logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: cat-sebastian
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2020-04-20 03:12
The Lawrence Brown Affair
The Lawrence Browne Affair - Cat Sebastian
Georgie needs to get out of London stat. His brother, Jack, sets him up as a secretary to a supposedly "mad" earl. Lawrence (Lord Radner) is a scientist with social anxiety.
This was a wonderful slow burn romance. I liked the additional mystery of what was going on at the estate (but in hindsight, it really wasn't a mystery because it was Cornwall). I thought both characters were layered. While Georgie was a thief, he did so to keep a roof over his head and food in his belly. I did like the realization towards the end that he needed to change. Lawrence was non-judgmental and accepting of Georgie, flaws and all (and vice versa). I also thought Lawrence came full circle. He started out never having left his home and thinking he was mad to realizing he wasn't and deciding to live his life.
I also liked Simon, Lawrence's son in all ways that mattered.
Courtney and Julian (the next book) were introduced in this one. Courtney is Simon's uncle.
I read this for Romance-opoly Rainbow Row moon track
 
 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
quote 2020-03-28 20:45
Może jak ma się dwadzieścia jeden lat, wspólne życie z ulicznym grajkiem wydaje się kuszące. Dwadzieścia trzy lata później nawet Irina zrozumiała, że brak pieniędzy, brak pracy i brak prezerwatywy to raczej nie najlepsza kombinacja, jeśli się myśli o przyszłości.
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2020-03-22 11:17
Sometimes it's hard to be a Lakota woman
A thousand moons - Sebastian Barry

Thanks to Faber and Faber and to NetGalley for offering me an ARC copy of this book, which I freely chose to review.

I read Barry’s Days Without End, loved it (you can read my review here) and couldn’t resist when I saw his next novel was available. This story follows on from the previous one, and it shares quite a few characteristics with that one. Although I’ve read some reviews by people who hadn’t read the previous novel and said that they felt this one could be read on its own, I wouldn’t dare to comment on that. Personally, because the story follows closely on from Days Without End, and it refers to many of the characters we had got to know there, I’d recommend readers thinking about taking up this series to start by reading the previous novel.

This story, like Barry’s previous book, is a historical novel, in this case set in Tennessee shortly after the American Civil War. In the previous novel we followed two characters, Thomas McNulty (the first person narrator) and John Cole, through their adventures as actors, Indian hunters and soldiers, and learned that they had adopted a young Lakota girl, Ojinjintka, renamed Winona; in this second book we hear the story from Winona’s point of view. The couple of men have settled down now, and the fact that this is not only a woman’s story, but the story of a Native-American woman, means that her ambit of action is much more restricted and despite her efforts to take control of her own life, she’s often at the mercy of laws and circumstances that consider her less than a human being. Although she is loved by her adoptive parents and the rest of the extended family she lives with, that is not a general state of affairs, and if life had treated her badly as a child, she also suffers a major traumatic event here, as a young woman. No matter that she is educated (she keeps the books for a lawyer in town), strong-willed, and determined. She is either invisible (just an Indian girl) or a creature to be abused, vilified, and made to take the blame for other’s crimes. That does not mean what happens to her does not reflect the events in the larger society (we do hear about racism, about lynching, about corruption of the law, about Southern resistance…), but we get to see them from an “other” point of view, and it creates a sense of estrangement, which I suspect is intended by the author. While Thomas and John were outsiders themselves and always lived in the fringes of society, Winona’s position is more precarious still.

I have mentioned some of the themes of the novel, and others, like family relationships, race, gender, identity (Winona remembers a lot about her life as a Lakota, and the memories of her mother in particular bring her much comfort and strength), and the lot of women also play an important part in the novel. There is also something of a mystery running through it, as there are a couple of crimes committed early on (one a severe beating of an ex-slave living with Winona’s family in the farm, and the other one her assault) and Winona spends much of the novel trying to clarify what happened and to get justice, one way or another, as the authorities are not going to intervene because neither of them are important enough. Although she turns into something of an amateur detective, this is no cozy mystery or a light adventure novel, and there are plenty of harrowing moments in it, so I wouldn’t recommend it to people who are looking for cheerful entertainment.

The characters are as fascinating as those from the previous novel, although we get to see them from a totally different point of view. It Thomas was the guiding consciousness of Days Without End, Winona’s voice (in the first person) narrates this fragment of the story. We get to see things from her perspective, and that also offers us an opportunity to reevaluate our opinion of the characters we already knew. We also meet some new characters, but because of Winona’s status (or lack of it), we are put in a difficult position, always feeling suspicious and expecting the worst from those we meet, because she has no rights, both because she is a woman and because she is an Indian woman. Her voice takes some time to get used to. She has been educated, but a bit like happened with Thomas in the previous novel, her speech and thoughts are a mixture of vernacular expressions and lyrical images. She is sometimes confused and can’t make sense of what is happening around her, and at others can show a great deal of insight. When she reports the dialogue and words of others —although she is quite an astute observer of others’ behaviour —, all the people she mentions talk pretty much the same, no matter how educated they are, and farm-hands and judges cannot be told apart from the way they speak. Although I felt for Winona at an intellectual level and was horrified by the things she had to go through, perhaps because of the estrangement I mentioned and of the style of the narrative, I didn’t find it as easy to connect at an emotional level. I liked her and I loved her insights and some of her comments, but I didn’t feel as close to her as I did to Thomas in the first book.

