ghosts

Review: Ghosts

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Ghosts
Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



Book Review


3 out of 5 stars to Ghosts, a play written in 1881 by Henrik Ibsen. After I read Henrik Ibsens’s realistic play Ghosts, I immediately formed opinions of the characters. I liked Mrs. Alving and Regina. I thought that Oswald was a brat and a nuisance. I didn’t understand how Mrs. Alving could love him, even though he was her flesh and blood. He seemed to be nothing but a spoiled child despite being in his twenties. Mrs. Alving exemplified a woman who was angry with her late husband for the misdeeds he committed. She was a figurehead for the family, and thus a powerful character. Pastor Manders was definitely an exhausting character as was Engstrand. I couldn’t get a strong grip on either of them because I didn’t know who set the nursery on fire. In my mind, whichever one of them set it aflame was the evil character, and the other was the good character. It is not all that black and white though, which I didn’t find out until I watched the film version.
After seeing the film version of the play Ghosts, I fell in love with the actress who portrayed Mrs. Alving. She definitely improved upon the character of Mrs. Alving that I understood when I read the play. She showed me how much of a woman she was when she flirted with Pastor Manders in the very beginning. She was played much more feminine in the film version than she was in the written script, at least in my opinion. I believe that seeing her act out the pain, show her emotions and enter into deep thought showed how human and real the character was. I did not feel this way while I was reading the script. I liked her character then, but that was only because she was losing someone that she loved. I always pity the underdog, which is what I think she is even more so in the film version. She had to fight Pastor Manders, remain strong for Oswald, deal with Engstrand, and find the ability to support Regina. She was losing in every situation of her life, and by seeing her in the play, I was able to not only understand her pain even more, but root for her. I liked her in the script version, but it was not until the video version that I could truly realize what she had to go through.
The character of Engstrand was a puzzle to me. While reading the script, I didn’t like Engstrand, but I didn’t dislike him either. He just didn’t appeal to me at all. I didn’t have a picture of him in my mind either, which is odd. Normally, I can see a movie of the story in my mind as I read the script, but in this case, his appearance was vague and blurry. I had no face to match the character. Consequently, when I saw the film version, I was destined to interpret Engstrand exactly as the director of the play did. As a result, he did and he didn’t improve upon the impression that I had of him; however, I also don’t know if I liked what I saw. Engstrand appeared too rough looking, and all of the facial hair diminished the charm of the character. I thought that he was a little bit more clean-cut, but the film shows the darker side of Engstrand. I was convinced though, that it was not Engstrand who set the nursery aflame though. I felt that it was Pastor Manders, at least in the film version.
Pastor Manders was another character who produced a myriad of opinions in my mind. When I read the script, he seemed to be full of passion and life. I thought that he would end up in bed with Mrs. Alving. However, in the film, he is asexual, except for the brief interlude with Mrs. Alving at the opening of the film. He came across as a priest, and only a priest, which is why he did not appeal to me. He didn’t have any “love of life” in him as Regina, Oswald, and the Captain all did. Overall, I think that the film version improved my opinions of most characters, but I ended up disliking certain characters that I hadn’t before.
The film version definitely exemplifies realism more than naturalism for several reasons. One of the main reasons that makes the film version realistic instead of naturalistic is that the film version did not actually show the barn ablaze. In naturalistic pieces, directors would actually show the smoke and the burning from the barn. Also, they would have the camera focus on Oswald, who would be standing there ready to fight it. I understand that it would be hard to do in a theatre though. I am unsure about the staging of the film. Was it staged without an audience simply so that someone could just video record it? Or, was the play staged for an audience with someone in the background videotaping it. I think that it was meant only to be videotaped, in which case, it could have been done outdoors to show the barn burning. Therefore, since the burning barn was not actually shown, the film is more realistic than naturalistic.



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.
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.

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Review: The Cat Who Talked to Ghosts

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The Cat Who Talked to Ghosts Book Review
4 out of 5 stars to The Cat Who Talked to Ghosts, the 10th book in the Cat Who series by Lilian Jackson Braun. Ugh… this was such a sad one to read. I loved the series and read a bunch all in a row. This was mixed in the middle of the long read, towards the early middle part of the entire series… but poor Iris Cobb is killed. It’s not a spoiler, as it says so in the book jacket cover. But she was my favor transplant from Down Below… when she came up with her antique business and kept Qwill company… I was so happy for him. I didn’t want them to get together romantically, but I loved the friendship. I think it was a huge series change, but also a big mistake, for this character to be murdered. Don’t you hate it when the author does something like that? All in all, it was a good book. I loved the concept of ghosts. I liked the mystery. I was happy with the emotions and sentiments around the funeral. And it ended on a good note… but I will always wonder what could have been, had Iris Cobb made it a few more books!

