History is rich with people whose lives contain enough drama and significant events to still fascinate today. In recent years, TV & Film focused particularly on female rulers who acted as heads of state in times where women were considered inferior and subservient to men. These women proved the lie of such notions by being crafty, intelligent and strong leaders. Catherine the Great of Russia is one such woman who stands out in history. Several films and television series featured her rise to power and her subsequent reign during a period when Russia was a powerful player in international affairs. However, Ekaterina is one of the few if not only onscreen productions which is not only filmed in Russia but produced exclusively by Russians for Russian television.
Catherine is a German-born princess whose parents have little financial means but important connections. She is chosen as a potential bride for the Grand Duke of Russia as a pawn in a game of international intrigue. She is naïve enough to believe that she and Peter can develop a marriage based on love and respect. But Peter, whose life has been controlled by his aunt, the Empress Elizabeth, refuses her overtures as a means of rebellion against the arranged marriage.
From her arrival at the Russian court of St. Petersburg, Catherine’s life is manipulated and controlled by those with greater power and influence. She learns to keep her mouth shut and her ears open as she maneuvers through the treacherous waters of the royal court. Over the course of fifteen years, and through her many losses, Ekaterina has her innocence and illusion shattered while she learns the art of diplomacy and the cost of being the wife to the heir apparent of the Russian throne.
To read the rest of my review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.
Eva Ward is mourning the death of her only remaining family. She decides to return with her sister’s ashes to the only place where they both felt at home. So she heads to Trelowarth, the ancient home of family friends on the Cornish coast.
Eva processes her grief by helping her old playmates modernize their family business. But soon she starts noticing shifts in her vision and hears voices which don’t exist. Worried that she might be losing her mind, she finds herself transported in time to the year 1715.
There she meets Daniel Butler, his brother Jack and their friend Fergal. These men are knee deep in danger. Not only are they well-respected smugglers but they are also involved in a potential Jacobite rebellion.
As Eva travels back and forth in time she must wrestle with the challenges of disappearing and reappearing at whim. But the bigger challenge she faces is protecting her orphaned heart and deciding where she belongs.
Continue reading “Book Review -The Rose Garden”
Gifted is the story of Frank and his niece Mary. Mary is a math prodigy much like her deceased mother. Frank’s sister asked him to take care of Mary before she killed herself. Frank has done his best to raise Mary as his sister would have wanted and much differently than she herself was raised by their own mother. Instead of capitalizing on Mary’s genius, Frank has tried to provide Mary with a normal childhood. Well, as normal as possible with Frank’s sporadic employment. Mary’s best (and only) friend is their next door neighbor Roberta. Despite the fact that Roberta is old enough to be Mary’s mother, the two have a special connection.
When Frank decides to put Mary in public school, against Roberta’s advice, it is a surprisingly catalytic event. Though Mary has had no formal schooling it is clear she is more advanced than even her teacher. However, her social skills leave much to be desired. Against the recommendation of Mary’s principal and teacher, Frank declines to put her in a school for the gifted. He opts to leave her where he believes she will be allowed to have a normal childhood. However, this decision manages to reach the ears of his uptight, brilliant mother who wishes Mary to continue the work that her own daughter never completed. Thus a legal battle for custody of Mary ensues, with both Frank and his mother Evelyn believing they know what is best for Mary. But, who is right? And will anyone in this family come out a winner when Mary is the prize? Continue reading “Film Review -Gifted (2017)”
Today’s Topic:Ten Books That Feature Characters ____________:
Hosted by: The Broke and the Bookish
“Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything better than you.” Don’t ask me why that song popped up in my head. Life isn’t a competition.
Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is open to interpretation, so I decided to feature fictional women with interesting jobs or who work in a male dominated fields.
In the past working women were restricted to the secretarial, nursing or teaching professions. Thankfully, we’ve come a long way in the past several decades. Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday-Female Characters with Unusual Jobs”
Young Catherine is an American/British/Canadian mini-series which portrays the early years of Russia’s Catherine the Great.
In 1744 Sophia Fredericke, a princess of a small German principality, is invited to the court of St. Petersburg as the potential bride for the next Russian heir. Sophia’s upbringing has been sheltered. She has a close relationship with her father, with whom she shares a devotion to their Lutheran faith. Her relationship with her mother is less warm. But it is with her mother that she travels to Russia. Her mother is well prepared for the political and social intrigues of the Russian court, but Sophia is less so.
She arrives as a naive innocent, eager to believe in a love match between herself and Peter, the Grand Duke and future emperor. Thanks to some advice from the handsome Grigory Orlov, Sophia is smart enough to ingratiate herself with the Empress Elizabeth, Russia’s ruling sovereign. Sophia soon begins to experience the shattering of her illusions. It slowly becomes clear to her that her marriage and her role within the Russian monarchy is not made of fairy tales. Sophia must learn how to maneuver in an environment where she is viewed as at best, a pawn and at worst, a threat to others’ ambitions. She must decide if she is willing and how much she will sacrifice for the sake of a crown.
