Friday, February 22, 2013

Book Review- Georgette Heyer- Faro's Daughter

Here I am, reviewing yet another wonderful book by Georgette Heyer. Of course, everyone has their own opinions when it comes to best books, but in mine, this is one of her best books. I haven't read all of them, but I've read most of them. The Grand Sophy is very good too. The romance was well developed and even though it had the plague of a rushed ending, it still managed to shine.

Faro's daughter tells the story of Deborah Grantham, who runs a gaming house in regency London alongside her aunt. Adrian, a young gentleman is smitten by her and wants to marry her. This makes his socially consious mother uneasy who ends up enlisting her nephew's help to end this relationship. The arrongant Max Ravenscar belives that this gaming wench with lack of upbringing can be bought off. However, his presumption infuriates the well bred Deborah Grantham who in her attempts to extract revenge ends up creating a chain of funny situations which culminate in her falling in love with him.

Max Ravenscar is quite a typical Heyer hero but Deborah Grantham is quite unusual. His frequent visits to the club to plan his counter measures push the relationship along well. Adrian is out of the game from the beginning because we know this is a romance novel written by Georgette Heyer and it will have a happy ending. However, he manages to find love in his own way with a runaway gentlewoman. The side stories here, were quite interesting, especially Adrian's. With every meeting, Max Ravenscar's opinion of Deborah changes until he finally admits being in love with her. Her sense of fair play (though not always intact),  independant personality and wit attract rather than repulse him.

However, even I have to admit that the protagonists at times are quite inconsistent, especially Deborah. She is full of pride and honour at one point of time and then she devises immature schemes for revenge which do not always display her sense of justice and maturity. The hero just switches from wanting to buy her off to falling for her unyielding spirit. The other contender for Deborah's hand (I can't even remember his name!), was not any serious competition from the beginning and even though he keeps recurring, the ending is quite predictable.

Pacing was a big advantage for this novel. The ending was a bit rushed but not as much as some of her other novels which only start the romance in the end. The streamlined pacing allowed more events to take place so that the love developed consistently and the conclusion sounded more believable. The side story was another big plus. Okay, Adrian was a little slow but he got there in the end- all's well that ends well!

As always, Heyer's dialogue and sense of time period are commendable. A lot of historical romance writers these days just dump contemporary characters and mannerisms into a historical setting and disguise it as a historical novel. However, Georgette Heyer's novels are well researched and depict society accurately to a larger extent than current novels at least. They are also based on love rather than lust which helps the plot and overall quality of the novel. Her characteristic wit and humour are there and shine though like any work of hers though Devil's cub was a lot funnier than Faro's daughter.

Overall, a very good read with strong characters.



Characters- main and secondary
Historical detail


Characters inconsistent at points
Predictable (I guess that's true for all romance novels!)

Book Review- Georgette Heyer- A Lady of Quality

I have lately been enjoying Georgette Heyer quite a lot. I read a few of her books a while ago and didn't remember to write reviews. I'll start with this one. Lady of quality if brimming with Georgette Heyer's trademarks- wit, humour, romance and strong protagonists. The historical element is not emphasized in this novel when compared to some of her others. This was her last book to be published before her death.

Lady of quality tells the story of the Annia Wynchwood, a wealthy and independant spinster who moves into Bath. There, she takes charge of Lucilla, a girl running from an arranged marriage with an equally unwilling fiance. However, her guardian sends her uncle, Oliver Carleton, a rake to investigate this. Miss Wynchwood refuses to let go of the girl fearing that he will force her into marriage. With the shared concern for Lucilla's future as a premise, romance blooms between the independant Miss Wynchwood and Oliver Carleton with each trying to cut the other down with their sharp insults and observations.

The most exciting part of the story is probably the main relationship. Both characters are fairly experienced, making it an equal relationship. They argue most of the time and that is actually more interesting than it sounds. Oliver Carleton appreciates her independant thinking and ability to stand up for herself.

The social events in Bath act as a good backdrop for the development of this romance. The plot is pretty predictable for most part with the romance taking a foreseeable direction. However, it is an enjoyable read that brings Bath to life.

The characters, especially the protagonists are the most endearing part of this novel. Both are well developed even though they do not change much during the story. Their personalities, to start with are interesting and unusual for the era in which the novel was set (especially the heroine). The side characters, especially Lucilla, just push the story along. I don't have a vivid recollection of all the characters since I read this quite a while ago but I do remember enjoying the protagonists' conversations. They become like guardians to Lucilla by the end. The hero is a bit typical in that he appreciates the heroine's unconventionality much like all of her novels. The difference is probably he appreciates this quality from the beginning rather than being forced to accept it in the end.

Overall, quite an engaging and interesting read. As usual, Heyer's humour, wit and good sense of time period are intact in this novel. It doesn't drag like some of her other novels. Though this kind of story has become quite common these days, Heyer's superior writing ability makes it shine. A good read for any historical romance novel fan. It is one of my favourites by her.



Historical detail
Writing style


This plot has become very common these days
The side characters are a little bland and sometimes pointless

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Book review- Third grade Mix up by Michele Jakubowski

I know it's been a really long time. Merry christmas and happy new year. Hapy Chinese new year as well! I'm finally back now. This year I have decided to review a wider variety of books across more genres. As a first, I will be reviewing a children's book, (Sidney and Sydney) Third grade mix-up by Michele Jakubowski with illustrations by Luisa Montalto . I received a review copy from the publishers but the opinions are mine and honest.

When Sidney Fletcher moves to Oak Grove, things get a little strange for Sydney Greene. Not only does Sydney share a name with a boy, but he's in her third-grade class! First-day-of-school drama has them at odds, but Sidney and Sydney soon find out that they share more than just their names. Can boys and girls actually be friends?! (goodreads)

Actually, I must admit that reading this book felt strange. I have been reading books that are much longer and this book felt like a chapter rather than a book. But I think it would be a big step for younger readers. It's just that I haven't read a children'sbook in a long time. The book has color illustrations which make it a fun read. The characters are strong and unique, which is usually not seen in many adult novels nowadays. In fact, when I compared them to the characters of most of the books I have reviewed, I felt like they had much more depth and strength to stand up for their beliefs, even though they are just in third grade. Even the supporting characters are interesting and have lovable personalities. Sydney (the girl) is a fashion conscious girl who likes playing Galaxy conquest and Sidney (the guy) has just moved to the school. They initially start out on a sour note (due to a mix-up involving their names) but come together with their similar interests.

The main event of the book if of course the halloween and how Sidney and Sydney work together to make it a great halloween for their friends and themselves.

I thought the concept of the book was quite good. The writing style was clear and easy to follow. However, the book lacked the 'wow' factor or even the 'emotional factor' that connects you to the story and characters.

The interview of Sidney and Sydney at the end of the book was something I really liked. Alternate chapters are written by the same character, so we get to know both of them through their as well as the other one's perspective.

Overall, I think it is quite a decent read and young children might enjoy it more.


Good characters
The concept is interesting
Clear and easy to understand writing style, especially for children

Lacked the 'X' factor
The halloween plot was a bit too predictable and is a commonly used plot in children's books