Wednesday, February 26, 2020

February Book Reviews

For your consideration:

  • Some historical fiction (Living in a Star's Light);
  • A paranormal romance, of a sort (Franny’s Fable); and
  • A British satire (Curmudgeon Avenue #1).

Hope you find something for your library,

Living in a Star's Light: A novel based on the life of Miss Lotta Crabtree by Steve Lindahl

1870-80s Celebrities Had Their Posses Too 

From the complete book title, you know that Living in a Star’s Light is based on the life of American actress, dancer, musician, and philanthropist Lotta Crabtree. She made her name primarily in the 1870-80s, starting her career at the age of six dancing in the gold-mining camps in California and ending in quiet retirement and philanthropic work at Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey, some 70 years later. But as is often the case with historical fiction, Ms. Crabtree is not the center of this book. Rather, she is a notable, historical figure around whom the fictional characters circulate. In this case, it’s Walter Cain, his wife, and their friends. They are her number-one fans; they provide her feedback on her performances; they reassure her when things go wrong; they worry about her. In short, they are her crew, her entourage, her posse. 

For the complete review, see:

Curmudgeon Avenue #1: The Terraced House Diaries by Samantha Henthorn

A British Farce about “nincompoops and intertwined lives” Told by a House

The author of Curmudgeon Avenue #1, Samantha Henthorn describes her work as a comedy-drama. Drama, for example, comes in the form of the death of the parents of our two protagonists, the elderly sisters Edna and Edith at the start of the book. Comedy comes in the form of the parents dying by being crushed by an elephant thrown from a lorry driven by one of Edna’s exes. The elephant broke free of her constraints because the driver smelled so bad. Even so, he later becomes Edith’s romantic interest when he rents a room in the sisters’ home after a long, roof-sitting protest over being evicted from his own. Yes, it’s pretty difficult to find much drama in this book that’s not wrapped in total absurdity. It is truly the story of a group of nincompoops whose worlds never generate enough momentum of their own to escape each other’s orbits. And if that silliness isn’t enough, the story is told by the house, a Victorian terrace. The book even has some house humor. Speaking of the “tiresome” process of evicting someone, the house notes that it’s “… enough to make one's front bedroom windows glaze over.” Drama? Maybe. A farce? Without a doubt.

For the complete review, see:

Franny’s Fable by Heather Harrison

Kill Your Husband, Rinse, Repeat

As we join Franny in the book, Franny’s Fable, she’s writing the story of her life with husband Jamie. He’s lying in bed in the next room, dead, stabbed through the heart. She killed him. There are authors who could turn the hate, the rage, the desperation that must have gone into such a violent act into a book. But Franny isn’t documenting her struggle for survival. She’s writing about the routine of her life, about something she’s done “more times than she can count” to quote the author’s synopsis. And what she’s documenting is … her love.

For the complete review, see:

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