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review 2015-04-24 18:10
Quick review of The Seventh Miss Hatfield
The Seventh Miss Hatfield - Anna Caltabiano

Interesting. Quite old fashioned and gentle but by no means a piece of fluff because of that. When I wasn't in the right mood for it, it was difficult to keep going but when I was, the pages just flew by.

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review 2014-07-20 19:40
The Seventh Miss Hatfield by Anna Caltabiano
All That is Red - Anna Caltabiano

Long ago, a woman found the key to immortality, one she passed on in a tiny vial. The vial has passed through six different women now, each of which lost their identities to the ever passing time to become Rebecca Hatfield

 

Now the Sixth Miss Hatfield has chosen a Seventh for the gift – and curse – of immortality. To never age, but to never belong in any time, to live untold centuries, but to never know family or home or sense of belonging, to even lose everything about yourself that made you other than Miss Hatfield.

 

She has a mission for the Seventh Miss Hatfield – to retrieve a painting that belongs to her. But as Miss Hatfield tries to infiltrate the household that owns the painting, she quickly becomes connected to the people there, especially Henley, the owner’s son. She risks developing the very thing that can make immortality unbearable – love.

 

 

 

I really liked the premise of this book - the idea of immortality and time travel together makes a wonderful kind of sense and has some really vast potential. The child who became an adult so quickly, the idea that they are all Miss. Hatfield because their original identities all become so meaningless is a really powerful one

 

I’ve also never seen a book that did so well in conveying the tragedy and loss of humanity. Oh the genre is full of immortal being angsting in corners and dealing out impressively overdramatic monologues about how terribly sad it is to live for ever, but few managed to convey the full grief and loss that comes with outliving everyone you love. The combination of being immortal and being lost in time is a beautiful and deeply sad tragedy. As we go along, we even see the slow loss of identity, exacerbated by her being a child until recently, we see how the Miss Hatfields are created as the 7th Miss Hatfield grows and learns – and forgets.

 

The book also does a really good job of establishing the connections between the characters, creating a sense of realness to them and the way they interact so the loss is all the more poignant.

 

But… yes, there’s a but… the whole premise feels completely irrelevant for most of the book. We begin with Miss Hatfield as a child and becoming Miss Hatfield. She’s then quickly dispatched on a mission to retrieve a painting and to do so she joins a family. The family accepts her quickly through some pretty damn huge coincidences and some rather odd behaviour

 

Then we have the rather nice and pleasant story of this family, of Miss Hatfield among the family, getting to know them, growing to like them, growing to love them


At this point and for a huge amount of the book the fact that Miss Hatfield is immortal, a time traveller or, chronologically, only a child just doesn’t seem to be relevant. She could be any young woman in a period romance rather than an immortal being in speculative fiction


It was a very nice romance. The characters were nicely realised, the relationships very real once we got past the convoluted beginnings. The emotion was strong and genuine. We had some lovely class issues that were addressed with the servants (including a beautiful moment when a servant questioned just how troubled and worried a wealthy lady can be considering how much peace and security she has in life) which was largely really well done and humanising (though it was shaky in places. Like one character is annoyed that they remember the names of their servants, including her personal maid and the butler. They may commonly be referred to by their surname, but it’s an absurdity that people in a house would not know the name of their butler or personal servant. Maybe the scullery maid, but not the upper servants).

 

 

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Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2014/06/the-seventh-miss-hatfield-by-anna.html
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review 2012-09-10 00:00
All That is Red - Anna Caltabiano Perhaps there was truth in what The Pure One said. Why else was I so numb inside? I had to paint emotions on my face, because I was incapable of feeling. Didn't that make me one of them; part of the White?A girl is thrust into a polarized world, where on one side are the Reds, who feel strongly and deeply; and the Whites, unfeeling, cold, and emotionless. As she helps take up the cause of the Reds, she's torn by her own inner numbness.The author takes on a weighty topic, that of cutting and attempted suicide, creating an allegorical world in which extreme emotions and cold numbness battle one another in a struggle for the future of humanity. Deep stuff to tackle, for sure, and the point comes across clearly, though perhaps not as subtly as I'd have preferred.The story immediately jumped into the action, which was a bit confusing, as we had no background as to where the narrator was, who she was, or how she got herself into the predicament, at least until much later. The plot moves quickly, almost too quickly -- the narrator goes from a listless wanderer to the leader of a rebellion in the course of a few short chapters... it's a bit breakneck, as it the transition from fantasy to dystopian/war novel.Overall: An Alice in Wonderland-type adventure with a much deeper meaning.
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