I complained last time when she wrote the Pirate book, can't even remember the name of it now, and wrote a rather snippy review and posted it on both amazon and audible about how I thought it was all fluff and no bite.
Well folks, I guess the old adage "be careful what you wish for" is true because this one is certainly full of edges. There is certainly a lot more Holmes in this one but the readers who are hoping for a heating up of the relationship between Holmes and Russell are still going to be disappointed. Holmes does not wear his heart on his sleeve and neither does he allow readers to rummage through his private feelings to see if he has any. If he does they are definitely private. Actually I love this about him. It's so true to the Holmes Canon.
Anyway, the book had so many edges, some of them convoluted that it took me until the end of the book to really figure out was really going on and then I wasn't exactly sure I approved of them. I got a real dose of midleastern politics during 1924 and that helped me get a handle on some of what was going on.
I am going to give this book 4 1/2 stars in my journal not because I am downgrading the book it's self but because I'm not exactly sure that Holmes, Russell and the Hazar brothers should have been involved in this kind of "game". Just me probably.
ps: What's with that "other dude" anyway? This is the 12 book in the series for heaven's sake. We don't need someone coming in and being a different voice for Holmes at this late date. Bad idea whoever it was that had it.
This book didn't work nearly as well for me as Winspeare's Masie Dobbs series does. It was OK I guess but sadly I found it very predictable. I would not recommend it unless you knew nothing about that era and wanted the history lesson. As always Winspeare does a great job with the atmosphere of that time but there is really nothing driving this book as far as story. I knew in the first chapter how it was going to end.
What I did enjoy about the book was her portrait of life on a small Kentish farm. I also enjoyed the way Kezia, the wife who ran the farm and kept the home fires burning while her husband went off to war. She painted lovely word pictures in her letters to him of imaginary meals that she was cooking for them as if he was there with her. I thought that was a lovely way to convey a feeling of comfort and a connection to home. That was cleverly done by the author although the recipes did wander out into left field from time to time.
I did not care for the ending. It ended too abruptly. I know that Happy Ever Afters were thin on the ground at the end of WW1 but I'm not a reader who needs stark reality all the time. A little fantasy can be a good thing sometimes.
I am a big fan of travel books and if this were 1995 and if I was planning to travel to Hong Kong I would have found this book invaluable. It's an interesting and well written snap shot of Hong Kong during the 1980's with a brief mentions here and there of what happened in the past as background information for what is happening at the present. All from a British POV. But as reader looking for a comprehensive history of Hong Kong this book falls short.
To be fair my negative opinions are very likely to be the result of my expectations. I recently finished Sarum by Edward Rutherford and have Russka on my TBR pile and I'm probably spoiled by books that practically take one back to the big bang.
What this book does is give to give the reader a sense of what colonial Hong Kong was like for the British which is almost exactly what it was like for the British in India. They created their own self absorbed little bubble and life outside that bubble only existed as it related to them. Interesting but no surprises for the reader there.
Where this book falls sadly short is examine the part the Chinese played. The Chinese made up 96% of the population, but are described repeatedly as a mysterious, superstitious mass. Energetic and hard working but whose motives and culture were unfathomable to the westerner.
When I finished this book I had more questions than I had when I began and I'm off to find a real history of Hong Kong. One that includes the years after 1997 to now.
There are a lot of 5 star reviews for this book both here and on amazon and I agree with almost of them. This book has a very good story line.
Maybe Someday was almost entirelly written in the stream of conscienceless style and I have always found that style very hard going. Added to that is that there is so much angst in this story that I felt like I was running out of breath a couple of times. All that angst kept accumulating in my brain the way mud accumulates on your boots does when you walk across a muddy field after a wet spell.
On the up side I really liked the characters in this story and thought it was beautifully read. Both narraters did a wonderful job of breathing life into them. But I didn't want to spend so much time in Ridge and Sydney's heads. I wanted the story to be more about what they were actually doing and less time about what was going their heads.
I was happy to see this story here in unabridged format but I had to think hard before I bought it. I bought it in spite of it being so poorly done. I am surprised that audible offered it for sale. It certainly doesn't reflect well on them. But I can't complain too much because I bought it with my eyes open.
Earlier this week I purchased "Stella Bain" (audiobook) I started listening to it and then finally gave up on it. I may try again later but I probably won't. For me it fell into the same category as The English Patient. Beautiful writing but absolutely no story.
I can overlook a lot in a good story including bad writing. But I can't overlook no story even if it is good writing. If I'm going to plunk my money down on a book I insist on a story. In Stella Bain I felt that the author was enamored by her own prose and was indulging herself by trying to work her words into some sort of a story in order to show how clever she was. If she gets off on stroking her ego that's her business but it really ticks me off when an author does it on my dime. Anita Shreve has been a hit and miss author for me in the past but I am definitely over her now.
This is one of the two really outstanding non fiction books I read recently. The book tells the story of the University of Washington's 1936 eight-oar crew that won an Olympic Gold Medal in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
But this is a book about more than just a story about overcoming hard times but about what we are made of and what we can accomplish if we really make up our minds to do it. It's a shame that the title True Grit has already been used for a story because it would really fit this book.
I purchased this audiobook the minute I saw it was out and available on audio. It is a sequel to "If I Stay" and I am sorry to have to say that I was a little disappointed with it. I loved "If I Stay" but this one just didn't have the charm and poignancy the first book had. It felt flat - especially when compared to it predecessor. Still I'm glad I bought it because even though I knew "Where she went" I really wanted to know what happened when she got there.
It was well written and the subject of the book was interesting to me. I just couldn't get past that author presumed to write about dying peoples last thoughts and actions in a way that he could not possibly have known about.
The book is a non-fictional account of the lives of a selected group of the survivors. All of them very deeply effected by the experience, some of them so much that it changed the entire course of their lives. A few were unable to cope and committed suicide. Some of them did not leave notes. However the author described the dying thoughts and actions of several people as if he had been there and was privy to their last thoughts. This really bothered me. It bothered me a lot. I felt like the author was being disrespectful to the people he was writing about. These were real people! He didn't even write any kind of disclaimer that explained why he decided he had the right to co-opt their last minutes. And then as a result of that I had another issue. How much credence can you give to anything in the book once you feel the author did at least part of his research in thin air. Otherwise I would have rated it at least four stars.
I was actually looking for a biography of George VI on audible but couldn't find on so I got this one as it was the closest I could get. I'm beginning to think audible is prejudiced towards male monarchs.
She wasn't really all that special but she brought humanity to the Royal family at a time when they desperately needed it. And she did it with grace and an abundance of charm. She was the right woman at exactly the right place and time.
This book is a cautionary tale if there ever was one. Be Careful What you Wish For is the message that comes through loud and clear.
Because I have never been particularly interested in gossipy enquirer type articles I had never looked very closely at either the Duke or the Dutchess of Windsor. But lately I have been doing quite a bit of reading lately about WW2 and several of the books I have read have mentioned that they were both suspected of having pro Nazi sympathies I decided to search out a biography of the Duke. I didn't find one on audible.com but did find this book. My goodness, what a to-do!
The conclusion that I came up with is that neither the Duke or the Dutchess had pro Nazi sympathies. In fact I got the impression that both of them were so self absorbed that it was impossible for them to connect with or even understand any concept beyond their own personal desires at any given moment. That is not to say the wouldn't has assisted the Nazi cause- but only if they perceived that by doing so they would advance their own interests.
I felt a little sorry for the Duke because if the facts of what happened were represented accurately then a real good argument could be made for him having a developmental disability of some sort. Perhaps autism. He really did seem to be unable to understand cause and effect throughout his life. In the end he got exactly what he pushed so hard for and gave up so much to get and then spent the rest of his life unhappy because he was never able to understand why when he shed all responsibilities all his perks went away as well. I thought he was honestly bewildered by that.
As for the Dutchess, well I have less sympathy for her. I don't think she ever wanted Edward "for keeps" but thought she could carry on an affair where she could enjoy royal patronage, snub her nose at Brittain's society types, advance her husbands career and then when Edward inevitably tired of her like he did all the mistresses that came before her go back to her long suffering second husband that she truly loved and her life would go back to normal. Instead she found herself in way over her head and ended up losing the husband she loved and stuck with an obsessively clingy husband that she didn't love.
The only ones who came out ahead in this mess were the British people who ended up with a much better king at a time when they had enough to deal with without having to put up with a King who displayed all the maturity of judgement of a six year old brat.
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