Book Review: The Colonel and The Enchantress by Paullett Golden

Lady Mary Mowbrah, daughter of a duke, fell in love with a man beneath her station. When he leaves for war, determined to earn her hand as a hero, she promises to wait for him, never dreaming the man who returns will be different from the man who left.

Colonel Duncan Starrett returns from war with honors, accolades, and a debilitating injury. As much as he still loves Lady Mary, he fears a future between them is now impossible.

​This is the love story of Mary and Duncan as they forge a future from the shadows of the past.

Different format to the usual romance – the couple had a romance at the beginning of the book, then meet up 5 years later, when Duncan has returned (highly injured) from active service. They are married before half way through the story and the rest of the book is spent working out how to be a married couple.

There are several obstacles to the marriage working fully – in part because Mary is of a higher class than Duncan (so both have class issues); Her fractious relationship with her mother (with an interesting backstory), etc. The second half of the book had potential, as the two newly weds got used to being in a partnership, but sometimes I felt like running through treacle – plenty of detail but perhaps too much detail

The epilogue is a little overwhelming in having SO MANY children suddenly introduced in the last chapter of the book. It is set up as if there is or will be a sequel (or a prequel that I’m somehow missing out on).

One thing that did annoy me (very minor point) is to the repeated referral to the butler as “Mr x”. Bollocks. No Servant (even Butlers) would have the “Mr” designation, Valets are perhaps excepted from this rule. This is clearly for the American Market. For those who care, I would trust Julian Fellowes (and things like Gosford Park and Downtown Abbey) for clues.

About the Author

Celebrated for her complex characters, realistic conflicts, and sensual love scenes, Paullett Golden puts a spin on historical romance. Her novels, set primarily in Georgian and Regency England with some dabbling in Ireland, Scotland, and France, challenge the norm by involving characters who are loved for their flaws, imperfections, and idiosyncrasies. Her stories show love overcoming adversity. Whatever our self-doubts, love will out.

Author NameAdditional Author detail

Inspector Montalbano: The Spiders Patience, Series 3 Episode 3

The Patience of the Spider is book 8 in the series. In the book, Salvo is recovering from injuries from the previous book and having to pull himself out of self-imposed seclusion. This is different to the upbeat note on which we finished the previous TV episode Equal Time.

Please note that I watched this episode/read the book over a year ago and this post has been sitting around pretty much since then. I decided to publish in order to clear up my scheduled posts. Apologies if i have missed something as a result

Salvo is woken by Caterella who explains in his roundabout way that a girl has been reported missing. Her father went looking for her when she didn’t return home the previous evening, but he found nothing. Her moped was found by her boyfriend, off her usual route and facing the wrong way. The working theory is that it’s a kidnapping, so the team go to visit Susannah’s father Salvatore Mistretta at home. The house has a large hallway with impressive stained glass in one of the indoor doors. Rather than stand in the hallway, they go into a more private area, another large room that’s well-lit but heavily underused. There is no money to pay any ransom, with the house already mortgaged, and the mother lying upstairs dying from an unknown undefined illness.

Salvo goes to visit Tina, the girl Susanna was studying with the day before. A big fan of Salvo’s, she tries to delay him long enough to allow her friends time to come round for photos, and she lets it be known she’s single etc. Nothing really useful comes out from the interview and Salvo excuses himself as soon as possible (note to the set people: I think I’ve seen this apartment door before).

Salvo talks to Susannah’s boyfriend, who admits that they had had sex for the first time on the day she disappeared.

The Commissioner calls to say the kidnapping has been handed over to Valente as he is more experienced with kidnappings. A taped phone call is made to the house, and in talking things over with Valente…who Salvo calls Fifi….the theory is that these are not professional kidnappers and are therefore more dangerous.

Nicolò , the TV journalist, makes Salvo come to the office and plays him the kidnap tape – the same one that was played at the home. As they discuss whether to broadcast the recording, the rival station plays it anyway. It appears the tape has been sent everywhere which is contrary to what kidnappers usually do. It seems the family lost all their money about 6 years previously, Nicolo doesn’t know why.

