(I used this picture because it's in the Common Domain. I am going to look for one that is more suitable.)
An old coach house covered with wisteria, with its own theatre with red plush chairs and chandeliers, and a ballet school. This is the setting for Rumer Godden's novel. The coach house in Anna Pavlova's old haunt, Hampstead, is almost a character in this novel. The struggles to keep the ballet school and theatre going will be a central theme. As Godden writes, 'A theatre is blooded in triumphs and tears.'
Madame Anna, the main character, runs the ballet school and theatre. She is a typical Russian ballet diva - vain and dominating but good-hearted. She surrounds herself with relics of her great career in the ballet, such as a chocolate box from the Tsar and an opal from the people of Sydney. These relics are 'personal memorials to be held in reverence and an incentive to faith.'
There are also the characters of Lion and Caroline, the premier stars of…
I am going to start my Rumer Godden retrospective with this book. I know that This House of Brede is the favourite of most people but I've always loved A Candle for St.Jude the best for some reason. I'll start reading my battered old copy soon.
Does anyone want to join the discussion? Are there any Rumer Godden fans about? I'm hoping to discuss the first three chapters by next week.
I didn't get very far with the last one but I'm going to try again! I'm joining : Heidenkind's. I will probably start with Renoir's biography of his father.
I'd love to hear from others doing this challenge!
My theme for this challenge is the French Impressionists. That is just the way that it has worked out.
With Violets by Elizabeth Robards
This is a beautifully written novel about the ambitious, young woman artist, Berthe Morisot, and her love affair with Edouard Manet. The prose does descend into the 'purple' sometimes, I feel, and the dialogue is a bit contrived at times, but I enjoyed it very much.
The characterization is very good. Berthe is a very likeable young woman, torn between trying to please her mother who wants her to marry well, and her love for a married man. She is also an excellent artist.
Edouard Manet is also well-imagined. He is handsome and charming, but has a certain ruthlessness. I also liked the character of Degas, who seems to…
I read quite a few books in October and November but I don't think that I can put them in order. I'm starting again now!
The Lost Art of Gratitude by Alexander McCall Smith
I love reading about the charming and philosophical Isabel. The third one in the series, this book includes all of the usual characters - Jamie, Cat, little Charlie, and Grace. Isabel is asked by Minty to help solve a problem and has to apply her detective skills and decide whether the rather hard-headed Minty is trustworthy or not. She is also required to meet her niece Cat's new boyfriend, a trapeze-artist. (!)
Alexander McCall Smith's gentle, Scottish novels evoke the misty, romantic setting of Edinburgh very well. They are also very amusing, although the ones set in Africa are probably funnier. I am attracted to cold, green locations, and I like the philosophical questions in these books so I prefer this series. I've only read the first one in the other series so I'm not sure about this…