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review 2016-11-19 17:07
The Shadow Wife ★★☆☆☆
The Shadow Wife - Dorothy Eden

This hilariously bad book gets two stars only because I was too curious about the ending to DNF it. Written in 1967, it is terribly dated in its gender roles and sexual attitudes. It takes the form of a woman’s recollection of terrible events that befell her a few years earlier when she met a rich, handsome, romantic stranger and was so desperate to avoid being a pathetic old maid at the age of 26 that she demanded he marry her rather than just engaging in a love affair. After all, she was already damaged goods from an earlier love affair where (gasp) her lover had refused to marry her after stringing her along. From all her dark hints, I expected that she’d been imprisoned and tortured in the dungeons. It turned out, however, that  

he’d pretended to marry her in a sham wedding, then acted like she had hallucinated it all when she miscarried in an accident.

(spoiler show)

Then, to make sure you understand what a villain he really is, it turns out that he 

was a Nazi collaborator during the war, which really has nothing whatever to do with the plot.

(spoiler show)

But not to worry, she finds hope of happiness in the end, when 

Otto commits suicide, but she realizes that she really has the hots for his brother, who is actually the marrying sort.

(spoiler show)

 

This book serves as a good moral lesson on the dangers of impulsive commitments, not because of the heroine’s sufferings, but because I picked it up on impulse from my library’s donation gimmie shelves. And oh boy, did I pay for it.

 

I read this book for Task the Second: The Silent Nights (Read a book set in one of the Nordic countries, where winter nights are long!) in the Twelve Tasks of the Festive Season challenge. Although it takes place across several countries, the bulk of the action is in Denmark, and in Otto’s home manor house castle on the island of Samsø, and is in the spring, where apparently, the days are very long instead of the long winter nights.

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text 2016-11-16 01:13
The Shadow Wife - progress 30/390 pg
The Shadow Wife - Dorothy Eden

Now why would he so passionately want children? This I would never know - unless I won the next round, and the next, and the next, and at last he married me. But supposing, then, I could not conceive...

 

Okay, I know this was written in 1967 and sexual politics were considerably different 50 years ago, but this is just seriously weird. The woman is engaging in a flirtation with a Danish hunk that she met less than a week ago, and is basing her decision on whether to have sex with the guy on the likelihood that he'd marry her. The only endgame for her is marriage, and whether or not the guy is a criminal or saint, what motivates him or whether they share the same life goals, can all wait until after he's put the ring on her finger and the binding is legal. 

 

I can tell that this is not going to end well for her. 

 

Task the Second: The Silent Nights (Read a book set in one of the Nordic countries)

 

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text 2014-09-10 00:52
Read with my KU free trial: updated 9/9/14
Ravenscroft - Dorothy Eden
A Dark-Adapted Eye (Plume) - Barbara Vine,Ruth Rendell
The Crocodile Bird - Ruth Rendell
Catching Jordan - Miranda Kenneally

Since I activated my free trial, I have read the following books:

 

Ravenscroft by Dorothy Eden: Savings $3.82 (3 1/2 stars)

Darkwater by Dorothy Eden: Savings $3.82 (3 stars)

A Dark-Adapted Eye by Barbara Vine: Savings $6.15 (3 1/2 stars)

The Crocodile Bird by Barbara Vine: Savings $6.41 (4 stars)

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally: Savings $7.39 (3 1/2 stars)

 

(Book titles link to the amazon pages)

 

Total savings: $27.59

 

Update as of 9/9/14:

 

I decided to keep KU for an additional month, so I am now $9.99 invested in the program. I've read some additional books:

 

Winterwood by Dorothy Eden: savings $3.82 (3 1/2 stars)

Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally: savings $6.15 (2 stars)

Follies Past by Melanie Kerr: savings $7.95 (3 stars)

House of Stairs by Barbara Vine: savings $6.15 (4 stars)

 

So, the total value of books read was: $51.66, which means I am $41.67 ahead. My month is up October 1, 2014, so I will need to cancel on or before that date or pay an additional $9.99.

 

 

 

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review 2013-12-21 16:04
Waiting For Willa - Dorothy Eden Waiting For Willa - Dorothy Eden

Dull. That is the word I was looking for to describe this book. And I am so disappointed it turned out this way. I was looking to read another DE book for years. I am not kidding. Years ago, I found 2 second-hand books and I loved both of them. They were so similar to Victoria Holt, who is one of my favorite authors. I guess I should stick to Gothic Historical, because Contemporary did not work.

 

When I found out there were a bunch of books from Dorothy Eden in e-book format, and at such a bargain, I purchased this one almost without thinking. Starts interesting. Grace sense her cousin Willa is in danger and travels to Swede. She meets several people conected to Willa, who has disappeared, in some way. The book is written in a way that reminded me of Agatha Christie: the mystery, the feeling that everyone is suspicious, how the author does not describe scenerios and people very much... It was all "I like this book" feeling.

 

But then, I could not stand Grace. I know she was looking for Willa and that she was very worried, but all she does is talk about Willa. Yes, Willa does not have so much scenes in the book, but she is constantly there. If I were one of the other characters, I would have gone all "could you please STFU and stop talking about damn Willa?". It was annoying, as well as the rest of the characters. Everyone looks suspicious, but that does not have to mean everyone has to be so dull! Even the love interest is dull. BORING. I think that, if the reader likes Agatha Christie, this book would be OK. Thank God I spent around USD 2.00 only.

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text 2013-11-05 18:43
Can't get enough of that Gothic stuff

A couple of year ago, propelled by my love of all things Edwardian, I discovered the host of Gothic romances written in the 1960s and 70s. They're classified in many ways: gothic romance, romantic suspense, gothic mystery and so on. But, in short, they are descendants of the Brontes and du Maurier's 'Rebecca' and books of that ilk. Heady, atmospheric stories that usually have some slightly macabre elements or at least a heightened sense of tension. And they tend towards the melodramatic. 

 

I have always been a lover of historical fiction but I had eschewed books classified as "Romance" for quite a long time. English major conditioning and a good dose of literary snobbery made me think they weren't as "important" as other types of literature. I have since revised my opinion. I think all genres of writing are important and serve their own purpose - if we should even bother to divide things up into genre. An idea I am not convinced is at all helpful except for knowing where to find stuff in a bookstore and increasing ideas of snobbery. Writing is writing; books are books. Read what you like. Strive to read well-written things. 

 

My first entrée into this new world of books was facilitated by Dorothy Eden and her novel 'The American Heiress.' She has become one of my favorite writers, full stop. I can't get enough of her books and haven't met a clunker yet. From her I moved on to Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, Susan Howatch and others. I tend to like gothics that have a historical setting, but I have begun to read more and more modern and contemporary ones. I have to say, exploring recent romantic suspense novels, I do think there was a higher quality of writing, generally speaking, in the novels written from the 50s to the early 80s. But I have still encountered quite a few new voices that move me too. 

 

Another thing I absolutely love about the books produced in the 60s and 70s especially is the amazing cover art. The Fawcett and Ace lines of books and others like them have these masterful, melodramatic illustrations that I can't get enough of. I have purchased books for the covers alone. I suppose it's rather kitsch or campy but I genuinely like the artwork. Especially compared to a lot of modern covers where a photoshopped model is slapped behind a cheesy font, a fog effect and a shimmer filter. Give me a good line drawing any day. 

 

And with that I leave you with some examples of covers I love. If anyone who reads this has any suggestions for similar authors or books in the same vein or time period mentioned, please drop me a comment. I'm always searching for new voices. 

 

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