One can only hope this one was tongue in cheek.
I spent part of it wondering if someone had snuck a historical in the lineup. Then there's the confusing sheikdom whose strictures seem more...European than middle eastern.
So our h takes care of her father's horses. Her father drinks and gambles. He gambles away his bestest horse, and the h convinces the H that the horse needs her. Of course, the H has other needs...
I mean; you can see it coming, and the h blithely wanders right into it because she's apparently sheltered to the point that it never occurs to her what his intentions are. And of course, he's a chauvinistic jerk up until he suddenly proposes to her, then everything is all flowers and bunnies. Poof. The end.
Generally speaking, I usually pass on books where a woman disguises herself as a man in order to achieve her goals because most of the time they are so fantastically far-fetched that I end up with headaches from rolling my eyes in disbelief so much. Not here, not with Libby. She was such a unique woman to begin with that pretending to be anything but a woman of the ton wasn’t hard to believe. She was both endearing and sensual and her oddities make her a refreshing, different character, setting her apart from other bluestockings. As a matter of fact, Libby is on a whole other level of heroine archetype all by herself.
Ziyaeddin became captivated by Elizabeth when they first met so when she asked for his help he knew there would be trouble ahead. In spite of their obvious attraction, he tries to keep their relationship as distant as possible, not only because he knows his future is yet to be determined but because he knows of her dreams and doesn’t want to be in the way of them (if that’s not sexy I don’t know what is.) All that sexual tension was just as frustrating for the characters as it was for me as a reader! Yet what I loved the most about his character was that his always cool demeanor was able to reel Libby’s mind back in from the chaos it sometimes was proving once more that a man doesn’t have to be dominant or possessive to be the perfect hero.
Secondary characters were a true delight. They all added that perfect touch of variety to keep the story moving, and the fact that both Libby and Ziyaeddin had overcome many of their initial fears made the story even more memorable. And that epilogue! I don’t think I’ve ever read one full of so many emotions and feelings. With a heart-melting, enthralling storyline; complex and larger-than-life characters; and the perfect history backdrop this book is for sure an instant re-read.
**I received this book at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.**
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The Virgin Suicides just like Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's pleasantly surprised me. I have seen the film many years ago and I remember the feeling of nostalgia settling in after the film has ended. (I think Josh Hartnett's dreamy eyes played a part in it. ;) ) I found the book does the same. A well-constructed storytelling draws you into the adolescent impressionable world - dealing with growing up, falling in love and dying. The novel doesn't answer questions. Instead, the novel makes you want to cross the street from the boys' spying place to the Lisbons' house, knock on the door and ask, 'What is happening inside?'
The story is a reminisce of a grown man and is told from the collective first-person of teen-aged boys (I think there are 7 of them, I tried to count) who are obsessed with the enigmatic Lisbon sisters: Therese, Mary, Bonnie, Lux and Cecilia. Cecilia is the first one to attempt and complete suicide setting in motion series of various responses from neighbours and schoolmates. Her suicide stirs up the sleepy neighbourhood, confronts them and makes them deal with emotions and feelings that are suppressed due to being unacceptable in social circles. While the remaining sisters are attempting to move on with their lives - they too are confronted with social pressure and parental restriction. How do they escape?
The novel's narrative is stylistically flowing. This uncomplicated language adds to the emptiness of the beautiful world around when dealing with macabre events. The novel does not claim to be omniscient, but its memories are fragile just like the sisters.
One can discuss and draw so many different issues and themes from the novel that I think it would be perfect for any literary essay. One thing did surprise me that at the end, after having walked the reader through the story, the author calls the act of suicide "simple selfishness". My understanding that even as an adult, the narrator is still dealing with personal guilt and consciousness.
Brilliant read. A must.