Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Awakening --Allen Johnson

The Awakening: A Novel of Intrigue, Seduction, and Redemption —by Allen Johnson
304 pages / 1697 KB  

4 Stars

The book is exactly as advertised. It is a novel of Intrigue, Seduction, and Redemption. There were a few places where I had difficulty suspending my disbelief, and I shan't mention them, because you may not have that problem.

The book is emotionally captivating, I liked the characters, and I enjoyed the history woven into the story. I now know more about the Spanish Civil War than I knew before. The Awakening takes place over time, and to a degree over geography; mostly in Spain, a bit in Paris, and a tad in East Harlem.

This book was a good read, wonderful for my bedtime read, in other words, the story moved well, but was not an adrenaline gusher. Much food for thought and cogitation, and it belies the old saw that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Read the book. Write a review.

I hope the next book is ready soon.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Girl With a Pearl Earring

Girl with a Pearl Earring —by Tracy Chevalier

Fiction / Historical
240 pages / 506 kb
5 Stars

After all the hype, I wasn't sure I wanted to read it. I've read, and enjoyed at various levels her other books, save one which I just can't get into, so I decided to read this one. I still like The Last Runaway best, but maybe because it was the first of her books I read?

If you want a nitty gritty history of Vermeer, or life in his place and time, this probably isn't for you. I'm not sure how historically accurate this book is, but it's a fun read, and I do believe she has done some homework.

My classification of this book is Brain Candy, and every so often, I enjoy brain candy, especially when fairly well written.

I can understand why the wife would not like Griet. Griet is young, innocent, beautiful, and a servant. The other servant is old, ugly, and no competition or threat. I can understand why the wife would never want to wear the earrings again, and why her husband gave them away when he died (via a will). Why did Vermeer not paint his family? Perhaps as he says in the book, because they could not sit still. Perhaps no one would want to buy them. It is my understanding that many artists ground their own pigments to get them the way they wanted, that it was not usually something entrusted to a lowly servant. I may be wrong on that, but if so, then it was a sign of respect that Griet was allowed to do it. And, again, possibly his family had wanted to, and for whatever reason didn't do it right?

Though these characters are not deep, they are satisfying, especially if read for what it is, a novel. A made-up story. If you want adrenalin, read someone else's books. If you want a satisfying read that isn't racing hither and yon, read Tracy Chevalier.