book review

Review: See What I Have Done

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See What I Have Done4 out of 5 stars to See What I Have Done, a historical fictional account of the “Lizzie Borden Axe Murders,” written by Sarah Schmidt and set to be published on August 1, 2017. Many thanks to NetGalley, Grove Atlantic Monthly Press and the author for providing me with an Advanced Review Copy (ARC) of this fantastic book.



Why This Book


I’ve become a NetGalley member and saw this in the update feeds of a few fellow Goodreads’ members. I am fascinated with historical re-telling of real-life stories and knew a little bit about the Lizzie Borden murders. I thought this would be a great way to learn more and read the debut novel of a new author. And if you’re interested in some additional facts about the whole affair, check out this site: http://www.history.com/news/9-things-….



Approach & Style


I read the electronic Kindle Reader version on my iPad over three days. The book mostly takes place over a 3-day period, covering the day before, the day of, and the day after the murders occurred. It takes place in the small Massachusetts town in the Borden home.

There are about 15 chapters with each one told from the perspective of all the main and supporting characters. You see and hear the voice of each person before or after the murders occurred, learning different facts that weren’t clear to everyone else.

I believe most of the main facts are accurate, but there is likely some embellishment in the thoughts and actions of the other characters. For example, the uncle’s motivations behind hiring a supposed accomplice are not fully explored in the book but were more detailed in real life. As is traditional in historical fiction, there is some element of drama being added in to help support some of the known information. It felt natural to me, and nothing seemed to throw me at any point, which means the author has done a fine job at telling this story.



Plot, Characters & Setting

I’m breaking this area into two sections to set the stage of what has previously occurred and what actually happens in the book. Since this is a real-life story, I don’t think any of this counts as a spoiler, but if you want to be surprised about what’s actually covered in the book, you may want to skip this review.

Background covered thru conversations
Andrew and Sarah Borden were married and had two daughters, Emma and Alice. Alice unfortunately died in infancy from dropsy. A few years later, Lizzie was born, but Sarah never quite recovered and passed away. Andrew later married Abby, who became a stepmother to his two surviving daughters. Sarah’s brother, John Morse, would visit from time to time, checking in on his nieces in their small hometown of Fall River, Massachusetts. Though they lived in somewhat poor conditions, the Bordens were very wealthy; Andrew was just unwilling to spend any money. Abby hires a house maid, Bridget, recent Irish immigrant. At first, the ladies are friendly, but over time, Abby becomes more and more difficult, which leaves Bridget wanting to escape the family’s clutches, as she feels there is a dark cloud surrounding both the family and the home. Emma loses her chance at getting married when Lizzie orchestrates a small blackmail scheme in order to keep Emma from leaving. But Emma eventually moves away from Fall River on her own, leaving Lizzie behind. Lizzie’s mental state is somewhat questionable as a result of these actions.

Action in novel
Lizzie and her father have a peculiar relationship. They love one another, but for a nearly 30 year old woman, Lizzie certainly plays a few too many games to capture his attention. She also raises pigeons in the backyard to keep her mind occupied. Lizzie does not like her stepmother, Abby, and often treats her poorly. Lizzie also plays mind games with Bridget, the house maid. Lizzie has some great lines, and quite a number of times, I had to stop reading and think about what that loon was trying to do. She might actually scare me if I met her in person, and I don’t scare easily.

The Bordens are planning to have a small party in a few days. Abby tells Bridget what needs to be cleaned and arranged, but it is too much for one person. Bridget asks Lizzie to help with some of it, but Lizzie has a fit and tells Bridget it’s not her responsibility. Bridget is trying to escape the house and has been saving up enough money. As she’s telling the neighboring house maid, Mary, Abby overhears Bridget’s confession and steals the money, so Bridget is unable to leave. Bridget is very upset and agrees to clean up for the party but begs to leave afterwards. Abby says she’ll think about it, but truly has no intention of letting Bridget leave. Andrew is off at work when a visitor arrives. It’s his former brother-in-law, John Morse, who has stopped in to check in on his nieces.

