Thursday, June 30, 2011

Angelique and the Ghosts

Angelique and the Ghosts

I love reading the Angelique series of books because they seem so real.
The wonderful settings and beauty of prose give these novels
a dimension which is magical. Once again, following on from
the adventures and misadventures of Angelique and Joffrey de Peyrac,
I loved reading
Angelique and the Ghosts by Sergeanne Golon, which also gave an understanding
of the goals which Joffrey de Peyrac was setting for himself.
Joffrey has given assistance
and passage on his boat to people who are agents of the government of France, also
the governor of one of the provinces, Ville d'Avray, who again makes an appearance with his
quite welcoming and also
sometimes (for Angelique) over the top personality. However, he proves as always to
be a good companion. Joffrey also assists traders with their goods.
Joffrey hopes to meet with officials in Quebec, and hopefully one day
would wish to return to France. He has explained this to Angelique. He does not
always wish to be an exile from his country of birth. Angelique was also made
to understand this. Even though they had a new life in Canada, it was important
that one day they would be able to return to France and their children would also
be able to return. It was a dream on the horizon.

From the beginning of this novel, acting on intuition, Angelique rescues Joffrey
from a trap which endangered his life. Joffrey had given Angelique a set of
very finely crafted pistols at the end of the last novel, “Angelique and the Demon,”
which came into good use so early in this new adventure of “Angelique and the

Angelique and Joffrey de Peyrac travel the St Lawrence river en route to Quebec,
stopping at various small towns and communities on the way. Angelique befriends
 Marguerite de Bourgeoys, a nun who was renowned for the work she did for
setting up schools in early Canada.

Angelique had a talent for helping people with
cures for their ailments.

For early colonial history of the New World,
these books of Angelique are well worth reading and would serve as excellent study
guides in an educational forum for early history of the time and also literature.

Angelique reminiscences about her early days in Paris, the Court of Miracles (which
was the Paris underworld and best forgotten as Angelique moved on from these
troubled times) and her acceptance at the glittering court of Louis XIV at Versailles
as Madame la Marquise, Madame du Plessis-Belliere,
after her marriage to a distant cousin, the Marquis, Philippe du Plessis-Belliere.
How far Angelique had journeyed in life since these
early days!

She has not forgotten her poet, who had such a great fondness for Angelique. She had
met him early one morning on a river barge on the River Seine, when she did not have a home.
Unfortunately, perhaps as being a poet it may have been inherent in his nature to write of
truth, which in seventeenth century France may have been upsetting certain persons in
authority and her poet paid the ultimate price for his truthfulness and bringing misdemeanours
and crimes to attention in the gutter press.
This is a fictional novel, though the story is quite
believable which is set in “Angelique- The Road to Versailles” which was one of the earlier books of Angelique's
adventures and a magnificent novel to read.

One of my all time favourites is “Angelique and the
King” as there are so many wonderful depictions of the court of Louis XIV at Versailles and
references to many of the people at the court at the time, including Louise de la Valliere, Madame de Montespan (who Angelique has an altercation with) and Madame de Maintenon who acts as a
peace-maker between the two women.
(There is a reference to an altercation between Madame de Montespan and Madame des Fontanges in one book I was looking at on google books of the history of the court of Louis XIV.
Perhaps Madame de Maintenon may have been a peace -maker in such a situation.)
The scenes
of court life, decorations, dress and etiquette described in the book seemed to ring with authenticity.

In “Angelique and the Ghosts” Angelique also recalls her good friend, the police inspector,
Desgrez, who has come to her assistance in the past. Perhaps it is difficult for Angelique
not to think of the many good people from her past as she travels on her new path in life with her

Angelique and her husband also save good friends from a depraved captain as they had been taken
prisoners on the river. Angelique also looks out for her good friend and his bear, who decides to hibernate
for the winter at an inconvenient time.

All in all, a marvellous read. Full credit to Anne and Serge Golon for another magnificent story.
The next three books in the series have not been translated into English at this time.

