Archive for February, 2008

Carnation of the Upper Fourth (book #27)

21 February 2008

Elinor Brent-Dyer, 1934 (mine is the Girls Gone By 2007 edition).

Rather dull really. As Ruth Jolly says in her introduction, Brent-Dyer doesn’t follow through the initial themes of an isolated child, and the book becomes a very usual school story, though still with some of Brent-Dyer’s usual warmth (attitudes to younger sisters, for instance). There are a few EBDisms – when Carnation is patted on the back by everyone for saving a life, she feels like the dog in “the farmer wants a wife”.

Prince of Darkness (book #26)

20 February 2008

Barbara Michaels, 1969. My edition is 2005, but reveals its age in the “bright, mod clothes” the young people wear. Fascinating partly because of its difference from Michaels’s other books – very tricksy, demanding re-reading to pick up all the clues. And never trust elves.

Mr. Orde’s Grandchildren (book #25)

20 February 2008

Cecilia S. Lowndes (Cecilia Selby Lowndes), 1889. I’m not sure what date my edition is.

book cover

bookseller label

I don’t know anything about the author and can’t find anything on the internet, except that the BL catalogue has 26 books by her, the earliest 1884 and the latest 1894 (so 26 books in ten years). Enid’s Victory (1883) is online as an etext.

Here’s the frontispiece:


And the other pictures.



I’m not sure what the u-shaped thing is – some sort of musical instrument?


Dora, who appears in all of these pictures except the penultimate one, looks older than 15, which is the oldest she can be. In particular, in the second picture she doesn’t seem appropriately dressed for “running” and “replacing [stepping] stones … pulling and digging away at one particularly inviting stone”.

Stitches in Time (book #25)

14 February 2008

Barbara Michaels, 1995.

Babs rocks. This one is particularly interesting as it rewrites the main character from Shattered Silk.

“That’s the trouble with life. It’s so untidy. The characters in novels hardly ever seem to worry about eating and sleeping and earning a living – much less putting the investigation on hold while they wait for the plumber to come and unstop the toilet, or cope with rejected lovers.”


13 February 2008

Work and other stuff have been a bit hectic. I have two books to put on, four to add notes to, lots of pictures to scan and I need to review my tags, which have gone a bit mad. Still, I’m glad people seen to be visiting, even if not saying much.

The Ladies of Grace Adieu: and other stories (book #24)

13 February 2008

Susanna Clarke, 2006.

A book club book (my choice). In general people liked it, which I was surprised about, as I thought they might think it too affected. I think it does work – dark enough and random enough to be an authentic fairytale world.

The Lady of Skye (book #23)

13 February 2008

Patricia Cabot, 2000.

Surprisingly poor (given that the author is also Meg Cabot). Over-long and messy, and no clarity about some plot devices (such as the absence of the heroine’s parents). At least the heroine is shown as having scientific interests, though they seem a bit random (you’d think she’d have solved the cholera problem once she’d drawn the map and listed all the sufferers, just by asking what they had in common).