A couple of my latest reads include The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty and A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, as you have probably noticed on the sidebar of this blog. I figure some good ‘ole book reviews are long overdue.
The Chaperone is an interesting read plot-wise, but what is so great about it is that it explores many of issues concerning sexuality and the attitudes towards it in the 1920s and on. There is a young teenage girl who is told that once her “candy is unwrapped” that no one would be interested in her. Well, that doesn’t serve her as the most heartening advice considering she was raped as a child. There is also a homosexual character in hiding, pretending to lead a normal life by marrying a woman and carrying on to save public face. The main character, who is married to a gay man before she knew he his true sexual identity, grows throughout the book from someone who is afraid to even speak to anyone about sexual conduct (as it is most improper), to defending the family planning displays at the local drug store towards the end. It is interesting to experience a world in which one’s reputation means everything, and lies must be spread and secrets kept in order to save that reputation. Overall, engrossing historical fiction.
I have been recommended by many a reader to pick up Deborah Harkness’ debut series, starting with A Discovery of Witches. Since I was not warned before I started reading this novel, I am going to warn you now: THERE IS VAMPIRE ROMANCE!!!! I don’t know about you, but lovey-dovey romantic scenes with a brooding creature of the undead is not exactly my cup of tea.
I should point out that there are enough other interesting plot developments in the story that kept me struggling through the long, detailed date scenes, but for me there was just not enough HAPPENING other than the *shudder* romance for a long time. The last third of the book does gets exciting, and I am curious to find out what happens next. Not enough to go immediately to the next book in the series, however. Straightaway after finishing this book I downloaded Salom’s Lot. THAT’S RIGHT. I need some good old-fashion disgusting vampires ripping the flesh off of their victims while they scream in terror for mercy.
Cuz vampires are supposed to be scary, dammit.