Tags: Alison Weir, Anita Amirrezvani, Gatlinburg, Great Smoky Mountains, Last Night at the Lobster, Patrick McGrath, Roanoke Valley, Stefan Merrill Block, Stewart O'Nan, The Blood of Flowers, The Lady Elizabeth, The Story of Forgetting, Trauma, Vacation
Greetings from Gatlinburg, TN, located in heart of the Great Smoky Mountains. It’s beautiful here despite the rain and I’ve enjoyed seeing my parents (I haven’t see my mother on Mother’s Day for at least 10 years), siblings, in-laws, nieces, and nephews. The kids did a great job on the drive. Even if they hadn’t, it’s just nice being out of the Roanoke Valley.
Although we’ll be away from home for 9 days, I’m planning on getting some good reading in:
- Taking Lisa’s advice from Books on the Brain, I rented Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan from the library.
- I snagged the latest book by Patrick McGrath, Trauma on the way to the checkout desk I was at the library.
- The Story of Forgetting by Stefan Merrill Block, which I received through a trade with another Early Reviewer on LibraryThing.
- I picked up The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani for under $5 at Barnes and Noble last week. I’ve been wanting to read this since I read a review by Divia on HistoricalFiction.org.
- Finally, I’m finishing up The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir. I’d love to say that I’m loving it, but it’s just okay. No offense to Last Night at the Lobster, but I shouldn’t be looking forward to my next book. I should be savoring this one. Sigh…
Tags: A&E, BBC Films, Elizabeth Taylor, Ellen Page, Jane Eyre, Joan Fontaine, Juno, Mr. Rochester, Orson Welles, Pop Candy, Samantha Morton, Smart People
I am not a fan of Ellen Page. Although I’m in the minority, I didn’t find her performance in Juno very realistic or endearing (I hate that I have even just linked to it’s Wikipedia page…). People at work have attributed this to my age. I thought perhaps my experience of adoption colored my views of the movie as well. Certainly my experience is just that, my experience. Still, even though Emma’s first mother firmly made her adoption plan early in the pregnancy, this was an emotional experience for her, her family, and for us. There was no sarcasm or flippant jokes about her being irresponsible. The only aspects of that movie I found close to ringing true were the scenes where she had to decide whether to continue her adoption plan and after the baby is born – and those were noteworthy only because she was actually acting, not just being herself. They weren’t Oscar worthy.
Imagine my surprise when I ventured on to Pop Candy this evening before leaving work to discover that Ellen Page, who essentially played the same sarcastic young female character in Smart People, has been cast as Jane Eyre for a BBC Films production of all things! Whitney, who loves Page, can’t even see her in this role. Seriously, what are they thinking over there at BBC Films? Jane Eyre doesn’t have a sarcastic bone in her body. Do they have any expectation that Page can pull off ‘mousy’ or, more importantly, sincere?
I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a film or TV adaptation of Jane Eyre, but look at what is already out there. What reason could there possibly be to cast Ellen Page in this role? There is a 1944 version that stars Orson Welles, Joan Fontaine, and Elizabeth Taylor. A&E produced a television starring Samantha Morton as Jane. Who could really be more perfect than that?
I have no idea what really makes the film business tick. I’m sure that I’ve misspent many an entertainment dollar in my life and am reaping this as my reward. I would rather be struck blind like Mr. Rochester than even watch the trailer.
Tags: ARC, Barnes & Noble, Cerak, Charlottesville, Dateline NBC, Early Reviewers, First Look Book Club, Grand Rapids, it's a small world, LibraryThing, Love is a Mix Tape, Love Marriage, Mistaken Identity, Nan, Renee Crist, Roanoke, Rob Sheffield, Songs for the Missing, spring rain, Stewart O, Taylor University car accident, V.V. Ganeshananthan, Van Ryn
For the past week it seems as though all it’s done is rain, and I’m without an ARC. Please don’t read that as a complaint, though. I have two on the way: Love Marriage by V.V. Ganeshananthan through LibraryThing‘s Early Reviewers for April and Songs for the Missing by Stewart O’Nan through Barnes & Nobles’ First Look Book Club. Even if those books weren’t somewhere in the mail, I am still happy to be without an ARC. While I absolutely love getting to read free books (who wouldn’t), there is a special commitment made to read and review them in a timely manner. From the moment they arrive in the mail, they become my first in line to be read. Books I’ve actually purchased sit gathering dust on my bookshelf. So, right now, I feel pretty foot loose and fancy free – and my current choices are proving to be very interesting and very personal.
Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield – I bought this book at some point last year for my husband. At that time I bought the book, I knew nothing about the author. I had no idea that the author lived in Charlottesville around the same time as my husband. Last night, after midnight, Danny and I discovered that he knew Sheffield’s wife when she lived in Roanoke!!!! I won’t reveal any more here, because it will be repeated in my review. Suffice to say that I kept saying, “It’s a small f*#!ing world!” over and over again. I’m really excited to write my post about this memoir. It’s going to be a lot of fun!
Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope by the Van Ryn and Cerak families. I remember when the story about this tragically deadly car accident hit the news. At the time, I must have registered that the Van Ryn family was from Grand Rapids, but I was surprised again to hear that familiar accent when I happened upon their interview on Dateline NBC at the end of March. The story was as beautiful as it was heart wrenching. This isn’t typically the type of book I would buy or read, but the hometown connection and the goodness of these people made it impossible for me not to buy.
So, I’m not fretting how long it’s taking Love Marriage to arrive. I’m basking in the glow of my own choices right now.
Tags: Anya Seton, belonging, Brandon Flowers, Charles Radcliffe, Charles Radclyffe, Devil Water, Earl of Derwentwater, England, Jacobite, Jacobite Rebellion, Jacobitism, James III, James Radclyffe, Jane Radcliffe, Jenny Radcliffe, London, Northumberland, The Fifteen, The Killers, The Old Pretender, The Pretender, The Winthrop Woman, Virginia, When You Were Young, William Byrd
They say the devil’s water, it ain’t so sweet
You don’t have to drink right now
But you can dip your feet
Every once in a little while
Devil Water tells the story of Charles Radclyffe and his daughter by a secret marriage, Jenny. Charles is the youngest brother of James Radclyffe, the 3rd Earl of Derwentwater (I love saying and reading that name – I don’t know why). Shortly after Charles meets and becomes intimate with Jenny’s mother, Meg Snowden, James returns to England after living abroad with the Pretender, James Francis Edward Stuart. James adores his cousin James and longs for the day when James is formally recognized as the King of England. He quickly becomes Charles’ mentor effortlessly converted Charles as a Jacobitism. Jenny was conceived before James’ return. Her family on her mother’s side forced Charles into a marriage on fear of death. Despite this, he fell in love with Jenny the first time he saw her. It pained him more than he imagined when he was not allowed to be with his family.
It wasn’t until the failed Jacobite Rebellion of 1715 that Jenny reenters his life. While preparing for the rebellion, Charles convinces Meg, his secret bride, to allow him to raise her in a manner more befitting Jenny’s station as a Radclyffe. While imprisoned and waiting death for high treason, he convinces Elizabeth Lee, and old flame, to take Jenny in and raise her in London. She is well liked and well cared for in the Lee household. She is thankful for the them and is blessed with a friend in Evelyn Byrd, the daughter of William Byrd of Virginia. Still, Jenny never feels as though she belongs anywhere. Even when Charles returns to take her to the continent to live with his new family, Jenny feels like an outsider. The only person with whom she feels at home is Rob Wilson, a young man who helped her family in Northumberland. When Rob is transported to Virginia for a criminal act he committed in order to save her life, Jenny jumps at the chance to travel with Evelyn to the Colonies.
Until picking up this novel, I knew almost nothing about the Jacobites or the political climate in England that created that rift. The most compelling portions of this novel revolved around James Radclyffe and his participation in The Fifteen. His decision to take up his sword and fight when he felt certain it would mean his own demise was powerful. Although he sensed the weakness in his cousin, he fought for the Stuarts and for his faith. His dedication, loyalty, and faith in both God and man makes him a strong character. It is easy to understand how his wife could fall apart after his execution.
I sincerely doubt that Brandon Flowers or any other member of The Killers has read Devil Water, but it was very interesting to revisit this song while I was reading this book. Jenny has a constant desire for a sense of home. A sense she only really had when she was a young girl in Northumberland. She finds some peace with Rob Wilson, but she is not complete without her father. This fight costs her dearly and the reader feels this as well. Because Rob and Charles are an ocean and an ideology apart, Jenny is never complete. Her romance with Rob never has the passion that was present another of Seton’s novels, The Winthrop Woman. This bothered me while reading the novel. It wasn’t until I sat down to write this review that it occurred to me that this distance between Rob and Jenny made sense. It’s not that the author could have made their relationship more compelling and did not. It’s that Jenny’s two halves could never be happily reconciled with one another.
Jenny is an unconventional heroine. She cannot escape her fate, but she faces life bravely and never loses her dignity. Perhaps this is the greatest gift she ever received from her father. I highly recommend this novel and plan to read all of Seton’s work.
To buy this novel, click here.
Tags: Catholic Priest, Change of Heart, death row, heart transplant, Jodi Pic, Jodi Picoult, Jodi Picoult fan, miracle healings, My Sister's Keeper, Nineteen Minutes, Plain Truth, Salem Falls, Tenth Circle, The Emperor's Children, The Pact, The Tenth Circle, Vanishing Acts
At the time I started this blog, I was very much in to Jodi Picoult. My Sister’s Keeper was the first novel I read, but Plain Truth was my favorite. Before January of 2007 I’d also read and enjoyed The Tenth Circle, Vanishing Acts, Salem Falls, and The Pact. Over the course of ’07, I read three of her books. I enjoyed Nineteen Minutes, finishing it just shy of a month before the Virginia Tech Massacre brought much of Southwest Virginia to it knees. Still, Keeping Faith was just so-so and Perfect Match was such a wall banger that I would have categorized it as the worst book I read in ’07 had it not been for The Emperor’s Children.
