HelenEdith's Blog

The minutiae of my life, plus website updates and book reviews

Archive for the ‘General Fiction’ Category

Fiction without a genre

Book Review: Jane Yardley – Dancing with Dr Kildare

Posted by HelenEdith on June 13, 2009

This book came from the general fiction shelves in the library, and I found much of it to be rather pedestrian. It wasn’t that there was a lack of material: just that things happened rather slowly.

The plot of the book concerns Nina’s recently deceased father, who was a Finnish exile, and in whose locked desk Nina has found a score and parts of Sibelius’s Eighth Symphony, all in her father’s hand.

There are plenty of turns along the way – ballroom dancers and aficionados of the tango, plus Nina’s lifelong love of the actor Richard Chamberlain, particularly in his alter ego of Dr Kildare, which is where the title comes from.

We are drawn on a journey of discovery about the symphony. Initially, Nina wants to suppress it because she cannot see how it can reflect well on her father, which will in turn upset her mother; but then she starts to have doubts about its worth.

This was a well-researched book with a sizeable list of acknowledgements of sources at the end, and puts up a good if fictional case for why there never was an Eighth Symphony by Sibelius.

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Book Review: Virginia Andrews – Celeste

Posted by HelenEdith on April 8, 2009

(Book One of the Gemini series)

This is my first attempt to read Virginia Andrews and I got a quarter of the way through this book before deciding to abandon it.

Twins Celeste and Noble are the children of a mother obsessed with New Age superstitions. According to the book jacket, Noble’s death in a tragic accident pushes the mother over the edge and she tries to turn Celeste into Noble. Celeste doesn’t re-emerge as herself until a boy moves in next door.

Well I’ve got a quarter of the way through the book and Celeste and Noble are still engaged in childish bickering and we don’t seem to be anywhere near the events about which the book is supposed to turn.

Maybe I ought to go back and try and read a few more chapters, but it’s due back at the library and I really don’t feel like extending it and giving it another chance.

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Book Review: Barbara Wood – Sacred Ground

Posted by HelenEdith on May 30, 2007

I nearly didn’t make it past the first chapter of this book, but I’m really glad that I persevered, because it turned into an excellent book.

The main character is an archaeologist, Erica Tyler, who is investigating a cave exposed during a landslip in Los Angeles. The cave is near some very exclusive houses, and the owners want the cave filled in so that they can return to their houses.

The cave contains paintings, the bones of someone known as “The First Mother”, and a number of other more recent objects. Native American groups want “The First Mother” buried elsewhere as soon as possible, so they don’t want Erica investigating, either.

We are led through a tale told partly from Erica’s perspective, interspersed with chapters from the time of “The First Mother” and her more significant descendants, right up to the time when the Spanish Missions are established and many tribes disintegrated. We are then led through the Californian gold rush, but then we go back to the present.

I didn’t like the way that one vital piece of information about Erica was withheld almost until the end of the book, but it was a jolly good story anyway.

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