The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is pretty much as the back cover describes. Inspector Alan Grant finds himself cooped up after suffering from a broken leg. When his friend Marta brings him a jumble of historical mysteries the portrait of Richard III immediately intrigues him. Soon the inspector is pulling every historical source he can find to determine the truth, did Richard the third truly murder the princes in the tower.
When I started this book it took me a really long time to adapt to the slow and methodical writing approach. It is deliberately done this way so that the reader gets caught up in Alan Grant’s viewpoint of ‘don’t believe everything written in the history books’, take things one step at a time. The author also has a good way of drip feeding bits of British History without it becoming a cumbersome read. However, as this novel was first published in the 1950s the writing is a little old-fashioned and takes a bit of time to get used to, for example;
“If anyone, looking into a crystal ball at that party, had told Cecily Nevill that in for years not only the York line but the whole Plantagenet dynasty would have gone forever, she would have held it either madness or treason.”
I did enjoy the story of this book but found the character Inspector Alan Grant to be a bit bland. However, I do confess when reading this I had no idea it was a series and had assumed it was a standalone (it was pleasantly readable as a standalone), so I do wonder if perhaps I had read the others in the series first I would have enjoyed this character more.
I really loved the concept of the book; trying to solve an old murder mystery from centuries before with just the materials you can lay your hands on at the time. I must say considering the novel is nearly seventy years old it has aged brilliantly and is still very readable. It is a quirky novel, well researched and an intriguing addition to the Richard III and the murder of the princes’ debate.
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A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
So, I should have probably tried to get this review published in December when I read this book but time has a way of running away from me at times. So happy belated Christmas first of all! Now, obviously Dickens A Christmas Carol is a classic and doesn’t need my two-penny worth to be so but I just wanted to put this review on here anyway to encourage all those who haven’t read it to do so.
So many people have this image of classics being long-winded, with lengthy wording that is cumbersome to read (– I’m looking at you Thomas Hardy!), but this book truly isn’t. At a length of 112 pages this book can actually be read in a sitting or two. As to the cumbersome, here is a little extract I highlighted, this is as fanciful as the wording gets:
“They were a gloomy suite of rooms, in a lowering pile of building up a yard, where it had so little business to be, that one could scarcely help fancying it must have run there when it was a young house, playing at hide-and-seek with other houses, and forgotten the way out again.”
Although you may not read “one could” in many novels nowadays analysing the rest of the sentence you have got to love that it is a little cheeky and a little sarcastic.
I probably don’t need to tell you a summary of the plot as Disney has managed that very well but I will say that the book is better; more magical, a little darker in places, and there is quite a few scenes not included in the modern adaptions. I think everyone should read this book, at least once, you may even be surprised by the happy boost it will give you.
At the time of writing it is even free on amazon for kindle – what more incentive do you need than free. 🙂
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On this day… 15th September, 1955 – LOLITA was published
Today is the 60th Anniversary of the publication of Lolita, one of the most controversial novels of the twentieth century. Lolita is a novel by Vladimir Nabokov, written in English and published in 1955 in Paris, in 1958 in New York, and in 1959 in London. It was later translated by its Russian-native author into Russian and published by Phaedra Publishers in New York in 1967. The novel is notable for its controversial subject: the protagonist and unreliable narrator, a 37-to-38-year-old literature professor called Humbert Humbert, who is obsessed with the 12-year-old Dolores Haze, with whom he becomes sexually involved after he becomes her stepfather. “Lolita” is his private nickname for Dolores.
Lolita quickly attained a classic status; it is today regarded as one of the prime achievements in 20th century literature, though is also among the most controversial. The novel was adapted to film by Stanley Kubrick in 1962, and again in 1997 by Adrian Lyne. It has also been adapted several times for stage and has been the subject of two operas, two ballets, and an acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful Broadway musical.
Lolita is included on TIME magazine’s list of the 100 best English-language novels to have been published from 1923 to 2005. It is also fourth on the Modern Library’s 1998 list of the 100 best novels of the 20th century, and holds a place in the Bokklubben World Library, a 2002 collection of the most celebrated books in history.
Did You Know?..
French officials banned Lolita for being “obscene,” as did England, Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa.
Today, the term Lolita has come to imply an oversexed teenage siren, although Vladimir Nabokov, for his part, never intended to create the association. In fact, he nearly burned the manuscript in disgust, and fought with his publishers over whether an image of a girl should be included on the book’s cover.
Dracula by Bram Stoker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Okay, so you might be thinking who the hell am I to be doing a review of Bram Stoker? He’s a classic, you must have a Degree in Literature, several years publishing knowledge and be widely read on all Classical Literature, right?
Well, that’s exactly the thought that made me want to post this review. I’ll start with the confession. I managed to make it to the ripe old age of 27 without having ever read Dracula. The proper novel. I have read a lot of authors in this genre, Anne Rice, Rachel Caine, Stephenie Meyer, Laurell K Hamilton, Charlaine Harris etc etc. Not to mention the countless movies. I would say in some ways I’m addicted to this genre yet I had never read the proper Dracula *hangs head in shame*.
So anyway, to the review. The reason I wanted to review this book is because it is actually amazing. Published in 1897, you would expect this novel to be stuffy and uptight, full of complicated language that is no longer in use, or that you cannot get your head around (*cough – we have all read classics like this, don’t deny it!). This is different, it flows so well, it’s exciting, and despite the many retellings I did wonder at one point which way the story would go.
The story is what we all know and love. The young, dashing, soon to be wed, Jonathan Harker visits Count Dracula to sort out some paperwork.
However he soon works out that the Castle is not all it seems and neither is the enigmatic Dracula. Soon Lucy begins sleepwalking nightly and each day feels more and more retched, can the intelligent Dr Abraham Van Helsing save her? What about poor Mina, Harkers fiancée, who also starts to suffer in a similar manner?
So there you have it, probably the same review others have made regurgitated in a prosaic manner, but hopefully it may inspire just a few individuals who are undecided to read this book and see if they agree.
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