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 Christmas Carol

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A Christmas CarolMy rating: 4 of 5 stars to Charles DickensA Christmas Carol, a story almost everyone is likely familiar with as early on as childhood. And we’ve all seen some form of this in a TV show, movie or another book, given how familiar the three ghosts of Christmas have become.



Why This Book


I honestly don’t recall how I stumbled upon this book, perhaps by watching one of the movie versions as the first foray. Sacrilegious, I know. But once you see it on a TV screen, the story compels you to want to read it. And when it’s the great Charles Dickens, how can you say no, right? I was 17 when I read the book… the summer before college started. And I often wonder if I missed out by not reading it when I was younger… but then again, the movie had already formed images in my mind and set the expectations, so probably turned out OK.



Overview of Story


A quick summary, as I’m sure we’re all familiar. Jacob Marley and Ebenezer Scrooge run a business. Bob Cratchit works for them and several young kids. Marley dies. Scrooge is a penny pincher. He forces Cratchit to work too hard and the man is already so poor and loving to his family. One night, Scrooge is visited by Marley’s ghost, forewarning him to be a nicer person and to listen when “they” come. Scrooge laughs. “Who’s they?” He mocks him. And then it happens… three ghosts visit Scrooge and show him a Christmas from the past, a current Christmas and a future Christmas, all resulting from the way Scrooge and Marley ran their business — essentially, a way to show the old man what his behavior has caused all around him. A reflection pool of the inner workings deep in your mind you’ve refused to hear or see for far too long. And when Scrooge sees poor Timmy, Bob Cratchit’s son, and the maladies surrounding him, Scrooge realizes he, too, must re-learn his lessons.



Strength


In true Dickens style, the words are beautiful. The story reads itself, not the reader. And you find such broad strokes of characters and morals within these 100 pages. You learn from it. You open your mind and accept what’s already somewhere in your heart.



Open Items


None really… mostly when’s the best time to introduce this to children? Too young and you scare them. Too old and you miss out on helping them. It’s one of those books you should read together with your kids.



Final Thoughts


Read the book before you watch any movies. Then figure out how to help people in your life, just like Scrooge learns to. This book is all about lessons… and every reader can take away something different with their imagination and application to their own thoughts and actions.



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.

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Review: Abigale Hall

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Abigale Hall
Abigale Hall by Lauren A. Forry

My rating: 3 of 5 stars to Lauren A. Forry‘s Abigale Hall, a mystery and suspense novel I received via NetGalley and Skyhorse Publishing as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in exchange for a fair and honest review. Thank you to both for this opportunity, as I enjoyed the book and have posted a review below.


Story

Rebecca, 12, and Eliza, 17, are orphaned sisters in 1940’s London shortly after the end of WWII, their mother dying from the German Blitz and their father committing suicide after several issues post-war. The girls were awarded to their Aunt Bess, who could barely afford to keep herself above water due to a gambling problem. When she can’t take it anymore, Bess sells them to an elderly man in Wales who needs help around his estate. Rebecca seems to suffer from some emotional problems and needs constant supervision, while Eliza was hoping for a proposal from Peter.
Eliza could live on her own, but won’t let her sister be alone; and then they are both forced to leave without any notification to any friends.

When the sisters arrive, they are taken to Mrs. Pollard who runs the estate; however, both girls quickly learn they will be mistreated far worse than they had been by their Aunt Bess. Eliza begins to hear stories about several missing girls over the last 30 years — who once worked at the estate — but vanished under mysterious circumstances. As Eliza looks out for Rebecca, Rebecca begins to grow more sick and is eventually taken away by Mrs. Pollard to the hospital to get better. Eliza finally meets the master, Mr. Brownewell, who comes from a long line of very peculiar men; however, he seems to carry his own tarnish, as the townspeople suspect he killed his fiancee nearly 30 years ago when he thought she was looking at another man in the wrong way.

Eliza tries to keep things status quo as she searches for the answers, but soon discovers she cannot trust anyone. Eliza also begins to hear and see the ghost of Victoria, Mr. Brownewell’s late fiancee, roaming the halls, claiming to have stolen all the missing girls. Meanwhile, Peter realizes that Eliza has been kidnapped and tries to find her, but many people — all caught up in the macabre game being played — stand in his way, nearly killing him a few times. When he finally finds Eliza, he steps right into a trap set by the villain behind the entire Gothic horror. But who is it? And who will survive…


Strengths

The characters are vivid and intense. And there aren’t a tremendous amount of them, which certainly helps make it a good story. You’ve got Eliza and Rebecca who are the sisters dealing with the situation. Their Aunt Bess plays a role in the send off to Wales. Peter is chasing after Eliza. Peter’s got 3 or 4 people he interacts with on his search. And in Abigale Hall, there are 3 or 4 characters who help run the estate. Plus the ghost or not-so-dead Victoria (you will have to read to find out)!

