Looking back, I’ve realized that this novel is sort of like a proto-’Love Actually’ – in that it is a network of love stories with interconnecting people who are only revealed slowly throughout the book. I felt the author did a great job at this even if it did cause me no end of frustration for the first couple hundred pages. I kept asking myself where this book was going and why the sisters from the beginning of the novel just disappeared, but they eventually reappeared and tied the story together.
Although the book clocks in at over 880 pages, it didn’t feel as if it were 880 pages. I believe this is a credit to the story and the language the author used. Her writing was not difficult to read and there were many beautiful passages and great descriptions, just look at how many quotes there are in my Additional Quotes section below. The one line that just made me laugh and think oh wow that’s me was
“When a conversation has taken a wrong turn for us, we only get farther and farther into the swamp of awkwardness.” (146)
It is just the perfect description of what happens when I pretty much ever open my mouth. I mentally thought ‘honey I’m mired in the swamp of awkwardness and am like the swamp lights (will-o’-the-wisps) that trick you into the swamp and then you die because you get lost, but without the death and lots of awkwardness.’
WordPress decided to move this post to the trash bin and I, assuming it was duplicate draft, permanently deleted it. The first three paragraphs are verbatim as I was able to recover them via caching, however after that is a poor substitute of what I spoke about previously.
I had to add this to my Classics Club list because of its reference in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. I wish I would’ve spaced things to read Northanger Abbey immediately before or after, but I didn’t and I’m sure I will enjoy it just as much when I next read it.
The Mysteries of Udolpho counts for every challenge I’m currently participating in. It is first and foremost the 20th book in my Classics Club list and signifies my 1/5th completion (right at the year mark, so keep an eye out for a longer post later this week)! In addition it counts for my Mount TBR Reading Challenge, Back to the Classics Challenge and through a bit of questionable math as a bonus book for my Tea and Books Reading Challenge (the physical copies average out to 666 pages).
Apparently this was the perfect time to read this novel. If I would’ve read it any sooner I probably would’ve been upset or bothered by it, but I wasn’t and it was quite enjoyable.
I would never have picked this book up on my own, but it is our February book for Books into Movies book group at the local library. I enjoyed the book more than the movie, shocker, but mostly because I didn’t see the need to move it from London to the US or the rather odd way they had the protagonist, Rob, interact with the camera/audience.
Primarily, this novel is about break-ups, but it’s also about reflecting on one’s life (and love life) in your mid-30s. Now I’m not quite there yet (two more years to rock out my 20s), but I can definitely sympathize with the Rob and questioning everything about every previous relationship and whether it all has to do with him. However, I REALLY hope I don’t go through this sort of soul-searching because I can only imagine how awkward it could be.
While waiting on another book from the library I decided to request a copy of Blessed Isle from NetGalley. I had luck with the Tucker Springs series and wanted something light and fun to read and I wasn’t disappointed. This is my honest opinion and I received nothing in return.
This is how you write a romance novel! (To me at least.) There’s no rushing into things, there’s no the world is ours after 2-3 months (or shorter) and there’s plenty of conflict and potential heartbreak. Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for the Wham Bam style of romance novel, but they’re just not the type of love story I’m generally drawn to. In addition, there’s a subtlety about Beecroft’s writing and her efforts (and total success) at keeping the sex out of the book. In doing so she created a novel that was much less low-brow than you would assume and the focus was shifted to the love story and the time period, which really only adds to the story. And to top it off, Beercroft did a good job of building at least one sympathetic character,
“But one day, perhaps, when the world has grown kinder, this journal will be read by less jaundiced eyes. To them I will be able to say there was fidelity here, and love, and long-suffering sacrifice, and joy. To them I will be able to speak the truth.”
Overall I found this book dull and lacking. I’m not sure if it has to do with it being built up so much throughout my lifetime (the two big films: the animated Disney which I grew up with and the 2010 Johnny Depp/Tim Burton version) or perhaps because it’s only half the story I know (I didn’t read Through the Looking Glass with it), but I was completely and utterly underwhelmed with this book. On the plus side it counted for the Back to Classics, Mount TBR and The Classics Club Challenges.
I will say that the book is incredibly short and that worked in its favor. If I had to read more than 89 pages of what came across to me as rambling nonsense, I would not have finished the book. It did make me wonder about whether it was a novel or a novella and a quick internet search says novel. (Novels feature more conflicts than novellas and novellas feature more than short stories according to the ever accurate Wikipedia.)