The writing is beautiful and poetic at times, while at others it can be difficult to understand due to the mental state of the character and to her peculiar style. It reminded me of the stream-of-consciousness narration typical of modernist writers in the early years of the XX century. Winona’s thoughts jump from one subject to the next, and although the story is told in chronological order, memories of her time with the Lakotas and flashbacks from her trauma keep interfering in the narrative. This is not a particularly fast novel or a page turner in the traditional sense, as it meanders along, with exciting and horrifying scenes intermixed with scenes of domesticity and everyday life. I confess to having to go back and forth at times to make sure I hadn’t missed anything, but it was worth it.

I highlighted many parts of the novel, but I’ll share a few samples (note that this is an ARC copy, so there might be some changes in the published version):

I wonder what does it mean when another people judge you to be worth so little you were only to be killed? How our pride in everything was crushed so small it disappeared until it was just specks of things floating away on the wind.

You can’t be a geyser of tears all your life.

‘She got to have some recompense in law,’ said Lige Magan. ‘An Indian ain’t a citizen and the law don’t apply in the same way,’ said the lawyer Briscoe.

Only a woman knows how to live I believe because a man is too hasty, too half-cocked, mostly. That half-cocked gun hurts at random. But in my men I found fierce womanliness living. What a forturne. What a great heap of proper riches.

I’ve seen some reviews who felt the ending was disappointing or unbelievable. I’d have to agree that there is something of the Deus ex machina about the ending, but overall I liked where the story ended and would like to know what happens next to Winona, to Peg (one of my favourite new characters), and to the rest of the characters.

Would I recommend the novel? It is a fascinating book, and one lovers of Barry will enjoy. I advise anybody interested in this historical period and eager to read this author’s work  to start with the previous novel, as I found the style of this one more challenging and more difficult to follow, and having an understanding of the background of the characters helps put it into perspective. As I usually do, I’d recommend readers to check a sample of the novel before deciding to purchase it, but give it a good chance, as it does take some time to get used to the style, and the story is well-worth reading and persevering with. I will definitely be looking forward to the next novel.

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2020-02-16 21:18
Echo Chamber?
Paris Echo - Sebastian Faulks

As a longstanding admirer of Sebastian Faulks’ work, simply the title of this latest novel (2018) stirred the reader’s imagination and the prospect of a return to the original site of the author’s reputation. The ‘French trilogy’, published between 1989-98 (‘The Girl at the Lion d’Or’; ‘Birdsong’; and ‘Charlotte Gray’) established Faulks as a major British writer, wherein he used the common backdrop of war and explored the immediate impact and legacy of conflict for the characters involved. This has proven fertile territory, partly perhaps due to the historical gravity of such events, which continue to weigh heavily on the scarred psyche of our continent, but partly also to Faulks’ unerring capacity to evoke a gallic essence in his novels, which transports the reader with such panache.

 

This latest novel is set in contemporary Paris, but through the contrasting encounters of an American researcher (Hannah) and Moroccan immigrant (Tariq), the author develops a vehicle to observe the modern cosmopolitan metropolis, as well as allude to difficult, past wartime and colonial memories that have yet to be fully expunged from the national consciousness.

 

Tariq is nineteen and though able to speak french (a legacy of his late, Algerian mother who was raised in Paris), he abandons his education in Tangier, to follow tentatively in her footsteps, arriving homeless and penniless, his first venture abroad. By contrast,Hannah has been dispatched by her US university to research a book and is returning to Paris, to the scene of her ill-fated and only love affair, ten years earlier. And with both main characters thus deposited, the stage is set.

 

The disparate experiences of Hannah and Tariq are driven largely by the stratified socio-economic groupings of the Fifth Republic, and that they apparently have little in common. Still, what limited overlap exists offers each insight into the other’s world and over time their respective curiosities satisfied, lessons learnt, fragile hearts restored, they can move on. However, what the main characters do have in common is their status as ‘outsiders’. Notwithstanding the undoubted magnetism of Paris, the ‘echoes’ emitted by the city resonate differently, even between native generations and the absence of that shared history suggests that visitors may be untainted, but surprised, by a sometimes troubled past.

 

Intertwining such complex themes, on the back of a fairly weak plot left me with the sense of a book that didn’t quite deliver on its potential. Faulks writes beautifully and with his customary affinity for all things French, but this book has a nebulous quality, which I found hard to fathom. Perhaps it is an inevitable bugbear that having produced a universally lauded ‘modern classic’ in ‘Birdsong’, readers wait impatiently for those heights to be repeated (incidentally I am a great fan of Faulks' novel ‘Engleby’). In the meantime though, I am curious to read some alternative reviews of this novel, to see if I have missed the key that unlocks some hitherto hidden depth.

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2020-01-23 22:13
The Soldier's Scoundrel
The Soldier's Scoundrel - Cat Sebastian

Jack is a fixer. He helps women where the law doesn't. He also grew up poor with his siblings and stole, worked, and worked some more to get where he is. Oliver is the 2nd son of an Earl who is now out of the army having spent the last 10 years or so in uniform.
Both Jack and Oliver are different, but I liked that their differences each complimented the other. At the end of the day, they just wanted someone to love them and have companionship. I liked the element of the mysteries in this one (who stole the letters and who murdered Lord Montbray). I am looking forward to Georgie's story.
For Romance-opoly Lover Lane Moon track

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?