Friday, February 28, 2014

Book Review: Dandelions on the Wind by Mona Hodgson (2013)

My Rating: 3 of 5 stars

It is Maren Jensen's greatest desire to earn enough money to return home to Denmark before her eyesight fails her completely. A mail-order bride, her would-be husband refused her upon learning of her degenerative sight, abandoning her in St. Charles, Missouri. Maren now lives with the kindly Widow Brantenberg and her little granddaughter, Gabi, helping care for the house and the farm, but making no additional money to put aside for her return trip. It is only when Gabi's father, Woolly, returns alive from his time in the war between the states that Maren imagines the possibility of another life, a life of wholeness and love in St. Charles.

I am fond of historic literature, but lately prairie fiction is just not impressing me. Anything having to do with the 1850s to 1870s simply slides on past my radar as being mediocre. That could either be just me, or it could be that this book simply didn't snag my attention. I fear it's the latter. Sometimes novellas work and sometimes they don't. In Ms. Hodgson's case, her writing is excellent. She is masterful at creating genuine characters and placing them in real-life situations. It's just that I think Maren's story would have been much better suited to a full-length novel. Her story is interesting, but it moves far too quickly, and resolves itself too easily. For a young woman who earnestly desires to return to Denmark, she acquiesces to Woolly's attentions far too easily. It felt too simple, as if everything had been done before in various other books, in various other pairings. The guilt-ridden father finally returns home after his wife's death in order to care for his little girl. It's a familiar story and I guess I was expecting either something more, or something longer. It's nothing against Maren or even Woolly, it's just that it didn't live up to my expectations.

We'll see if the 2nd book in the series interests me any more than the first one.

- I received this book for free from Blogging for Books and Netgalley for this review.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Moving Ahead: A New Stage in My Journey

It's strange how emotions and feelings choose the funniest times to pop up and make a nuisance of themselves. Perhaps I shouldn't say nuisance since these are actually emotions I should be feeling, but I hate having the urge to burst into tears at the drop of a hat.

The Lord has blessed me mightily this month. Starting next Monday I will be one of Compassion International's newest employees in the SDP department (a lot of financial and data entry work). If you're not familiar with the company, they focus on child sponsorship in 3rd world countries and also handle a lot of disaster relief and family training. It's a wonderful, wonderful company that uplifts the lives of the downtrodden and shines the light of Jesus into the darkest of places. I can't even begin to express my love for this company, and the honor and gratitude I feel for their hiring me. They're changing my life, and in the best way possible.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Book Review: What Once Was Lost by Kim Vogel Sawyer (2013)

My Rating: 3 of 5 stars

Read Chapter One
Author's Bio

Christina's parents ran a charitable poor farm until their deaths, and now the responsibility falls to Christina herself, a young woman who harbors a deep compassion for the downtrodden. When a fire displaces Christina and the poor farm tenants, she struggles to find places for her little family, at least until the mission board sends the funds to rebuilt. Little Tommy is the hardest one to place, since his blindness makes him a perceived liability around the house, but she finally settles him with a loner who lives on the outskirts of town, Levi Jonnson. The man runs a lumber mill, and is gruff in his ways, but she is left with no alternative. Surprisingly young Tommy takes to Levi almost immediately, and now all Christina must do is wait for the mission board to send funds. Except that they haven't done so, and now her tenants are slowly finding other positions in life. Is it just possible that God has a plan for her life that is apart from her own goals? Can she let the poor farm tenants go, releasing them into new life experiences and options? Only Christina knows for sure whether she is capable of letting go of the past and looking to the future.

Kim Vogel Sawyer is a staunch Christian author whose presence has been felt in the Christian fiction community since 2006. She implements faith elements into her novels throughout the entire book, and What Once Was Lost is no exception. Christian is a young woman of strong moral character and a passionate belief in God. The secondary characters, especially the ones from the poor farm, are equally as dedicated to their faith, and that leaves only Levi who comes to the Lord slowly. Ms. Sawyer surprised me by including an unmarried pregnancy since that can be a touchy subject in Christian fiction, but she handled the topic well.

