Rita Hayworth Blogathon -Affair in Trinidad (1952)

I’ve never read a full biography about Rita Hayworth. The small amount of information I do know about her has always left me sad. From her earliest years, Rita was dominated by selfish men, starting with her father and continuing on to husbands, and men in the film industry who shaped her image. In many ways, her life was tragic one.

The knowledge of her personal life has always influenced my experience watching her films. I’m usually left with a feeling of both compassion and the melancholy of wondering what if? What if she had been in charge of her own career? What if she had found one man who would protect her instead of using, cheating and abandoning her? It is through this lens I view her performances.

SUMMARY

Affair in Trinidad begins with death. The police arrive at a local nightclub to speak with the deceased’s widow, Chris Emery (Hayworth). She is famous all over the island as a dancer whose beauty draws in scores of customers. Initially the police believe the death may be a suicide, but after seeing and speaking with the gorgeous Chris, they suspect foul play. Chris is surprised by the news but not devastated. She and her husband Neil had drifted apart in their marriage. Continue reading “Rita Hayworth Blogathon -Affair in Trinidad (1952)”

Book Review -The Blue Castle

SUMMARY

All her life, Valancy Stirling lived on a quiet little street in an ugly little house and never dared to contradict her domineering mother and her unforgiving aunt. Then she gets a letter—and decides that very day things need to change. For the first time in her life, she does exactly what she wants to and says exactly what she feels.

At first her family thinks she’s gone around the bend. But soon Valancy discovers more surprises and adventure than she ever thought possible. She also finds her one true love and the real-life version of the Blue Castle that she was sure only existed in her dreams…

MY THOUGHTS

I’m going to admit to my deep shame that I can’t remember ever finishing a book by L.M. Montgomery. Yet, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the Anne of Green Gables television series. So, when The Blue Castle kept popping up as a personal favorite of various authors I read, I knew I had to read it. Still, it sat on my TBR list for longer than I care to admit. Continue reading “Book Review -The Blue Castle”

September Classic Film Quickie Reviews

This month I managed to watch twenty-four films I had never seen before. Of those, four were foreign classics. Sadly I didn’t love any of this month’s foreign film choices.

Tony Curtis, Janet Lee & Dean Martin
Who Was That Lady (1960)

Several of these films surprised me in a good way including She’s Working Her Way Through College and Without Reservations. Others surprised me in a negative way. I also watched two film adaptations of Tennessee Williams plays. All in all, September was a productive month for me in terms of classic film. Continue reading “September Classic Film Quickie Reviews”

Top Ten Tuesday -Longest Books I’ve Read

Today’s Topic: Longest Books I’ve Ever Read

Hosted by: That Artsy Reader Girl

I’ll have to confess, this week’s topic gave me pause. I wasn’t sure I would be able to participate. I don’t generally read that many long books. With so many on my TBR pile and so little time, I always figure why read one long one when I can read two or three shorter ones in the same length of time? Also, I have a very hard time DNF-ing books I am not enjoying. So I hesitate to invest my time in a longer book, knowing that if I don’t like it I will still feel obligated to trudge my way through the remaining pages in misery. Still, I have managed to read my way through some longer books in my long years of being an avid reader. Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday -Longest Books I’ve Read”

Classic Film Review -Swing Time (1936)

SWING TIME SUMMARY

In order to marry his hometown fiancee, gambling dancer John “Lucky” Garnett (Fred Astaire) heads to New York to make $25,000. His friend and sidekick Pop (Victor Moore) follows him like a faithful dog. On his first day in the city, Lucky has an unfortunate first meeting with Penny (Ginger Rogers), a dance instructor. Not only do Lucky and Pop almost get Penny arrested, but they also cause Penny and her friend Mabel (Helen Broderick) to lose their jobs. Even though Lucky convinces Penny’s boss (Eric Blore) to re-hire her, she is not so easily won over.

But Lucky is in luck because he and Penny are now dance partners. The more time they spend together, the more they begin to fall for each other. However, both try to resist their mutual attraction. Lucky has not forgotten his purpose for being in New York, even though he never mentions it to Penny. As for Penny, her long time admirer Ricky Romero, continues to propose to her despite multiple rejections. Meanwhile Pop and Mabel connive to see Lucky and Penny end up together.

For the full review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.

 

Book Review -Written in the Stars & Written in the Dust Duology

SUMMARY 

No one is happy about beauty queen Brooke Landgon’s return to Hope Canyon, Arkansas, least of all Brooke herself. Not her old friend Holly Christian, nor Holly’s friend Hunter Pierce, and definitely not Brooke’s first love Gatlin Moore. But after her marriage fails and her grandmother dies leaving Brooke her house, return she does. Brooke has a lot of fences to mend in Hope Canyon, but she would rather hole up at her grandmother’s house and ignore everyone. But that’s almost impossible in a town this small.

Holly is dealing with her own wish to hide after her fiance dies without telling anyone he had broken up with her. She just can’t tell the truth about the town’s golden boy without hurting everyone. So she strikes an odd bargain with her estranged childhood friend. She will give Brooke a place to stay and help Brooke while she fixes up her grandmother’s house if Brooke will act as a buffer for all the well-wishing citizens of Hope Canyon.

But these two ladies are as different as chalk and cheese. Not to mention, there are two men harboring some long-simmering feeling towards these two opposites. Hunter has always been in love with Holly, but was the third wheel in a lopsided friendship with Holly and her fiance Chad. While Gatlin is still boiling mad at Brooke’s abandonment of him years ago.

It’s amazing what the return of a prodigal can stir up in one small town. Change is on the horizon for four people who have forgotten how tight the past can tie people together.

