Showing posts from July, 2015

A twist in the tale

I'd really wanted to get into another '30 for 30' text this week, but have been scuppered by someone else having the gall to take it out of the library.  I know, right?

From the sentimental to the truly emotional

Maybe I was previously harsh on M.C. Beaton and 'Belinda Goes to Bath'.  Having expected little more drama than some harsh words over afternoon tea, I got fisticuffs and something akin to a kidnapping instead.  Proper drama, that.

Yet I wasn't far off the mark otherwise.  The romance developed much as could be expected, and Hannah Pym continued to prove herself an interfering busybody.  The sexual politics also remained frustrating.  Inevitably, the idea of historical accuracy has a part to play here, but there was never a real challenge to some of the worst misogyny in the story.  The characters with the chequered sexual pasts were redeemed through marriage and the hypocrisy of their religious companions rather than through the arrival of a more enlightened perspective.  Maybe it isn't for Regency romances to rewrite the gender rulebook, but I'm not sure that the next generation of readers will fall for such cliched seduction.

Beaton's writing also suffers by co…

No point Beaton around the bush...


...but I am not exactly enjoying M.C. Beaton's 'Belinda Goes to Bath'.

This is not much of a surprise.

The book opens with some hardcore Basil Exposition as we are quite bluntly told that Hannah Pym is travelling in a stagecoach to 'The Bath' (or Bath, as we lower types apparently call it) and that she was once just a housekeeper but was left a legacy that allowed her to become a lady of leisure.  We find out all the details of her figure and outfit, and that she had a most exciting adventure on her last trip.  Surely no one could have such an adventure again?

Well, lawks a lordy, it looks like she just might!  Hannah finds herself in a stagecoach with a motley bunch, including a recently unhappily married couple and a young lady who has disgraced herself by trying to run away with a footman.  This is the Belinda of the title, and she and Hannah quickly become taken with each other.  They share the same disdain for the controlling attitude of Mr Judd to his wif…

Stupid maths

I always knew that I was likely to end up reading certain authors.  After all, if they're prolific, counting 24 books along from my last read is only ever going to dump me in the middle of their literary spewings.  Which is how my next arbitrary read is this:

Yep, I was never going to avoid M.C. Beaton.  In fact, I'm likely to come up against the writer again as Marion Chesney writes as M.C. Beaton, Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, Sarah Chester, and more.  Seriously, there are more.
I just can't believe that someone who writes this much can be writing anything very good at all.  In 1980, Wikipedia suggests that she published 12 novels alone!  12 novels!  My giddy aunt.  Makes Stephen King and Neil Gaiman look like right slackers.
In fairness, her works fly off the library shelves (although only into the canvas shopping carts of the elderly) so they must have something going for them.  I just worry that it will be the fact that they are unchallenging and bland, the sort of safe …

From one arbitrary read to the next

I've had a good week for reading.  I finished 'The Leopard', got through 'The Feast of July' in a couple of days, and have made a start on Alice Munro's 'Lives of Girls and Women'.

The H.E. Bates book was every bit the treat I'd hoped for.  The prose was hugely evocative of country life from those allegedly simpler times, but the plot had all the intrigue and excitement of a thriller.  I suppose it was like a well-written episode of 'Midsomer Murders'

That sounds facetious, but I used to like that show.

The story of 'The Feast of July' revolves around Bella Ford, a young woman who finds herself 'in trouble' after meeting a charming man at work.  When he leaves, she promises to find him and get her revenge, but ends up losing the baby and very nearly her life.  She is rescued and taken in by the Wainwrights, complicating the lives of the three brothers until the story ends in a violent tragedy.  It could easily be melodramatic …