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review 2017-07-20 09:43
Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont - Elizabeth Taylor,Paul Bailey

Mrs Palfrey, newly widowed, moves into the Claremont Hotel. She expects that she will not check out again until her death. Chosen for it’s location, with all the sights and sounds of London on it’s doorstep, it’s cheap rates and the proximity to her grandson, she is determined to make the best of it. But things aren’t as expected and the monotony is only lifted when she meets Ludo by accident.

 

This book quietly works its magic on the reader. Gently, slowly, it worms its way into your heart. There are no big scenes, no fast paced dialogue. It has beautifully evocative prose that allows the reader to easily envisage everyone and everything.

 

Ludo is of course using Mrs Palfrey, though she is not always aware of it. Using her as inspiration for his writing, whilst he doesn’t always actively seek her out he does come to value her friendship. It could be taken that Ludo should be vilified for this but his actions are so considered and considerate that the reader does not find Ludo to be the enemy. Indeed Mrs Palfrey herself is using Ludo. She uses him to save her own embarrassment but also to stave off her loneliness. She needs a friend, a connection to life and Ludo provides that connection.

 

The writing is understated yet beautifully done. It is only a short novel at 208 pages yet it does not feel that it has been under written. Everything that is contained in those 208 pages is a necessary part of the story. Any more pages would detract, and less would likewise.

 

There is a tragic edge to the story. It is after all about aging and the inhabitants of the Claremont have little to do but wait for death. Elizabeth Taylor’s insightful novel examines society’s view of the elderly and shows that it has not much changed in the last half century. It is both of it’s time and yet also ageless.

 

It is not just a tale of aging. It is also a love story, showing that love can develop over time, can be lost, won or indeed never really be where it is expected.

 

This is the first novel by Elizabeth Taylor I have read, so engaging was it, I read it in a day. It won’t be my last. I’m looking forward to discovering more from her.

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review 2016-02-04 04:56
Elizabeth Taylor: A Private Life for Public Consumption - Ellis Cashmore

#ELIZABETHTAYLORAPRIVATELIFEFORPUBLICCOMSUMPTION  4.5 Stars Wow, this just wasn't a book about Elizabeth Taylor. The author also went into the lives of people who were part of, included in or about Ms. Taylor's life. Princess Diana, Michael Jackson, Rock Hudson, and Montgomery Clift just to name a few.

Not only that, the book looked at the history of the paparazzi and the way America thought from the 1960's to today. Like someone going into rehab in the 1960's was total taboo, but today you see it all the time.

While it was more than I signed up for, it turned out to be a very interesting book. The author did a lot of research and you could tell. I really liked reading about the old days of Hollywood. And, I had no idea (of course, it's still not proven) that James Dean was gay, nor Montgomery Clift. There are lots of little tidbits in here that are great for you little trivia nuts (like me).

While there were a few pages I skipped over, I read most of the book and was highly entertained and learned a lot of things that I did not know. If this is the kind of stuff you like, this is right up your alley!

Thanks Bloomsbury Academic for approving my request and Net Galley for providing me a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review. My mind just soaked it up!

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text 2015-08-01 19:04
July Roundup
The Dark Monk - Oliver Pötzsch
Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont - Elizabeth Taylor,Paul Bailey
The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins
Grip of the Shadow Plague - Brandon Mull
The Vicar of Wakefield - Arthur Friedman,Robert L. Mack,Oliver Goldsmith
The Probable Future - Alice Hoffman

July was a slow month for me, but I was out of town for 3 weeks (and I have 2 more books almost finished, so August might look really good LOL!). I didn't get tons of reading done, but I did get lots of other stuff done, so all is good.

 

Total books: 6

1001 list books: 1

in translation: 1

best: Grip of the Shadow Plague (Fablehaven 3)

worst: The Vicar of Wakefield UGH!

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review 2015-07-10 01:16
Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont
Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont - Elizabeth Taylor,Paul Bailey

What a bittersweet little book!

 

The widowed Mrs Palfrey chooses to moved into the Claremont Hotel in London before her daughter can put her in a nursing home. The Claremont takes dinner, overnight, and live-in guests. The live-ins number fewer than 10. They feel rejected by their younger family members (many of whom do live far away), lonely, and miss their late spouses and friends terribly.

 

They also recognize the Claremont for what it is--a stopping point, as Mrs Arbuthnot puts it, on the way to a nursing home, where one dies. As much as they want to get out and do the things that London has to offer, they struggle with tiredness and pain, loneliness, and budgets. Even a short fun trip becomes exhausting.

 

This book well expresses the indignities of aging—the pain and exhaustion as your body gives out, the frustration of forgetfulness, and the feeling of rejection. But it also shows how the elderly do have something to share, and should not be given up on and rejected. After all, we all hope to be in their shoes one day.

 

**I admit that when I picked this up I thought "the Claremont" was "The Claremont Hotel". I was wrong.

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review 2015-04-17 00:00
Just Like Elizabeth Taylor (Small Town U.S.A.)
Just Like Elizabeth Taylor (Small Town U.S.A.) - LuAnn Brobst Staheli Twelve-year-old Elizabeth Taylor was so named because her mother was - and still is - obsessed with the actress of the same name. Unfortunately, just like the actress, Elizabeth is going through a hard time. He mother is being physically abused by her boyfriend, and Elizabeth herself is being sexually abused by his son Ryan. Elizabeth makes a plan to run away and waits for the perfect moment - when Mark leaves his money on the kitchen bench while he's passed out drunk in the living room. She rides her bike to the next town and finds an empty shed in an abandoned campground, where she proceeds to hide in plain sight by enrolling in the local middle school and changing her name to Beth Burton. She makes a friend, Ida Mae, and she comes to the rescue of the lunch lady, Ms Meyers. But then her old life intrudes on her new life, making it impossible to keep up the charade. Elizabeth discovers that running away can cause more problems than it can solve.

This is a heartbreaking and eye-opening story of what a young girl has to endure when she has no support. From an adult's point-of-view, I found the story to be a bit contrived and predictable. There are too many coincidences, and things seem to work out a bit too easily. I'm also disappointed that Ms. Meyers' situation is never explained. Nevertheless, it is well-suited to the target young adult audience, with no explicit language or sexual content.

I received this book in return for an honest review.

Full blog post: http://booksdirectonline.blogspot.com/2015/04/just-like-elizabeth-taylor-by-lu-ann-brobst-staheli.html
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