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bethorne

readitsomewhere

Turn of the Screw. Jamie Fraser. David Foster Wallace. Shakespeare. Well-constructed sentences. Leonard Cohen. Captain Wentworth. Neruda. Hemingway. Chapter 21 of Jane Eyre. Clive Staples. Tolkien. Melina Marchetta. Big, fat Russian novels. New words. And honey in my tea.

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Margo Lanagan
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Edenbrooke

Edenbrooke - Julianne Donaldson Ok, if you were unfortunate enough to be online and see my updating every 5 seconds late last night as I read this book, I apologize. And obviously, based on my first impressions, I hated this book. But I *did* stay up until 1 am to finish it, and I got lazy about updates ... so it improved. But not enough to really overcome the issues I had with it from page one. *Book Club Girls: Look away.*Essentially, this book has all the trappings of a regency romance (plucky heroine, annoying suitor, ill-intentioned rake, handsome friend-to-more) without the tight, witty or smart language and dialogue of Austen. There is cliche after cliche after cliche (hero is constantly smirking and grinning with amusement at heroine, random female family member encourages her he loves her, maidservant is a gossiping busy body, the bumbling suitor, the LIBRARY reveal, the presumptuous rake, the eavesdropped conversation that gets misconstrued). It's just all so very common. Which wouldn't be that horrible if the main character were even half as interesting as the characters she's based on (that would be Anne Elliot and Elizabeth Bennett), but instead she's a simpering, navel-gazing Mary Sue. Let's just take a look at Marianne Daventry for a moment: she thinks she's not as beautiful, talented, desirable or elegant as HER TWIN SISTER. Again. HER TWIN. When they were little she refused to even TOUCH a doll they were intended to share because she's so very noble that she didn't want her sister to realize she had competition for pretty things. Oh, she just loves to twirl in the sun and that's so unladylike. She loves being outdoors and wants a beautiful country home and a horse to ride, but not like money or title or anything (because Those Things don't matter, just the country estate, the land and the horses). She NEVER ONCE understands or believes that a man could be interested in her. She blushes HOTLY a gazillion times. She finds kissing men at balls to be reprehensible, but she'll dine alone and joke with someone who refuses to tell him her name. She's epically clumsy, falling into a brook not once but TWICE in front of the hero. She's not just self-deprecating, she suffers from CHRONIC self-degradation. She misses completely obvious and unsubtle hints about the hero, his feelings, his NAME. MAJOR EPIC EYEROLL to all of this. Then there is the really badly veiled nods to all things Austenian (nothing bookish though. It's almost as if the author wanted to pay homage to Austen, but her only experience with her was on film). Mr Whittles (which sounds like a character from Sesame Street) is so obviously a Mr. Collins knock off, it's unseemly. But we never get to SEE him be disgusting or ridiculous or improper. She just tells us he is. There's the "Rose and Crown" inn ... TWO DIFFERENT Rose and Crown inns. Lamdon, Kent, Bath, Surrey. "What a charming prospect!"The moment that Marianne comes up on Edenbrooke for the first time, she orders the carriage to stop so she can take a good look and breathe in the Edenbrooke atmosphere. Where have we seen that before? That being said, it does improve in some respects. There is some letter writing that is pretty swoony. (I love me some letters). And her relationship with her sister doesn't devolve the way I expected it to. So that was nice. And while it was certainly easy to read, it had no nuance, no subtlety. If I can find something to mock (like!All!Those!Exclamation!Points! and a ton of repitition a ton of repitition I mean a ton of verbatim repitition) on just about every page, then my enjoyment level is going to suffer.