I’ve read nine of her books and enjoyed – if not thoroughly enjoyed – seven of them. Still, I am hesitant to even pick up and hold a copy of her latest novel, Change of Heart? It might be because there are some elements involved that are related to the Keeping Faith (miracle healings) and Perfect Match (Catholic priest). I also left Vanishing Acts, The Pact, and Nineteen Minutes feeling I had gotten too much of a real sense of what it was like to be a man imprisoned. Are those connections worth overlooking her novel or is it just that I’m over her? I certainly hope not because when her work is good, it makes for an amazing ride.
If you’re a Jodi Picoult fan, I would like to hear what you have to say. What are your favorite novels? Did you like them all? Why or why not? Have you or are you planning on reading Change of Heart? I’m hoping that I might be able to grab on to the coattails of some enthusiastic readers.
* Comments may contain spoilers *
Tags: Anya Seton, Artist's Proof, Devil Water, Gilding Lily, graphic artist, HarperCollins, Lander Marks, Las Vegas, LibraryThing, Rosalind Laker, Tatiana Boncampagni, The Venetian, The Venetian Mask, visit with parents, web design
I have some fun things to look forward to in Literate Housewife-Land:
- I received an Advanced Readers Copy of Artist’s Proof by Lander Marks in the mail on Monday. After I finish reading it, I will be interviewing the author. I’m really excited to get to do that again.
- I am on the look out for two other ARCs: The Venetian Mask by Rosalind Laker (snagged through LibraryThing) and Gilding Lily by Tatiana Boncampagni (through HarperCollins). Since I snagged The Venetian Mask last month and it has yet to arrive, I’m starting to have my doubts about receiving it. That’s a little disappointing, but I’ll survive. Besides, it will be nice change to read two novels that are not historical fiction. I love historical fiction as you know, but a girl needs a little variety every now and then.
- My parents and my Uncle Ryan are coming down for a visit this weekend. I love to watch my kids interact with my parents. It should be a nice, relaxing weekend.
- I have registered http://www.literatehousewife.com! I am busy dreaming about how I want the site to look and work. As I’m no artist, I am looking for someone to help me with the colors, graphics, and logo I’ll need to complete the website and I’ve finally found a good lead. I’m hoping to have the site up and running this summer. I’m going to incorporate my blog and my Tudor Fan Site, which I’ll be building on that as well as well as adding a forum. When all that happens, be on the lookout for changes here, too.
- I am going to Vegas in June!!!!! As part of my new position at work, I’ve been invited to attend a conference being held at The Venetian. Sometimes I really feel like my life is swimming in connections. Artist’s Proof takes place in Las Vegas and, assuming that my LibraryThing snag will arrive in time, I might be reading The Venetian Mask by the pool at the Venetian!
Tags: Anne Boleyn, entertainment, fact versus fiction, Film, Henry Carey, Henry VIII, Mary Boleyn, Natalie Portman, rape, The Other Boleyn Girl
Having had the better part of five days to think about the film adaptation of The Other Boleyn Girl and the time to read the reviews of other bloggers and movie critics, I feel that there needs to be some discussion about the rape scene. The more I think about it, the more appalled I become. I don’t believe it ever happened and portraying such an act is a disservice to those who had no previous knowledge of Tudor History.
In reality, Henry and Anne’s courtship was about 6 years old before they were married and it was only several months beforehand that they were sexually intimate. While I’m certain that there was something about Anne that fueled Henry’s fire, for her to have kept his interest for that long before the relationship was consummated, there had to be something else there for his desire, there was more to their relationship than just sexual attraction. If his primary goal was to have her, he would not have waited a minute let alone five plus years. Anne was an intelligent and astute woman. She knew that the chase is what kept Henry interested. Still, she knew exactly when the opposite was true. Anne was many things, but she was not a victim. She desired the throne of England and she worked and manipulated her way to just that spot. What she did not take into account was the difficulty in keeping Henry without a male heir. This was a difficulty she created for herself. Had she not gone to the lengths to support the separation of England from the Roman Catholic Church she may never have been Queen of England, but she probably would have kept her head. There is no way to be sure, but I can’t imagine her not being aware of that. I think that Natalie Portman did an excellent job portraying how quickly Anne Boleyn went from having it all to constantly worrying about losing it all.
So why did the movie choose rape as the vehicle for the consummation of Henry and Anne’s relationship? The only rational explanation I can come up with is that the film did not deal with the length of their courtship. It wasn’t just washed over, either. At the end of the movie when Mary‘s children were frolicking in the fields with Elizabeth, Elizabeth was very close in age to Henry Carey. Since they eliminated the time and struggle involved with breaking with the Roman Catholic Church, they needed another device to explain Anne’s pregnancy at the time of their marriage and her coronation. This bothers me. Henry was no saint, but he still deserves honest treatment.