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Search tags: penguin-english-library
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review 2017-02-04 19:01
Frankenstein
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley

I have finally conquered Frankenstein. And it has been okay. There are things that I Iike about this book and there are things that I don´t like about it.

The descriptions of the nature, the landscapes and the wheather are splendid and the story of the creature is heartbreaking. You cannot help but to feel sorry for it / him and despair over the cruelty of men.

But the narrative is to convulted and at times boring and I´m pretty sure I wouldn´t have made it through some of the chapters without listening to the audiobook in these chapters (narrated by Dan Stevens). And how I disliked Victor Frankenstein. He is such a pathetic character and a huge jerk.

 

Not one of my favorite classics, but I´m glad that I finally read it.

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review 2016-09-25 16:03
The Woman in White
The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

I really loved this book. It has hit all the right spots with me and there isn´t a single thing that bothered me, which would make my star rating be any less than five stars. The intricate plot is meticulously crafted and the characters are the most memorable I have ever encountered in a book. There is the heroic hero, who is in love with the insiped damsel-in-distress (okay, she isn´t one of my favorite characters), the villainous villians (Count Fosco is truly one of a kind) and Marian, oh my, Marian, I just love her. She is pure awesomeness.

 

I don´t know if everyone is going to love The Woman in White as much as I did, because let´s face it: this book is 700 pages of victorian storytelling and Wilkie Collins takes the scenic route in his narrative, since every little detail of the story gets explained by means of reports told by different narrators. I like this kind of story telling, but I´m not sure if everyone would feel the same way.

 

A truly great read and one of the best books I have read this year. Highly recommended.

 

 

 

 

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review 2016-02-04 17:23
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Anne Brontë

This is one great classic. So far I have read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, which I loved, and Wuthering Heights by Emily, a book which I absolutely hated (Cathy and Heathcliff, I loath you with all my heart). But The Tenant of Wildfell Hall outshines both these books in my opinion.

 

I really enjoyed the realistic setting of this book. Anne Brontë deals with a topic which is as relevant today as it has been when Brontë has written it. What happens when your beloved husband turns into a different kind of person after you have married him and love starts to fade? Nowadays you would divorce that guy but what kind of choice would a woman in Victorian times have? 

Which brings me to Helen, our heroin in this story. I pretty much love everything about her. She has her flaws and she has made some bad decisions in her life, but she doesn´t blame other people for these faults and she is very aware of the things she has done wrong. And instead of succumbing to her fate, she takes matters in her own hand and turns into a very strong and independent woman. She is one awesome character.

I have to admit that I haven´t been particular fond of the male characters in this novel. In comparison to Helen they felt like a weak bunch and I actually felt the need to slap some common sense into them or just slap them in general because they were awful beyond words.

 

If you are in for the classics and you haven´t read a book by Anne Brontë just yet, you should pick this one up. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

 

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review 2014-05-11 16:10
Evelina - Fanny Burney
Evelina - Fanny Burney

Or, as Wikipedia informs me, "The History of a Young Lady's Entrance into the World".

 

Fanny Burney, an eighteenth-century novelist in the style of Jane Austen, is little-regarded now, possibly because of her somewhat unfortunate first name, and rarely read outside of academic circles. This is, I think, a shame, because I certainly don't think Evelina is any worse than, for example, Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White or the Sherlock Holmes books, which have lasted much better. It's an epistolary novel about a young woman named (unsurprisingly) Evelina, whose father has disowned her and her dead mother. She's raised by an unassuming parson in retirement and seclusion until she's eighteen years old, when a friend of the parson invites her to stay; the family of that friend then take her to London, and she embarks upon society life all unaware of social convention, etc. Cue much hilarity and confusion as she dances with the wrong person, is caught in a compromising position with a baronet, and gets chased by hotblooded young men down dark park lanes, all because she's naive and innocent and totally not a cunning, artful minx, of course.

 

It is funny, laugh-out-loud funny, sometimes, and there are some irresistably engaging characters - the vulgar Captain Mirvan, the unassuming Monsieur du Bois, the roguish Sir Clement. At times it's almost Dickensian in its satire.

 

Towards the end of the novel, however, my interest began to flag noticeably, mainly when it became clear that, yes, every single male character was going to fall somehow irrevocably in love with Evelina, despite the fact that she has no money, title or manners. Two I can just about credit. Five or six I cannot. Also, Evelina is either extremely stupid or extremely deceitful with regards to Lord Orville, telling the virtuous parson (to whom she narrates most of her tale) that she didn't realise she was in love with him, despite her constant monologues on the subject of How Great Lord Orville Is.

 

 

Forgive me if I don't believe you, Evelina.

 

I did, on the whole, enjoy Evelina, though, as a sort of Woman in White for Jane Austen fans. I don't often say this about eighteenth-century novels, but it is a good, light read that doesn't tax the attention too highly.

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review 2013-09-21 00:00
Cranford - Elizabeth Gaskell I'll not listen to reason... reason always means what someone else has got to say.

Brilliantly funny. Gaskell's little town of Cranford is both absurd and heartwarming, witty and charming. Gaskell was such a skilled observer, and even now when a hundred years have passed, I can still recognize the dilemmas of gossip, economy and wild fancies. My favorite part of this delicious little novel was when every woman in Cranford suspected robberies and theft in their comfortable homes - and dear Mrs. Forrester scared the life out of everyone by starting to talk about ghosts. I couldn't help but to laugh.

Gaskell is quite genius to make up this entire society of timid women and their small concerns. How one ought to dress, the purchase of a perfect silk gown or the wishful thinking of a fashionable turban instead of a common yellow hat - the little wonders of everyday life fills quite a lot in this book. The constant fear of gentlemen and marriages is so very different from so many other novels at the time where the entire plot revolves around the possibility of a marriage.
In fact, I do not even think "Cranford" has a plot at all. It mostly consists of comical episodes which arranges themselves into vague glimpses of a simple life. Gaskell simply wishes to amuse and to please her reader - and she succeeds gracefully.
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