable characters.

The action centres around Ross Poldark (oddly enough!). In 1783 young Ross Poldark returns from fighting in American war of independence to his native Cornwall. His father has died, and has inherited his fathers land, crumbling house and not much more, and the woman he loves is engaged to his cousin.

It’s not a rollicking pot-boiler, although it does include some romance. I started reading it because of the new sumptuous BBC series, Poldark, then I couldn’t be bothered watching the TV series and stuck the book! It’s not as saucy as the TV series … but in it’s day it may be been (the novel was first published in 1945).

Poldark sets about restoring his fortunes, by opening an abandoned copper mine. I don’t know much about Cornish history, so I did find the mining and the life of the minors fascinating. That is to say if you can call such hardship fascinating. Poldark was a man who liked to support the working and poor people of his community. He spoke up for them. There may have been people like Ross Poldark in the 1780’s … or this seemingly noble and heroic character may just have a few 20th century sensibilities.

This is the first in a series, and I would consider reading another in the series.

Feel free to disagree!

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Comfort reads … Jane Austen

OK. So it has been months since my last post. I have decided that I will talk about clusters of books, as I tend to go for themed reading … especially when a bit stressed/tired/in the need for a comfort read.

Well, I have really been in a Jane Austen comfort read over the past couple of months. I have chewed through Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, Sense and Sensibility and Emma.   Why not the other two?   Well, I’ve read them in the past year and I didn’t feel like reading them again quite yet.   To be honest I have read Pride and Prejudice so many times I am getting a bit bored with it.   Yes, I said it!   Bored.   But it’s still cool and I love it.   Anyhoe, moving right along.

Northanger Abbey.   I may have even talked about this lovely book in an earlier post.   I am coming to really love this book.   It is hilarious.   Catherine Morland, the Gothic novel reading heroine, is truly delightful.   Henry Tilney is open, friendly, sensible … I think my favourite Austen leading man.

I always approach Mansfield Park a bit warily, because it is so long and I used to think that Fanny was a total sap.   I don’t think that anymore.   Austen is definitely laughing at her at times.   Fanny is certainly put-upon by her infuriating aunt, and ignored by most others.    Rather than sap, my more mature eye sees strength.   And she is sweet.   And the sappiness is actually what her family feels about her, so we shouldn’t fall into the trap of feeling the same way.

It’s funny because Mansfield Park used to bore me, and Sense and Sensibility delighted me.   I took a long time to get into Sense and Sensibility this time around.   This may be because Marianne and Mrs Dashwood are so over-the-top, which is as they should be as this is part of the central part of the plot.   The first chapters seemed to plod for me, then it races along nicely.

Emma was a comforting read.   Nothing too dramatic and exciting (although, yes, dramatic things for the day happen.   It is really a coming-of-age novel, although Emma is already 21.   Emma is confident and very sure of her own worth and abilities.   Austen laughs at Emma as she stumbles through novel.   I remember people hating Emma when I was at University, and maybe it was because the usual Austen heroines aren’t rich and privileged like Emma.   Emma grows through the novel.   She really is sweet, and caring.

It’s a funny, interesting look at human behaviour.   Mr Knightly, a gentleman without being a total snob.   Mr Woodhouse, old and funny in his ways, a gentleman without being a snob.   I actually picked up new things too this time around.

So there it is.  The Austen round-up.   Feel free to disagree.

Heartbreak Hotel

By Deborah Moggach

I did enjoy this book, but I had expected more from it too. I bought it because it was reviewed in one of the weekend papers, and I just thought it would be a bit more substantial.

Having said all that of course I did enjoy it. Some characters I loved, some were just annoying … but then that is life, right!

Buffy, a retired actor, inherits a B&B in an small welsh village. Buffy is a complete townie, but decides to keep the B&B running. After a while he gets the great idea of running courses for the recently divorced. People come to the courses and some stay on in Knockton.

I loved the ending, and the idea for rejuvenating decaying Knockton.

A walk in the park

By Jill Mansell

This is the last in my rash of romance reading.  It was OK, not as good as the last Jill Mansell I read, but still a bit predictable.  Mind you, that is why people read them.  The predictable ness of them.

In A walk in the park Lara  turns up back her home town after an absence of 18 years.    Lara had been 16 and pregnant, and nobody knew she was pregnant including her boyfriend.  Now, Lara, and her outgoing daughter  Gigi are back.  Of course, there is the best friend, who is about the marry a total a-hole, and of course the luscious ex-boyfriend and father of Gigi .

As I said, it was OK.  I liked it better than the Katie Lavender story.   A bit meh.

Feel free to disagree.

The real Katie Lavender

By Erica James

OK.   So I am way behind with my reading notes, but I just realised that I don’t need to write long posts especially when the book is a bit pants.

This wasn’t totally bad.   Erica James can write, but this was just a bit too melodramatic for me.  Katie starts by losing her job, and then finding out that her dad wasn’t her biological dad.   Now, Katie is very sweet etc, but there are real dramas with her biological father’s family.

Because of the writing I wouldn’t totally write it off, if you are into that sort of thing.  I prefer my chic-lit a bit funnier, or maybe just a bit less dramatic.

Feel free to disagree!

A word about this blog

OK.   So I have had a few colds this year, some of which have turned bad and made me really grotty.  I haven’t had the energy often to read much, or to read anything taxing.   I am way, way behind on my reading notes.   I have managed to jot down titles and authors on a piece of paper.   Because I haven’t felt flash, and because I have been a little bit stressed I have tended towards comfort reads.

First I turned to chic-lit romance.   It hasn’t really worked out for me, so I am branching out into other genres for my anti-stress reads.  You dear readers (all three of you), will need to bear with my “womance” reviews.

Also … I don’t think I did The Bad Book Affair justice.   I was writing the post on the iPad, and it kept going wonky.  Very annoying.   I loved that book.  It is top-notch escapism.   So, as Miranda would say … “On with the show …”

Mr Darcy’s Diary

By Amanda Grange

Hilarious. It is like a short, easy-read version of Pride and Prejudice. I really enjoyed this book. It was light and easy to read. If you have had trouble getting into JA then perhaps try this. It just makes me like Mr Darcy more. He comes across, yes, a little bit of a snobbish prat, but mostly as a decent sort of bloke.

It starts before Pride and Prejudice starts, with Darcy foiling the dastardly plot of Mr Wickham. Then he goes and stays with Mr Bingley and his sisters, and from there if fairly much follows JA’s novel. Mr Darcy’s Diary shows the good friendship of Darcy and Bingley, Caroline Bingley to be even more snobbish than in the original, and actually gives a personality to Mr Hurst.

OK, like some films of novels, points are dumbed down or made totally obvious. Some people who can’t get into Austin like this, but sometimes this can be irritating to those who have read the novels often. Grange actually hasn’t hammed it up, or dumbed things down too much here.

The end isn’t as good as it could be. It is a bit too modern and hunky-dorry, or just plain wrong given the manners and social conventions of the time. A bit too modern chic-lit. I know essentially this is chic-lit, but still.

Anyways, a quick read.   Made me want to watch the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. So I did.