Book Review – For Love of the Phantom

For Love of the Phantom is a sequel to Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera. For those unfamiliar with the story, the original novel  is set in a Paris Opera house in the early years of the 1900’s. It features an innocent young orphan woman named Christine. She is secretly tutored in music by a man she only knows as the Angel of Music. Eventually, it is revealed that this same Angel is also the man feared by others as the Phantom of the Opera. Christine becomes embroiled in a love triangle with the Phantom and her childhood friend Raoul, the Comte de Chagny. Although, the Phantom initially wishes to keep Christine with him, using Raoul’s life as a bargaining chip, Christine’s compassion convinces him to let them both go.

Book Summary

For Love of the Phantom picks up right where the original Phantom leaves off. Raoul and Christine escape the Opera House, marry and eventually settle in London. Erik, the Phantom manages to fake his own death to throw his old nemesis, the Persian, off his trail. Erik then follows Christine to London, determining to remain unseen but near the woman he loves.

But all is not well. Christine discovers that Raoul’s love for her is more as a beautiful possession and not simply for herself. He also forbids her to sing, fearing that it will remind her of her divided loyalties to the Phantom, whom he despises. Christine’s fairy tale idea of love is slowly dismantled as Raoul disregards her wishes until she finally discovers his infidelity. Christine remains secluded in her home, her only friend, an elderly gardener known as Peck.

Additionally, there is also a killer at large, whom the Persian believes could be Erik. But Erik is determined to protect Christine from the man brutally murdering London’s women, while still maintaining his disguise as Peck. As the story of Christine, Erik and Raoul continues, what will the outcome be?

To read my review of this book, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.

 

 

Documentary Review -Steve McQueen:American Icon (2017)

So, if you have hung around my blog for any length of time, you will know that I have been on a Steve McQueen kick this last year. I’ve slowly been working my way through his filmography. And although I have yet to read a full biography of his life, I have been reading up on him.

So, when I heard Fathom Events was hosting a special screening of a new documentary on McQueen I was thrilled. When I heard that it was produced by Pastor/Evangelist Greg Laurie and that the intention of the film was to share McQueen’s story of conversion to Christianity, I was intrigued. Continue reading “Documentary Review -Steve McQueen:American Icon (2017)”

Top Ten Tuesday -Books Featuring Food

Topic: Top Ten Yummy Foods Mentioned In Books (Does a character eat something you’d love? Or maybe the book takes place in a bakery/restaurant that makes yummy things?

Hosted by: The Broke and the Bookish

I have to confess, I’m not really much of a foodie in my real life. Food in general is a lot of work; meal planning and preparation, cooking, eating and then the clean up afterward.

Although, I do appreciate good food when prepared by someone else, in my daily life I tend to go for convenience. I will often eat the same thing for days, even weeks in a row. Or turn cereal, popcorn or chips and salsa into a full meal to avoid cooking.

So, originally this topic had me stumped. I couldn’t think of a single food experience in any of the books I have read. And then I went back through my book history and found I had read many stories which either featured food or food related occupations.

This week’s list highlights characters with food related careers such as chefs, bakers, restaurateur, cooks and even a food critic. Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday -Books Featuring Food”

Sylvia Scarlett (1935) -The Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy Blogathon

Ever since my introduction to classic film via the screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby, Katharine Hepburn has remained my favorite actress. Hepburn is famous not only for her unique personality but a long career, in which she appeared in many different roles and film genres. She is also well known for her love affair and eight film collaborations with Spencer Tracy. But perhaps because of Bringing Up Baby, I have always preferred her films with Cary Grant.  

FILM SUMMARY

Sylvia Scarlett is an unconventional film about a girl who passes herself off as a young man. When Sylvia’s father Henry Scarlett (Edmund Gwenn) gets into trouble with his illegal activities, the two of them flee France for England. Henry feels his daughter’s sex will be a hindrance to his getaway. So Sylvia (Katharine Hepburn) cuts her hair and becomes Sylvester. On their way to England they meet con man and trickster Jimmy Monkley (Cary Grant). Soon the three are running scams together. Sylvester is determined to turn their threesome honest and is eventually successful. Continue reading “Sylvia Scarlett (1935) -The Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy Blogathon”

Foreign Film Review -For a Woman (2013)

SUMMARY

For a Woman is a recent French film which explores the dynamics of marriage, family and even politics. It begins as two sisters, Tania and Anne, go through their mother’s effects after her passing. This leads Anne into a further search into her parent’s history. The film then moves into the past and the main story line surrounding their parents Michel and Léna.

Michel and Léna are Russian Jews. They have managed to survive WWII and escape from the horrors of the concentration camp. Michel falls in love with Léna at first sight. But their decision to marry is more one of gratitude and necessity for her. They migrate to the French city of Lyon where they apply for citizenship, start a family and open a men’s clothing shop.

Their life is a contented one with Léna absorbed in raising their daughter and Michel joining a small group of Communists. Everything changes with the arrival of Jean, the man who claims to be Michel’s younger brother. Because Jean is Michel’s only remaining family, he is welcomed into their home. Though Jean and Michel reminisce about their childhood, Jean is less forthcoming with his role in the war and his current secretive activities.