I look forward to reading “Angelique in Quebec” when an English translation becomes available.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Winter colours in the park

I have a few pictures at this stage which depict the brilliant winter foliage of the trees in the park on the Gold Coast, Australia:

 Sunlight filters through the leaves creating a wonderful display of beauty and light and colour:

By the pond:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Autumn colours with pictures

Autumn Colours with pictures
Autumn and winter can be quite a magical time on the
Gold Coast with the brilliant sunshine of June shining
in a blue Queensland sky which brings forth its marvellous warmth and light
into the parks and forest and filters through the trees.
 This creates a
shadow effect of the leaves and branches dancing in the breeze and playfully
making shadows with glimpses of dazzling rays of sunlight seen amongst the trees.  Amongst all of this beauty is to be heard the song of birds in the park.  I have noticed ducks on the pond and beautiful white swans which give
wings to flight when suddenly they fly to the highest tree.
The winter foliage is abundant with beautiful yellow and a soft mulberry shade on the banks of the pond and also russet and green leaves.
These pictures were taken in April, at the beginning of the autumn weather:

  I will include some of the winter shades on a later post,

  My best wishes

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Listen to the Wind

While looking around the outside grounds of the Kremlin, Moscow, in September 2009 I was
quite mesmerised by the beautiful shimmering leaves of trees which seemed to shimmer in the
breeze as the wind whistled through them.  It was so quiet and almost uncanny, as the guide was leading
a group around the premises and giving a talk about the place.  The leaves in the trees were so noticeable
and I so clearly remember as though it was a message, brought by the wind and on the leaves.

  On the Gold Coast in a park the other day I noticed how beautiful the tops of the trees were
swaying gently in the breeze with the sunlight glinting on their tops and shining brilliantly on the sunlit
leaves against a vivid blue sky.  It is quite cold out of the sunlight
at the moment on the Gold Coast but brilliant in the sunshine.

  I will send some pictures of the brilliance of the autumn colours on the Gold Coast in autumn, however,
at present I am on a public computer.

  A beautiful rendering of a song about listening to the wind is by Hayley Westenra from The New World :

  Best wishes

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The brilliance of Chekov

The Brilliance of Chekhov

  I have been watching a BBC adaptation
of plays by Anton Chekhov which I have found
to be full of wit, satire and brilliance.  A
great perceptiveness of people, their foibles
and characteristics is shown.
This collection of plays is wonderful.
I have enjoyed watching "A Wedding" which I found hilarious.
Anton Chekhov certainly knows how to spin a story with comedy
and also in a way parody the people in certain situations. 
Perhaps he may have found society pretentious at times and this
certainly does sometimes show in the plays.

A more dramatic play is "The Seagull" which I enjoyed for giving
such insights into the life of a writer and artistry from an artist's
This play was also a tragedy in many respects.
 The lake, tree and leafy scenery
was spectacular with the greenery combined with wonderful clothing of an
Chekhov certainly had an uncanny ability to portray characters in a real
not artificial, with all of their quirks and charms.  There is often spark
life in the dialogue.
An interesting aspect of "The Seagull" was the story line, the seagull, and
the parallel story of a young girl who is identified as similar to the
in the story.
The outdoor stage setting at the beginning of the play is quite magnificent,
with concepts of old and new techniques in the art of theatre on show.
This play had many qualities on a different level as regards the imagery and
the story, also that as the writer would write or make comments for his
this seemed to give another dimension to the play as it does appear that what
was written in a book or his notes did seem to take relevance
 as regards the young girl, Nina and the writer.
The other characters in this production are also played manificently.  Masha
who is
in love with the
playwright, Constantin, but who marries a school teacher and Constantin's
 Madame Aarkadina.

It is almost as though with the plays of Chekhov the viewer is seeing real
Chekhov had a great understanding of people and society, similarly as
with his plays which in the form of satire often parodied society of
century France.  At one time Moliere's plays were banned.
There is a scene in "The Seagull" where the writer, Trigorin, mentions that
he loves
scenery but more than being a word painter he also loves people and his
country as
he is a citizen of Russia, and as such he also loves to write about people.

