Sunday, February 10, 2013

Devil's Cub by Georgette Heyer

This romance set in Regency times

inspires with its beauty, settings and

endearing characters who follow on

from the favourite book of “These Old Shades”

which was set about twenty years previously.

The charm of the earlier characters cannot

fail to amuse and entrance the reader with

their various quirks and foibles.

Lady Fanning, with her two children who

are remarkably alike in temperament to herself and her husband

when they were younger, Lord Rupert with his

carefree attitude and his Grace, the Duke of Avon

and the Duchess with her engaging personality, who enlighten the story. The Duke's old friend,

Sir Hugh Davenant, also puts in an appearance.

The story is evolves around Miss Mary Challoner and the Duke's son,

the Marquis of Vidal.

An unlikely romance ensues after many adventures

and misapprehensions. Miss Mary's own father had been disinherited

by his own father for marrying her mother and Mary, being a little

different from her mother and sister did not wish for the same consequence

to happen upon the Marquis, who wishes to marry her.

The story is set in a time where propriety in all things was of the highest importance

in society. Respectability and being seen to act in a proper manner did take

precedence over actions and how people were seen to live their lives.

The story is lively and amusing. The characters are so authentic and also likeable.

It is a pleasure to read this book and follow the whims and fancies of the characters

and their journey to France.

There is also humour in the story and wonderful descriptions given on the page of the sea,

the horses, the towns, the inns and balls. It is a wonderful and intoxicating novel to read.

Descriptions of the characters give substance to the story and Miss Mary Challoner was an

unlikely character, seeming to be staid and strait-laced but also well educated.

It is a captivating story which appeals for the romance of the situation.

Due to

unexpected circumstances at one time Miss Mary Challoner found herself travelling in France

without her abigail and luggage which was seen to be not at all appropriate and without

assistance at an opportune moment she would have found herself in a dire predicament.

It is wonderful to read of the manners and way of life of Regency times where it is

so different from today and the expectations of society were so very exacting in modes

of dress and customs. Fencing and duelling also came into play.

The Regency setting gives the book an added charm for all

of these different modes of conduct and expectations.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Way

The Way

This wonderful film starring Martin Sheen is a story of four unlikely people

who meet up and befriend each other on the pilgrimage

journey from France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

It is the Way of St James, a pilgrimage journey which takes

the travellers through beautiful scenery and small towns

and villages.


With picturesque scenery, interesting characters and a wonderful

sound-track of music including James Taylor, this film inspires.

I loved watching

this film. It is a lovely story.
The vicissitudes along the way, the interactions of the people,
the hardships of the journey, the good and sometimes unfortunate happenings
all make for a wonderful film.
The pilgrims walked the journey carrying back packs as pilgrims had done this
same jouney since the middle ages.  They received stamps along the way at
different stages of the journey.
  Spiritual, religious, health
reasons and writer's block, which a writer from Ireland had previously suffered from
were reasons given for the pilgrimage. 
The Way of St James is a spiritual experience which is portrayed beautifully in this film.
Well recommended viewing!

The Fall of the Stone City by Ismail Kadare

This wonderfully written book is a fascinating

tale of legends, beliefs, politics and a lost way

of culture.

It is a story set in Albania when the German tanks advanced

over the border during the war years

and subsequently the communist take-over of power.

The story is written on several levels.

Firstly, it is a very personal oxes, wolves

and human story of two doctors who worked the hospital in the

town of Gjirokaster. Their names were Mr Big Gurameto and Mr Little

Gurameto. They were unrelated. Big Gurameto had studied in Germany and

Little Gurameto had trained in Italy. Both doctors were dedicated to their profession.

The esteem which they were held in by the general populace often fluctuated depending upon the rise and fall of the respective countries in the polictical environment of the time.

Secondly, it is also a story of Albanian honour and hospitality.

Thirdly, it is associated with legends and stories of the Albanian culture.

It is also a breathtaking story for its beauty and scope. Geographical locations

are described and illuminated with clarity. The foxes and wolves of the hills, the mountains of Lunxheria,

the little villages, the ladies from the great aristocratic houses and the stone city are described

beautifully and with wonder. Albania at one time was a beautiful place.

The story also fascinates.

It is as though Mr Big Gurameto has a mirror of his life

held up to him and shining within him. His destiny? Or he wishes he could change it.

From small and generous gestures of generosity and hospitality a previous occasion

comes back to haunt him in unexpected ways. This was the occasion of his generosity

towards a German colonel whom he had known from his student days in Germany.

There is so much more to this story. And what a story it is! Perhaps it was his mind playing tricks on him.

And no wonder! From small childhood beliefs and legends, the story seemed to grow.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Pictures of Mont St Michel

And on these golden sands
Came people from other lands:
Oceans swirling
Sea-birds whirling;
Horses rollicking
and knights frolicking: