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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 21 Jul 2017, 14:05 
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Admiring Tom's latest effort
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Just really enjoyed The Grand Duchess of Nowhere by Laurie Graham. It's a novel/fictitious diary of the Princess Victoria Melita of Edinburgh, daughter of Prince Alfred, Queen Victoria's second son. I didn't know much about her but like most princesses she was married off very young and zigzagged from Malta to England to Coburg to Petersburg, taking in wars, divorce, babies, and revolutions.
It's told in an engaging and lively style and not at all stodgy as some of these novelised biographical things are. Well worth a read.

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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 21 Jul 2017, 15:16 
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Ooh, I shall go off and look for that. I always find "Ducky" very interesting. OK, let's rephrase that - I always find her love-life and its effect on relations between the various Romanovs very interesting :lol:. And I really like the name Melita. I don't understand why the Victorian royals were so obsessed with silly nicknames - why would you turn a really pretty name like Victoria Melita into "Ducky" :roll: ?

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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 21 Jul 2017, 16:14 
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Just bought that - thank you for the recommendation.


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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 21 Jul 2017, 16:28 
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Thanks for that Nicky. I went to buy it and Amazon helpfully told me I had already done so...will move it up the reading list.

I am just, at first mildly, and now increasingly, enjoying the trilogy of Oxford Medieval Mysteries by Ann Swinfen. Some great insights into various medieval trades and occupations although there is a little bit of "I know all about this and I am going to make sure you will too" about the style of the first book. It eases off though, and by number three I am hoping for a fourth :)

I have them through Kindle Unlimited, I don't think I would spend a great deal on them though.

By the way, does anyone know whether authors get anything from Kindle Unlimited? If they don't I shall feel very guilty about it....

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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 21 Jul 2017, 17:15 
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A friend of mine who writes romance novels recently said 'Kindle Unlimited still makes great money despite the charges', so yes, feel not guilty! :D

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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 21 Jul 2017, 22:22 
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Yes, earnings from KU make up a good part of my earnings each month. Authors/publishers have the choice of whether to put their books in or not.

It depends which authors you talk to, though - some hate KU.

I've been thinking of trying Ann Swinfen's Elizabethan series, so I'm glad to see her recommended.


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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 26 Jul 2017, 09:50 
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For anyone who likes fairytale re-tellings I just read Intisar Khanani's Thorn, which is a version of the Goose girl. I must admit I'm not very familiar with the fairytale but I enjoyed this book. It's first person, present tense which I thought I was going to hate but I stopped noticing it after a surprisingly short time. It's fairly cheap on Kindle and might be worth giving a try. It's not without its flaws (I didn't feel like everything was quite tied up at the end) but I really quite enjoyed it and I read it in one sitting. Although, I am biased as I have a real weakness for fairytale re-tellings/ fairytale-esque stories.

Edited: because apparently I can't proof read a single paragraph :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 28 Jul 2017, 02:53 
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I've just finished Beswitched (mentioned elsewhere on the board) and really enjoyed it...however, is it just me or are school stories these days less sophisticated these days in ternm of character development/ language? Or am I just biased towards the CS?

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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 01 Aug 2017, 09:31 
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Thank you Nicky for recommending The Grand Duchess of Nowhere which I enjoyed very much. While waiting for the book at the Library, I read A Humble Companion by Laurie Graham which is about the daughters of George III and is also very good.


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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 01 Aug 2017, 09:49 
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mrs helston wrote:
I've just finished Beswitched (mentioned elsewhere on the board) and really enjoyed it...however, is it just me or are school stories these days less sophisticated these days in ternm of character development/ language? Or am I just biased towards the CS?
It isn't just you - and I'd say it's not just school stories. I'd collected and read children's fiction all my life until a few years ago, and I finally gave up when I found myself unable to care much about what happened to these vaguely sketched and oh-so-predictable characters (or even remember who was who, sometimes).

I'm not the target audience, obviously, and I suspect that that target audience enjoys its books as much as ever - the Willoughby books about stage school are a pleasant read, for example, but don't come within a million miles of Antonia Forest.


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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 01 Aug 2017, 17:42 
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Noreen wrote:
the Willoughby books about stage school are a pleasant read, for example, but don't come within a million miles of Antonia Forest.


I just can't imagine a writer trying to pitch Peter's Room now!


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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 02 Aug 2017, 08:19 
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I read a lot of children's and crossover books and I think for the most part, much of the depth has gone. It's as if publishers believe children are far less capable of nuanced understanding than they used to be, and that they require unchallenging literature.

Judging by my own grandchildren,and those of my friends, this is patent nonsense.

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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 12 Aug 2017, 21:52 
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Jenefer wrote:
Thank you Nicky for recommending The Grand Duchess of Nowhere which I enjoyed very much. While waiting for the book at the Library, I read A Humble Companion by Laurie Graham which is about the daughters of George III and is also very good.


Ooh, I'll look out for that one, thanks, Jenefer. My elder daughter is called Amelia after George's youngest daughter; I first read about her in 'And So Victoria' by Vaughan Wilkins when I was about twelve and loved the name. Incidentally, Vaughan Wilkins wrote some cracking historicals, they romp along at a great rate and play plausible tunes with history!

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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 15 Aug 2017, 16:03 
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I just finished 'Regiment of Women' by Clemence Dane; has anyone else read it? It would have been a much better read without the whole Lesbian Bad, Heterosexual Relationship Good thread, but apart from that I thought it was really good and a chillingly accurate portrayal of emotionally abusive relationships.

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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 15 Aug 2017, 16:13 
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Arguing from cause to effect
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I thought it was a wonderful book, Abbey, in a thoroughly chilling way. I commented in my Goodreads review on how few people seem to have read it, I suppose it's very much of its time and we have moved on a long way since then. But I'd encourage anyone to read it - PG, of course!


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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 15 Aug 2017, 16:45 
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Read it years ago but can't remember a lot about it. Ditto The Well of Loneliness.

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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 16 Aug 2017, 13:33 
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I quite liked The Well of Loneliness too... it's less homophobic but also less well-written (in my own opinion, natch!)... swings 'n' roundabouts!

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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 19 Aug 2017, 12:04 
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I just wondered whether anyone else had read The Help by Kathryn Stockett?

It was recommended to me over a year ago by a friend (who also recommended The Bees, which I'd already read).

I tried it at the time, but couldn't get into it, in spite of it being described by at least one reviewer as 'unputdownable'. Recently, I came across it in the local library and decided to give it another go.

I found the first few chapters a bit heavy going and slow-moving, but I persevered, and I'm now about half-way through it.

I'm so glad I carried on reading, as I now find it very hard to put down.

What does anyone else who's read it, think of it?

It's set in Mississippi in the early 60s. If you enjoyed To Kill A Mocking Bird or the book/film Gone with the Wind, I think you'd probably enjoy this one.

Edited once to correct punctuation

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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 26 Aug 2017, 06:48 
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Dashing off for your part in the play
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I really enjoyed reading The Help. I haven't yet reread it, but it is a book that will definitely be reread.

I'm currently reading my way through the E Nesbit novels and is I'd forgotten how much I'd enjoyed her children's books as a child. I'd never read the House of Arden when I was younger, but I have to admit that I found it a rattling good read yesterday.

My Kindle is a life saver on long car journeys. We left Grenoble at 6.30pm on Thursday and arrived back home at 8.45pm last night - nowhere near as long as Cestina's epic trips but long enough for me to have read a couple of books.

(Edited to add a paragraph break)


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 Post subject: Re: What We're Reading III
PostPosted: 26 Aug 2017, 12:37 
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I've heard The House of Arden described as one of E. Nesbit's worst books, but I confess I enjoyed it too! The Enchanted Castle is my favourite of hers that I've read, though.

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