Sunday Salon – Great Start to My Reading Year!

I thought it would take some time to get used to reading books from my Nook. Not so. After some font size and margin adjustments, I am going like gangbusters. I have already read two short stories and two full length books. Plus one regular book.

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley showed up in the Nook daily deals for $1.99. Years ago I read Mariana and was charmed by her use of time and rich details. I was not disappointed by this latest book. Carrie McClelland is writing a book about a little known uprising in 1708 when the Jacobites nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown.  Travelling to Slains castle in Scotland, a meeting place for those still loyal to the banished king, Carrie suddenly feels compelled to write in a heroine. She rents a cottage and writes compulsively about a young girl who moves to Slains and finds out later that all the characters actually existed and acted in the same manner that she wrote about.

As a direct ancestor to the heroine, Carrie wonders if some kind of ancestral memory is causing her to “remember” events.  After meeting the two handsome sons of her landlord, history begins to repeat itself.

I also read War Horse by Michael Morpurgo. It’s young adult literature and only about 120 pages long. But wow, what a great story! It was told from the view of the horse Joey, who was sold at auction to a drunk farmer and was lovingly raised by his son Albert. When WW1 started, the military bought up horses from all over and Joey was sold with thousands of others.  Not everyone realized that the cavalry was to be replaced by tanks and other modern weapons of war and it was horrific for the horses and their riders. Joey and his horse companion Topthorn braved muddy trenches, cold, starvation, and being captured by the Germans. It was a fantastic, uplifting story.

I love to read old classics and found a free book called Victorian Short Stories of Successful Marriages. Knowing how they treated women I thought it might be good for a laugh. And I did laugh at the first story. It was by Elizabeth Gaskell, one of my favorite writers of that period. Many know her as the author of Wives and Daughters and Cranford. But did you know she is an excellent biographer too? She wrote The Life of Charlotte Bronte which I consider to be the best biography ever written. It doesn’t even compare to the formulaic crap churned out nowadays.

But the remaining stories were written by men and got progressively more shocking in its horrible portrayal and treatment of women. I wasn’t laughing anymore. Ironically they thought they were such progressives. One story in particular will always stand out in my mind, horrible stuff.

But I shouldn’t say that. Stories such as these showed in shiny bright Technicolor why Victorian women rose up and demanded the right to vote, equality for women under the law, child labor laws, and front lines in the abolitionist movement.  Their suffering led to our freedom.

Right now I am reading Silent Partner by Jonathon Kellerman. It’s a crime drama with characters he has been writing for years but hey, I like the characters and there is always some sicko twist in his stories. And in my somewhat mundane vanilla pudding grandma world I need a sicko twist every now and then.

Speaking of grandma world I just stood at the patio door with Tweeters as he sees snow for the first time. Yes, it’s snowing!


4 Responses

  1. I have a Kindle, and although I thought I wouldn’t enjoy it, I’m loving it, too. Especially the ease of downloading.

    I’ll have to check out The Winter Sea…I’ve been curious about it.

    Here’s MY SUNDAY SALON POST and here’s

  2. I loved The Winter Sea! Books that tie together a little bit of genealogy with historical fiction are always favorites with me.

    I have Gaskell’s North and South on my TBR pile, but I hadn’t thought about reading her biography of Charlote Brontë. I knew they were friends, and Gaskell has been in some of the Brontë-related historical fiction I’ve read. I should check it out!

    Your comment about the Victorian short stories reminded me of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper.”

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