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  1. Yesterday
  2. A Book blog 2021 by Books do Furnish a Room

    My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier My first foray into Du Maurier. This combines (sort of) romance and thriller with an edge of gothic. Du Maurier is a good storyteller and this one has a first person narrator. It is set in what seems to be the mid nineteenth century (there is a corpse hanging on a gibbet early in the book). Philip is a young man of 23/24. He is an orphan and has been brought up by his cousin (older by twenty years) Ambrose. It is mainly set on a Cornish estate and the household is all male (including all the servants). So Philip has been brought up without knowing or understanding women. This book is really about male power and male fragility. Philip has a guardian who will manage his affairs until he is 25. Ambrose has poor health and decides to go to Italy for the winter. Here he meets his half Italian cousin Rachel (ten years younger than Ambrose and ten years older than Philip) and falls in love: they marry. Philip is of course horrified (at a distance as he is still in Cornwall). Ambrose stays in Italy for a while. His letters become more rambling and he starts to complain of headaches and talks about his suspicions of Rachel. Ambrose dies and Philip is convinced she killed him. Rachel eventually turns up in Cornwall. Inevitably Philip falls in love with her. There follows lots of male sulking, some fun with wills, jewellery, poisons, sex, jealousy and much more. The more perceptive will realise that Philip is a rather unreliable narrator and there is a sort of whodunit throughout. Philip is not a likeable character, he is petulant, privileged and has a sense of entitlement, others are of like account. It is important to point out that we only ever see Rachel through the eyes of men like Philip and Ambrose. Rachel’s choices are prescribed by her sexuality and gender by the men around her. Philip has his thoughts about men and women: “We were surely different, with our blunter comprehension, moving more slowly to the compass points, while they, erratic and unstable, were blown about their course by winds of fancy.” Rachel’s determination not to remarry completely baffles Philip. Du Maurier quite purposely I think, genders the places involved. Cornwall/the estate is clearly masculine and Florence clearly feminine. As Sally Beauman points out in the virago introduction Du Maurier: “writes in the guise of a man, in a novel that explores, inter alia, the full implications of male authority” Du Maurier has written a pretty good account of misogyny and male privilege. Rachel remains an enigma because we only know her through male eyes. 7 out of 10 Starting The Life and Death of Emily Wilding Davison by Liz Stanley and Ann Morley
  3. Madeleine's Book Log - ongoing

    "The Survivors" by Jane Harper - the latest novel from Jane Harper takes us to Tasmania, and it follows a similar structure to her first hit novel, The Dry, ie a young man, Kieran, returns to the small town where he grew up, with his girlfriend and baby daughter (who is quite a little character in her own right!) to help his mother move his father, who has dementia, into a care facility, and to move home herself. When a waitress who's been employed for the summer at the local diner is found murdered on the beach, old wounds resurface - of a terrible storm 12 years previously, which resulted in the death of 2 local men, including Kieran's own brother - many people still hold Kieran responsible for what happened that night; on the same night, a teenage girl disappeared, and the only trace of her was her rucksack which washed up on the beach a few days after the storm. Suspicion falls on the whole town, and Kieran finds himself wondering who he can trust, especially when even more long held secrets come to light. I enjoyed this, it was a fast easy read, perhaps not quite as involving as The Dry (or maybe its just that this format is becoming a bit too commonplace now) but a good read anyway, and a great setting too. 8/10
  4. Madeleine's Book Log - ongoing

    The Long Call" by Ann Cleeves - this is the first in a new series by the author of the "Shetland" and "Vera" novels, and this time she heads to the south of the Uk, to Devon, where her new detective, Matthew Venn, finds himself an outcast as he attends the funeral of his father; however he watches the ceremony from a distance, feeling unable to join in, as he left his parents' religious sect years ago, when he found he didn't agree with their principles, especially as a gay man. He's now happily married to his husband, Jonathan, who runs a local centre for people with learning difficulties, as well as the community in general, and when a volunteer from the centre is found murdered on a local beach, both men have a conflict of interest. The case becomes even more serious when a Down's syndrome woman, who also attended the centre, goes missing. Worryingly the incidents seem to link back to the charismatic leader of his parents' religious sect, and Matthew finds himself in a very awkward position. This was another solid crime novel from Ann Cleeves, and is a good introduction to a new character and his team, as well as his wider community. The TV adaptation starts next week, meaning that Cleeves is in the enviable position of having 3 book series adapted for TV, with the new series of Shetland just started too, although that's no longer based on her books. 7.5/10
  5. Listening to Ben Aaronovitch False Value (Rivers of London #8) and Alice Oseman Loveless. *Raises one eyebrow* Tut tut, Raven.
  6. Victober

    You know you've drifted deep into the Gothic when the characters start dying from death! (Still tempted by this Penny Dreadful option!) It does really depend on your definition of a Penny Dreadful. I agree Carmilla is fair. It's the right style and it was serialised. It's a bit unfair of the etsy listing to call The Dark Blue a penny dreadful magazine though. It was actually a pretty expensive magazine (a shilling) and it featured some incredible artists and authors (like William Morris, Rossetti and Andrew Lang). It was horribly managed, cost way too much to produce and the editor ended up fleeing the country after just a few years... but it wasn't just a penny dreadful magazine . Has anybody ever seen the 'Penny Dreadful' anthology book that Barnes and Noble bought out? Frankenstein was included in that one!
  7. I think the two main things I took away from reading The Hobbit is that it gets better as it goes along and Dwarves are dicks.
  8. I would expect nothing less of your reading of The Hobbit. It is a delightful book.
  9. Last week
  10. Victober

    I didn't either but an internet search gleaned ""Carmilla", written by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu was first published as a serial novella in the penny dreadful magazine The Dark Blue in 1871-1872." from Carmilla Black Panther Vampire Victorian Red Eyes Penny | Etsy
  11. Victober

    I wouldn't call Carmilla a Penny Dreadful, but fair enough.
  12. Victober

    I have changed my Penny Dreadful to Carmilla by J Sheridan le Fanu because I've got a better chance of finishing it before the end of October and a female vampire intrigues me. I'm five chapters in and it's marvellous!
  13. I've currently got two books on the go. The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien and Candide by Voltaire. I'm only a few pages into Candide but I've been utterly charmed by The Hobbit and I'm about 2/3rds of the way through it.
  14. I am doing okay too, thanks !
  15. Wow, how cool that you can look that up ! That's a lot of books . I'm glad you really liked this too! I hope you enjoy the other books in the trilogy too when you get to them (your library will hopefully have them?). I still have to read more than the trilogy and read others in the same world (Ship of Magic / Liveship Traders is the one next to read for me, from what I understood from other people it takes place in the same world but with different characters / different location), and I will but I am in the mood for other stuff lately, all in good time though .
  16. Case Study

    I didn't find it funny at all. But that might just be me. It was good and the twist is brilliant!
  17. Case Study

    That does sound good! The plot doesn't strike me as something that's supposed to be humorous though. When you say it wasn't actually 'wickedly humorous', was it humorous at all?
  18. The Last Film You Saw - 2021

    I just got back from No Time To Die and although I have some reservations about it, I enjoyed it far more than I thought I would.
  19. Case Study

    This is an excellent book. Highly unusual and the twist at the end unforseen (by me at any rate) and very clever. Amazon : London, 1965. An unworldly young woman believes that a charismatic psychotherapist, Collins Braithwaite, has driven her sister to suicide. Intent on confirming her suspicions, she assumes a false identity and presents herself to him as a client, recording her experiences in a series of notebooks. But she soon finds herself drawn into a world in which she can no longer be certain of anything. Even her own character. In Case Study, Graeme Macrae Burnet presents these notebooks interspersed with his own biographical research into Collins Braithwaite. The result is a dazzling – and often wickedly humorous – meditation on the nature of sanity, identity and truth itself, by one of the most inventive novelists writing today. I wouldn't have said it was dazzling or wickedly humerous but it does meditate on the nature of sanity, identity and truth itself and Burnet is one of the most inventive novelists today. Recommended.
  20. Lady Audley's Secret

    Typo fixed
  21. Poetic Wanderings

    The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees. The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas. The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor, And the highwayman came riding— Riding—riding— The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door. The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes
  22. That's impressive, Muggle!
  23. The Limerick Game

    John Dungworth at home in a palace Like Christopher Robin and Alice When he went to the toilet No one would have known it 'Cause he ain't going to tell us. In spring Marigold would brew craft beer
  24. The Lightning Strike ~ Snow Patrol
  25. Lady Audley's Secret

    I believe that you can correct that yourself by clicking on edit
  26. Victober

    In East Lynne, one of the characters is criticised for a fancy shirt. It cost him 25 shillings. I have often wondered how much money was worth then compared to now. Twenty-five shillings is £1.25 in today's money. Usually I multiply Victorian money amounts by 100 to get a relative value, but it does not always work. I think the hundred multiplier sort of works for middle class, but not for the working class or upper class. In chapter 2 of my Penny Dreadful, the pirate ship, El Malachor, has picked up a one-eyed man from a raft. Initially there were fifty men on the raft, but thirty-seven died of thirst and hunger, and another dozen died of the miasma from the rotting bodies.
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