Uncle John has a flashback to a conversation the previous day with Benjamin, a somewhat friend of his, who has been hired to “do something” to Andrew Borden, as revenge for the way he treats his daughters. John sees the pain and struggle in Emma and Lizzie, and wants to teach Andrew a lesson. Benjamin hides out in the house and the barn for several hours. Andrew arrives home and is angry to learn from Abby that John has shown up unannounced. Abby then tells him that Lizzie knew earlier in the day he would be stopping, but failed to tell anyone. As revenge on his own daughter, Andrew harms her pigeons. Lizzie is distraught over the whole situation. The next morning, an odd series of events occurs involving Abby supposedly leaving to visit a sick friend, the uncle heading in to town to meet some bankers and Andrew preparing to leave for work, too. Lizzie and Bridget are mulling about the house. Bridget hears strange noises but can’t find anyone. Soon after, Lizzie comes running to find Bridget and tells her that her father has been cut. He’s resting on the couch in another room but looks very sick. Bridget runs for the doctor. Everyone assumes Abby is out with the sick friend. But events quickly turn when the cops arrive and find Abby has also been brutally murdered with an axe, just like Andrew.

Emma is brought back to the house. Benjamin is hiding out in the barn, then meets with John. John asks him why he killed Abby too, as the plan was only to harm Andrew. Benjamin wants his money, but says he never got to hurt anyone. When he arrived, he found both had already been killed. John doesn’t understand but when the cops arrive, Benjamin escapes. No one knows he was there until years later when he surprises Lizzie and asks for his money. Emma, Bridget and Lizzie band together to help clean up the house, trying to get some rest before the bodies are moved to the mortuary. Lizzie says many odd things but no one accuses her of murder. She doesn’t seem upset that her father has died, but she is also given sedatives to keep her calm. A few days later, she’s arrested but is not found guilty. The book doesn’t cover the trial, instead it’s told in a few small sections as part of the conclusion to the book. We learn what happened to Bridget, Lizzie and Emma in the future years, as well as John and Benjamin.



Strengths


I am not certain how much knowledge the author had of all the events beyond what people may have already read about or seen on TV. Perhaps she had access to all the police reports, trial summaries and information handed down to future generations. But what she’s done with it is truly amazing. She’s brought to life this once great family and shown us the complexities of living in the 1890s beneath one’s means when there was money to do things in a better way. She’s shown the crazy and tender side of Lizzie. She’s made Andrew and Abby into very peculiar people who either were indeed crazy themselves or truly just impacted by raising someone like Lizzie. Nothing is clear cut, as the author offers up scenes and emotions, but the reader gets to choose how to interpret the action. It feels very accurate from what I know of the true story. The embellishments add drama but don’t take away from the sense of reality that occurred. The writing feels authentic to the 1890s. The descriptions clearly show what the house looked like and how the family lived. I love how the murders were handled, as they weren’t. But it was fantastic. In one scene change, we go from a few missing hours of time to suddenly Lizzie yelling her father has been cut. You might think it is awkward, but it really is integrated quite well. It’s exactly representative of the missing hours in the real story, since we don’t for certain know what happened.

For those who are a tad squeamish, there are a number of scenes describing how different people react to the dead bodies. And some of these characters have an unhealthy fascination with blood and cuts. If you can’t handle a few descriptions about how some of the characters touch the bodies and want to feel where the axe has cut open flesh and bone, you may not want to read this one. I loved it, but as much as I find this kind of detail cool… what two of the characters do is absolutely insane… are there really people like that? Oh my!



Concerns


I would have liked more background on why they thought Lizzie was guilty. No evidence is provided, but very little of the arrest and trial is included in this novel. It leaves you wanting more. I would have liked to see a fact sheet in the back, letting us know what was embellished and what was real. There is some information showing the timeline of events, but you won’t know on your own without reading other literature or websites, which makes you wonder which parts are true, e.g. the whole concept of Bridget and the stolen money or the events with the pigeons.



Questions & Final Thoughts


It’s a solid book. It deserves a 4 rating, given how well the author has told a story that actually happened but with some flair and drama to make the intricacies even more complex. It is an easy read and leaves you more curious about the events and the author’s future in writing. I will definitely pick up another book if and when she writes another one.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Review: A Likely Story

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A Likely Story3 out of 5 stars to A Likely Story, the 6th book in the “Library Lover’s Mystery” series, written in 2015 by Jenn McKinlay. A good continuance in the cozy series and a quick read. Basic, but fun. Fans will enjoy it, but seemed a tad bit shorter and less complex than usual. I’ve been reading lots of NetGalley approved thriller and suspense requests lately, which meant I needed something lighter for a few days. I’m a fan of Ms. McKinlay and had purchased a few of her books last month to insert between electronic-reads. It was time and I’d missed this series a bit. I am only 1 book behind now!