Salvo gets a call from the Commissioner to say that Mimi has been in an accident, which means he will be out of action for a while. Salvo goes out with Galluzzo, who has some form of food poisoning. Whilst Galluzzo is on a toilet break in the bushes, Salvo looks around, sees a farm offering fresh eggs, but also thinks he’s found the girl’s moped helmet, which has been missing until now.

He visits the farm which does sell eggs, but the wife offers sex as a sideline, as a result of her husband losing his legs in an accident several years previously. She believes a car turned up one evening and turned around but she didn’t see who. Salvo says that she will be interviewed, but she must make out to be just an egg seller. The woman mentions Dr Mistretta (Susannah’s Uncle) in passing as the one who recommends pain relief, which costs money she doesn’t have.

Salvo visits Dr Antonio Peruzzo, who lives alone in a country home far too big for a single person. It was a working farm/press/grove but most is now shut up. Antonio says his Sister In Law Giulia was poisoned. Seems everything went downhill 6 years previously, where Giulia and her brother Antonio had been close after being orphaned as children. When Giulia got married she and Salvatore went to Uruguay, bringing Antonio with them. At this point of the interview, the phone goes….there’s been another ransom call. They ask for 6 billion lire, rather than euro, which gives a clue they are still thinking in old terms. Salvo wants to put pressure on Mistretta to come up with money, but Fifi is not sure…

The rest of the story comes out…Antonio Peruzzo makes money in Uruguay through shady deals, returns to Sicily, makes more shady deals, gets investigated, borrows money, doesn’t repay, companies are made bankrupt, everyone falls out. Giulia is now sick from life whilst her brother’s businesses are doing fine.

Salvo visits Mimi in hospital where he has broken ribs etc but is still walking. Salvo now thinks they didn’t kidnap Mistretta’s daughter but Peruzzo’s niece. The town’s gossips are split in two as to whether Peruzzo should made to pay of not. Photos of the girl, proving she’s still alive are sent in and Salvo has some of the photos enlarged, spotting something interesting on the wall. He also visits the Mistretta house, which looks a fabulous house, but the further in you get it is clearly in bad repair.

Mimi discharges himself from the hospital, reports that Peruzzo’s wife got recognised and attacked in the street and two lorries got set on fire the night before. Mimi thinks Peruzzo will pay up.

Salvo and Valente go visit Peruzzo’s lawyer Luna, who tells them the kidnappers rang Peruzzo 6 hours before they rang the police, to say that Peruzzo has the money but no instructions what to do next. Salvo doesn’t like the Lawyer’s use of the word “inexplicably” as he believes the lawyer has known a lot more for a long time.

Fazio pops round to tell Salvo that Susanna had been released an hour before with some drama.

Luna rings Salvo, all miffed, saying that Salvo didn’t think his client would pay up. Money was left in an old necropolis in a bag. Salvo goes to the necropolis and as he’s checking out the bag of money – it’s full of paper and no money -he gets a call from Fazio, saying Valente is on his way, being followed by journalists. Not wanting to be found on site, Salvo makes off, only to find boyfriend at police station having been dumped by Susanna – he realises the sex was a form of saying “Goodbye”. The mother has also died.

Book Review: Serial Killers – Up Close and Personal by Victoria Redstall

An actress who has bonded deeply with serial killers shares her insights into their minds
 
Victoria Redstall is a glamorous model, actress, filmmaker, and investigative journalist who has spent years visiting high-security prison and getting to know sadistic killers like Gary Ray Bowles and Keith Hunter Jesperson, “The Happy Face Killer.” These hardened killers have opened up to her in a way that they would never do to psychiatrists, prosecutors, or other authority figures, and have revealed terrifying chapters of their lives that might otherwise have stayed hidden forever. In this chilling book she shares every detail and insight, bringing the reader up close and very personal with some of the most dangerous and disturbed serial killers that the world has ever seen. 

I’m not a huge fan of True Crime books, but I thought I’d give this one a go. I started reading this book, and within the first chapter decided that I didn’t like the writing style. It was it is supposed to be “Up close and personal” but in the stuff I read, it was more about the author than what the subjects have to say. In the first chapter, there was minimal quotes from the killer or the people around him. Here are a couple of quote from the first chapter alone to give you some kind of idea

Following a stormy marriage, Wayne’s parents divorced in 1971, with Mrs Ford travelling the world for six years while leaving her boys in the care of their father, who was now living in the Golden state of Napa. This was a bad choice because Wayne didn’t see eye to eye with his father; indeed to put no finer point on it, they didn’t get on at all.

Ford then told another unlikely story which had the dectectives winking at each other in disbelief.

We have seen the mitigation cards played by these predators and their lawyers, who deal them out time and time again prior to sentencing. Simply put, it just doesn’t wash!

I had to stop reading after the first chapter – I was being interrupted from the narrative by the writing style. In reading the other online reviews (I tend to read reviews AFTER i’ve read the book itself) and it seems I’m not alone.

Book Review: Midnight Bargain of a Runaway Marchioness by Patricia Haverton

Midnight Bargain of a Runaway Marchioness by Patricia Haverton. Woman in yellow dress on staircase, back to reader, looking over left shoulder

“You’re my world and I’m incapable of not loving you.”

When her mother sneaks inside her bedroom at night and begs her to flee, Lady Rhodeia wastes no time. With only a small bundle and the clothes on her back, she runs away, hoping against hope that her betrothed won’t ever find her.


There are two things Emmet MacLachlan, Marquess of Maynardshire, hates above all else: the Season and matchmaking. Furious at his meddling mother, he hopes a night ride will calm the beast in his gut. Until he finds an injured woman in the middle of a storm.

With Rhodeia’s true identity hanging above them like the executioner’s ax, Emmet is determined to escape with her to Scotland and start anew. A plan that quickly goes sour when Rhodeia’s father announces a bounty for her. And unbeknownst to them all, the beast that claws at Emmet’s gut has flesh, bone, and a heart made of stone.

Lady Rhodeia is an only child, who is generally ignored by her father – at least until he sees her use in marrying her off to the Earl of Carrington. Carrington is an older man, with a reputation for being a drunk, a Cad and a cheater, having a thing for younger women, and disposing of them when he’s bored.  Rhodeia’s mother is of much the same mind as her daughter – both are horrified at the thought of the marriage, so Rhodeia’s mother arranges for her to escape the house and travel to Rhodeia’s aunt in Scotland.

However, things don’t go entirely to plan and Rhodeia gets caught in a nasty storm, which results in her spraining her ankle falling off her horse and having to take refuge in a nearby abandoned cottage.  Little does she know, it’s not as abandoned as she initially thought, with Emmet Maclaclan, the Marquess of Maynardshire also taking cover. He has recently returned from India following the death of his father, in order to take over the running of the estate.   He finds the estate has been run into the ground, in part because of his mother’s frivolous spending and his father’s mis management and adultery.   Emmet also seems to be an eternal disappointment to his mother due to no interest in dressing accordingly, making the right connections, and by refusing to marry the woman who dumped him for another man 8 years previously. 

Meanwhile, Emmet and Rhodeia travel to London, in order to get Rhodeia’s ankle looked after. Neither of the MCs have told the other who they really are, not wanting to expose themselves as something more. Both do it for secrecy at the beginning but then cant think of ways to correct the other.

Two weeks later, Rhodeia’s father has been searching for Rhodeia, as he cant see beyond the marriage. He believes that Rhodeia is in London, and employs investigators to find her. Meanwhile Emmet’s mother employs an investigator to find out what Emmet’s getting up to, since he’s being so secretive.

Finally things come out into the open, at roughly the same time as Emmet and Rhodeia realise they love each other. Both get to confront their respective parents and at least Emmet’s mother has some reason behind her behaviour (even some of it is objectionable and she cant see anything wrong with it).  

The book draws parallels between the two leads and how they refuse to meet the expectations of the dominant parent which is a nice change to the standard Romance book – it’s usually only one Main Character that has the issue and it’s the other to teach that they can be loved by someone else. The Secondary characters are decently rounded out, considering – not enough that I would expect subsequent novels containing these SCs, but a bit better than other novels.

This was a reasonable (if unchallenging) Romance novel – slightly better than a lot of the other Romance novels, but not in the realms of Georgette Heyer (who I will say is in her own league!)