I wish I had liked this book, but I just could not get into either the story or the characters. I never connected with either Christina or Levi and I found the romance to be exceptionally sappy and predictable. I'm sure that I'm in the minority in this, it's just that I literally despise lines like, "And my heart leaped like a nimble deer" when describing a woman's response to a man's entrance into a room. No, it just did not work for me, at all. No doubt there are plenty of fans out there who love Ms. Sawyer's books, and a part of me is sorry that I won't be joining their ranks, but the book did not work for me. I wish her the best in her future ventures, and with the audience she attracts.

- I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

In Defense of Sherlock

Right now there seems to be a lot of confusion running rampant about the personality and motivations behind Sherlock Holmes of BBC’s Sherlock. "He's selfish" crops up online regularly and I'm always left slightly puzzled at this interpretation of his behavior. I don't accept that interpretation of his actions. Okay, perhaps he is selfish, but the question should always come before the judgment. And really, just how selfish is he? Why is he selfish? What drives that selfishness? And perhaps, at the end of the day, we're left with the understanding that Sherlock isn't actually selfish at all, but something else entirely.

You see, I think it's important to judge fictional characters based off their personality types and the mannerisms those personality types exhibit. Perhaps a lot of people don't interact with an INTP (Myers-Briggs Personality Test) regularly, but that is one of the three personalities (leave it to him to use THREE personality types!) that Sherlock exhibits, and if I know anything in this entire world, it's how an INTP thinks. Nope, not because I am one since I'm an ISFJ thank you very much. Rather, I've been blessed with an INTP for a best friend, and if that doesn't give me insight into Sherlock's lunacy then nothing will.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

All Anthony-ed Out!

Go to the Anthony Andrews Blog Count or the Delights of Anthony Andrews . . . or a Valentine's Month Blog Hop! pages for links to the other blog hop participant articles!

Well, m'dears, I knew it would happen sooner or later, but I just can't write another word about my beloved Anthony Andrews. This Anthony Andrews Blog Hop Party is now officially finished on my end.

Feel free to continue writing blog posts or posting ones you've pre-scheduled. I'll hop on and read them and comment and all that good stuff, but I'm literally drained of any words that could be used in context with AA.

I do hope that this blog hop has inspired you to track down some of his lesser-known works, and that you've enjoyed the time spent with me this month in revisiting his terrific filmography. Now I can go back to just watching his movies and not psycho-analyzing them. So refreshing!

Starting next week, I'll return to the regular regimen of posts, book reviews, and other good stuff.

Anthony Andrews Mystery Collection: Agatha Christie's Sparkling Cyanide

Anthony Andrews and Deborah Raffin in Sparkling Cyanide (1983)

Go to the Anthony Andrews Blog Count or the Delights of Anthony Andrews . . . or a Valentine's Month Blog Hop! pages for links to the other blog hop participant articles!

What is up with this man? Every time I turn around right now, Anthony Andrews is popping up in some mystery or other. First Columbo then Miss Marple then Rosemary and Thyme and now he's starring in a stand-alone Agatha Christie known as Sparkling Cyanide. I suspect that the screenwriters probably butchered Ms. Christie's original story, but like my fondness for By the Pricking of My Thumbs, it doesn't entirely matter.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Book Review: By the Pricking of My Thumbs (Tommy and Tuppence) by Agatha Christie

By the Pricking of My Thumbs (Tommy and Tuppence, #4)By the Pricking of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I admit it, I'm now a die-hard Tommy and Tuppence fan. Ok, so my adoration actually started upon seeing Anthony Andrews play Tommy in a rather muddled interpretation of this story. But if I hadn't watched the episode, I would have never decided to read the book! A book which, as it turns out, is loads better than what the screenwriters pieced together. Who knew they created such a dreadful Frankenstein's monster?!

