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Showing posts from February, 2021

REVIEW: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Reader, this book was published in 1847. Back then, writers liked to describe every bird and leaf and brooklet. Dialogue often consisted of elaborate monologues. Many of the ideas and values of the time are outdated and even offensive today. Still, I couldn’t help but love it. I read an advanced copy, beautifully illustrated by Marjolein Bastin. This would be the perfect edition to own, with gorgeous watercolor paintings that Jane herself would aspire to create. What satisfied me about Jane Eyre was her spirit and character – she was unapologetically herself. She reminded me a little bit of Anne Shirley (except that Anne was more “apologetically” herself.) Jane just wants to be accepted for who she is, but she is unloved for most of her early life. The story follows Jane Eyre through several stages. Her childhood as an orphan living with cruel relatives is heartbreaking. She endures hardship at a poorly run boarding school. She is comfortable, but unfulfilled as a governess at Thor

REVIEW: Rebecca by Daphne DuMourier

Continuing with my reviews of top ten favorites of all time, I re-read Rebecca recently. Written in 1938, it has a writing style that can put me off sometimes - long descriptive paragraphs of the house and grounds - but in this case, it didn't take away from my love of this book. The point of view is of an insecure young woman who marries a widower, Maxim de Winter,  and moves to Maxim’s family home, Manderley, where she feels she is out of her depth, and where she suspects she has enemies on all sides. Everything about the house conjures the ghost of Rebecca, Maxim's first wife. We never do learn the name of the young woman who narrates this novel. After her marriage to Maxim, she becomes known as “the second Mrs de Winter”. She feels she will never live up to the standards of her predecessor. Everyone obviously adored Mrs de Winter (the name they still use when referring to Rebecca) and must certainly be comparing the new wife to the old. ‘She’s so different from Rebecca.’

REVIEW: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

I know you’ve got mental-health stuff.’ ‘Everyone’s got mental-health stuff.’ ‘You know what I mean.’ As a person who has struggled with anxiety and depression for most of my life, I felt a strong connection to Nora. For the first half of the book, she is slowly sinking into despair – she envies her dead cat, she thinks it would be easier to be a potted plant, she is estranged from her family and friends, she dreads conversations with strangers. She’s in a pretty negative state of mind: She didn’t tell him that while coal and diamonds are both carbon, coal is too impure to be able, under whatever pressure, to become a diamond. According to science, you start off as coal and you end up as coal. Maybe that was the real-life lesson. Nora decides she’s had enough of this life, and she ends up in The Midnight Library. Her old school librarian meets her there and explains that there are infinite lives she could have lived, based on every decision she ever made. The shelves of the lib