Plot, Characters & Setting


Lindsey, Briar Creek’s town librarian, has taken a boat with Sully, her on-again / off-again boyfriends, to drop some books off for the reclusive Rosen brothers. Stewart and Peter, in their 70s, have lived on a small island off shore for their whole lives, but rarely come off or let anyone else on. Lindsey is one of their exceptions in this small Connecticut town. When she arrives, Stewart doesn’t greet her at the dock and she’s forced to walk up to the house. Unfortunately, the pathway is always booby-trapped, so she and Sully have to be careful to avoid the traps the Rosens have set for all other guests. When they arrive, poor Peter Rosen has been shot dead and Stewart is missing. They notice the Rosen boat, which had been docked just outside, was now missing. Did Stewart kill his brother and run off, or did he escape from an unknown killer? The cops investigate. Lindsey tries to figure it out on her own, as usual.

Along the path, she meets an older woman determined to buy up all the houses on the surrounding islands. Lindsey wonders what’s lurking beneath the surface besides investment properties. She encounters two antique dealers from half way across the country, who claim to be there at Peter’s request to help sell some of the belongings. But Lindsey knows them as hoarders with money, so she isn’t buying it. As she investigates, her friends join in the fun and danger. Lindsey makes some enemies, but she’s asked to help by the lead cop who was injured in one of the booby traps. And as Lindsey’s searching the house, someone breaks in and captures Lindsey and Sully. Who is this person and what is going on in the Rosen household?

Lindsey of course solves the case, although she’s almost shot in this one. A few new family members show up, the mystery of the old houses on the island comes out and Lindsey makes a decision between Sully and Robbie, who is also back from NYC with some interesting news about changes going in on his life. What’s a girl to do? Besides help Beth through her new romance and Mary and Ian when something new pops up in their lives, too. All in good fun, Lindsey says… but she wants a break, too!



Approach & Style


I read the paperback version, which was about 300 pages long. It had some recipes, some commentary and a new short story from the author, which took up another 50 pages.

Similar to other books in the series, it’s narrated by a third person with perspective set only on Lindsey. Minimal violence. Nothing overtly sexual other than a little light kissing between some characters.

Took me less than 3 hours to read over the course of 2 days. Finished it more quickly than usual, probably due to it having less characters than previous ones.



Strengths


Lindsey is a likable protagonist. She’s not too simple or silly. She’s not too dramatic or controlling. She seems like your average everyday gal who gets thrust into murder. Between her friends and her colleagues at the library, you get a bunch of side-stories that always make you laugh and feel connected with her as a character. I enjoy her relationship with Milton, and in this book, things with Ms. Cole take a new turn. The plot of the mystery, once it unwinds, is good. It has some family drama and other connections to the past which were a nice highlight. There’s a suspenseful chase scene in the house with the criminal at one point where I kept turning the pages as I really thought Lindsey was either gonna catch him or get killed!



Concerns


Lindsey still seems caught up between Robbie and Sully. I’m a Robbie fan. But she’s leaning towards Sully in this one. And just as it appears she made a choice between them, news comes in at the end of the book which could change everything. I’d really like her to make a choice and stick with it for a few books, letting the other character go for a while, so we have an opportunity for a little change.

While the plot had some good parts to it, it seemed to grow more complicated only near the end. The first half of the book was very light and at times, I wasn’t very excited over what happened other than the fact one of the brothers was missing and could be alive/dead or the killer/victim. That kept me going, but I think the other characters should have been more prominent to make this more complex and intriguing.



Questions & Final Thoughts


It was a good read. Nothing extraordinary, nothing bad. I enjoyed it. I’ll keep reading the series. The 7th book has been out in hardback for a few months, but I’ll wait until November until the paperback release. Not in any rush. I may switch over to another of her series about hats and murders in London.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Review: The Marriage Pact

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The Marriage Pact4 out of 5 stars to The Marriage Pact, a thriller and suspense novel written by Michelle Richmond and set to be released on July 25, 2017. Many thanks to the author, NetGalley and the publisher, Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine Bantam, for the Advanced Reader Copy (ARC). I really enjoyed reading this novel and felt it had a lot of contained suspense, as I couldn’t put it down but it wasn’t the kind where you were scared; you just desperately wanted to know what was going to happen.