When Tommy's aged Aunt Ada dies in a home for elderly ladies, her belongings are disposed of by Tommy and Tuppence, all except for a few knick-knacks, odds and ends, and a painting that originally belonged to one of the other elderly ladies in the home. Tuppence remembers quite vividly her encounter with Mrs. Lancaster, and talk of a child being buried behind a fireplace. In a sudden fit of whatever you want to call it, Tuppence decides to return the picture to Mrs. Lancaster, thinking the woman might want it back. Except that Mrs. Lancaster has been rather suddenly removed from Sunny Ridge, and now Tuppence is sniffing out some sort of foul play much to Tommy's chagrin. He's helpless to stop her, and while he's off at a very hush-hush meeting of English politicians and officials, Tuppence is doing reconnaissance of her own, determined to find Mrs. Lancaster just in case the woman was right about her stories of a dead child in a fireplace, perhaps even the house in the painting.

By the Pricking of My Thumbs is delightful. I literally never wanted to put it down, and I wouldn't have except that I had to work. It is absolutely nothing like the tv episode, and for that I'm glad because the book is so much more like Agatha Christie. A kindly old vicar of the highest virtue in a town full of mostly friendly people. This is Agatha Christie, perhaps not at her best, but at my favorite. I love Poirot and Miss Marple, but I do believe that Tommy and Tuppence Beresford are now my favorites of her characters. It's time to read the rest of their series, short stories and all!

For the rest of my reviews, see my page HERE.

Book Review: Wildwood Creek by Lisa Wingate (2014)

Wildwood Creek (Moses Creek, #4)Wildwood Creek by Lisa Wingate
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Allie Kirkland's father died in a tragic car accident, he left a void that nothing could fill. Nothing except the idea of continuing in her father's chosen profession, the glitz and glamor of Hollywood film-making. Despite the disappointment of her family, mother, stepfather, and various half-siblings, Allie is determined to make a go of the Hollywood life, not in front of the camera, but behind. So when the opportunity crops up to intern with a company producing a historic reenactment village, she leaps at the chance. Little mysteries pop up here and there about Wildwood Creek, the town they are recreating, and none more mysterious than the story of Bonnie Rose, the school teacher of 1861 that many locals had claimed was a witch. Coinciding with Allie's story is the story of Bonnie Rose, the book altering between the voices of the two women, one a strong survivor, and the other learning that she's stronger than she thinks.

I confess to being a bit doubtful about the variation of characters. It's hard mentally to jump from one era to another within the same book. I've never much enjoyed the multi-generational stories that span over a hundred years. Because of that part of myself, I wish that Wildwood Creek had been told in two different books. Just when I started getting into Bonnie Rose's story, the voice switched over to Allie's life, and just when I invested myself in Allie's life, I was back with Bonnie Rose. The book is excellent, but I'm just not accustomed to that aspect of Ms. Wingate's style.

That issue aside, some books are just plain good. The writing, the characters, the setting, and Wildwood Creek is one of those books. Both Allie and Bonnie Rose are intelligent, relatable heroines. Bonnie Rose had suffered more than any young woman should have suffered, and her voice is ripe with the pain and fear, but also beautiful when she allows herself to hope. Allie is all spunk and twenty-first century heroine who happens to be just klutzy enough to make me laugh. Getting stuck in a window frame, indeed! I think that's something I might do! The downside is that Bonnie Rose's romantic interest is never fully developed, either one of them. The story just didn't have enough time, but it would have if Bonnie Rose had been given her own book. At least Allie had Blake, and he's developed enough, for the most part, that the reader likes him and gets to know him.

My brain clicks along in a logical way most of the time, unless I choose to turn it off, so there were parts of the story I just didn't buy. Like, what girl in her right mind who hasn't shaved her legs in weeks sneaks off in capris with the young man she loves? Umm, no, not going to happen in any civilized western country. And then there's the cell phone call that she should have made to her friend, but didn't. Kim has a cell phone and Allie could easily borrow one to try and find her, but she never even thinks about it. So, there were a couple of little niggly things that snapped me out of the story's pacing, but most books have at least one or two so it didn't bother me too much.

