Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tea and Scones: Happily Ever After



         Some great authors believe that a book isn't good unless it ends in tragedy. This of course occurs mainly in literature and not so much in fiction. And it certainly is true that none of the classical masterpieces that end in the hero or heroine's death (or even both), like Romeo and Juliet, would have become immortal in our hearts if it were not for the tears at the end. There is something that adds momentum in a story that ends in the grave. It is somehow more significant and prefect. The last page of the book is the last page in someone's life. Or it's the last page in love. I completely get that and that's why I have read the works of authors like William Shakespeare and Thomas Hardy over and over through the years.

        But as I grow older and observe life around me I find so much pain and sorrow that I almost can't take it all in. So, there comes a time that, when I open a book to read, I want to be sure that it will make me laugh and smile and dream. I have asked myself many times over the years if my growing obsession with books that end well -preferably in a happily ever after- is a show of immaturity. If it means that I can't take life in its true form and just deal with it.

        When I got engaged I found out that I couldn't read books that contained a widow or a widower. It was just too painful to get into their minds and feel and think like they did. Even for a few minutes, I couldn't bare to think what it would be like if I lost my love. And then I had so much difficulty stomaching a new love interest when the adored late husband had once been the heroine's life and light. It just feels wrong to me. Anyway, pretty soon I decided I don't have to put myself through this torture. Maturity or no maturity, I have to shed enough tears about myself as it is. I don't need to cry for fictional people's problems. That's when my quest for HEA books started, to the point where I even read the last page of a book, if possible, before I buy it. You know, just to make sure that they are hugging or laughing together or having babies.

        Then I read an interview of a guy who had been a very handsome actor. But then one day he had an accident which left him confined to a wheelchair. He became an author and a successful one at that. The reporter asked him if he ended his books happily, or if he tried to make them mirror life more realistically, thinking, I suppose, that here was an author who would have the guts and the experience to write about tragedy. And the young author said, "I think we each have enough sadness in our own lives as it is. I think that art should give people hope and something to smile about, something to help them forget their personal hell. I certainly need that. And that's what I want to do with my books. You will find only happy endings there."

        I have never felt guilty about wanting to read happily-ever-after books since. Sometimes I even think that authors who love to kill their heros have just not had enough pain in their own lives to know what that is like. And I have never even come close to a Nicholas Sparks book since either, although I love the way he writes.

Period Pearl: A Bride for Donnigan by Janette Oke



    Description:

       She didn't even know his name...but she was about to become his bride. Standing on the ship's deck, Kathleen O'Malley watches the land she has called home slip from her view. She had thought she would be glad to see it go, but regardless of the unpleasant situation she was leaving, it was at least safe and familiar. America seems so very far away...
       At his prairie farm, Donnigan Harrison anxiously awaits his bride's arrival. He has known the wonder of a dreams fulfilled--a snug cabin, a sturdy log barn, a fine herd of livestock, and crops in the field. But even with all that, he is lonely. A notion that once seemed unthinkable had come to make sense, and so he wrote a letter. But Donnigan's anticipation is overshadowed by terrifying uncertainties: What have I done? And that question is echoed in Kathleen's heart as she nears the port...

       I loved this book. It is filled with God on every page.
       This is another story of a mail-order bride, but one that does not end with the marriage. Rather it begins there and then follows up with the hardships, the romance and the love. They get to know each other and together they get to know God. This one is another of Janette Oke's masterpieces and the tenderness between the hero and the heroine will grip your heart.
       I especially liked the fact that the heroine had a slight limp and how that played a role in their romannce.
       This was a book that brought me closer to God's own heart.

Rating: 5/5

Monday, July 19, 2010

Not just with words: Bookmark



Today was a fairytale
You were the prince
I used to be a damsel in distress
You took me by the hand and you picked me up at six
Today was a fairytale ....

               from the song by Taylor Swift

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Contemporary Look: Beautiful by Cindy Martinusen-Coloma


      
         Description:

        Her friends once thought she was perfect. Now she must face the mirror--and herself--to discover what true beauty is.
        Ellie Summerfield has everything a girl could want--she's beautiful, she's Senior Class President, has a calendar full of social engagements, volunteer commitments, and church activities. In short, she's perfect, according to most of the students at West Redding High School. But something is bothering Ellie, like a loose string on a dress she can feel but can't see. Does she really love her boyfriend, Ryan? Who are her true friends? And is she really happy in her picture-perfect life?

       Then in the course of a few minutes, the loose string in Ellie's life completely unravels. Forever changed, she must face herself as she discovers what it really means to be beautiful.

