Eleanor of Aquitaine by Alison Weir: 3.5/5 stars, Since I did a full review I’ll link it here: The Ladies Guide to History: Eleanor of Aquitaine
This book is definitely a classic for a reason. Anna Karenina is about a fallen woman, fallen in a number ways as she participates in an extramarital affair and therefore falls from her place in society and from the esteem she used to have with her friends and her family as well as fallen from virtue (as sexist as the double standard of virtue may sometimes be). This book gradually introduces a number of characters that revolve around two distinct but intertwined storylines: Anna Karenina’s and Konstantin Levin’s. One expirences the collapse and ending of a marriage (Anna) and the other expirences the initiation and beginning of marriage after an initial rejection (Levin).
I enjoyed this massive (seriously massive!) book. It portrayed society’s dependence on image and how that might be inherently sexist. It shows two characters who engage in affairs, Anna in one affair with a man she believes she truly loves and Stiva with purely physical relationships with many different partners. Stiva suffers virtually no consequences from his affairs where Anna is ostracized from society. Anna discloses her relationship to her husband voluntarily. Stiva gets found out. But it is Stiva who remains in societies good graces. Throughout the novel the author often has dialogue that revolves around the different classes of society, the upper class and the lower class. They especially mention the education of the lower classes and the peasant workers that Levin hires. I have to admit that I have essentially no knowledge of Russian politics before and after the Russian Revolution so I will admit that these parts went mostly over my head. Therefore, these lengthy discussions often bogged me down in reading the book. However, I am sure that if the reader is less ignorant I’m sure that they would get more enjoyment out of those sections. I did enjoy this novel and rated it 3/5 stars.
In January I read several books in the Mary Russell series including: The Beekeepers Apprentice (4/5 Stars), The Monstrous Regiment of Women (4/5 stars), A Letter of Mary (3/5 stars) The Moor (3/5 stars), Justice Hall (2.5/5 stars), Locked Rooms (2.5/5 stars)
I really enjoyed the first two books in the series they were fun mysteries and I thought the characterization of Sherlock Holmes, which was lot more human than some of the modern interpretations. I also liked the relationship between the two main characters Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes. Mary Russell was a fun character to follow. She is definitely just as intelligent as Sherlock if rather less experienced. However, I thought that the mysteries, especially in the later novels, would stall out in the middle and then at the end have a rather tedious info dump. While I did enjoy this series’ first two volumes I will not be continuing with the series anytime soon.
5/5 stars. I did a full review on this book so I will link it here: Book Review: Evening in the Palace of Reason
At the end of the month I read this book after reading several of the authors Father Brown stories which I rather enjoyed. This book was about the threat of anarchists which have several plans to bomb different parts of London rather, like the terrorists the world faces today.
This book had several themes that were pretty fascinating and rather interesting: that the people you might hold as an enemy may in fact be your friend and that appearances are often deceiving. Seriously the amount of uncovering the people behind the disguises was actually rather repetitive. This book was at times very entertaining as well as thought provoking. I ended up giving it 3/5 stars
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