Overall, Ms. Wingate is a very engaging author whose writing voice is solid and intriguing. It could not have been easy writing from the perspectives of two such different women in two such different time periods, but she managed it with flying colors. I loved all of the characters that I was supposed to love, and despised the ones I was supposed to despise. The book is not a typical romance, but has suspenseful elements interwoven in such a way as to make the story that much more intriguing. All in all, Wildwood Creek is a fun, innovative read, and fortunately for me, I wasn't completely lost upon discovering it was 4th in the Moses Creek series when I hadn't read any of the previous books. It stands solidly on its own two feet and speaks to fans of both historic and contemporary Christian fiction.

- I received this book free of charge from Bethany House Publishers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review which I have given.

For the rest of my reviews, see my page HERE.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

From me, Bobby Darin, and Sandra Dee!

TSP Quotation Challenge and Giveaway Winner!

Go to the Anthony Andrews Blog Count or the Delights of Anthony Andrews . . . or a Valentine's Month Blog Hop! pages for links to the other blog hop participant articles!

Congratulations to HAMLETTE!

And we really must congratulate her since this was only her first watching of
 The Scarlet Pimpernel. Well done, m'dear! I'll email you tomorrow to
verify your address! Ivanhoe shall be yours!

Thanks to the runners-up, Charity and Marissa, for participating!

Hamlette missed only 3 questions, Marissa missed 4, and Charity missed 8.
I judged according to each fill-in-the-blank space so some of the quotations
were actually worth 2 or 3 answers. You ladies were great sports!

For those of you curious as to the correct answers to my little
quotation challenge, here you go!

  1. "They seek him here, they seek him there, those Frenchies seek him everywhere."
  2. "Od's fish, m'dear. Would you have me challenge the poor countess to a duel?"
  3. "Then your tailors will rule the land, and no one will make the clothes."
  4. "Percy. Fashionably late, as usual." "Sink me, your highness, it was this damned cravat. Simply refused to tie."
  5. "Oh, the English, and their STUPID sense of fair play!"
  6. "So much for French fashion and French politics."
  7. "Approval, sir, in my opinion, demands the attainment of perfection. And in that sense, you rather overrate the charm of your society." 
  8. "If I were to tell you that I adore you, would you have me do so stintingly? Or would you have me declare it as I feel it, with all my heart?"
  9. "I swear you've been taking lessons. The cravat's a picture."
  10. "My heart dictates the pace."
  11. "From this moment on, she must never be trusted. We cannot risk betrayal."
  12. "What I see before me is a facade. A shell of a man I once knew. This is some absurd role you're playing. I don't know why, but I'm sure it is. Perhaps to keep the world at a distance. And now you're shutting me out as well."
  13. "A phantom, my lady, nothing more than a phantom."
  14. "He was looking for the Scarlet Pimpernel. I pray he found a fool."
  15. "You must learn to trust me, my friend. Do not trouble your head with thoughts of Louise. I will see that she is safe."
  16. "It would seem your friend is in distress. To the rescue."
  17. "I see now what begins as a dream can end as a nightmare. Some causes can become warped and twisted, like some men."
  18. "My dear chap, I never would have dreamt of depriving you of your moment of triumph. Alas, a moment was all I could spare."
  19. "They knew that your tears would be the worst possible torture."
  20. "Ceased? I will love her to the day I die. That is the tragedy."
  21. "God bless the Scarlet Pimpernel, whoever he may be. Surely he must be an angel in disguise."

Discovering True Love: Percy and Marguerite

Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour in The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982)

Go to the Anthony Andrews Blog Count or the Delights of Anthony Andrews . . . or a Valentine's Month Blog Hop! pages for links to the other blog hop participant articles!

What is romance? A lot of people picture it as hearts and flowers and that tingly sensation in the pit of the stomach. It can be that unspoken attraction between two people before they even really meet each other. A glance across a crowded room. A touch of a hand that sparks something unexpected.

