Maggie BoydKeymaster12/24/2017 at 8:48 pmPost count: 68
Orchid- sympathy. Read a book revolving around a death, someone being ill or a will. The Canterbury Sisters Kim Wright
The Canterbury Sisters was a very readable book but for me, not a very enjoyable one. The story is about Che,a woman whose mother has recently died and whose significant other chooses that unfortunate moment to let her know he is in love with another woman. Still reeling from these dual surprises, Che faces a conundrum when she learns of her mother’s request to have her ashes scattered at Canterbury Cathedral. The two had spoken prior to her death of her mom’s desire to take a pilgrimage there but it had been the kind of vague idea no one ever really follows through on. While Che wants to honor her mother’s wishes, the thought of traveling from the states to Europe and taking a solo trip to Canterbury doesn’t really appeal. Setting aside her reservations and never one to do things half way, Che decides she will not only go to London but she will take a walking tour from London to the Cathedral and experience the full pilgrimage.
The group she joins determines to experience Canterbury Chaucer style and tells tales while they are walking the trail. Naturally, each tale reveals something about the teller and of course, Che discovers as they walk along that no one is quite who they seem. By learning about them, she learns about herself and emerges from the trail wiser and more ready to tackle life and love.
The heart of the book are the Canterbury Tales. Each tale is different but they all have a common core: love and how it affects us. “Us” being not just individuals but women. What do women truly want from a relationship? Do our love stories have to meet anyone’s standards but our own? Do each of us have a fairytale to live out?
Unfortunately, I found the characters unrelatable, the tales for the most part uninteresting and the pop psychology underlying it all rather annoying.
The Floral Challenge – fifteen down, two to go.
Cocktail Challenge – complete!
Letter Q Challenge – complete!stl-readerParticipant12/25/2017 at 10:57 amPost count: 11
elaine smith, good points, good questions. I really liked A Soldier’s Scoundrel, When I read it, I had not read much M/M, and the books I had read usually went no further than kissing (and then “they got up the next morning.”) I enjoyed reading an actual sex scene between two men who cared about each other, though as a straight woman, I have no idea how accurate or realistic anything was.
I thought Cat Sebastian did a pretty good job getting it across that the M/M have to sneak around in order to have intimate relations with each other. But to your point, I think one has to admit that lots of unrealistic things happen in Romancelandia, whether the couple is M/M or M/F. For example, it always gets me, in a heterosexual historicals, how the heroine’s period, with accompanying cramps, conveniently never makes an appearance, even if she’s been bedding the hero for weeks. Or how the gently raised heroine manages to easily move about unchaperoned in an era where that simply would not have been so easy to do, and people would have been in an uproar if they’d found out. So in that respect, I can’t say M/M romance novels are much different from M/F romances–most of them all seem to downplay the nasty realities of the time period if those realities would take away from the sense of romance. Just my opinion.
My bigger issue with A Soldier’s Scoundrel is how Oliver’s and Jack’s sisters conveniently were so accepting of the men’s sexual orientation. In fact, in the M/M novels I’ve read so far, when a friend or family member knows that the hero is gay, the friend/family member tends to be pretty accepting. In A Soldier’s Scoundrel, I’d have preferred, at the very least, that the author suggest, oh, say, that Oliver’s older brother (who is mentioned as being the one will inherit the title of Earl) keeps his family away from Oliver because of his suspected “proclivities”. At least then we’d have had a tiny reminder that not everyone was kindly disposed toward gays. But the author just never goes there. Again, it’s Romancelandia… :-/
I also have an issue with these gay men in historical romances seldom questioning whether they are really going to hell or not. (I can’t remember–was Lawrence Brown worried about this a little?) I’d like to see a gay hero who actually worries/believes that he is in fact a disgusting pervert who will be damned for all time. I want gay characters in romance novels to discuss this issue, and deal with it, like it actually existed.
I do wonder what gay men and women think about this novel.Maggie BoydKeymaster12/29/2017 at 10:42 amPost count: 68
1. Apple Blossom –promise. Read a reunion book where the promise of love is originally broken and then rediscovered. Or a book that involves a promise or vow in some way. The Summer That Made Us Robyn Carr
It was hard to give this book a rating because it was extremely uneven.
Once upon a time theirs had been a happy family. Two sisters, Lou and Jo, had married two brothers, and the couples each had three daughters. The cousins – Charlie, Hope, Meg, Krista, Beverly and Bunny – had been close. Lou and Jo took their daughters every summer to the family lake house where they swam and ate and tanned and played. Until the year Bunny died. The lake house was closed, never to be opened again. The sister’s fought and never spoke again. The cousins drifted apart and never gathered together again. Until Meg changes everything.
Coming off a recent bout of chemo and facing her own mortality, Meg determines to spend one last summer at the lake house. Fortunately for her, her sister Charley has recently lost her job as a talk show host and is bound and determined to do whatever it takes to make Meg happy. Charley spends the spring – and some of her hard earned money – refurbishing the lake house and when summer rolls around, takes her sister to the lake. Unbeknownst to her, Meg has invited the WHOLE family to enjoy the summer there.
First to show up is Krista, recently released from prison. In the manner of all women’s fiction/romance Krista isn’t a hardened criminal but a wise, sweet sage who just needs a second chance. She finds a job waitressing, reunites with her mother and begins to ask questions of her family in hopes of writing a memoir. She also discovers love but of course, this love has a secret of their own.
Jo, her mom, comes out to the lake house to appease Krista but quickly realizes she needs closure as much as anyone. Then Hope, her second daughter, shows up and problems long hid under the rugs become obvious and the family finally learns the awful truth of the last summer they were together.
I loved the concept of this novel and kept reading, in spite of its shabby prose and piss poor characterization, because I wanted to find out what had really happened that summer. Turned out, stupid and crazy had happened. The pay off wasn’t what I had hoped for and the ending left me with more questions than answers. Why did people seem so calm about Bunny’s death? Why not use the internet to answer all the questions they had regarding certain missing characters? Why was no one concerned about the crazy gene that clearly ran in the family?
Ultimately, the book is intriguing but deeply flawed with a pay off that is more half-pay than the windfall of information one would hope for.
The Floral Challenge – sixteen down, one to go.
Cocktail Challenge – complete!
Letter Q Challenge – complete!Maggie BoydKeymaster12/31/2017 at 3:18 pmPost count: 68
19. Nasturtium- patriotism. Read a book that takes place during a war. Or with a military hero/heroine. Eye of the Storm Maura Seger
Maggie Lawrence is an Army nurse in Manila during WWII. Fortunate enough to be given a berth on a last minute evacuation from the island, she is less than thrilled to be travelling with a group of marines. Sgt. Anthony Gargano ticks off all her pet peeves: pushy, bossy, uncouth. Her opinion changes as she gets to know him though. Soon, the two start an illicit relationship, strained because Maggie is an officer while Anthony is non-commissioned. When he gets combat promotions, the nature of their relationship becomes much more open. Separated and reunited by war on numerous occasions, Theirs is an affair to last a lifetime.
The story was intriguing but the author made it all too obvious she was writing a romance novels with sequels; we kept meeting good looking guys whom Maggie would totally fall for if it weren’t for Anthony.
The Floral Challenge – complete!
Cocktail Challenge – complete!
Letter Q Challenge – complete!
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