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review 2016-03-23 21:31
Darcy and Fitzwilliam: A Tale of a Gentleman and an Officer
Darcy and Fitzwilliam: A tale of a gentleman and an officer - Karen V. Wasylowski

I've owned this book for...years (wow, far longer than I thought by at least a couple of years!) but I'd never read it before now. It both was and wasn't what I was expecting.


The book is broken into three sections: Darcy, The Colonel, and the Family. The first two sections focus on Darcy after his marriage and the issues he and Elizabeth face surrounding that (Aunt Catherine, a baby, etc.) and Colonel Fitzwilliam as he deals with what war has done to him mentally and emotionally as well as finally finds a woman he can't live without. The last wraps up the situations both face as well as other elements.


I can't in good conscience recommend this book. The attempts to make it sound contemporary were...to me, nonexistent and there were several plot points that I found...implausible is a kind word.


Yet I loved this book. I've not laughed so hard at an Austen-esque book since Austen herself. Yes, some of the characters were a bit (more than a bit OOC though there were reasons given, but this book shocked loud laughs out of me again and again.

The best had to be when Lady Catherine and Marie Fitzherbert (the Prince regent's wife whose marriage was dissolved by George III) stage a noble raid on a woman who is trying to sever all ties between the woman Fitzwilliam loves and her child from her first marriage. How they get her to change her mind is hilarious and worth the read by itself.

(spoiler show)


There were also some truly poignant moments. I've never seen a P&P pastiche deal to a such a degree with Col. Fitzwilliam's profession and the toll that would take on him.


So while I say try this only if it sounds really interesting to you (or like me, you have to try basically every P&P pastiche once), this is basically one of my guilty pleasures.

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text 2016-03-06 08:51
BBC Radio Book of the Week: Benjamin Franlkin in London (3/6/2016)

A big thank you to Bettie's Books for posting about this five episode series! I will confess, I'm not a huge fan of Franklin but I was intrigued enough to listen for one reason.


There is a series of mystery books with Franklin as the detective set during this time. Benjamin Franklin Takes the Case (The Benjamin Franklin Mysteries) (Pine Street Books) - Robert Lee HallBenjamin Franklin and a Case of Christmas Murder - Robert Lee Hall


I only own the second one (there are others I think) but they are really quite good. I've always loved the characters in here: his housekeeper, her daughter Polly, etc. Well, turns out, thanks to the radio adaptation of the book, I learned they were real people! A great deal that I learned from these books proves to be fact. That's what I love about historical fiction, you can learn while reading for pleasure. If anyone's interested, another real figure that appears in the series is Sir John Fielding, I highly recommend them.


The radio series was really good and very easy to listen to. Franklin actually would have preferred to stay in London as he enjoyed the intellectual company he hung out with.


There are only a few days left if you are interested to listen to it:


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review 2016-03-05 10:15
His Good Opinion: A Mr. Darcy Novel
His Good Opinion: A Mr. Darcy Novel - Nancy Kelley

I think I've read too many of these. I spent the entire time convinced I'd read this before and yet every time the original parts surprised me (as much as they could within the framework of source material). All in all, I found this to be a decent pastiche but nothing spectacular.


This novel falls into the category of P&P from Darcy's POV. It starts out, of course, with Ramsgate and we see some of Georgiana's struggles after the aborted elopment. Darcy is practically packed off to Netherfield by his cousin in order for him to get some distance and so that his sister can heal.


We see how he perceives Elizabeth's teasing and because of this, her refusal is a complete surprise. And we see how hard he works to conquer his pride and try to correct the faults she threw in his face.


I tend to like these type of pastiches, though some are stronger than others. Here, the author stayed very true to the original source but managed to expand beyond it. One of the best parts was that Colonel Fitzwilliam gets a much bigger role and we get to see how much he means to the Darcy family. I loved seeing how he totally knew Darcy loved Elizabeth and goaded him a bit while at Rosings.


A quick and easy read, my biggest issue with this book was the style of writing and vocabulary. While nothing stuck out, it also didn't really read as contemporary to Austen. Now the author also didn't do anything crazy like have Darcy and Elizabeth make out before their marriage, so I'm willing to forgive a lot just for that.

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review 2016-03-03 09:30
Murder By Candlelight: The Gruesome Slayings Behind Our Romance With the Macabre
Murder by Candlelight: The Gruesome Slayings Behind Our Romance With the Macabre - Jonathan Yen,Michael Knox Beran

Err. I don't really know what to say about this book. Really.



Because the audiobook went in one ear and out the other. I remember bits and pieces but it resembled nothing so much as a continuous noise you slowly cease to be able to hear.


Part of it was that I never could quite catch the flow of the text. The idea...I think...was to come at the rise in interest of murder during the Victorian times (and slightly before) from a romantic, almost poetic view. The author framed the cases, many of them the exact same ones covered by Lucy Worsley in The Art of the English Murder, around Thomas de Quincy. It was an interesting take...but I never seemed to reach the point of it all.


Now, I was listening to this at the same time (not reading and listening at once but going back and forth) as The Science of Sherlock Holmes, so it could be I kept confusing the two and simply remember the one I took notes on. But while they shared some similarities, none of it really overlapped at any one time. And wouldn't one be more likely to enforce the other if they covered similar information?


I'm tempted to say this simply isn't a book to be listened to. And while I think there's truth to that, I don't believe it was the only reason. Certainly the narrator was not by any means the worst I've found. I've gotten through truly monotone narrators and still remembered the information.


No, I think some of the fault lies with the writing itself but how much, I don't know. I do plan to attempt this again but read it the next time. But that won't be anytime soon. I may be interested in what the author has to say, but I need to forget how I first encountered it.

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review 2016-03-03 08:47
Shaun the Sheep: The Beast of Soggy Moor
Shaun the Sheep: The Beast of Soggy Moor (Tales from Mossy Bottom Farm) - Martin Howard,Andy Janes


If you haven't watched Shaun the Sheep, you should. A spin-off of Wallace and Gromit, it's extremely funny, with great characters and crazy hi-jinks. My favorite character has to be Shirley. Containing everything from pop culture references (particularly in the movie) to invading Alpacas, you never know quite what's going to happen. There is no real dialogue besides baas, other animal noises, and grunts from the farmer but they don't need it. The faces and situations tell you everything.


Still, I wasn't sure what to expect from a book with these characters; I only knew I had to give it a try when I saw it in my library.

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