On house arrest in Moscow’s grand Metropol Hotel for being a Former Person in the new Soviet Union, Count Alexander Rostov once wrote a poem that inspired revolutionary fervor, and cannot, apparently, simply be shot at dawn. He is instead removed from his old suite of rooms and confined to the attic, where he builds a new life full of the kind of characters you can only hope to meet in your own. It’s a novel of fully-realized tragedy that somehow doesn’t get lost there, instead brimming with optimism and hope. With Rules of Civility, Towles had me for life– I looked up from the ending ofthat gem feeling as if it were impossible that I could be somewhere besides 1930s New York– and once again, Towles wins me over. Wonderful prose, characters, and plot, the holy trifecta for any writer, complete with literary, historic, and cinema references. With Amor Towles, know that you are reading something from someone infinitely more intelligent than you, but who writes so that you can still enjoy it, who makes you stop and think while still plunging forward to discover what happens next.
To quote the dust jacket: “He can’t leave. You won’t want to.”
It’s done too often, you might say, too many liberties. But I like historical fiction about famous people- especially about famous people. I think it’s fascinating to pull down those larger-than-lifes and take a good look. I like putting words in their mouths and thoughts in their heads. I like that somehow, constructing fiction actually makes them more real, because it forces it to occur to you that they did have hidden thoughts, feelings, and words in addition to those so public and immortalized. And I like Hemingway. I like his terse modern style. I like his big loomy, moody presence, and that he was such a mac daddy no one woman was enough for him. Would I shack up with that myself? No way, no how. But I will read about the ones who did, every darn time. And The Paris wife does a wonderful job of bringing his first wife to life, or at least the idea of being her.
I loved this peak into Jane Austen’s early life and of Syrie James’s translation of what events in Jane’s early life later shaped and inspired her writing. While the story takes a lot of latitude from a few pieces of research, the story of Jane’s and Edward’s meeting and romance is very real – and oh so Austen (Note: This is fiction, though the author does share some interesting tidbits at the end that inspired her fictional writing). There are so many elements and story lines in this book that you can see applying to any one of Austen’s novels – and see how her own life inspired her books. If you loved any of Jane Austen’s classic novels – Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility – then this is a must-read for you. If you had a hard time enjoying her style, then you may not enjoy this book. Read on!
This book is a treasure. The characters – and there are many of them – have an amazing, effortless depth. Montefiore brings you into their life and effortlessly ties in the ghost of a young wife. I’m not usually much of a fantasy fan, but I loved how this ghost haunts throughout the story. Romance is part of the plot, but there is so much more to the book – from the deep hurt of 30+ year old wound to the recent pain of death, every character in this book is touching. I’m amazed that the book switches from first-person to third-person without making me feel lost … the timing of chapters is well thought out (and maybe edited … kudos either way). This is the best book I’ve read this year.
In this captivating Highland romance, Alana, a bastard with elite family ties meets Iain, a formidable Scottish leader for Robert Bruce. The two are swept away into a romance but stuck in the middle of war, Highland politics and ambitious men and women. The intriguing story kept me up until 2:30 a.m.. With characters so wrapped up in the Scottish politics and ambitious leaders, Brenda Joyce makes this story more than a romance and a thoroughly alluring read.
It’s New Years Eve, on the dawn of 1938. A chance encounter in a Greenwich bar leads Katey Kontent on a ride to the top of New York Society with the engaging Tinker Grey—but will he stay there with her?
For anyone who enjoys getting totally lost in a time and place of a story
For anyone who wonders if men can write women
For anyone who revels in both great writing and great storytelling
I loved this book. I loved the structure, loved the prose, the literary references, the total immersion in another place and time, and most of all, Katey. She’s one of those characters who stays with you, who you have a hard time remembering isn’t someone you know. Stay tuned for a review of Towles’ second offering, Eve in Hollywood.