MY THOUGHTS

I don’t know if I ever would have read this duology without the recommendation of Fiction Aficionado. Even then I was on the fence. But I’m so glad I did.

One of the things I love best about these books is how well it captures small town life in the mid-South. Though I’m not from Arkansas but Texas, I’ve experienced this lifestyle which isn’t often featured in books. Driving dusty backroads, meeting up unintentionally at the local hangout, the slow drawl and easy manners as well as the speed at which news both bad and good gets around. These books certainly make all these experiences feel real without resorting to cliche.

I also appreciated how unpredictable the main characters were. Though each of them fit some of the stereotypes associated with them, still I never could quite guess what any of them might do or say. I love being surprised that way. Though this duology finishes with a happy ending, the journey getting there is always fresh and startling.

The first book (Written in the Stars) focuses more on the rebuilding of Brooke and Holly’s friendship. Never an odder pair will you meet. Sometimes I wondered if they even liked each other. But their bargain ensured that each supported the other whether they wanted to or not. Neither one was afraid to challenge the other. Nor did either one of them put on their best behavior for the other. Brooke and Holly are a good picture of iron sharpening iron. Sometimes the friction is hard and unpleasant, but the end result is both are better off. I enjoyed the addition of Brooke’s grandmother’s diary and how it inspired the girls to set off on a road trip to accomplish the same bucket list her grandmother did.

Hunter and Gatlin get more “face” time in book two (Written in the Dust). Both are the picture of southern gentleman, although Gatlin’s reactions to Brooke wouldn’t prove it. These are self-sacrificing men who don’t demand attention, but just do what needs to be done without being asked. Of the two, I was more curious about Gatlin. His anger sparked in every interaction with Brooke and I wanted to know why. In fact, it kind of made me mad at him until partway through book two, when their shared history is finally revealed. And then I was shocked at how quickly that anger turned to passion in his pursuit of Brooke.

I’ve heard about Christina Coryell’s books for years, but this is my first experience with them. However after reading Written in the Stars and Written in the Dust, it certainly won’t be my last.

Have you read any of Christina Coryell’s books? What other books would you recommend with mid-South settings?

Deborah Kerr Blogathon -The Night of the Iguana (1964)

Don’t you love it when everything falls together unexpectedly?  I just finished reading Kendra Bean’s book Ava Gardner: A Life in Movies as well as Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair with Jewelry. (Both of which I recommend by the way.) Taylor’s book includes the memories attached to each piece of her jewelry and it should be no surprise that Richard Burton is often a part of those memories.  These books piqued my interest in seeing further films of these actors. Shortly after, I saw the announcement for the Deborah Kerr Blogathon hosted by Maddy Loves Her Classic Films.

As I searched for my film choice, I found The Night of the Iguana which just happens to star not only Kerr, but also Gardner, and Burton. Both books also referenced this film as it was an important one for both Gardner and Burton though for different reasons. The Burton-Taylor affair had taken the world by storm and the notoriety followed them to the set of this film. As for Gardner, this picture is often ranked as one of her best performances. Continue reading “Deborah Kerr Blogathon -The Night of the Iguana (1964)”

Book Review -Where Hope Begins

SUMMARY

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.” -Anne Lamott

Where Hope Begins is the story of grace in the midst of brokenness, pointing us to the miracles that await when we look beyond our own expectations.

Still reeling from a family tragedy years before, Savanna Barrington is just barely holding it together. When her husband leaves her for another woman, she runs away to the solace of her family’s home in the Berkshires to lick her wounds.  Though angry, she must hold it together while she acts as the mediator for her children and her family with the husband who betrayed her.  But Savanna feels as barren as the winter snow outside her front door.

Then she meets her next door neighbors, the elderly but spunky Clarice, her reclusive nephew Brock and his daughter Maysie.  These three invade her solitude and provide her with solace in their own ways. Maysie with her childlike faith and laughter, Clarice with her mature faith and offer to tend a dead garden and Brock with his appreciation and attraction to Savanna.

But running away only offers a temporary reprieve. Savannah must eventually face the problems which led not only to the breakdown of her marriage but also to the breakdown of her family. Continue reading “Book Review -Where Hope Begins”

Top Ten Tuesday -Books By My Favorite Authors That I Still Haven’t Read

Today’s Topic: Books By My Favorite Authors That I Still Haven’t Read

Hosted by: That Artsy Reader Girl

If I really love an author, I will read every book they have ever written. So it is rare for me to have any unread books among my favorite authors’ book lists. Still, sometimes it happens. Usually, it’s just a case of not yet having had the time to read their latest releases as is the case with most of those on today’s list. Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday -Books By My Favorite Authors That I Still Haven’t Read”

Foreign Film Friday -And God Created Woman (1956)

SUMMARY

Juliete Hardy is a sensually precocious young woman without anyone to love her. She has been raised in an orphanage and taken in by the Vigier-Lefrancs. Her reputation in St. Tropez is well-known. Madame Vigier-Lefrancs finally threatens to return Juliete to the orphanage after she catches her chatting in the nude with the wealthy but older Eric Carradine.

But Juliete only has eyes for Christian Tardieu, the eldest son and breadwinner of the Tardieu family.  Because of this she refuses to commit to Carradine and also spurns the advances of Christian’s quiet but steady younger brother Michel. Christian promises to take her with him when he goes back to Marseilles if she will spend the night with him. But when he breaks his promise he sets into motion Juliete’s revenge. It is a revenge that will entangle Juliete with all three men and almost cost her a chance at the love she yearns for. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -And God Created Woman (1956)”