Book Review: The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff. Book Cover

Faith, I tell them, is a mystery, elusive to many, and never easy to explain.

Sweeping and lyrical, spellbinding and unforgettable, David Ebershoff’s The 19th Wife combines epic historical fiction with a modern murder mystery to create a brilliant novel of literary suspense. It is 1875, and Ann Eliza Young has recently separated from her powerful husband, Brigham Young, prophet and leader of the Mormon Church. Expelled and an outcast, Ann Eliza embarks on a crusade to end polygamy in the United States. A rich account of a family’s polygamous history is revealed, including how a young woman became a plural wife.

Soon after Ann Eliza’s story begins, a second exquisite narrative unfolds–a tale of murder involving a polygamist family in present-day Utah. Jordan Scott, a young man who was thrown out of his fundamentalist sect years earlier, must reenter the world that cast him aside in order to discover the truth behind his father’s death.

And as Ann Eliza’s narrative intertwines with that of Jordan’s search, readers are pulled deeper into the mysteries of love and faith.

This is a mixture of historical fiction with a modern mystery thriller with some parallels to the older story

I don’t know much (anything!) about LDS and “The Firsts” so I don’t know how much of the story is based in fact and how much is fiction.  I will presume that many liberties have been taken.

It starts with Jordan, a young gay man, who had been excommunicated from “the Firsts”, hearing that his mother has been charged with the murder of his father. Jordan’s mother is commonly referred to as “The 19th wife”. Jordan travels back to Measdale, whilst trying to work out if and how his mother did this.

The majority of the book tells the story of the beginning of the LDS and the breakaway sect of “The Firsts” – members of the LDS who believed that “celestial marriage” (pologamy) was the core of their faith as it was the only guaranteed way to get eternal glory in the afterlife.

Through letters, papers, books etc, the story of Bigham Young’s 19th Wife (Ann Eliza, and the struggles she has as being a multiple wife, which ultimately leads to her loss of faith, her divorce, her loss of income and her ultimate disappearance from history.  Meanwhile the story of Jordan and his mother does take a bit of a background story and hinges on a technicality.

I was removed from the overall story due to regularly thinking “how much is true?”, though I thought generally the book was good and entertaining. I’m not convinced that Jordan’s modern day story added much (quite honestly – too many step-siblings and sister aunts got confusing – but perhaps that’s the point!). Would I have gotten through the rest of the book without it though? Probably not!

Book Review: Chasing the Italian Dream by Jo Thomas

A summer escape she’ll never forget . . .

Lucia has worked hard as a lawyer in Wales, aiming for a big promotion she hopes will shortly come her way. Finally taking a well-earned break at her grandparents’ house in southern Italy, the sunshine, lemon trees and her Nonna’s mouth-watering cooking make her instantly feel at home.

But she’s shocked to learn that her grandfather is retiring from the beloved family pizzeria and will need to sell. Lucia can’t bear the thought of the place changing hands – especially when she discovers her not-quite-ex-husband Giacomo wants to take it over!

Then bad news from home forces Lucia to re-evaluate what she wants from life. Is this her chance to carry on the family tradition and finally follow her dreams? 

I’ve previously read books by this author, so when this book was available on Netgalley as an ebook, I took the chance to get a copy.

Lucia (born to Italian parents, but growing up in Wales following the death of her father and the remarriage of her mother) has been working on landing a promotion at her Welsh Law firm, the decision to come in after she leaves on her annual holiday to Italy.

Her arrival at her grandparents is bitter sweet – her Grandmother’s cooking, care and attention provide a level of coziness, her Grandfather’s restaurant is still providing people with traditional food, and many of the customers are the same visitors who come back time and again. This allows Lucia to start to relax almost immediately. However, it also turns out that things are also changing – her grandfather is getting old and wants to pass the restaurant on to someone who has similar passion as himself. In the absence of Lucia, her almost-ex husband Giacomo has been lined up to take over.

