I’m a fan of retellings of Jane Austen, whether in books of films. Most of Austen’s writing depends on observations social conventions and the class structure of its time,which is tricky to translate to modern-day traditions.
In Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice, the characters lacked the subtlety of Austen’s versions of romance in this modern retelling. Instead of the expected good – natured, and warm characters, we’re given two-dimensional, cold and unlikable ones. Where are Austen’s signaturekind and charming characters? My biggest gripe is Sittenfeld’s attempt to mix the old world way of speaking with modern-day talk.
“Uncertainly, Jane said, Mom, you haven’t been reading my texts, have you?” Merrily, Lydia said, “she doesn’t know how to!”… Mrs. Bennett appeared uncontrite**. Jane furrowed her eyebrow, which for her reflected genuine pique.”
The stilted dialog was a chore to read, as the author tried to blend the speaking mannerisms of the old and the new. Plus, this book needs a good editor. Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice is a light-hearted, modern-day retelling of a Jane Austen novel. I don’t think many die-hard Austen fans would enjoy this book.
* This book was provided to me from NetGalley by Random House in exchange for an honest review.
This is Lauren Barnard’s third chick-lit book in her series, involving the adventures of Poppy and Jazz. I love Laura’s writing because she captures genuine emotions without sounding corny or over-the top.
The story revolves around two best friends, Poppy and Jazz, who find themselves in silly “I Love Lucy” type of situations. Poppy is an anxious, empathetic woman, and typically has too many people rely on her, while she deals with her own struggle of trying to become pregnant. Poppy is imperfect and vulnerable – like a real life women.
Jazz is a care-free, generous, headstrong woman. Unfortunately, due to her strong will, she often finds herself in difficult situations. Many of us can relate to the family members mentioned in her story. Every family has these type of relatives: the embarrassing one, the bossy one, the Too Much Information one and the “know it all” relative.
This is a light, funny book which I highly recommend for chick-lit lovers or anyone in need of a good laugh.
RATING: 5 STARS
A copy of the book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
The Gossips highlights the hypocritical, self-righteous small town mindset behind the polite facade of a close community. The Gossips is a perceptive and engaging look at small town life, where the main source of entertainment is gossip, which rotates between bribery, real or imagined affairs, drunks, rape, incest, and (clutching my pearls!) the embarrassment of unwed mothers. Initially, the story line and vivid character descriptions drew me in…until half way through, I couldn’t wait until the book was over. Waugh describes gossipy, nosy people in such an accurate way, she exhausted me. Waugh’s writing is excellent, but it wasn’t enjoyable to read about gossipy small town folks. I’d read another one of her books, but only if the story line is more pleasant.
A copy of the book was provided to me from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge is a British suspense/thriller novel. It is the first book in DI Helen Grace Thriller series. DI Helen Grace is youngest female to be promoted to Detective Inspector in her department. She is a submissive in a paid S&M arrangement, which adds vulnerability to her uptight personality. This aspect of her personality was difficult to reconcile until you learn more about her rough childhood.
Detective Inspector Helen Grace is faced with solving a series of kidnapping/abduction murders. Amy Anderson and Sam Fisher were kidnapped then held hostage. Their kidnappers drop them into a remote area and their chances of escape are dim. The kidnappers only give them a cell phone and a gun. Their only option for survival is if one of them dies. DI Helen Grace isn’t convinced this is a plausible story until two other people are kidnapped in a similar way.
Eeny Meeny keeps you riveted until the end. There is violence, sex, and foul language and the book will keep you guessing with all of the twists and turns. I’m looking forward to the next book in this series. Highly recommended for fans of Brit thrillers and suspense novels.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Wreck and Order by Hannah Tennant-Moore is about Elsie, a twenty-something who wants to change her life, but must first deal with her inner problems. Courtesy of her father, he gives her money to flit around the world, from Paris to Sri Lanka and New York City. I struggled to continue reading because of her angst, constant careless sex and extended periods of navel-gazing.
The writing is excellent, but it’s not enough to keep the reader interested if the story is depressing and disturbing. When good things come her way, she dismisses them and throws away the opportunity. Her low self-esteem contributes to her self-sabotage behavior by having sex with abusive strangers. The story is told in a flight of ideas style of prose that captures Elsie’s confused state of mind. When her problems become too hard to handle emotionally, she travels to a different country, in hopes that the new setting will solve her problems. Her problems follow her wherever she lands since it’s easier to change her outside life rather than her inner life. I couldn’t connect to Elsie because of her angst and self-sabotage behavior. Plus, her “job” consisted of the translation of a vintage book from French to English, which leads her nowhere. Elsie will not change until she works on her inner problems.
Despite beautiful writing, the story depressed me. Elsie is a self-centered hopeless woman who won’t change her life for the better because it takes courage and strength to change your inner self. The only takeaway from this book is to change your inner problems first, instead of physically running away from them in hopes that will solve your problems.
I received an advanced copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
If you’ve ever been hospitalized, in between the routine tests and x-rays, there are long periods of time spent alone. Free from the responsibilities of your life, long stretches of time will be spent not only healing physically but emotionally as well. This is the case in Elizabeth Strout’s latest book, My Name is Lucy Barton. Lucy Barton is a tender-hearted writer, who reflects on her own dysfunctional family, and tries to find her own story.
Set in the 1980’s, she spends nine weeks in the hospital after complications from an appendectomy. Lucy weaves her story back and forth between today and her childhood memories of poverty and mistreatment.
During her illness, her mother, who she hadn’t seen in many years, visits her for five days in the hospital. The sole presence of her mother triggers Lucy’s childhood memories of her life in rural Illinois and her dysfunctional family. We learn about Lucy’s life story through short small life events. As Lucy’s mother rambles on about bad marriages, she is oblivious and unable to give Lucy what she craves the most – the demonstration of her love. As an adult, Lucy looks back with a fresh perspective and shares her life story in a simple manner. I felt an emotional connection with Lucy’s compassionate storytelling.
Although it’s a story of a woman’s ordinary life, Elizabeth Strout reveals the universal lesson about the human condition, that teaches us how to learn from our mistakes and live a better life. Highly recommended for those who enjoy women’s literature, relationships between mothers and daughters and skilled writing.
I received an advance reader edition of this book from Random House Publishing Group via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
American Housewife is a collection of twelve short stories which focus on
the lives of modern American housewives, based in New York City or the South. The dark humor stories range from laugh out loud funny to snarky and twisted satire. Some of my favorites were “Hello! Welcome to Book Club,” and “How To Be A Patron of the Arts.” Helen Ellis is a talented writer, but I didn’t feel a connection to the jaded, social-climbing women in her stories.
I recommend this book for those who enjoy offbeat, social parody stories.
I received a copy of the book from the Publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.