The estate, Thornecroft, is a beautiful setting but has a ruthless charm about it. Abigale Hall is one of the main rooms / areas, well described, but keeps you guessing whether it’s a good or a bad place to be. The concept of ghosts is used intricately and constantly keeps readers wondering whether or not the characters are loopy or really seeing what they think they are seeing. It helps you stay focused and want to keep reading each chapter to figure it out.


Suggestions

I thought the book was a little longer than it needed to be. It wasn’t repetitive, but at times it felt a little too drawn out. I assume it’s to build the fear factor and the thrill of the chase; however, at times, you want to skim a few sections just to see how far the author was going to take each of the scenes. With a little more editing and focus on key word replacements, I think it could have really put the fear in a few more readers.

All of the characters were just mean. Maybe that’s how it was in the 1940s after the war and in England, but I felt like I just wanted to smack several of them for the way they treated each other; and I’m not even counting the villains in the book. Even the ones who were friends or even just acquaintances felt like they had a bit of a nasty tone about them. It could be totally realistic, but it was a bit of a turn off for me.


Comparisons

At many points in the novel, I kept thinking about the direct comparison to Daphne du Maurier‘s novel Rebecca, and that’s not considering both books have a main character named Rebecca. Both books have sprawling estates with a Gothic haunting ghost; Rebecca has Manderley and Abigale Hall has Plentynunig’s Thornecroft. Both have a very menacing but possibly innocent caretaker. Let’s see a rumble between Mrs. Pollard and Mrs. Danvers!

There are some interesting themes about shoes in this book that made me think of the Wizard of Oz witches… between Dorothy’s shoes and the legs of the witch underneath the home that crashed into Oz, you can’t help but see the comparison when one of the characters in Abigale Hall ends up with a head in the oven and nothing hanging out but a pair of legs.

Plus, both the sisters have trouble with their shoes the entire book. Was a little odd!

Not to mention Hansel and Gretel pushing the witch in the oven. So many re-appropriations of fairy tales could be seen.


Final Thoughts

I’m glad I read the book, and there were definitely parts full of horror the creepy factor. I was hoping for a bit more macabre, and the end certainly brings some intensity and major crazy… but it should have pushed the envelope a bit more to truly be a horror book. It’s a good read, but I didn’t think “wow, this is an awesome and scary book.” I’d read another one by this author as the writing flowed well and created memorable characters. But give me something even more gruesome next time!

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 Legend of Sleepy Harlow

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The Legend of Sleepy Harlow
The Legend of Sleepy Harlow by Kylie Logan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3 stars to Kylie Logan‘s The Legend of Sleepy Harlow, the third in the “League of Literary Ladies” series about a woman who moves to the midwest to open a B&B after some mysterious troubles in NYC. Since this is a good Halloween ghost story that ties together an incident from 300 years ago to the present on quiet South Bass Island on the Great Lakes, it’s worth a read, but I needed a little more complexity in the story to push it up to a 4.


Story

A supernatural ghost hunting group who call themselves EGG visits the B&B on Halloween to try and find the headless ghost, Sleepy Harlow, who was murdered by a rival bootlegger nearly 300 years ago. Unfortunately, when they visited South Bass Island the previous year, they tormented Bea’s friend Kate who was very angry with their return. When one of the group turns up dead, Sheriff Hank can only assume Kate is guilty, but he enlists Bea to help find more clues that can save Kate from going to prison. While searching around, as well as helping another friend write a biography on Sleepy Harlow, Bea finds unusual connections among the EGG team, realizes who murdered the EGG ghost hunter and determines which one her friends has deeper ties to Sleepy that she realized.


Strengths

Everyone loves a ghost story. And when it’s parallel to Washington Irving’s Sleepy Hollow, how can you resist? There’s romance, threats, murder, ghosts and intrigue in this story helping to cement South Bass Island in deep American history.

We get some much needed focus on the Bea and Levi romance dance. Whether you’re a fan or don’t want them together, at least we now understand what’s going on between them.


Weaknesses

There were not enough suspects in this one. EGG had very little ties to the inhabitants of South Bass Island which meant the murderer could really only come from their group. No other suspects were even considered besides Kate — and we knew she couldn’t have done it given she is one of the primary characters in this series.

The connection between Sleepy Hollow and one of the girls was a great nugget and surprise, but barely a page was devoted to it. It would have been even better if in the resolution, the character reflected on her newly found relation and change to her past history / family tree. What a miss!


Final Thoughts

Overall, it’s a good read. I feel like it could have been bound more tightly together given it’s a serial cozy mystery. The story was good, could have been better with more details and fell shy of getting a 4 from me. But I like the series, the author and the characters, so I’ll move on to Book 4.

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