Why This Book


I’d seen the book on a few people’s Goodreads To Read or Currently Reading lists, and it looked interesting. I requested a ton of books on NetGalley to try to earn my 80% badge, and I got lucky when they approved this request.



Plot, Characters & Setting


Alice and Jake had been finalizing the list of 200 guests for their upcoming wedding when she won a big case at her law firm and felt compelled to invite one more guest and his wife: Liam Finnegan, a client who made a point of telling Alice’s boss how instrumental she was to winning the lawsuit. When they arrive home from their honeymoon, Jake and Alice open the Finnegan’s gift, an invitation given only to a select few to join “The Pact,” a group of married couples who call each other “Friend” and help ensure everyone’s marriage is successful. At first, it seems a bit odd but given their history as a couple, both think it’s a good idea and jump in with open arms. They meet Vivian, who is their guide for the initial few months, and begin reading the bylaws, a huge tome of a contract that dictates how often they must give each other gifts, plan vacations, see other Friends, talk to one another, et al. And if they do not, there are consequences with differing levels of punishment. As the weeks go by, Alice and Jake don’t take the group too seriously and begin accidentally committing minor infractions. The punishments begin, and it starts to completely unnerve them both. When they push back and try to leave The Pact, they’re essentially told “No one ever leaves The Pact. And The Pact never lets anyone go.” Alice and Jake attempt to follow all the rules, but work gets in the way, and Jake meets another Friend, whom he once knew before he was married. The woman tells him about the dangers of The Pact, but it’s too late to save themselves, she warns. Weeks go by where Alice and Jake try to balance everything, but frequently find themselves with intrusive and harmful punishments… all culminating in Alice’s disappearance and Jake flying to Ireland to find the creator of The Pact, in hopes he can convince the strange woman to let them leave.



Approach & Style


I read the novel through a Kindle Reader on my iPad. It has about 5200 lines, which works out to about 400 book pages. There are over 80 chapters, as each one is short and focused on a multitude of events happening in Alice and Jake’s lives.

The novel is told in past tense (with a few exceptions for present tense) and with Jake as the first person narrator whose point of view and perspective dominates the story.

It took me about 5 hours to read the novel. I read 20% the first day and then 80% the second day. I couldn’t put it down on the second day and only did so to go out for dinner. I found myself so interested in the middle section that I sometimes skimmed pages to get to the action, as I was shaking trying find out what was going to happen.



Strengths


The idea behind The Pact and the story is excellent. The divorce rate is too high. People take one another for granted. You’re often left on your own to solve marital issues unless you push yourselves to attend therapy. It sounds like a fantastic idea: a group of Friends meant to help you focus on your life as a couple, some rules and guidelines to ensure you are constantly thinking about the other person and minor punishments meant as little reminders not to get off track. But when it gets out of hand, and you realize this is more like a cult who like to torture one another, wow… the subtle actions and words really leave you right on the line, trying to decide is this really happening? Is this one bad apple making the group worse than it really is? Are they truly a cult or is it all a game? Who is behind this? And it quickly becomes a page-turner, where you don’t want to put it down.

The book can seriously play on someone’s fears about marriage. It makes you think what the point of it is, how and when you separate yourselves as a couple and two individual people. You see the love between a newlywed couple being ripped apart over minor issues in the hope that it will teach them not to ever let something big or bad happen between them. The intricacies of how The Pact always knows what’s going on, how they simply just accept what happens to them and the balance of power between all the couples… really gets you ignited and passionate over what’s right and wrong in this book. All good stuff, especially when you have such an emotional gut reaction to what’s happening. The descriptions of the behavior, the punishments and the setting really help create the suspenseful drama.



Concerns


When I read a book, I throw myself into it, usually letting most unbelievable things go if they are meant to drive the action or plot forward. I’m pretty forgiving when a situation happens that probably wouldn’t or couldn’t in real life. It’s a book. That’s what drama is for. If I want reality, I’ll look at my own life. And that’s what readers will have to do with this book — let some things go —
as there’s a 1 and a million chance something like this could ever happen, but there are at least 10 situations where some readers are going to say “No way. That’s ridiculous.” And they’re right, but then again, this is a story meant to entertain and scare you. So… I worry that some readers are going to be disgruntled with parts of the plot, and I can’t say much as I don’t want to give away spoilers. But a few easy examples… (don’t read the next paragraph as it’s not really a spoiler, but does give a bit of action away).

