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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Books Read in January

The Conjurer's Bird by Martin Davies

This was an enchanting mixture of history and romance although I thought
that the story's ending was a let-down. A young naturalist sets out to find
out the truth about a famous bird discovered by Joseph Banks in the South Seas.

The book was based on historical fact and certainly made me more interested in
Banks. His life was apparently fairly mysterious in some aspects.

Here is my review of : Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani.

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 be either understanding or annoying because of his sarcasm.

The struggles of the Impressionists are interesting. Morisot is very determined to have her art respected, and this is always difficult for a new style of painting. Robards writes well about the problems that the Impressionists faced.

The Women in Black by Madeleine St.John

This was a charming book about women who worked in a
department store in the sixties in Sydney.
It contrasts the innocent Aussies with the more sophisticated European
migrants very well and St.John's characters are
very realistic.

The central character is young Leslie who changes her name to Lisa in order
to seem more grown-up and confident.
(You can see why I liked it! lol) Magda, a Hungarian migrant, takes her
under her wing, and helps to transform her into
a young woman with poise and grace, who knows where she is going.

This novel is based on the famous Sydney department store of David Jones and
reminded me of shopping there when I was young.
It used to have a Food Hall and a piano player (sometimes) and always seemed
very glamorous.


Abby Rogers said...

I see that you have England listed as one of your interests! Perhaps you would like my blog:

As often as possible I will post photographs of glorious vistas, charming close-ups, and interesting tidbits of life in Great Britain for the pleasure of Anglophiles everywhere!

P.S. What a coincidence, we are both fascinated by the Tudors!

Viola said...

Thank you very much, Abby. I love your blog. It has beautiful photos and interesting articles. I will include links soon!

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