  I will continue to watch some more of these plays and write another review.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

My comments on Gold Coast BookCoasters regarding the book
"The Memory Keeper's Daughter" by Kim Edwards:

I have recently finished reading “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter” by Kim Edwards.
What a wonderful book! On a different level altogether. The humanity shines through this novel, the personalities and the intricacies and also uncertainties
of life.
I would recommend this book as it gives a good understanding of alternative values,
which sometimes may occur, especially in the setting of earlier times and a more repressive system which people often adhered to as regards human frailties, as
described in the book.
I loved the story, the wonderful story telling , which was often on a personal level, understanding the people and the reasons for their actions.
The descriptions in the book of scenery, countryside, cities, farmland echoed in the story
with a vibrance and vitality giving authenticity to the very telling of the story.

  There are also discussion questions regarding this book,
as also discussion questions regarding "Wolf Hall" by Hillary Mantel and The Tudors.

Monday, June 6, 2011

All the rivers run

A wonderful mini series, which I have been watching is "All the Rivers Run" starring
Sigrid Thornton who begins a new life in Victoria, Australia in the 1890's.  The settings
of rural Australia at the time are authentic, as also the river boat trade, the costumes,
dresses and there is also an elegant way of life portrayed, even though the rural folk endured
many hardships.  Victoria was quite English in many respects.

  The paddle steamer is reminiscent of the paddle steamers of the Mississippi River and
also of South Australia.  I am reminded of the books of Mark Twain which were set
along the banks of the Mississippi River.  There is a river culture and a countrified sense
of community amongst the river folk.

I look forward to watching more of this mini series of "All the Rivers Run."  It
evokes a by-gone era quite beautifully with a full cast of believable characters who have adapted well
to the challenges of living and surviving  in early Australia.

The story is also wonderful to follow of Philadelphia, played by Sigrid Thornton, in the character role
of a young woman finding her way in life and her love of painting.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Great Magician by Christian Jacq

The Great Magician by Christian Jacq

What a wonder was the boy Mozart,
who often did seem to play with fire
at times in his young life.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story by Christian Jacq
of the young Mozart's life and early attempts to
establish his career.

So many difficulties he encountered but with the
presence of valuable friends and his own parents
Mozart made his way and made an impression with
his musical talent and skills.

The Great Magician was a wonderful book to read,
with great dialogue, settings and character portrayals.
It was brilliant in this respect.

The book is quite compelling reading and portrays the
early life of Mozart, his travels, disillusionments and
the difficulty of obtaining a suitable postion at a court.

Despite the setbacks in the young Mozart's life, the story
is also inspirational for meeting challenges against disparate
odds in life and Mozart does not become disillusioned or crushed
by the weight of burdens which he encounters.

The musical world of the day was competitive and wordly. He
realised towards the end of the book that his musical talents
were not going to be recognised in Paris.

His parents were guiding influences and also his friend, Thamos,
Count of Thebes, whom he had encountered from a young age. This
may have been the beginnings of an interest in the ancient ideologies
and civilizations of Egypt, hence the Freemasons in Europe at the time.
This is a fascinating and compelling story which runs parallel with the
story of Mozart in the book. The dramas and political in fighting, the joining
together of some of the various lodges, as though they are
setting a stage for something grand in the future.

The Great Magician was their hope for the future, a gifted and talented
musician who through his music would bring light to the world. His middle name
was “Gottlieb” or “Amadeus” which signified “Beloved of God.”

It is possible to relate to Mozart in the story who is a real character and not artificial, who cares
about his music, wishes to compose and exercise creative freedom, but seems to be held back
from progressing in life. This is due to many factors, including the politics of the time and also
to a certain extent, his own personal ideals.
There was much artifice at some of the courts where he was obliged to play. He felt at home amongst friends in places like Mannheim and Strasbourg, where he enjoyed the company
of other musicians. One friend, a horn player, admired Mozart's talent.

Mozart returns to Salzburg at the end of the book I of the series, The Great Magician, after
many travels in Europe.

The book would adapt well to a play on the stage with the wonderful
music and beautiful settings, especially in conjunction with the second
book of the series, “The Son of Enlightenment” by the same author,