Saturday, March 31, 2012

Recent reads

I've been taking a brief break from the classics these last few weeks. It's been. . . fun. I've borrowed a heap of books from the library. Our library will be losing a significant portion of its collection in the near future, so I've been reserving a lot of books from that part of the collection while they're still available! Here's an overview of some of the books I've been reading. Don't forget to add me on Goodreads, if you haven't already. I'm something of a Goodreads addict - I love finding interesting books to add to my ever-growing to-read shelf.

The Clockwise Man by Justin Richards

England 1924: the Doctor and Rose find themselves caught up in the hunt for a murderer. With faceless killers closing in, can they solve the mystery of the Clockwise Man before London itself is destroyed? This is the first of a new series of hardcovers featuring the new Doctor Who from the new TV series.

My first Doctor Who novel. I've been slowly working my way through the TV series, and can't get enough! Eccleston is still my favourite Doctor, and Rose one of my favourite companions, so it was fun to return to their "era". The Clockwise Man was adequately well-written and diverting. Not on the same level as one of TV episodes, but still fun. As with a typical NuWho episode, the story combines elements of mystery and sci-fi. This particular book had something a steam-punk feel to it, thanks to the heavy involvement of clockwork - stuff - in the story. 3 out of 5 stars.

The Storekeeper's Daughter by Wanda Brunstetter

Time seems to stand still in Naomi Fisher's tranquil community, but it cannot hold back tragedy. Helping her widowed father run a store, manage a household, and raise seven children is a daunting task. There is no time to think about courtship or having her own family, though her heart yearns for the attention of Caleb Hoffmeir. But her days are plotted for her-until the afternoon her baby brother disappears from the yard. How can Naomi expect anyone to love and trust her if she can't take care of one small boy? Should she leave all that is familiar and seek a new avenue of life?

My first Wanda Brunstetter novel. Also my first taste of Amish fiction. I wasn't particularly taken with it. The story moved VERY slowly, and the dialogue seemed stilted and unnatural, particularly from the non-Amish characters in the book. There was one particularly ludicrous plot point. . . at which point I stopped reading, and skipped to the end of the book to the resolution that I knew was coming. I gave this 3 stars originally, but considering that I didn't even finish the book, perhaps I should make that 2 out of 5 stars.

Colonel Brandon's Diary by Amanda Grange

A vibrant retelling of "Sense and Sensibility," Grange's sweeping epic breathes new life into another of Austen's best-loved novels. 

At the age of eighteen, James Brandon's world is shattered when the girl he loves, Eliza, is forced to marry his brother. In despair, he joins the army and leaves England for the East Indies for the next several years. Upon his return, he finds Eliza in a debtors' prison. He rescues her from her terrible situation, but she is dying of consumption and he can do nothing but watch and wait. Heartbroken at her death, he takes some consolation in her illegitimate daughter, who he raises as his ward. But at the age of fifteen, his ward goes missing. Devastated by the thought of what could have happened to her, he is surprised to find himself falling in love with Marianne Dashwood. But Marianne is falling in love with the charismatic Willoughby.

Not perfect, but a brave effort on the part of Amanda Grange. I liked the part of the book that detailed Colonel Brandon's earlier life, but I was actually a bit disappointed with the handling of Brandon and Marianne's relationship. Worth a look if you're a Brandon/Marianne fan like me, or for anyone who loves Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility and would be interested in reading a sensitive retelling of the neglected back story of S&S. 3.5 out of 5 stars.


Doctor Who fan? Amish fiction reader? Read any of Amanda Grange's Austen hero books? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts!


Miss Laurie of Old-Fashioned Charm said...

I'm a recent Doctor Who fan but I devoured all five seasons of the show on Netflix in a few weeks time. Rose is definitely the best! David Tennant is my favorite (especially that first season with him and Rose) but I Eccleston has a special place in my heart too, he's "fantastic!". :)
I didn't know there were any Doctor Who books I'll have to check them out.

I've read a bit of Captain Wentworth's Diary which I got for Christmas. I usually don't like retelling of Austen novels but Amanda Grange does a good job of staying in the voice of the character. Colonel Brandon's Diary is definitely on my list of to-reads!

Good to hear from you dear, hope you're well! :)

The Editrix said...

Thanks Laurie! :-)

I raced through the first couple of seasons of DW in a fairly short time, but then Megavideo was taken down. The series is currently re-airing on Australian TV, so I'm finally working my through the last few seasons. :-)

I'm with you, I'm generally not a huge fan of Austenesque fiction, but I think Amanda Grange does quite a good job. As a Northanger Abbey fan, you simply MUST have a look at Henry Tilney's Diary sometime!

Marian said...

I read most of Mr Darcy's Diary and I tried Mr Knightley's Diary... I think the concept was great and the back-story (Georgianna's) well-written. The character portrayals seemed a little too simplistic, though, and I thought Grange could have done a little more research to prevent that.

I friended you on Goodreads! :) I'm still new to that site, but it's been fun "uploading" my library. I also finally watched Onegin--it was pretty good, definitely very close to the book.

The Editrix said...

Yay, I'll be very interested to read your ratings and reviews! I still haven't read Onegin. . . will do so soon.

Erin said...

"Our library will be losing a significant portion of its collection in the near future" What??!!! which part of the collection? why? is it space yet again? and do we get an opportunity to buy these books?;)

Abby said...

I love Doctor Who! David Tennant is my favourite doctor, although to be honest I've enjoyed all three actors who have played the part since the show was brought back. I think my favourite companion would have to be Donna, she was brilliant! She and David Tennant as the doctor were absolutely hilarious together :')


MissWoodhouse said...

Oh, I didn't know that they wrote Doctor Who novels! Those are going on my "To Find" list right now. I completely agree with your thoughts on Wanda Brunstetter. I feel badly not enjoying her books, but they simply do not hold my attention.

Having read all of the "Diaries of Jane Austen's Heroes" out there, I do think that Amanda Grange does the best job with the genre. She retells without turning the men into something they are not. I highly recommend her books on Mr. Darcy and Captain Wentworth.

Thanks for such an informative post! Can't wait to curl up with a cup of tea and a good book soon.