I have read one of the Lady Hardcastle mysteries by T.E. Kinsey before. I wasn’t completely sold on it. I downloaded Death Beside the Seaside because I wanted to give these characters and author another go. I could not put Death Beside the Seaside down. I had to read it right through. I love the era in which this series is written and more so I love the relationship Lady Hardcastle and her maid, and friend, Florence Armstrong have. The dialogue between the two in this book is spot on.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Published by HarperCollins These stories from Cecelia Ahern are a departure from her novels (which I have a lot of time for) and they are chilling. If you look at the list of the stories, some of the stories are a literal as their titles suggest. The stories underline how women are invisible, whatever age: invisible once elderly, put to one side once married. My one bugbear would be that the characters were all uniform. There was not a great variety in there.
Pillow Thoughts 2 by Courtney Peppernell
Published by Andrews McMeel I enjoyed the writing in Pillow Thoughts 2. I liked that I could dip in and out of the book. I found my problem was with the writing, which was impeccable, and an accurate portrayal of falling, and being in love, was so good I couldn’t connect with it, and almost couldn’t finish Pillow Thoughts.
Wicked Origins by Paula Black A retelling of The Wizard of Oz, Paula Black takes elements of the original story and adds them into her own tale. Black’s Dorothy is a hardened character, a child in care who doesn’t trust easy, and lives with Aunt Em and Uncle Henry, and sister. During a tornado her car is taking and lands in the place called Oz, along with her dog Toto. Instead of the Scarecrow, Tinman, and Lion her companions are three shape shifter brothers. The Ruby slippers that Dorothy puts on her feet to save herself from the Munch’kins are boots. The relationship of the brothers and Dorothy develops into a tight unit. I wasn’t convinced by some of the passages in the story. I liked the characters and the dialogue. I will be adding part two to my TBR.
The film of The Wizard of Oz, made in 1939 and which starred Judy Garland, was a magical film for me as a kid. I loved the yellow brick road, the songs, the scarecrow and the evil witch. I also enjoyed its (unofficial) 1985 sequel Return to Oz. That film terrified me more so than the first. It had rocks with faces, The Wheelers, Pumpkinhead, and a headless witch. When I read the books I felt the 1985 sequel was a lot more closer to its author L. Frank Baum original stories. As I grew up I became interested in how the movies were made, Judy Garland and her life and in the writer of these magical books.
Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts is a fictional story of a young Maud with her mother Matilda Joselyn Gage, an advocate of women’s rights, who first and foremost wants her daughter to get her diploma before engaging with the playwright actor and creator of Oz L. Frank Baum and the then elderly Maud on the filmset of the film of The Wizard of Oz. Maud meets the actors (normally whilst on a cigarette break) and tries to ensure the film script is in keeping to her late husband’s books, whilst protecting the welfare of a young Judy Garland.
What is as engaging is what happens in the intervening years between these two points. The story is written within the framework of what we know about the life of Maud and Frank, as well as their families.
Finding Dorothy has several different women characters in various circumstances. It demonstrates the hardships during the turn of the century and the growth of industry and land in America in the late 1800s. There is a lot in the book to think about. None more so than the question of rights that women had in the eighteenth century and later on in the nineteenth century. Were women any better off, did they have more autonomy of their choices? Are the societal, the family values and traditions pressures any different? I felt I had fallen right into a story of another time and era that had me enthralled and emotionally invested in its characters. I whizzed through this book.