       I loved this book, it spoke to my heart.
       All I can say is, whoever has wished that they were more beautiful and more successful, or whoever has simply felt discouraged and unimportant, this book is for you.
       It certainly was for me.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Book Quote

       You must walk on as if I were an open door and go right through me. It will hurt you, though.


                        From At the Back of the North Wind
                                                              by C.S. Lewis

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Very Vintage: The Baron's Gloves by Louisa May Alcott


    Description:

    Two rather young women, Amy and Helen, traveling with an older uncle, are doing the "tour" of Europe, and are supposedly soaking up education but secretly yearning for adventures and romance. At this wish for adventure, a pair of gloves suddenly drops beside them from a balcony above their hotel room near Coblentz. Ah, whose gloves? The two young men who enter the lives of these ladies are rich and eligible adventurers traveling through Europe, and agree to play a prank on the young women by becoming aides to their uncle.


    This is a little masterpiece. It is not as well-known as some of her other works, but it is just as beautifully crafted as Little Women.
    For the greatest part it is a romance with a touch of adventure, and a great one at that. But i really think there is more to it than just that.
     By the end, the author has managed to draw us into the characters and show us how friendship ,or a simple flirtation can slowly turn into tender, fierce, true love. I loved this book for it.
     I hope you can find this little diamond and can see the meaning of true affection between a boy and a girl for yourselves.


Rating: 5/5

Friday, July 2, 2010

For you



Eve: Thank you for reading my blog, Wall-E. It meant the world to me.
Wall-E: Evaaa....
Eve: And thanks for putting the stars around my neck.
Wall-E: Awww
Eve:  I hope you know how much I love you, Wall-E.
Wall-E: Evaaa!
Eve: Will you stop saying 'Evaaa' in that idiotic way and kiss me already?

Wall-E kisses her. Kaa- BOOM!!!!

Eve: Wall-EEEEE!!

     
No one will understand this, but I know you will. I thought today would be the end, but it looks like it won't be, after all. And that's all thanks to you. Only you can make the end look like a beginning. It will be a baginning, won't it? Of something beautiful and strong and... alive. Thank you for saving me once again.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Period Pearl: The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen


         Description:

         When Olivia Keene arrives home to find her father strangling her mother, she picks up the nearest blunt object and bashes him on the head. Fearing that she will be charged with murder, Olivia, with her mother’s help, flees. While en route to a potential position with an old friend of her mother’s, Olivia finds herself caught up in a series of dangerous adventures culminating in her arrival at Brightwell Court, where she accidentally eavesdrops on a conversation between Lord Edward Stanton Bradley and his father, the Earl. Realizing that the information the now speechless Olivia unknowingly possesses could ruin him, Edward insists that she accept a position in his family’s nursery, never expecting that the silent new governess might be his one hope of salvation.

       The mystery is the main theme of Julie Klassen'd third book. Some descripbe it as Gothic, but it is really Regency with a great deal of surprises, some violence (nothing graphic, of course, just the mention of violent acts) and a new clue every few pages, which makes you keep guessing and reading on until the end. Mystery-wise it's excellent.
       Of course, Ms. Klassen continues in the detailed period style and the easily-flowing written word of her previous books. This one is no different and just as good.
        But there is a serious problem with the romance of this book. The hero distrusts the heroine from the very first, which is natural since he caught her eavesdropping on his life's most important and darkest secret. However, she is injured in the process and therefore he shows her some compassion, though not as much as would be expected from 'the man of her dreams', in my humble opinion of course. When she goes to live in his home, he gets to know her. He finds out about her integrity, her goodness, her intelligence and her capability with the children -that's why she becomes a governess.
       However, his distrust of her doesn't diminish, in fact it grows in some aspects. To the point where his sister, who is openly antagonistic to the heroine, is readier to believe her than he is. This distressed me very much, especially since it is never redeemed in the book. At the end, he sort of apologizes, but his apology did not convince me nor did I feel happy about the heroine in her resulting relationship with him.
       If a happy marriage is not based upon trust, then I don't know what it should be based upon.
       On top of everything, the heroine has watched her mother being abused by her father for many years. I was sad to predict that she was forming a rather mal-functioning relationship herself, which was quite stupid of her.
       Christianity doesn't play a great role in this book, but it is there.

Rating: 2/5
      

P.S. This concludes our three-day delve into the works of Julie Klassen. I eagerly await her next book. Thanks to you all who read these three posts and also to you who commented. You are a great encouragement. Please let me know what would interest you for my next "Not Just With Words" post. Wallpaper (which movie?) or bookmark (which verse?). God bless :)