Some reviews cause I felt like it

Hi bookies! Long time no see. Guess who is back! (It’s me, duh.)

So as a celebration for the comeback of the worst blogger ever, let’s start with a few books I liked, in no particular order.

The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen A. Flynn: Thinking about this book makes me so giddy. It was published in the beginning of this month, but I am thinking about rereading it. It’s set slightly in the future and time travel machines are invented. The main character Rachel is sent along with actor and historian Liam to go and steal the last Jane Austen manuscript before it’s destroyed. In order to do that they have to befriend Jane Austen and infiltrate the everyday lives of the gentry.  But Rachel can’t accept the suffering of everyday 19th life and soon she starts making small changes. But Rachel is a doctor and she can’t help wondering if Jane Austen’s mysterious illness could be cured? And how will these changes affect the future?

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield: Sometimes a book talks about the experience of reading in such a familiar way that I can’t help calling it a book lovers’ book. I know, that doesn’t explain much about the plot or the genre, but that’s the first thing I need to say about The Thirteenth Tale. If you love books (and since you are reading my ramblings I guess you do), this is the book for you. It’s gothic fiction about a biographer and the reclusive novelist who promises to tell her the truth behind her mysterious past. It gave me a bit of a Wuthering Heights for some reason. Maybe it’s because of the isolated big house and a family’s strange past. One more tip: read this book on a cold day, maybe with a cup of tea next to you. It’s not a summery book at all, so it’d be much nicer to save this one for a rainy day.

Nelly Dean by Alison Case: Speaking of Wuthering Heights this is the retelling from the perspective of Nelly. Actually the original book is also told from her perspective, but this time she tells her own story. Turns out Nelly kept many secrets from Mr. Lockwood when she told him the story of Heathcliff and the Earnshaws. This book gets the tone right and the new story fits well with the original one too. You can imagine these things happening in the background of the main events. If Emily Bronte wrote a sequel, it would be pretty similar to this.

So that’s it for now. I read many more books, but these were three favorites in the past 6 months. I may write about the books that I disliked the most during this time period too, but we’ll see. But now I have to study.

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Longbourn by Jo Baker

If Longbourn sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the name of the house of one of our most beloved heroines from literature- Elizabeth Bennet. And while the Bennet girls flirt with officers, walk through mud to visit their sick sister or visit the Lucas family, someone has to sew the pretty dresses, wash the muddy petticoats or clean the house. In Longbourn  we get a glimpse into the lives of the servants, kind of like in Downton Abbey. 

The Bennet family has four servants: the butler and the housekeeper Mr. and Mrs. Hill, and two maids, Sarah and Polly. But when the Bennets get a new servant, the footman James, many changes happen in Longbourn. The housekeeper is behaving strangely, Sarah becomes rebellious, while James doesn’t say much about his past. Prepare for some unexpected plot twists.

I didn’t enjoy Longbourn. The first third of the book was promising. I wasn’t sure where the story was heading, but it was interesting enough to see what was happening behind the scenes during those iconic Pride and Prejudice moments. But then the whole romance thing happened and it didn’t seem plausible at all and all of the romantic scenes seemed poorly written and full of cliches. The chapters that were centered on James were nice, but the tragic tone didn’t match the rest of the book. And I hated the fact that Ptolemy Bingley was dismissed as a good suitor for Sarah, when the only thing that could be held against him was his race. I understand that racism was an issue then, but this is a book written today. The author could have at least turned more attention to this issue, since they decided to include a mixed race character.

I gave Longbourn 3 stars on Goodreads, but that was only because of the good beginning. But it went on a downhill from then and in the end turned into a melodramatic, boring, bad book.

Northanger Abbey and Angels and Dragons by Vera Nazarian

Yeah, yeah, it’s another book with the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies concept. But unlike PPZ, which I dropped after a few chapters, I had a great time reading Northanger Abbey and Angels and Dragons. It definitely follows the same pattern, but it had something that just hooked me, unlike PPZ. Maybe it’s the fact that Northanger Abbey is the first Austen book I’ve read so it’s always been my favorite.

It follows the plot of Northanger Abbey really closely, but there’s a twist. Catherine can hear and see the guardian angels that every person has. Pair that with a couple of evil supernatural beings and dragons and what you get is a seriously funny book. The guardian angels who give advice to Catherine are hilarious. They sound more like Catherine’s nice, but overbearing aunts, than actual angels.

The author nails Austen’s style and sometimes it took me a while to understand that the silly paragraph I was reading was not actually written by Jane Austen. I loved the footnotes which can be found every time certain words which have a different meaning nowadays are used. The author sometimes warns us that the meaning is not the same and at other times acts shocked by what the words’ modern meanings imply.

This was an easy and fun book, great for fans of Jane Austen who are looking for a light read.