Category Archives: Reviews

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

One thing I’ve noticed about myself since I’ve started blogging, aside from my love for Jewish fiction, is that more often than not, I like the books I read.  If I don’t like a book, it’s generally impossible for me to finish it.

This book however, was one of the few that I finished but wasn’t thrilled with.

Death Comes to Pemberley follows Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy, after they’ve been married a number of years, have kids and are accustomed to their life as they know it.  The night before a big annual ball that is help at Pemberley, Lydia Wickham, Elizabeth’s sister, shows up in a panic claiming that Wickham is dead, slain by his friend Denny.

There ensues the quest to find Wickham, which they do, and their ongoing search for the truth surrounding the death of, not Wickham, but Denny, and Wickham’s trial for the murder of his friend.

This novel is the reason why “show me, don’t tell me,” is such a legendary writer’s adage.  This book had lots and lots of telling and very little showing.  I believe that’s why I feel like I didn’t really read anything once I was finished with the book.  I felt like I had sat through a really long speech where the speaker talked a lot but said very little of substance.   The plot was entertaining enough to keep me from putting the book down, but not entertaining enough to have me riveted, or even really all that interested.

The other big let down was that I didn’t see a lot of the Pride and Prejudice characters in these adaptations of them.  Elizabeth seemed like just a bleak shadow of the vixen I love.  She didn’t have any fire or spirit in this one and that’s probably the worst injustice.  To take a character that is so defined and beloved by so many people and do a mediocre job of portraying her.  Makes me die a little bit inside.

I would not recommend this book.  I would ESPECIALLY not recommend this book to people who really love Pride and Prejudice.

Also, having Wickham work for Walter Elliot, another character from a different Austen novel?  That was just lame.



Leave a comment

Filed under Bad Books, Reviews

Seer of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier

I think if Robert Jordan had never written his Wheel of Time series, Juliet Marillier would have been my favorite fantasy author.  I’ve read all of her books, now that I’ve finished Seer of Sevenwaters.

Seer of Sevenwaters is the fifth Sevenwaters novel and follows Sibeal, Sorcha’s (the main character from Daughter of the Forest) grandaughter, as she spends a summer with her sisters on the island of Inis Eala. Sibeal is on the verge of taking her vows and devoting her life to the strict, celibate, Druidic Order.  However, before she does so at her young age, her mentor, Ciaran, insists that she spends time with her married sisters so that she is aware of what exactly she is giving up.

On her first day at Inis Eala, a ship founders off the islands shores and at first only two souls are rescued.   Later that evening Sibeal, while finishing an errand, stumbles upon one more who washed to shore clinging to life.  Unable to remember anything of his past Sibeal names him Ardal, and helps to nurse him back to health.  However, while reading the runes, Sibeal sees that Ardal and herself will have to make a journey before the summer ends.

As I said, Marillier has never disappointed me.  This novel was no exception but there were a few things I did like and some that I didn’t.

I loved the action of the novel.  And the introduction of a second, present-tense first person perspective.  Instead of the entire book being told from Sibeal’s viewpoint, we also get snippets from Ardal, who’s real name turns out to be Felix.  I can’t recall any other instances where Marillier divides up the perspectives like that.  I thought it was a great addition, I hope she adds this to more of her books.

Another aspect that I enjoyed is that Clodagh and Cathal, the main characters from Heir to Sevenwaters, were so prevalent in this novel.   Marillier has a habit of writing novels about different members of the same family.  So most of the time with her, you only get one book for each character and then the next one is about her daughter or sister.  I was particularly attached to Clodagh and was glad that I got to spend some more time with her and Cathal.

The only thing that really disappointed me was how hastily Sibeal and Felix’s relationship was wrapped up.  It was almost more of an afterthought.  With all of her other novels, the relationship between the main male and female characters is an enormous driving force behind the plot line.  However, with Seer of Sevenwaters, it seemed like the actions, Felix trying to remember his past, Sibeal and Felix’s sea voyage, Sibeal trying to decipher Svala, had the greater importance than the budding connection between Sibeal and Felix.  This book had very little of the finality and closure that comes with all of her other novels and I will admit it was a little disappointing.

This installment of the Severwater novels was quickly climbing up the ladder as my favorite in that series until the end.  I’m worried, that since Marillier has such a penchant for writing only one book about each character that I’ll never get the full closure about Felix and Sibeal that I would like.

Overall though, I greatly enjoyed this book.  I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, you can never go wrong with Juliet Marillier.


Leave a comment

Filed under Good Books, Reviews

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Synopsis:  What Alice Forgot is a novel based around, you guessed it, a woman named Alice.  Alice Love is a thirty-nine year old mother of three.  She’s recently separated from her husband Nick and has a whole life that completely revolves around being a “soccer mom.”  She is a health and fitness fanatic who, while in her spin class one Friday, suddenly faints.  She hits her head pretty badly and wakes up thinking that she’s twenty-nine.  She can’t remember the last ten years of her life.

I adored this book.  The trouble is, I’m having a hard time putting my reasons into words.  The title makes me smile.  What Alice Forgot.  What Alice forgot though is really only half the story.  She forgot the feelings of hurt as her husband work too much.  She forgot how hard it was to relate to and cope with her sister Elisabeth’s overwhelming bitterness at her infertility.  Alice forgot quite a lot of things.

I think the more important part of the tale is what Alice remembered.  She remembered how Elisabeth took care of her when their father died.  How close they were while their grieving mother wouldn’t take care of them.  She remembered what it felt like to be close to her sister, to grieve and sympathize with her over Elisabeth’s miscarriages.  Alice remembered how Nick would bring her tea in bed; she remembered renovating their dream home.  She forgot her built up anger over a thousand pent-up irritations and was able to remember what it felt like to really love her husband.  She forgot to be jaded and remembered what it was like to be hopeful and carefree.  To tell the no-time-for-anyone soccer mom to take a breather.

I think that this novel does a great job of showing just how amazingly important it is to keep life in perspective.  Temper the feelings of the present with the experiences of the past.

I still feel like there is so much that I want to say about this book and just can’t.  I’m so glad someone bought this one for me and that I didn’t just check it out from the Library.  I’m definitely going to want to read this one again.


Leave a comment

Filed under Great Books