Monday, January 31, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
Canadians Read ( and worry... and read)
And you thought you had read ALL of Dashiell Hammett!!
Sherlock: Anthony Horowitz-style
Real life mystery and macabre: the case of the missing cognac-drinking Poe grave visitor
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
From the publisher:
While Charlotte is focusing on uncovering sordid information on columnist Daniel Wilmot, her heart leads her into uncharted territory.
During the summer of 1900 Charlotte Hale, a native Newporter and secretary for the Rhode Island Reporter, accepts an undercover assignment as temporary governess to Daniel Wilmont's children in order to secretly gather evidence against him. As he helps her rediscover God, Charlotte learns that Daniel is an honorable man. They unexpectedly fall in love despite their different backgrounds and social positions. Charlotte soon realizes she must defend Daniel against the forces set against him-a willful student with a romantic crush and the newspaper editor determined to destroy his reputation.
Love on Assignment is the second offering in the Ladies of Summerhill series by Cara Lynn James. For readers who are eager to plunge into Love on Assignment, you need not read the first (Love on a Dime) to enjoy it: as it works as a standalone novel. But, be warned, your enjoyment of James’ fully-realized world will make you hanker for more.
Currently, in Christian Historical fiction, the governess-master Jane Eyre plot is quite popular. I think this occurs for a number of reasons--- reasons that pertain to Love on Assignment as well as its contemporaries. The Governess plot is a fervent ease into the realm of domesticity. It is, indeed, a palpable setting for a blossoming romance. Charlotte’s undercover work at Daniel Wilmont’s house allows her to assert her status as a near intellectual equal. Moreover, it allows her to fall hard for Daniel’s kids, his life and, finally, for Daniel himself. It is a safe and fun theme in the Christian fiction genre. It is how James' grapples with this familiar plot structure that is most intriguing.
Love on Assignment asserts a stern moral and ethical front: at what point does Charlotte’s story switch from adventure to falsehood? Charlotte is by no means a squeaky-clean heroine and her actions ( no matter what their motive) are reprehensible. It is this conflict that builds the tension underlying Daniel and Charlotte’s played- out courtship.
I enjoyed Cara Lynn James’ setting and I especially enjoyed the second installment in a series where the undercurrent is women making a living by their pens. This excellent follow- up to Love on a Dime sees Charlotte eons ahead of her sex: embracing journalism and fearlessly plunging into a deceptive assignment. James’ also does well to ensure that Charlotte’s grasp of Christianity is propelled by her discoveries of Daniel Wilmont’s rather radical and controversial views. Charlotte wrestles with religion on her own terms and confronts Daniel and her own convictions with a questioning but steady brain. I especially enjoyed how Daniel unraveled so much about Charlotte without her knowing. His patience and persistence ( as well as his bravery in emitting his own views on the world) are exciting and endearing. He was a great hero.
Stylistically, I nod to James’ pitch-perfect dialogue. She expertly rendered the Gilded Age with believable conversation. Every character easily establishes their own voice and asserts their presence in your brain. By the end, they take on lives of their own. This is a skill highly underestimated in fiction and I sincerely appreciated James’ attention to this matter.
If you enjoy Siri Mitchell, Julie Klassen and Lawana Blackwell: this series is definitely for you.
My sincere thanks to TLC for allowing me to take part in this tour.
Visit Cara Lynn James at her website
Stop by "Reviews from the Heart" tomorrow to learn more about Love on Assignment.
Buy Love on Assignment and its predecessor, Love on a Dime from Amazon.
I was provided with both books for review to help in preparation for this tour.
Friday, January 14, 2011
It seems like I have wanted to see the Alatriste movie since the dawn of time. Well, at least since I first got word of it.
I have read ALL of the Alatriste books since their English publications began being released. I love them. Veteran soldier and sword-for-hire, Diego Alatriste, runs around Madrid all swashbuckling. Sometimes there is a battle; or a lover; or a boat; or tavern-drinking; or swordplay and conspiracy… the surrender at Breda….the Spanish Inquisition and a particularly gruesome auto-da-fe.
17th Century Madrid is a remarkable canvas ---especially when rendered by Alatriste’s page ( and the series’ narrator), Inigo Balboa. Inigo’s father, Lope, was a friend and comrade of Alatriste’s during one-of-the-many-wars-he-fights-in and after he is killed in action, Alatriste takes care of his son.
Both Inigo and Alatriste have complicated loves: Diego adores a married Spanish actress and Inigo pines for the Machiavellian temptress Angelica.
The film version captures most of it.
Be ye forewarned. If you have not read the books and are not familiar with the series, the movie will make no sense to you. Because, it doesn’t really have a plot. It is just a series of vignettes about Alatriste’s life: snatching the best moments of the books.
You know those VH1 countdowns where they pick the “Top 30 scandals of the 80s” or what have you? This is sort of like that: “ Top 50 Alatriste Book Moments” and they filmed them and patched them together and that’s what you get.
So, as a film separate from the series, it is not that good of an adaptation. But, as a companion TO the series, it is a wonderful homage.
Beautifully filmed: expertly sub-titled. The second most expensive film Spain has ever produced.
It looks and feels and tastes and sounds JUST as I imagined it to. The casting is PERFECTION: from Viggo Mortensen’s swarthy and silent Alatriste, to Inigo, to Angelica ( she is divine) … even to the peripheral characters like Don Francesco.
I have rarely seen a film that so matched my conceptualization of a fictional world. For that, I am so glad I waited ( and waited and waited ) for Alatriste to be released in Region 1.
The Alatriste books made me crave Madrid and the film makes me want to go there even more so.
I really enjoyed it. I REALLY loved the guy who played Inigo.
Sunday, January 09, 2011
Saturday, January 08, 2011
Some books in the news:
Thursday, January 06, 2011
Tuesday, January 04, 2011
Saturday, January 01, 2011
A few favourite books and book moments of 2010: