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text 2017-07-25 22:48
A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles.
A Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel - Amor Towles

I'm putting this one aside and may not come back to it. Much praise has been lavished on it, but it has too little narrative thrust for me, and I find that its charm can be overbearing to the point of preciousness.

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text 2017-07-16 21:51
A Gentleman for All Seasons by Shana Galen, Vanessa Kelly, Kate Noble, Theresa Romain 99 cents!
A Gentleman For All Seasons - Shana Galen,Vanessa Kelly,Kate Noble,Theresa Romain

The tiny village of Hemshawe is the sort of place where nothing ever happens…until a handsome ex-soldier and his matchmaking sister let the imposing manor house at the edge of town. The friendly Londoners shake up the staid people of Hemshawe, and villagers see each other in a new and oh-so-appealing light.

Suddenly long-sparring enemies become lovers, a town festival heralds a new start for a fallen woman and a dandy, and a man who has given up on love gets a second chance with the woman he never forgot. And the matchmaker herself? She won’t rest until she finds her own happily-ever-after…


A Madness in Spring by Kate Noble

Adam Sturridge has made Belinda Leonard’s blood boil since childhood, and the feeling is mutual. But when a would-be matchmaker arrives in the village of Hemshawe, she’d determined to erase the thin line between love and hate. Now, Belinda and Adam are faced with falling for someone they’ve always considered an enemy — can they overcome old prejudices and discover how to rub each other the right way?


The Summer of Wine and Scandal by Shana Galen

When viscount’s son and dandy Peregrine Lochley is temporarily exiled from London to the country for his misdeeds, the last thing he expects is to encounter an intriguing woman. But Caroline Martin has a secret to hide, and it just might be too scandalous for even this debauched rogue.


Those Autumn Nights by Theresa Romain

Ten years ago, wealthy Eliza Greenleaf broke lowly soldier Bertram Gage’s heart—but the last decade brought changes in fortune to them both. Now that he’s made his mark on the world, a twist of fate brings the Greenleaf family under his power. Will this war-hardened officer triumph over his former lover…or will Bertie and Eliza give love a second chance?

The Season for Loving by Vanessa Kelly

Miss Georgie Gage, matchmaker extraordinaire, is resigned to life as a spinster—almost. When notoriously aloof bachelor Fergus Haddon arrives from Scotland to spend Christmas with the Gage family, Georgie thinks she’s finally found her own perfect match—if, that is, she can get the handsome Highlander to agree!

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text 2017-07-14 15:35
Reading progress update: I've read 300 out of 450 pages.
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman - Joan New,Melvyn New,Laurence Sterne
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review 2017-06-16 21:41
A slow burner.
A Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel - Amor Towles

On GoodReads this book gets 19,307 five star ratings and 10,728 four star, but I didn't enjoy it - is there something wrong with me?? I listened to the audio version and I didn't think I had a problem with the narrator, but I was really not gripped and had to force myself to pick it up each time. After all that, I missed my book group discussion - but I know it was popular with them too.

 

Count Alexander Rostov is confined to house arrest by a Bolshevik tribunal because he comes from the wrong side of the tracks. As his home is The Grand Metropol Hotel, this is where he must stay, indefinitely. His room is reduced in size but he is able to roam the hotel freely and mix with the guests and staff, so it could have been considerably worse.

 

And this was where he remained for decades, as people passed through the hotel, old acquaintances and new friends. He eventually got involved in the running of the hotel

itself and even found himself adopting a young girl whose mother he had once known.

 

This was very much a slow burner and an era that I have been meaning to read more of, but sadly, I remained uninspired.

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review 2017-06-05 09:06
Pleasures of a Notorious Gentleman by Lorraine Heath
Pleasures of a Notorious Gentleman - Lorraine Heath

Stephen Lyons, yes, the guy who was the catalyst for the conflict in the first book in this series, has recently returned from Crimea, his body riddled with scars and his mind blank of the past two years. His last memory being taking tea with his brother’s wife, it’s as if he’s never even been to the war.

But he was and he has the scars to prove it...And a child his mother has brought to his family’s footstep thinking Stephen was dead.


There was nothing wrong with the story overall. I love Lorraine Heath’s writing. The pace is always wonderful, the plot nicely structured, the characters nicely layered and fleshed-out, the chemistry between the main characters always combustible, the attraction palpable, the drama and angst always spot-on...

But this particular story bothered me. And it’s all because the initial premise, or even better, the big lie. Granted, the heroine didn’t lie at the beginning. Everybody simply inferred that she was the child’s mother, and she didn’t correct them. But she also didn’t tell the truth when she had the opportunity (before and after the marriage). She could’ve told him when Stephen confessed as to not remembering, she could’ve told him when she was being blackmailed...Yet she didn’t.
And then she was “heartbroken” because he didn’t believe her when the (distorted) truth came out and she wanted to set the record straight. Can you blame him?

The hero’s reaction didn’t help matters one bit with him being so quick to condemn her based on hearsay, without proof, and then even quicker to forgive her, once more thanks to someone else telling him “the truth”.
Either you trust or not, make you own damn mind based on what you know, what you’ve seen of her character, not based on what others tell you.

Yes, the conflict was resolved pretty quickly, but still, the whole ordeal (the whole premise, actually) left a slightly bitter aftertaste. It was well-written and plotted-out, I just didn’t like the base on which the story stood.

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