Why would a lawyer sign The Pact without reading it? How could they not go to the police? How did The Pact know things about Jake and Alice’s past? Why would you not ask the question to the leaders: “What should I do? If I don’t attend your meeting today, you will punish me. But if I miss this court date, I lose my job. It’s not that you aren’t important… but without a job, how do I live?” That last comment is in reference to a major part of the plot where Alice is asked to do something by the same person who is helping her move forward at the law firm… and if she does do what they ask, she’ll get in trouble at work. Something just didn’t jive well for me there. I kept thinking to myself…. ask them what they want you to do and stop saying “I just won’t show up to the meeting with the Friends.” At that point, they’d already been punished a few times… why??? And they also hadn’t read the full bylaws. I wanted to smack them for not reading the whole thing.

I loved the first 80% of this book. I put it down to go to dinner at a point where it was absolutely unreal and intense in the suspense and drama. I was so excited to finish it when I got home. And then I did. But the ending was not sufficient for me. It’s a good ending, but it wasn’t the one I wanted. Alice and Jake are essentially faced with a choice in the last few chapters, one which as they learn more about The Pact, they realize what has truly happened in the last few months. And they have a decision to make which is a good thing, but wow… I think I might not have done that if I were in their shoes!



Author & Other Similar Books


Michelle Richmond has several other books which I will definitely peruse, as I enjoyed her writing style, characters and plot very much in this one.

The story felt like a cross between “The Stepford Wives” and the movie “The Gift.” The people in The Pact all feel like a cult being controlled by someone behind the scenes as the Wellingtons do Stepford. And Jake and Alice receives strange gifts with scary alternative meanings and consequences as occurs in the movie “The Gift.”



Questions & Final Thoughts


I really like this book despite a little concerns with the ending. It’s the kind of book where I want to keep talking about it. But I won’t give away spoilers. So… a choice for you: (1) Read the book and then let’s talk about it, as there is a lot to say, or (2) Don’t read the book and we can talk about it but I’m gonna reveal all the spoilers so you totally understand it!



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

Review: The Great Gatsby

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The Great GatsbyBook Review
4+ out of 5 stars to The Great Gatsby, written in 1925 by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I read this book the summer before I went away for college. Knowing that it took place in the 1920, a time period I adored, on the Gold Coast of Long Island, where I lived, and the main character’s name was Jay, like me, how could I not make it a priority? And I’m so glad I did. It’s a fantastic story with so many components and a ton to say about life. The characters felt so alive. The setting and the description felt familiar. The actions seemed to call you to jump inside the book. It was a phenomenal read for me… and the only reason I held back a 5 is because I felt there were a few too many caricatures drawn on people from the time period. Though it comes close to being accurate, it took a few points too far. Where it could have held back, showing a few more realities, it stepped into a bit of quick-sand for me… pulling people’s views to the extraordinary instead of the familiar. I had the same reaction to some of the film versions. All that glitters is not gold, and I don’t know that Fitzgerald wanted those areas to be the primary thing people took from the novel. There was more beyond it. But it’s one of those books that really gives you a perspective unlike any other about the things that happened both out in the open and beyond closed doors.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

Review: The Catcher in the Rye

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The Catcher in the RyeBook Review
3+ out of 5 stars to The Catcher in the Rye, a coming-of-age novel published in 1951 by J.D. Salinger. I am so glad I read this book as a teenager and not as an adult. I would absolutely hate it today, not because it’s poorly written or has no value, but because I’d hate Holden more than anything in the world. I was certainly not a perfect teenager, but I never had that angst as a kid, nor do I have it now. I have maybe 10 days a year where I complain a little bit about something, but for the most part, my mouth is shut and I do what I’m supposed to do. Supposed to, as in my own perception, not because someone else tells me to do it. Arguing and railing and running away and getting angry don’t come naturally to me, so I couldn’t identify with him. That said, I’ve seen this in others and it was well captured, a bit ahead of its time. For those reasons, it’s a good book. I’m a little concerned this is the type of book that will no longer be read… and teens reading it today wouldn’t understand it. I’m curious to see reviews by the under 25 crowd, just purely to see if the current generation has any different feelings towards it than I had when I read it in high school in the 90s.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

