After reading it again, I must say I appreciated this classic much much more with a second reading.It certainly helped that I could use the Robert Redford adaptation of the film as well as the upcoming Leo DiCaprio version to help me visualize the book.I have also recently read Fitzgerald's "Tender is the Night", and in terms of plot at least, that is to me the better read; but in terms of poignancy, characterization and tragic romance "Great Gatsby' is without a doubt the winner. But needless to say, both books are absolutely wonderful and I cannot wait to read more of Fitzgerald's works!!!
Oh dear. How I wish I could say I loved 'The Winter Rose' as much as I loved its predecessor 'The Tea Rose', but UGH. There IS a reason I hate sequels!!!I think the main problem was that I didn't enjoy the characters. I certainly loved the settings, ranging from Whitechapel to Africa. It had a likeable enough heroine in India, and certainly a terrifying villain in Freddie Lytton, but not much else. What I had loved the most about The Tea Rose were the engaging characters, from the fierce Fiona to sweet Nicholas to smexy smexy SMEXY Will McClane--"sigh"--but the main characters in Winter Rose were just...bleh. Sid Malone was just plain boring. Ah well. I'm still going to give "The Wild Rose" a shot, since Jennifer Donnelly's writing is always amazing no matter what. God knows I'll always love and thank and bless her for "A Northern Light".
I have been meaning to read more about Napoleon for the longest time, and this was a fascinating read both about the man, and the women in his life!I'll begin with the positive; as other reviews have stated, the actual letters written by Napoleon & his wife Josephine add a great touch, and Michelle Moran's historical research into the time period is absolutely impeccable. Also, may I recommend Flora Fraser's biography of Pauline Bonaparte as a companion read to "The Second Empress", as a biography it is a more dry read than a historical fiction novel, but a good biography nonetheless. Marie-Louise was an intriguing character, and when juxtaposed with the volatile, manipulative, psychologically troubled Pauline, I felt the author did a very skillful job of giving Marie-Louise a mufti-dimensional personality, instead of letting her pale in comparison with Pauline. All I knew about Napoleon's second wife prior to reading this book was that she was the 'good wife', in that she gave him is much-wanted son, but Moran gives her a strong, individual presence.Alright, now for the negative. I LOVE JOSEPHINE. AND YES, I'M BIASED. That being said, I know WHY she wasn't in the book. 'The book is already full of two strong women & it didn't need another one.' 'She's referred to multiple times, and the book has excerpts of her real letters, and that's good enough."Well, whatever, I still missed her. But a good book, nonetheless!
Not the best fictional book about Degas that I have read, but certainly the most informed and informative. Vivid characterization and unflinching detail were certainly the highlights: the two protagonists and sisters, Antoinette and Marie Goethem were very well drawn and fully realized characters and you felt you were suffering along with them as you read about their difficult lives. The insight into Belle Epoque Paris was also fascinating, particularly about how dangerous it was in the 1870s and '80s. Remarkably, Paris is one of the safest cities in Europe now, not so a hundred and forty years ago! I suppose my main qualm with this book was that I had already read Kathryn Lasky's novel "Dancing Through Fire", and I enjoyed that novel more.
"Oh, Hatsumomo's so MEAN to me!!!""Oh, I love the Chairman so MUCH!!!"Yeah, that is pretty much the extent of Sayuri's thought processes for roughly 90% of the book. Not that this wasn't an enjoyable read. The world of the Geisha is certainly intriguing, and the customs and culture of Japan in the early 20th century is one of the most fascinating eras I've ever read about. The meticulous historical detail and Cinderella storyline were the best parts of the novel for me, and I still have trouble believing that it was completely fictional. This was published in 1997, is Arthur Golden ever going to write anything else? I would certainly read it.But the characterizations (or lack thereof) just got on my nerves, and robbed me of giving this novel a 5-star rating. The characters that I became interested in were either never fully developed, or disappeared completely. In some ways the 2005 film adaption of the novel helped with this problem, as Hatsumomo (played by the devastatingly gorgeous Gong Li) is actually allowed to express some emotion other than sheer conniving witchiness--and with Sayuri's beloved Mr. Chairman being played by the elegant real-life-cancer-survivor Ken Watanabe, you can understand in some measure of why she loved him unrequitedly (and borderline obsessively) for what, 20 years?Anyway, it's a beautifully written novel with a beautifully filmed movie to accompany it. Both, unfortunately, lack depth.
Once again, a very enjoyable read from Librarything Early Reviewers!Not that I'm a complete and utter soft touch for anything that consists of the words, "Romanov" and "historical fiction".Catherine the Great is one of my favorite historical figures, and certainly one of my favorite queens, and so I was thrilled to receive this book, if slightly less than thrilled to discover that the POV was not of Catherine the Great, but of her maidservant (and spy) Varvara.Thankfully, Varvara was a well-drawn character, even though her relationship with the chancellor was more ambiguous than I cared for, (couldn't he have been more wicked?)But still, wonderful descriptions of the Russian court, the palaces, and the many, many intrigues. I highly recommend to any reader who is interested in reading more about Catherine the Great and the Empress Elisabeth to read "Elizabeth and Catherine" by Robert Coughlan, which was made into an Emmy-winning miniseries starring Vanessa Redgrave and Julia Ormond.
When I first received this book, I actually thought I had requested a non-fiction biography of the events surrounding the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum heist in 1991. Still, I did enjoy this novel, though more due to the fascinating look into the world of modern artists AND forgers and less for characterization and emotional involvement in the story. Shapiro knows how to tell a good story--the "Faustian bargain" the story's protagonist, Claire Roth, makes with a shady art buyer propels the story forward, but I know that I certainly never truly liked any of the book's characters. If you read this book with the intention of learning more about the heist, the art world, and the trials and tribulations of traditional artists in this digital age, you won't be disappointed.
There's one thing you can say for Katherine Howard: she may not have had much in the way of brains or common sense, but she certainly knew what she wanted! And 'Gilt' by Katherine Longshore certainly makes that abundantly clear!Katherine was doomed from the start--beautiful, vivacious, free-spirited, flirtatious--and power-hungry. I'm surprised she was able to survive in Henry VIII's court as long as she did...but then, she WAS sleeping with him.Anyway, this was quite a well-written debut. I certainly enjoyed it more than 'The King's Rose' about Katherine Howard, and it was a far more engrossing read than 'The Boleyn Inheritance' by Phillipa Gregory, (and half the pages too! Ha!)It was a great page-turner, with a MAJOR cliff-hanger ending. I will certainly read more books in this series. I suppose my only qualms are that the POV was from Katherine's best friend, and not Katherine herself. I am NOT a fan of the new YA fad where the POV comes from the historical figure's fictional friend and not the actual historical figure herself. I'm tired of it already. Dang it! I don't want commentary!!! LOL!My second qualm would be that there was hardly a likeable person in the book, and if there was, they certainly were not in there very long. But all in all, still an absorbing read.
I'm sorry, but Alexandre Dumas Jr. was NOT his father. If there is anything that kills a love story quicker for me are selfish, hypersensitive, and just downright whiny protagonists. Sheesh. Boring. The opera adaptation "La Traviata" is SO MUCH BETTER. Maybe because it's in Italian and you don't know exactly what's going on but it sounds better.