To read my review of this series, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.
Meryl Streep is not just one of the most celebrated actresses of our time but also in the history of film. In my opinion, Stanley Tucci is one of the best actors of our generation. He is reminiscent of the character actors of the great golden age of classic cinema.
Though Streep is a leading lady and Tucci usually fills supporting roles, they both have the talent of utterly inhabiting the characters they play onscreen. Whether silly or serious, they don’t just act, but they become, creating a reality for the viewers which is rare in entertainment.
So, it is surprising that these two legends of the screen have only been paired together twice so far in their long careers. It is even more surprising when you watch them together in their two films, because their onscreen rapport is so natural and genuine. Great talent is necessary to make the characters and the story come alive for an audience. But even the best of talent cannot fake the natural chemistry that must exist between actors to make the onscreen relationship between them credible. Either it is there or it is not. So let us take a look at the films of this power house duo. Continue reading “Duo Double Feature Blogathon -Meryl Streep & Stanley Tucci”
Hosted by: The Broke and the Bookish
Today’s Topic: Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR List
Well, I’m ashamed to say my current TBR list for both physical and digital books now numbers in the hundreds (hanging my head in shame). But never let it be said that I am a timid soul. No! I shall not be intimidated into limiting my TBR list. How can I be when there are so many great titles recently released and soon to release? These are the books I desperately hope to read this fall. Click on titles for links to each book’s Amazon page.
Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday-Books on My Fall TBR List”
Celia, Jane and Margo have been each other’s only family since their mother’s death and their father’s desertion. Together they run a successful tea shop in the heart of San Francisco. When their landlord dies and their new owner gives them an eviction notice, the sisters are left scrambling to find a new space for both their business and their residence.
Then Celia announces that she and her long term boyfriend Teddy have broken up. She talks Jane and Margo into packing up their life and moving to Austin where they have been offered free temporary housing by a distant relative.
But Austin is a bigger adjustment than anticipated and it creates conflict between Jane and Celia. Jane’s frustrations are somewhat alleviated when she falls for the charming Sean. Then there is Callum Beckett, a former soldier who is dealing with the death of his father and loss of his leg. Callum tries to hide his growing interest in Jane who seems oblivious to his kind and generous nature. Will these sisters and their lives be reconciled? Continue reading “Book Review -Jane of Austin”
Come What May takes place during the early years of World War II. In 1939 a German father and son escape to a little village in Northern France. The father warns his young boy to speak only in French and never in their native tongue as they hide openly in the small village of Pas-de-Calais. Unfortunately, Hans is soon arrested and his son Max is left in the care of the town’s school teacher Suzanne.
Months pass and Paul, the village mayor, receives distressing news about the German army’s advance into France. Gathering up the people of Pas-de-Calais, he convinces them to follow the French government’s earlier recommendation of voluntary evacuation to southern France. Young Max is devastated to leave the last place his father and he were together. Remembering his father’s promise to come back for him, Max leaves a message for his father on the school house chalkboard, telling him where he plans to go.
Meanwhile, the Germans attack the nearby city where Hans has been imprisoned. The jailers release all of the incarcerated and evacuate the city. During his escape, Hans meets Percy, a Scottish army captain who has recently seen his entire company slaughtered. The two men decide to travel together while they seek out Hans’ son.
To read my review of this film, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.
Cecile is a teenager who lives with her father Raymond, a wealthy playboy. The live a carefree and fairly shallow existence in the clubs and ritzy society of Paris. The two of them are unusually close, attending the same parties and collecting the same friends. But even though she is decades younger than Raymond, Cecile has already lost the pleasure behind such a lifestyle.
Cecile then tells the audience in flashbacks the story behind her current malaise. The previous summer she and her father vacationed on the Riviera with Raymond’s girlfriend du jour, Elsa. Despite the fact that Elsa is Raymond’s love interest, she is also young and immature enough to serve as a friend for Cecile, who finds absolutely nothing wrong with her father’s way of life. Cecile is on the path to becoming exactly like her father, when her deceased mother’s best friend Anne arrives. Though Raymond already has one girlfriend in residence, he sees nothing wrong with an invitation to a woman he has always been interested in pursuing.
Anne arrives and at first is appalled by the insincerity and vapidness which characterize both Cecile and Raymond. But slowly, her influence begins to change both of them for the better. Cecile is at first thrilled to have a woman she can look up to until she realizes what it might cost herself and her father. Her actions soon change the course of their lives. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -Bonjour Tristesse (1958)”