Lucia, Giacomo and Lucia’s Grandparents come to an arrangement – a competition to cover the next month, where Giacomo and Lucia’s cooking are pitted against each other, but the competition is to remain a secret. Not only does Lucia have to fight the memories of her marriage, the belief that Giac is sabotaging her, and that locals would not accept a female pizza maker consumes much of the book

Lucia also finds support and friendship in various women, including a young widowed friend (who needed to branch out to being more than a “kept mother” by her in-laws), Lucia’s Nonna and one of the local now-ex prostitutes

The decision day comes and yet still, things dont go quite according to plan. However, things work out in the best possible way, as you would hope and expect.

This was a lovely read during a summer break, with a suitable romance, lovely food, the chance of redemption and that perhaps you can go back to somewhere before where you get the chance to reinvent yourself, and help others at the same time

Quilts etc

It’s not something I really talk about but I thought i’d mention it here. I dont like being in crowds, because I know I get really (and I mean REALLY) stressed out in crowds. I get anxious with general shopping, especially at peak times, e.g Christmas, New Year etc.

I do have some coping mechanisms (Thank the Technology Gods for internet shopping!), but there are some occasions where IRL shopping is more necessary than most.

Every year Birmingham UK (NEC to be exact) usually hosts ““The Festival of Quilts“. It’s one of, if not the biggest, quilting events in Europe. It goes across multiple Halls in what is arguably the biggest Venue for such an event. Let’s just say; it’s HUGE!

I’ve been to this event several times since 2006 and each time, I’ve claimed I’d never go to another event. When I was younger I was always taught to “respect your elders”. I’ve learnt from events like this that “elders” do not show you the respect they want, do as far I’m convinced, all bets are off. If my “Elder” is willing to take my ankle out with their walking stick, then quite honestly, meh!

Meanwhile, bearing this in mind, this year I’ve chosen to buy a “VIP” ticket. My Ticket has already arrived, which includes early entry (9 am on a Saturday – urggh!!!!!), access to the VIP lounge, as well as VIP buffet lunch etc. Hopefully, that will at least calm my anxiety at least long enough for me to stick around for the lunch (so at least 3 hours). I normally do these events in about 90 mins because my anxiety gets too high and I need to leave.

As part of my VIP ticket, I should get the brochure a few days before the event, so I have the opportunity to plan where I’m going and who I want to see. I have some stalls that I try to support from one year to the next (even if I dont support for the rest of the year – bad me!).

If I’m feeling good, and It’s ok,  I will take and share photos of the submissions – based on previous submissions, these Quilts are AMAZING! If you have the chance to visit – then FOQ is well worth the visit, no matter the year. I also plan to share my stash and even mention the stores I got the stash from in due course.  

Book Talk and Update

Yes, I’m still here, just not publishing (review) posts as frequently. However, I thought I’d make an update post of general things going on

Book Talk

In scheduling my May (i.e. Comic book) tweets, I’ve realised that whilst I’ve read lots of *Comics* over the last year (My LCBS and I now have a reasonable monthly deal going on), I’ve not read and reviewed any *Graphic Novels* over the last year.

Previously I’ve done Comic Books into June, but I’ve become aware that June really should be #PRIDE month. I will admit that I dont track my books at that level, so currently, it’s difficult to identify the books that could be classed as predominate “LGBT+” books (why cant people read everything?).  I’ve realised I do have a few books or authors that *could* be classed as LGBT, but in a way I do think it’s hooking my name to an unnecessary flag. i’m curious what people think. Constructive comments only please!

I’m halfway through reading “the 19th Wife”, which at 500+ pages is long for me at this time.

My 2 year Persephone Book Subscription has finished (I brought 1 year, I got another year as a pressie). I now have a HUGE stack of books that need to be read.

Because that’s not enough, I decided on a number of other subscriptions:

One for A Box of Stories, where every few months I get a box of books that would have other wise ended up in Landfill (or elsewhere) because they didnt sell through the usual routes (e.g. a bookshop). Due to the number of books I have, I have yet to attempt any of the boxes I’ve received so far.

Periene Press – 1 book every 3 months (i.e. 3 a year), of translated books based on an overall theme

I’ve brought virtually no individual books (I have WAY too many to read) but I have pre-ordered “Riccardino” by Andrea Camilleri. It’s rare for me to order books (esp hard books) but this is the last Montalbano book, that Camilleri told his publisher not to publish until he died.   Along with my Pratchett Hardback (I’ve got most of them, but especially his last Discworld that I still have to read), this will be added to the “Permanent Collection” pile.

