Book Revies – A Modest Independence by Mimi Matthews

ABOUT THE BOOK

A Modest Independence follows secondary characters who were introduced in Mimi Matthews The Matrimonial Advertisement. Tom Finchley is legal advisor and friend to Justin Thornhill. It is through his relationship with Justin that he meets the fiery haired, strong-willed lady’s maid Jenny Holloway. After Justin’s wife Helena bequeaths a large financial settlement to Jenny, she is determined to live completely independent.

Jenny’s life has been governed by selfish men, but she yearns for freedom and adventure. She admires and is attracted to the quietly intense Tom. But she refuses to let this influence her plans. Jenny’s curiosity and wanderlust lead her to book a trip to India. If she manages to track down the truth about Helena’s presumably dead brother while there, then her trip will also serve a second purpose.

As the trustee for Jenny’s new inheritance, all Tom knows is that he can’t allow Jenny to make such a perilous journey alone. Not only is she vulnerable traveling as a single woman abroad, but he just can’t allow this fascinating woman to leave his life.

The closer Tom and Jenny get to their destination, they closer they get to each other. Tom has never thought to marry and Jenny never wants to marry. But as they traverse thousands of miles, their attraction and intimacy grows. Will these two solitary souls resolve the conflict between love and independence?

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

 

 

Book Review – What the Wind Knows

Amy Harmon is a talented author who has penned stories in several different genres. As a fan of historical fiction, of all her stories, my favorite is From Sand and Ash, a WWII tale of love, bravery and an inter-faith romance. So, when I learned Harmon’s latest release was another historical offering, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.  As I’ve come to expect from Harmon’s novels, it did not disappoint. What the Wind Knows was a story I could not put down.

WHAT THE WIND KNOWS SYNOPSIS

Anne Gallagher grew up enchanted by her grandfather’s stories of Ireland. Heartbroken at his death, she travels to his childhood home to spread his ashes. There, overcome with memories of the man she adored and consumed by a history she never knew, she is pulled into another time.

The Ireland of 1921, teetering on the edge of war, is a dangerous place in which to awaken. But there Anne finds herself, hurt, disoriented, and under the care of Dr. Thomas Smith, guardian to a young boy who is oddly familiar. Mistaken for the boy’s long-missing mother, Anne adopts her identity, convinced the woman’s disappearance is connected to her own.

As tensions rise, Thomas joins the struggle for Ireland’s independence and Anne is drawn into the conflict beside him. Caught between history and her heart, she must decide whether she’s willing to let go of the life she knew for a love she never thought she’d find. But in the end, is the choice actually hers to make?

For my full review of this wonderful book, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.

 

Series Review – The Hour (2011-2012)

I’ve long been a fan of actress Romola Garai as well as British period dramas, so I was thrilled when I discovered the BBC series The Hour. Not only does it feature Garai in a leading role, but it also co-stars Ben Whishaw and Dominic West. The Hour is a tautly written political and newsroom drama set in 1960’s London.

SUMMARY

Bel Rowley (Garai) achieves her dream when she is tapped to be the producer of a televised news program for the BBC called The Hour. Joining Bel are experienced foreign journalist Lix Storm (Anna Chancellor) and Bel’s best friend and fellow journalist Freddie Lyon (Wishaw). Also, new to the team, is the well-connected and handsome Hector Madden (Dominic West) who serves as “the face” of The Hour.

Together, along with the rest of their team, they present their weekly news program covering current events both national and international. But the investigation and presentation of this news is a fine balancing act. Not only are they constrained by the need to present proof in their stories, but also by an advisor from Westminster who wishes to censor any information not favorable to the government.

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

Series Review – Anna Karenina (2013)

SUMMARY

Though the source novel is long and much more complex, most adaptations, focus on the character of Anna Karenina herself. Anna is married to the much older Count Karenin. She is content in her marriage until she meets the dashing bachelor and ladies man Count Vronsky. He is immediately smitten, but for the sake of her young son and her standing in society, Anna resists his overtures.

However, Vronsky’s attentions in the face of her husband’s neglect encourage Anna to believe that she is in love with Vronsky. Defying convention, the two run away together. Though they are very much in love, their romance comes at great cost to Anna. Not only is she isolated from her beloved son, but she is also shunned by most of society. The disparity in society’s reactions reveals their hypocrisy. Doors are closed to her but Vronsky meets less judgment and resistance. Anna becomes more and more desperate to hold on to Vronsky. Her doubt and jealousy drives a wedge in their relationship.