For Sir Percival Blakeney in The Scarlet Pimpernel, it was a glance across a room that started his inexplicable infatuation with Marguerite St. Just. He knew nothing of her, not really even her name when he first encountered her. Only that she was the sister of a man he happened to save because that's what Percy does . . . he saves people. It is the perfect moment of love at first sight for any romantic dreamer.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Anthony Andrews Blog Count (Updated 2/25/14)


All right, m'dears, these are all of the official posts for this Anthony Andrews Blog Hope to date, including a few, or maybe just one, that I added from another blog but was written years ago. I think the post covers the author's love for The Scarlet Pimpernel beautifully. I will continue updating this list as more of the links go live, and of course, if anyone new happens to add something, which you're always welcome to do.

If you want a post added, please just comment down below and I'll update both this list, and the LINKY that apparently only works for some folks. Weird!

Intro Post and Miscellaneous
Anthony Andrews Blog Hop Introduction Post (mine)
A Taste of the Real Anthony Andrews (mine)

The Scarlet Pimpernel: Quotation Challenge and Ivanhoe DVD Giveaway! (mine)
Quotation Challenge Winner (mine)

Brideshead Revisited:
Brideshead Revisited (mine)
Gods and Teddy Bears: Sebastian and Aloysius (Charity's Place)

The Scarlet Pimpernel:
The Fop and the Fool: Christian Symbolism in The Scarlet Pimpernel (Charity's Place)
Sir Percival Blakeney, Baronet (Marissa)
Sir Percy Blakeney, Baronet: The Man Behind the Mask (mine)
Sir Percy’s Personality Type (Funky MBTI Fiction)
Discovering True Love: Percy and Marguerite (mine)
Giveaway of "The Scarlet Pimpernel" DVD (Hamlette)
An objective review on "The Scarlet Pimpernel" (Hamlette)

Anthony as a delicious villain in the BEST Columbo episode ever!

 Misc. Roles:
The Beast Within: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Charity's Place)
Miss Marple - By the Pricking of My Thumbs: The Trouble With Tommy (mine)
Lessons from Moriarty: Hands of a Murderer (Charity's Place)
Oh, What a Tangled Web We Weave . . . Columbo Goes to the Guillotine (Charity's Place)
Sacrificial Love: Ivanhoe and Rebecca (mine)
Agatha Christie's Sparkling Cyanide (mine)
Frogs and Snails: Little Boys (Charity's Place)

Charity’s Place Movie Reviews:
Brideshead Revisited
David Copperfield
Hands of a Murderer
The King’s Speech
Love in a Cold Climate
Marple, Season Two
The Scarlet Pimpernel

Remember to submit your answers to my Scarlet Pimpernel Quotation Challenge and GIVEAWAY! I'll post the winner tomorrow night around 8pm MST so get those answers submitted. A free Ivanhoe DVD is a lovely prize, if I do say so myself . . . which I do. *winks*

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Scarlet Pimpernel Quotation Challenge and GIVEAWAY!!

Come and join us on the Day Dream!

Go to the Anthony Andrews Blog Count or the Delights of Anthony Andrews . . . or a Valentine's Month Blog Hop! pages for links to the other blog hop participant articles!

All right, ladies (and gentlemen if there are any of you interested), get your little grey cells whirring for this exciting quotation challenge!


Monday, February 10, 2014

Sacrificial Love: Ivanhoe and Rebecca

Anthony Andrews and Olivia Hussey in Ivanhoe (1982)

Go to the Anthony Andrews Blog Count or the Delights of Anthony Andrews . . . or a Valentine's Month Blog Hop! pages for links to the other blog hop participant articles!

The best stories leave you wanting more. And sometimes they don't have the perfect ending, like Ivanhoe. I've never read the book (it's on my to-reads list for sometime in the next 5 years), so I have no clue as to whether this film adaptation is faithful or not, and frankly, I don't care. Because Wilfrid of Ivanhoe's story transcends just the tale penned by Sir Walter Scott. It is a tale of chivalry, of honor, of defeat, and of romance, and it never fails to move me to tears because my favorite couple is doomed to the status of unrequited love.

Friday, February 7, 2014

By the Pricking of My Thumbs: The Trouble with Tommy

Anthony Andrews and Greta Scacchi as Tommy and Tuppence in By the Pricking of My Thumbs (2006)

Go to the Anthony Andrews Blog Count or the Delights of Anthony Andrews . . . or a Valentine's Month Blog Hop! pages for links to the other blog hop participant articles!

I vaguely remember reading this Agatha Christie novel once, quite a few years back, and being surprised that she'd written something without either Poirot or Miss Marple. It didn't snag my interest for very long, possibly because I didn't have a visual to go with the story. Now I do, and I wish to high heaven that some genius had leapt to his/her feet and declared the necessity of a Tommy and Tuppence miniseries! Just a single season, possibly only 4 episodes, but each one casting this brilliant duo of Anthony Andrews and Greta Scacchi.

Now that you've had my prologue (although I confess that Anthony doesn't have nearly enough scenes for a die-hard fangirl like me!), we can move on to the meat of Tommy and Tuppence's relationship.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Book Review: Rescue Team by Candace Calvert (2013)

Rescue Team (Grace Medical, #2)Rescue Team by Candace Calvert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Search and rescue team captain, Wes Tanner was driven into the darkness as a little boy and left in the woods by his mother. That heart-pounding of a seven-year old motivates the man to keep looking, to keep pushing, to find the people who are lost. The safety of other people is his top priority, and is almost a complete 180 from the views of Kate Callison, the interim ER director for Grace Medical in Austin, TX. Her life is such that Kate is always running, from her emotions, from her father, from anything that will remind her of the mistakes she's made in the past. Wes and Kate meet through tragedy, and she is inevitably drawn to his quiet strength and his certainty that God watches over His creation. Her instincts are to push him away, but what Kate doesn't realize at first is that when she pushes Wes away, she's pushing God away, and He is the One she needs most to quiet her fears and give her a future and a hope.

I vaguely recall reading another of Ms. Calvert's books a few years back, possibly Code Triage, and found it to be excellent. I'm not usually one for medical dramas, despite all those episodes of Diagnosis Murder, but I find Ms. Calvert's writing to be clear-cut and straight-forward, with realistic characters, and genuine fears and problems that they face. Realism is the key to Ms. Calvert's fiction, a key that dragged me deeper into the story in the hopes of a resolution for poor Kate who has been through so much, and for Wes who still struggles with his mother's abandoning him. She makes me want to invest in these characters, care about them, and that isn't always an easy feat to accomplish.

What I liked most is how Christianity was so seamlessly incorporated into Rescue Team. Sometimes a novel gets preachy, even for me, but Ms. Calvert knows the line she needs to walk. This is about desperate and hurting people reaching the conclusion that God is the only One who can help them climb from their pit of despair and loneliness. The romance in this book is mostly terrific (more on that in a minute), but in the end, Wes couldn't save Kate. It had to be God, and I loved how she came to that conclusion not by his urging or pushing, but by God's gentle nudge in her spirit.

All right, as for the romance, I love Wes and really like Kate. However, I'm not one to condone missionary dating, which is sort of what Wes does, and like clockwork he falls in love before he knows where he is, with a woman who doesn't share his faith. At least, not right away. The relationship worked out in the end, but I also wonder at the many instances of missionary dating that don't have such a happy ending. Just something to ponder.

Overall, Rescue Team was an exciting, enjoyable, and remarkably quick read. Ms. Calvert has quite the flair for imagery and her comedic timing with Wes's humor had me laughing out loud regularly. I'm excited to see what she has for us in the future!

- I received this book as a complimentary copy from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.

For the rest of my reviews, see my page HERE.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Percival Blakeney, Baronet: The Man Behind the Mask

Anthony Andrews as Sir Percy in The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982)

Go to the Anthony Andrews Blog Count or the Delights of Anthony Andrews . . . or a Valentine's Month Blog Hop! pages for links to the other blog hop participant articles!

Do you ever feel like you're wearing a facade? Like what the world sees is not who you really are underneath?

Whenever I watch The Scarlet Pimpernel, I always ponder the difficulties of pretending to be an idiotic fop in front of the entire world. Percy is a first-class hero, one that should have really existed, a man who risked his life going into Paris and rescuing doomed members of the aristocracy during the French Revolution. Yet, to all but a few trusted associates, he is nothing more than a buffoon who cares more about his perfectly tied cravat than human lives.