New SM

WordPress and Hootsuite have changed their User Interface (UI) which has made it a tad difficult to work out some stuff, including numbers and being able to shedule tweets.

Bookcrossing general

I normally have several shelves that I can “release” books to, but of course, these shelves have not been available for the last 14 months or so. Therefore books have been backing up in my flat, which has meant my flat has looked even more cluttered than I’m happy with.  As an interim, I left books in my apartment block foyer. Initially, the books I had chosen didnt move, so I changed my selection – choose from the books that I *had* planned to read at some point, but if I was going to be brutal, I realised that I would not read in the next 12+ Months. So those got put on the pile. It’s been interesting in how many of them have gone (I’d say over 50%). I really should do a refresh in the next few weeks – if they haven’t gone now, its unlikely they’re going to go in the next few days)

At time of posting, the 2021 #Bookcrossing UK Uncon is scheduled for October 2021, to be held in Newcastle. The twitter account is @BCUKUNcon2021 and I would love for more people to follow and/or tweet and/or recommend Newcastle related accounts or things to do (or even suggestions as to possible additions to the raffle pressies would be lovely)

Book Review: The Heiress: The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh by Molly Greeley

The Heiress by Molly Greeley, Book Cover. White text, over a blue bottle, on a green and yellow floral background

 

In this gorgeously written and spellbinding historical novel based on Pride and Prejudice, the author of The Clergyman’s Wife combines the knowing eye of Jane Austen with the eroticism and Gothic intrigue of Sarah Waters to reimagine the life of the mysterious Anne de Bourgh.

As a fussy baby, Anne de Bourgh’s doctor prescribed laudanum to quiet her, and now the young woman must take the opium-heavy tincture every day. Growing up sheltered and confined, removed from sunshine and fresh air, the pale and overly slender Anne grew up with few companions except her cousins, including Fitzwilliam Darcy. Throughout their childhoods, it was understood that Darcy and Anne would marry and combine their vast estates of Pemberley and Rosings. But Darcy does not love Anne or want her.

After her father dies unexpectedly, leaving her his vast fortune, Anne has a moment of clarity: what if her life of fragility and illness isn’t truly real? What if she could free herself from the medicine that clouds her sharp mind and leaves her body weak and lethvargic? Might there be a better life without the medicine she has been told she cannot live without

In a frenzy of desperation, Anne discards her laudanum and flees to the London home of her cousin, Colonel John Fitzwilliam, who helps her through her painful recovery. Yet once she returns to health, new challenges await. Shy and utterly inexperienced, the wealthy heiress must forge a new identity for herself, learning to navigate a “season” in society and the complexities of love and passion. The once wan, passive Anne gives way to a braver woman with a keen edge—leading to a powerful reckoning with the domineering mother determined to control Anne’s fortune . . . and her life.

An extraordinary tale of one woman’s liberation, The Heiress reveals both the darkness and light in Austen’s world, with wit, sensuality, and a deeply compassionate understanding of the human heart.

Hardback edition kindly sent to me by Hodder and Staunton, scheduled to be published on 8 April 2021. I have mixed feelings about books that inhabit the world of Pride and Prejudice. To me, for every Longbourn, there are multiple Death Comes to Pemberley. I find that the less an author tries to shoe-horn a story into an already existing framework the better.

Thankfully, this book has taken a relatively small (but pivotal) character in Pride and Prejudice and given her a whole story outside of the P&P framework. There are occasional references to the “could have been”, usually outside of the original P&P, so no shoehorning or reinventing is required, which allows both the author and the story to simply exist.

There is a relatively large plot twist that comes in the second half of the book, but due to not wanting to provide spoilers (it is fairly fundamental to What Happens Next), I wont mention it. Personally, I think it is handled well and appropriately, so I am interested in seeing what others think, especially those who consider themselves “purists”. I also found that “Part Four” was a lovely take on the end of a story – not everything is resolved to everyone’s satisfaction, but still…..