Unlike other adaptations, this version also includes the parallel story line of Konstantin Levin and Anna’s family friend Princess Kitty. Levin is in love with Kitty, but she has eyes for Vronsky and refuses his marriage proposal. Heartbroken he returns to his country estate and Kitty travels abroad. Kitty eventually matures and accepts Levin’s second proposal. But her prior rejection creates a wall between them in their marriage. Kitty learns to love her new husband, but he is wary of being too vulnerable with her.

These two couples navigate the complexities of their relationships and provide a opposing portraits of passion and love.

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

 

Classic Film Review -My Fair Lady (1964)

My Fair Lady is my very favorite musical. I’ve seen it countless times on screen and stage. It never fails to entertain and delight me with its’ ageless story.

Based on a story in Greek mythology of a sculptor who wishes to bring his creation to life, Pygmalion has seen several reincarnations on both stage and screen. Perhaps none is so famous as the film adaptation My Fair Lady.

SYNOPSIS

Eliza Doolittle is the poor Cockney flower seller whose life is turned upside down due to the bet of a stranger. Professor and phoneticist Henry Higgins brags to his peer Colonel Hugh Pickering that his skills are such that he can transform the undeserving Eliza into a lady of grace and poise. Eliza dreams of rising above her station and bettering herself. She seizes the opportunity, little realizing how much will be demanded of her.

I was honored to share my thoughts on this film over at The Silver Petticoat Review.

 

 

 

Book Review -The Long Walk

Last year I had the privilege of reviewing The Bridge, a debut novel by Jill Cox. Not only did I fall in love with the story and its’ characters, but it also turned out to be one of my favorite books of the year. I’ve been impatiently waiting since then for the continuation of Meredith and Pete’s story. Set to release October 16, The Long Walk is finally here! And it is worth the wait.

RELATED: The Bridge Book Review -A Clean YA Love Triangle
SYNOPSIS

Meredith Sullivan has three new goals after Paris:

Hang out all summer with her new boyfriend.
Convince her brother to dump his girlfriend, Kate.
Walk into senior year at Highgate College like a boss.

But then an unexpected tragedy sends the Sullivans back to their Irish roots. And when a childhood dream bubbles up through the cracks in her life, Meredith can’t help but wonder if this new path was her true destiny all along.

From Ireland to Oregon, from Paris to Shanghai, follow Meredith into a future she never imagined. Because sometimes, the story is more important than the ending.

MY REVIEW

I should have known when the opening line was, “fairy tales are lies” that The Long Walk would be nothing like I expected. While The Bridge has its’ serious moments it is a much more light-hearted and humorous story. The Long Walk however, takes an unexpected turn. There is a shocking twist early on that significantly impacts the lives of all the characters, particularly Meredith and Pete. If these two books were dessert, The Bridge would be a crème brulee; sweet with a hard outer shell that reveals its’ form and substance, but easily digestible. The Long Walk is more of a chocolate torte; rich with unexpected depth, weighty with a touch of bitterness to balance out the sweetness.

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

Classic Film Review -Topper (1937)

Cary Grant is the quintessential leading man in both dramas and comedies. But I prefer his comedic films. He had a skill for appearing silly while also still being suave and sophisticated. One of my favorite among his comedy films is Topper. Made just as his star was hitting it’s peak, it is the last film in which he ever played a supporting role.

TOPPER SYNOPSIS

George and Marion Kerby are a socialite couple with few responsibilities. They live a fast, lively and glamorous life. One of the few drags on their carefree life is the annual board of directors meeting at a bank George owns. Once a year, he is forced to attend by the bank manager Cosmo Topper.

After a night of partying followed by the board meeting the next morning, George and Marion are killed in a car wreck. They are perplexed as to why they remain on earth instead of immediately going to the afterlife. Marion believes it is because they haven’t done anything that would earn them a spot in heaven. So they decide that they must accomplish one good deed. They settle on liberating their bank manager, Mr. Topper from the rigid and regimented life enforced by his wife.

Topper finds his life unwillingly and completely turned upside down by his ghostly friends. But before long, he begins to see the benefit of allowing a little joy and fun into his mundane existence.