Monday, February 3, 2014

A Taste of the Real Anthony Andrews

As Sebastian Flyte from Brideshead Revisited (1981)

Go to the Anthony Andrews Blog Count or the Delights of Anthony Andrews . . . or a Valentine's Month Blog Hop! pages for links to the other blog hop participant articles!

And here's the official kick-off for my Valentine's Month Blog Hop for Anthony Andrews!

Ordinarily, I don't like to look up information on the actors I adore. You never know what you might find, but I made an exception for Anthony Andrews because I feel that nothing will change my opinion of him. He's not perfect and I can't expect that of him. And delving a little bit into his personal life won't do me any harm.

Keep going into the post to see more!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Delights of Anthony Andrews . . . or a Valentine's Month Blog Hop!

I'm not usually all goo-goo eyed in the month of February. In fact, this is usually my least favorite month of the year! All single adults probably feel the same, inundated with red hearts and pink flowers and boxes of calories on every side, and no spouse to share them with.

But, this year, for whatever reason, I felt compelled to try something new. This man, this gorgeous man, is Anthony Andrews. Born in 1948 in London, Anthony recently celebrated his 66th birthday. You might say that I like them old, or you could more accurately say that age never matters to me.

The photo above is from his enchanting role as Sir Percival Blakeney, Baronet in The Scarlet Pimpernel in 1982. Yes, we're talking 32 years ago, making him a delicious 34-years-old during the filming of this movie.

Book Review: Captain Wentworth's Diary by Amanda Grange

Captain Wentworth's Diary (Jane Austen Heroes, #3)Captain Wentworth's Diary by Amanda Grange
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is exactly as it sounds; a diary from Captain Wentworth's perspective, the hero of Jane Austen's Persuasion. As most of my friends know, I don't go in for epistolary writing. Or Jane Austen-inspired fiction, for that matter. But . . . I couldn't resist! Wentworth is my second favorite of the Austen heroes, superseded only by Emma's Mr. Knightley.

Finding a diary from his perspective was pure heaven for two reasons.

1) I love the male perspective in literature. Heroines are usually the focus of most writers, but I've always loved novels from the perspective of the hero. I'm sure I have The Hardy Boys to blame for it, too. While all my friends were reading Nancy Drew, I was nose-deep in a book about my favorite brothers. So, yes, reading Persuasion from Wentworth's perspective appealed to me.

2) I always wanted to see how Wentworth and Anne met and wooed back in 1806! It never fully satisfied me to simply watch them become reacquainted. I needed to understand the background, their courtship, what first attracted him to her, and the circumstances surrounding their shattered engagement. This book erased any fondness I might have held for Lady Russell, but I enjoyed watching the drama unfold, listening in on the conversations between Lady Russell and Wentworth, particularly the final conversation before he leaves for 8 years. All that back-history satisfied a need in me to find out what happened.

I admit, the format of the book was not the most enjoyable. It's doubtful that men in the Regency era, or most men in general, take the time to write out their thoughts in a diary, particularly regarding entire conversations and scenes. If Ms. Grange had penned her story as an actual novel instead of in epistolary format, I would have loved it all the better. As it was, I still read Captain Wentworth's Diary in a single day, savoring every word, and loving him all the more for his emotional challenges. I finally feel as though I understand him, and he is as honorable a man as I already knew him to be.

For those complaining of the author using Ms. Austen's dialogue, there is no other way for Ms. Grange to have written the book. Imagine trying to rewrite conversations between Anne and Wentworth! It simply wouldn't have worked. As it is, the use of Austen's original dialogue lends an air of credence to the book itself, and helped me believe wholeheartedly in the author's conclusions about Captain Wentworth's character and emotions. As soon as I am able, I will hunt down Mr. Knightley's Diary followed by Colonel Brandon's Diary for I am sure they will be equally as excellent.

For the rest of my reviews, see my page HERE