About the Author

 

Molly Greeley was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where her addiction to books was spurred by her parents’ floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. She lives in northern Michigan with her husband and three children

 

Book Review: Secret Seven on the trail by Enid Blyton

The Secret Seven on the Trail by Enid Blyton. Book CoverIs something mysterious happening at Tigger’s Barn? Peter thinks it’s a hoax. Then Jack overhears an extraordinary conversation which leads the Seven on a trail of adventure.

I picked up a load of “Famous Five” and “Secret Seven” books from both Bookcrossing and places like the Works. Originally i had brought them with the plan to give them to my nieces when they were younger, but never got the chance (all on me, no one else!). In clearing up a room, I found them again, but by this time the “girls” were too old for these books, so I decided to put into the reading mix.

I picked this one up to read first – not only was it the first of those I had about The Secret Seven books, but it was under 100 pages, so would help me get someway into my slow reading slump.

These would have been age appropriate the last time I read them (late 70s?). I know I was already reading above my age, so it’s quite interesting to remember these books (plus Mallory Towers) were on the reading list.

This is Number 4 in the series, and was (apparently) a line of books to shake up the already established “Famous Five” line. The Secret Seven are an established team, and out of jealousy, Susan – Sister to the SS team member Jack – sets up her own Secret Club, which also gets named as “Famous Five” in deference to the more famouse group of the same name. In order to catch the Seven out, the Five send them off on a Fool’s journey, having lead the latter team to think the Five know about a secret happening up at an old derelict house. Little do the Five know, there IS a secret assignation happening when members of the seven club go up, and the rest of the book is spent working out how to prevent the crime from happening.

I have multiple feelings in reviewing this book. Published in 1952, it’s very much a book of it’s time: Men (boys) are men – therefore leaders, in charge, and the action men. Women (girls) are girly, subservient, to be followers rather than leaders etc – it’s “the boys” who go up against the criminals, not due to their physicality, but because they are “smarter”. However, it is one of the girls who says the magic phrase, that makes everything fall into place. The boys are playing with their train tracks and it’s for “the girls” to set up the farms and animals around the train tracks. You have to love Gender stereotypes.!

Another part of me looks at it for what I like to think it is: A short adventure story for under 10 year olds, who have been brought up with a specific family mindset.

I would be curious as to what the supposed target audience would look at such a style of writing now.
In clearing up a room, I found them again, but by this time the “girls” were too old for these books, so I decided to put into the reading mix.

I picked this one up to read first – not only was it the first of by Secret Seven books, but it was under 100 pages, so would help me get someway into my slow reading slump.

These would have been age appropriate the last time I read them (late 70s?). I know I was already reading above my age, so it’s quite interesting to remember these books (plus Mallory Towers) were on the reading list.

This is Number 4 in the series, and was (apparently) a line of books to shake up the already established “Famous Five” line. The Secret Seven are an established team, and out of jealousy, Susan – Sister to the SS team member Jack – sets up her own Secret Club, which also gets named as “Famous Five” in deference to the more famouse group of the same name. In order to catch the Seven out, the Five send them off on a Fool’s journey, having lead the latter team to think the Five know about a secret happening up at an old derelict house. Little do the Five know, there IS a secret assignation happening when members of the seven club go up, and the rest of the book is spent working out how to prevent the crime from happening.

I have multiple feelings in reviewing this book. Published in 1952, it’s very much a book of it’s time: Men (boys) are men – therefore leaders, in charge, and the action men. Women (girls) are girly, subservient, to be followers rather than leaders etc – it’s “the boys” who go up against the criminals, not due to their physicality, but because they are “smarter”. However, it is one of the girls who says the magic phrase, that makes everything fall into place but Ultimately it’s the boys who get the credit. The boys are playing with their train tracks and it’s for “the girls” to set up the farms and animals around the train tracks. You have to love Gender stereotypes! As the Adult I also find it “interesting” that the Ancillary staff, like the Inspector, is not named.It’s the child who announces “it’s Peter” [therefore you know who I am and you WILL listen to me], rather than the other way around.

Another part of me looks at it for what I like to think it is: A short adventure story for under 10 year olds, who have been brought up with a specific family mindset.

I would be curious as to what the supposed target audience would look at such a style of writing now.