As Jean’s stay with them drags on tensions mount and rise to the surface. Michel begins to question his brother’s political beliefs and purpose in France. Léna wrestles with her growing attraction to her brother-in-law and her increasing discontent with her life. When Jean’s undercover life finally catches up with him, it puts the whole family in danger.

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

Classic Film Review -It Should Happen To You (1954)

SUMMARY

After two years living and working in New York City, Gladys Glover has almost given up on her dream of making a name for herself. A chance encounter and conversation with documentary film maker Pete Sheppard however lights a spark in her. When she happens to see a billboard for rent, that spark bursts into flame.

Gladys wastes no time spending her savings just to see her name featured in a larger than life size on that billboard. Before you know it, one billboard turns into six and then into television and radio spots. But Pete, who is now her neighbor, doesn’t understand her driving desire for a famous name, particularly when her name doesn’t stand for anything in particular. He believes that a life and name can be meaningful without it being famous.  He also sees Gladys’ newfound popularity as a stumbling block to his pursuit of a relationship with her. It doesn’t help that she is also being romanced by a wealthy playboy. But Gladys is having the time of her life, happy to be famous for no particular reason other than having her name plastered all over the city and unconcerned that others are profiting from her name or that they are laughing at her expense. Continue reading “Classic Film Review -It Should Happen To You (1954)”

Top Ten Tuesday -Fall Covers

Today’s Topic: Ten Books With Fall/Autumn Covers/Themes (If the cover screams fall to you, or the books give off a feeling of being Fallish)

Hosted by: The Broke and the Bookish

Is there anyone on the planet who doesn’t like fall? From the shift in temperatures bringing relief from summer heat, to a new school year, football season, pumpkin everything and warm clothes, fall just screams cozy.

Initially, I looked for covers which would show the changing of the leaves. Then I decided my scope was too narrow and decided my only criteria would be covers that give me the same warm and cozy feeling that fall does.

With the exception of a few recent releases, I have read most of these titles. And I can tell you, the story inside is just as warm and fuzzy as the image outside. Sometimes you really can judge a book by its’ cover. Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday -Fall Covers”

Film Review -The Phantom of the Opera (2004)

I vividly remember my first exposure to The Phantom of the Opera. My family was in New York and my father took us all to see the show on Broadway. We also watched the equally famous Les Miserable that same trip. But as much as I loved the message, it was not Les Miserable which stuck with me. For weeks, I was haunted by the story of the Phantom. The music replayed continuously in my mind and I couldn’t let go of all the questions that the stage production left open ended. Most importantly, what happened to the Phantom?!

Based on the French novel by Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera has been adapted many times. But it is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage and film musical which is arguably the most familiar to audiences.

The Phantom of the Opera Summary

In Webber’s version, the orphaned Christine Daae has been raised in a Parisian opera house where she also works as a dancer. But she has secretly been taking voice lessons from a tutor she only knows as the Angel of Music. When an accident occurs during rehearsal Carlotta, the resident soprano, refuses to sing for opening night. This serves as Christine’s big break. She is a big success. This also brings her to the attention of the new patron of the opera house and her former childhood sweetheart, Raoul the Vicomte de Chagny.

Her public success and meeting with the Vicomte motivate her mysterious tutor to finally reveal himself to her as the Phantom of the Opera. He is not the ghost that the company thinks he is, but a highly disfigured man (both physically and emotionally) who lives beneath the opera house. But in spite of his kindness to Christine the Phantom is a man to be feared. He will stop at nothing both to dictate the management of the opera house itself and to possess the lovely and innocent Christine.

For my full summary and review, please head over to The Silver Petticoat Review.

Book Review -Bread of Angels

SUMMARY

In Bread of Angels  Lydia’s life has been ruled by fear, ever since a traumatic childhood event. Her father does his best to provide a sense of security while also teaching his daughter the family secrets behind the coveted color purple. Lydia is content living in her ancestral home and learning the traditions of the royal colored dye.

But when Lydia and her father put their trust in the wrong people, they lose everything. Lydia’s father encourages her to start over in a new place, free from the taint and betrayal which follow them at home. An unlikely friendship with the Jewish Rebecca ensures that Lydia has a friend and ally in her new home of Phillipi.

Lydia struggles to honor her father and family heritage. She strives to carry on the family business in a time when women were rarely allowed to live and work on their own. Despite her successes, fear continues to stalk her every step until she hears the message of the apostle Paul. Finally, Lydia recognizes the source of peace and freedom. But when she is challenged once again by old foes and older secrets, will fear finally conquer her or will Lydia have the final victory? Continue reading “Book Review -Bread of Angels”

Top Ten Tuesday -Fictional Girl Crushes

Today’s Topic: Top Ten Book Boyfriends/Girlfriends (Which characters do you have crushes on?)

Hosted by: The Broke and the Bookish

Well, since I recently did this post on my favorite book boyfriends, I decided to focus on my favorite girl crushes.

In preparing this post, I realized how many great female characters are being written in fiction these days, no matter what genre you read. I’ve also noticed that some of my favorite authors consistently write memorable female characters.

I had a hard time narrowing down my list, but decided to focus not just on strong, inspirational women, but the ones that I really love. These are the women whose personalities and stories stick with me and begin to feel like old friends. So, without further ado… Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday -Fictional Girl Crushes”