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

 

Film Review -Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)

Growing up, my parents exposed me to many popular musicians of the Seventies, artists like Simon and Garfunkel, Credence Clearwater Revival, The Grass Roots, The Rolling Stones, The Mamas and the Papas and one of my mother’s favorites, ABBA.

In 2008 a new generation was introduced to the Swedish band ABBA when their songs were featured in the musical film Mamma Mia! Despite some criticism of the film, it became an indisputable success. Exactly ten years later, the sequel Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again allows fans to revisit all that they love about the original. It continues the story begun in Mamma Mia!. It also depicts the story of how Donna found herself in Greece and met Sophie’s three fathers.

SUMMARY

A year after her mother’s passing, Sophie is finally fulfilling her mother’s dream. The hotel Bella Donna is all set for a Grand re-opening. However, Sophie’s triumph feels bittersweet. She desperately misses her mother, two of her three dads are unable to attend and she and Sky have hit an impasse in their relationship. Fortunately, she has some support from her mother’s friends Tanya and Rosie, her third dad Sam and the new hotel manager Fernando Cienfuegos. Sophie will need all the help she can get as processes her grief and faces unexpected obstacles in preparing for the re-opening.

Meanwhile, back in 1979, Donna Sheridan graduates from school and begins her search for freedom and identity. Traveling through Europe, she meets a young man in Paris. Though he feels a special connection with her Donna cannot stay. She believes her destiny is yet to be found on a small Grecian island. Continuing her journey, she meets a young sailor who happily transports Donna to the isle of Kalokairi aboard his boat. Upon her arrival, Donna settles into an abandoned farm house. She also lands a job singing at the local café and meets another young man who will play an important role in her future.

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

 

 

Film Review -Breathe (2017)

The Life of Robin Cavendish

If you have never heard of Robin Cavendish before, you aren’t the only one.  If not for how he lived with a severe disability, most likely nobody ever would have.  In 1958, two years into his marriage to Diana, Robin contracted polio and was paralyzed from the neck down. Initially given less than a year to live,  Robin indicated his wish to die. But Diana refused to allow this.  She entreated him to live for the sake of their son.

Robin gradually improved to the point that he could swallow and speak. But for the rest of his life he was dependent on the use of artificial respirators to help him keep him alive. Eventually, Diana and some hospital staff literally broke him out of the hospital against his doctor’s advice. At this time, no one with his level of disability had ever been released or survived outside of a hospital.

Over the next thirty years of his life, Robin and Diana became champions for disabled people. They  also helped inspire and pioneer ways to integrate people like himself into everyday society. Some of these ideas include a mobile wheelchair with a built in respirator, a hydraulic chair lift for his van, as well as equipment that allowed him to perform simple tasks by moving his head.  He was also instrumental in creating the first list of people who used iron lungs as well as in fundraising efforts to improve their quality of life. In their personal lives the two pushed Robin’s boundaries, living as adventurously as possible, while raising their son and remaining committed to each other.

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

 

Classic Film Review -The Clock (1945)

Though long gone, Judy Garland is still famous for her singing voice and her film musicals. Of her forty film credits, there are only three in which she does not sing or dance. The first of these three is The Clock and it proves that Judy was a talented actress in her own right, even without her musical skills.

SUMMARY

Judy GarlandJoe Allen (Robert Walker), a country boy turned soldier, arrives in New York City for a 48 hour leave. Immediately, he is overwhelmed by the hustle and bustled of the city and seeks to lessen the effect by making conversation with strangers. While taking refuge in the train station, an accident brings him and Alice Mayberry (Judy Garland) together. Though she has other plans, he convinces her to pass some time with him. Feeling compassion for this soldier Alice first allows herself to be talked into a walk in the park, then an afternoon at a museum and finally a dinner date. Alice’s roommate warns her not to fall under the spell of a man who will soon be shipping out.

Alice tries to resist and a few awkward moments and misunderstandings tempt her to abandon Joe. But neither one can deny a strong connection and many things in common. Despite differing plans for their futures, the pair find themselves in love. An accidental separation leaves them both desperate to find the other. Unfortunately, they haven’t even exchanged last names, so their odds of finding each other before Joe leaves the city are very low. By chance, they meet again and are so overjoyed and relieved that they decide to get married. But they have less than 24 hours to complete all the necessary steps so that a judge can marry them. And as Shakespeare wrote, “the course of true love never did run smooth.”

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