Review: Jane Eyre

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Jane EyreBook Review
3+ out of 5 stars to Jane Eyre, a wonderful novel written in 1847 by Charlotte Brontë. I read this book on Spring break just prior to my 21st birthday, perhaps not the best time to take this beauty on. At 21, being a guy, and English major and forced to read a few books I didn’t think I’d like, this came at a time where although I liked it, I wasn’t as in love with as most others are… hence the 3+ rating. I believe if I read it today, it’d be a 4+. But I have 1200 books on my TBR and simply can’t afford to take on any re-reads without losing my mind. Perhaps I should watch a TV or Film version to renew my interest? It has all the right parts… young woman suffering at the hands of the conventions of time and family (two things I enjoy in books)… the love of a ‘good’ man (meaning you see a relationship grow high and low)… and drama (will she escape it all?). Society was harsh nearly 200 years ago. I would not have survived. I am not vocal about my opinions of people’s behavior or societal limitations, but I believe anyone should be able to do anything they want without hurting someone else or the world we live in. If you want to marry your cousin, go ahead… not my business. If you want to sleep with a new man or woman every night, more power to you. Doesn’t affect me. If you want to wear revealing clothing… go look your best — just don’t do it where someone may cause an accident as a result! 🙂 Point being…. I struggle sometimes with books that cover these conventions because I want everything to be free and open. And when it isn’t, I can enjoy the battle to get there, but it’s a bit difficult when I combine it with 200 year old setting and guides. That said… I adore Jane. I empathize with her. I could be her on some levels. The words and language are great. It should be read. But know what you’re getting into!



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

Review: The Cherry Orchard

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The Cherry OrchardBook Review
4 out of 5 stars to The Cherry Orchard, a tragedy and comedy all rolled into one, published in 1904 by a great Russian, Anton Chekhov. I’d heard of this play during my high school years, but never actually read it. In college, I had a course in modern drama and theatre, where this was one of the 16 plays we read: 1 per week for the 4 month course. Our school also performed a theatrical version a later semester where I participated in some backstage work. We also did a video and literary analytical comparison. I know the play well. Commentary on society. Discussion of values. Choices. Understanding what you will give up for what you need to have. The themes in this one are so large, it’s often hard to discuss them without getting animated.

Additionally, The Cherry Orchard was the piece that I did my technical and textual analysis on, so I had strong opinions and theories about the characters and the action. When I saw the video, I was a bit shocked at some things, but I also realized that many things were done in the way that I would have done them. The whole discussion/argument about the play being a comedy or a tragedy is one that comes to mind.
I thought while reading the piece that it was mostly a tragedy. The Ranevskys were losing their estate and cherry orchard. I had sympathy and pity for them. Then, I thought more about how it was played in the video, and what the narrator had to say. I also recalled the action in the play and realized that the action is external, and therefore, it depends on the way that characters are played by the actors. It was the acting, at least for me, which showed the tragic side of the play in the video. When Lopakhin is announcing at the end that he is now the owner of the estate and the orchard, the staging and directing was brilliant. The entire stage was silent, and the characters all stood around Lopakhin. The orchestra was playing a little bit also, and Lopakhin began his speech. He was somewhat hysterical, but also vindicated. Watching this scene is what convinced me that the play was more tragic than comic.

The actress who played Madame Ranevsky was a great actress. When she broke down about losing the estate with her brother Gayev, there were more tragic tones to the play. It was hard to decide exactly how I felt about the piece because there were the interruptions to let the narrator talk for awhile. Overall, I liked the version because it appeared very classic. By classic, I mean in the lines and the dark colors. I wish that I saw the actual orchard. I felt a little deprived because the orchard was the focus of the piece.

There were parts that were left out also that I wish I could have seen acted. In my opinion, the entire play should have been put on, and then afterwards, the narrator should have commented on it. They could have held flashbacks and then remind us of specific scenes that were played in a certain way, etc. The end was good when Firs was left alone. I like that part. He was on the couch and I wondered what was going to happen. When I read the play, I thought that he was going to die, but I was unsure about his character in the film. There was a lot of discussion about the sounds of the piercing harp string and the axe at the end when the orchard was being cut down. This discussion was very interesting because it helped me to understand the importance of the sounds before I gave my textual analysis.



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