Tag Archive: classics



Beneath the MaskBeneath the Mask by Margaret McGaffey Fisk

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t read ‘romance’ novels. Not if I can help it. But I consider Margaret McGaffey Fisk to be my friend so I felt I should try. I knew I couldn’t go wrong with her writing. I don’t think I saw a passive sentence anywhere in the book. This reading comes close after I read of Pride and Prejudice. If this were to be a contest, this would win heads down!

Passion is what wins it for me. No! Not that kind of passion! I mean the passion this young girl had pursued since she was small. But, now that she was to be presented as a woman… She wants to dance, something frowned upon back in those days.

Dawn Hyde, narrator of the Audible version of the book made this book so beautiful! Her accents and voice changes helped keep the characters separated and unique. I look forward to reading more with her voice.

Okay, for the romanticohics, there is romance in the end, but most of it is this girl coming of age and her trying to live out her passions, somehow. It makes me sad to know women of the past weren’t encouraged to follow their hearts and passions. When I start feeling like we’ve made no forward motion in the feminist movement, reading something like this shows we have made some progress.

I am looking forward to more by Margaret McGaffey Fisk!

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Black BeautyBlack Beauty by Anna Sewell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yes, I did go through that phase as a pre-teen, when I read every book about horses possible. Black Beauty was an important part of that literary diet. I loved it then. But how would that translate to my old-lady brain? It was better!

The Amazon page says it is for kids 9-12. That may have been so a generation ago, but now the vocabulary and historical references don’t play out quite as well. In a well-structured class program, it could be a great lesson plan anchor to cover history, equines, medicine, weather and many other subject-matter for an all inclusive study. The best is the lessons of kindness. This is a lesson that covers all generations and all religions or philosophies. And we here it all from the horse’s mouth. Animals understand kindness.

Peter Batchelor was the narrator in this version of the story. I was lucky to pick up the Kindle version from Kindle Unlimited and for a tiny fee I got the Whispersync Audible narration. He did a marvelous job bringing all the characters to life. I highly recommend that everyone read this classic!

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Pride and PrejudicePride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

To my English teachers and friends who have raved that I should read this. Check. Done! My grade for this book is a C- and that was with the help of Carolyn Seymour, the narrator. Glad I read it so I could say I did, but I was not wowed like others.

I couldn’t have gotten into it as a tree book, even on Kindle with text-to-speech I couldn’t get there. Though the reader did add a lot to the experience, in the beginning, I’m afraid there was no help.

The first half of the book seemed centered around bickering, gossip, and how women of the time could climb the status ladder. Ms. Seymour’s varied voices just made that part even more irritating. I felt sorry for the reader as there was no way to vary the voices enough within that family of females. Lizzy and Jane’s father was probably easy to do. And the voice of Darcy felt unique. But other than those voices, I couldn’t tell whose voice belonged to whom.

As for the book itself, I felt that the real book started about 3/4 in. That’s where it all started to get exciting. I suddenly cared for a few people. It may be that the passive voice that seems to live in most so-called classics that made this less than wonderful. I plan to watch a couple versions of the movie next. Then there are possible book two by more recent authors. And… I’m not done with Jane Austen. I do plan to read them all, somehow. After all, these follow my main goal of reading books by females with strong female leads.

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Review: Fingersmith


Fingersmith
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If only I could stay awake after finishing reading a book so as to write the review right then. Now I almost gave the book four stars because the excitement had abated. But I asked myself how was the writing? It was very well done. Such a blessing against all the newer authors’ works. Then I asked, How was the plot, did it hold together, make me want more? As if in answer I remembered not being able to stop reading. I thought it about it during my non-reading times. And how about the characters? Did I care about them? You bet! I even cared about the support teams at home and elsewhere. All were well-developed and fleshed out. And the question I ask that would make a difference in whether a book gets four or five stars: Will I remember it fondly much later. I could answer that with a resounding, YES!

So there you have it a five star book! And that rating works for the hardback that I had to reference to on ocassions and the Kindle version I used the most. I even rate the narrator, Juanita McMahon, as she was able to add to the stories depth and enjoyment, for me. She acted out the characters with such strength that I missed her voice when I read without the Audible version. In fact, because there is something glitchy with the Audible/Kindle sych, where it didn’t quite meet up and so I couldn’t read in the same place as the narrator, I ended up listening more and crocheted on my WIP only glancing at the hardback from time to time.

For those afraid to read something labeled lesbian or LGBT, this book is mild and the erotic scene plays into the full story. The story is what pulls you, what is going to happen, keeps you reading. It is not erotica for erotica’s sake. Not that that is a bad thing in my book. However, when teachers are assigning classics to their classes, Fingersmith should be there right alongside of A Tale of Two Cities or Oliver.

By the way, another thing that brings this book up to its five-star rating is the satisfying ending. And the feeling that I would love to read this again someday, and other works by Sarah Waters. I do have the Fingersmith DVD and can hardly wait to watch it!

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The Well of Loneliness
The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked up this ebook through this website:
https://www.free-ebooks.net/ebook/The-Well-of-loneliness And yes, it was free. It was quite a while ago so I had to do some searching to figure out where it came from.

This book was very relatable. If you have ever felt like you didn’t belong to the norm for whatever reason, you understand the loneliness of the main character. Parents set you up? Check. Parents, relatives and friends find you weird? Check. All those feelings are beautifully, nearly poetically spelled out.

With the flavor of pre-WWI English, similar to Jane Austin the main character looks for love and feel quite unlovable. She learned that she doesn’t go for men but rather for women. The word ‘lesbian’ isn’t used. Gay refers to the tablecloth. In a time when all of this was far less accepted as it is now, one finds that we haven’t come as long a way as we may hope.

This story is anguishing and sad. It made my blood boil. It was tender. There are times when the tears are so close. BUT it was dreadfully boring at times. I read it on my Tablet using Moon Reader Pro so it could read to me. I tried very hard to read while listening, but there were times I got so distracted that I realized that whole chapters had whizzed on by.

Some consider this a classic and it does have that feel about it. It’s worth reading so that you can say you did. Maybe, if a read person narrated it it would keep my interest all the way through. I wonder if it has ever been made into a movie? I think it could be done quite well. The author gave many descriptions of gardens and lakes. It could be visually delicious!

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