Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen


This is the story of Elizabeth Holland and the pressures she faces as a young woman in 1899 New York City. The novel reminded me very much of Edith Wharton's stories, The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth specifically.

Elizabeth Holland's family has just lost their patriarch, Elizabeth's father. As if that wasn't enough, he has left Elizabeth, her little sister Diana and their mother with almost nothing. So it is up to Elizabeth to save her family by accepting the very rich, popular and handsome Henry Schoonmaker's hand in marriage. Henry has his own reasons for the marriage, and it is not a marriage for love. Meanwhile, Elizabeth's ex best friend Penelope Hayes has her eyes set on Henry for herself. But what nobody knows is that Henry is actually in love with Elizabeth's little sister, Diana, and Diana is in love with Henry, and Elizabeth has a secret love of her own. Everything finally comes to a head when Elizabeth takes things into her own hands at the end.

I really enjoyed this novel, as I am a fan of the time period and I wanted to know what was going to happen next. I wouldn't call this a mystery as there is nothing really to solve, but from the very beginning the reader wonders what has happened to Elizabeth (which becomes very clear by the end). The end was a bit on the predictable side, but this didn't bother me at all, and in fact, made me wish I had already purchased book two so I could continue finding out what happens next.

I greatly look forward to reading book two, Rumours.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

I read this novel for the 2011 Classics challenge at Stiletto Storytime.

I have wanted to read this classic novel for years now, and this classics challenge was the perfect excuse to do so.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, from start to finish. It was not exactly what I had always thought it to be, but still, I was not let down.

Lets start with Miss Eyre herself. What can be said about her? In very un-Victorian language: She is a badass! Standing up to Mrs. Reed as a scared little girl, surviving destitution on will alone, turning down St. John Rivers every single time he proposed to her, even though she was almost convinced by way of her faith. She made the right decision in the end which I feel is probably the more honest, Christian thing she could have done. She is a strong, opinionated, honest, intelligent heroine. She was honestly the only character I liked consistently.

Now for Mr. Rochester. I expected to swoon, but didn't really. I think he is one of those literary heroes whose reputation proceeds him, so I had high expectations (unknowingly). Perhaps it is because of this that he did not entirely live up to what I thought him to be. I didn't dislike him, don't misunderstand me; I loved it when he said to Jane "my very soul demands yours," Now that is romantic! And despite his attempt at bigamy (which actually was kind of understandable; he just should have been much more honest about it), and in comparison with St. John (who if I have to be truly honest, was rather annoying to me), was the romantic hero - or perhaps he is more of an anti-hero.

Bronte's prose is just simply beautiful. Landscape descriptions seem to be her forte, actually, and I could see very clearly in my mind the picture she was painting; just breathtaking views! I equally enjoyed her more Gothic descriptions (the orchard in mist, the lunatic Mrs. Rochester's antics/suicide, the laughter Jane would hear upon her arrival at Thornfield etc), though I still think her sister Emily edges her out just a bit in this respect (though it's been years since I've read Wuthering Heights). On that note, I could see similarities between the two sisters; very passionate writing and story telling.

I plan to read this novel again in the future, and I very much look forward to seeing the new film next month!

Also: I found these illustrations on and thought they would be a great visual aid/addition to my review, so please enjoy. :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

Read for the Gaskell Reading Challenge over on 

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel! Elizabeth Gaskell's writing is so charming that she reels you right in and doesn't let go until the very end. Reading about the lives of old Victorian women was so fascinating to me, for some reason. They were such lovely ladies - I almost hated to bid them goodbye at the last words, especially dear Miss Matty. It had romance and comedy and drama and interesting people that you want to read about, and end up feeling very close to.  The Victorian era is one I am particularly fond of so I loved reading a first hand account of Victorian life, especially from a female perspective.

I fully intend to visit Cranford again in the future, and to continue reading Mrs. Gaskell's other works, including North & South and her short stories. (I am also very much looking forward to seeing the film!)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Classics Reading Challenge 2011

Yet another challenge, but I can't help it. I'm very excited about all of them and I look forward to actually using my lit blog. :)

This one is at Stiletto Storytime and is a challenge to read classic books - any classic books - as long as they are classic. :)

My list for this challenge (all of which I have wanted to read for ages now):

Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackery
Frankenstein - Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
House of the Seven Gables - Nathaniel Hawthorne

Classics Reading Challenge

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Being a Jane Austen Mystery Reading Challenege 2011

To read several books of the Jane Austen Mystery series by Stephanie Barron by December 31st 2011.

Have not read this series so this seemed like a great opportunity to try it. :)

Since I am doing two other challenges and have tons of other books I want to read this year I shall stick to the Neophyte level of 1-4 books. But I will read 4. :) (probably the first four in order)

Jane Austen Mystery Reading Challenege at

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Elizabeth Gaskell Reading Challenge 2011

To read two books by Victorian authoress Elizabeth Gaskell by June.

My chosen books are North & South, and Cranford.

I very much look forward to doing this challenge!!

Gaskell Reading Challenege on Gaskell Blog