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Wednesday Whirlwind Courtship

What I've Finished Reading

The Grand Sophy. I guess it was thoughtful of Georgette Heyer to concentrate all her anti-Semitism in a big ugly lump in the middle of the book, instead of just sprinkling it inextricably over everything? A book editor could easily just scoop it out and throw it away, and nothing of value would be lost. The vicious moneylender caricature (complete with random homicidal impulses) whom Sophy bargains with over the payment of her cousins' debts is so jarring that it throws the rest of the book off balance. It feels like detritus from a totally different book, nestled among all the bubbly laughter and ribboned muslin and cute-dog side-plays like a turd in a trifle. But at least it's just the one? I don't know.

It was a good trifle otherwise.

To be honest, I lost the thread a little toward the end -- partly from being distracted by "Goldhanger," but mostly just because the characters and situations piled up quite a lot and I couldn't completely tell all of Sophy's friends apart. The madcap finale is still pretty delightful. Everyone sorts out into new and improved configurations in a more-or-less satisfying way, with the possible exception of [SPOILER for The Grand Sophy!]Sophy and Charles, who were a bit too underdetermined and 1950s-Hollywood slap-kiss-grab for me. I realized, almost at the last minute, that the only couple I really cared about was [ANOTHER SPOILER]Miss Wraxton and Lord Bromford! Miss Wraxton is the Overly Serious Fiancee whose meddling is unappreciated by everyone else; Bromford is a hapless sap who sallies chivalrously forth to save Sophy from disgrace (it's a long story) but catches a bad cold along the way and finds himself totally unequal to the task of walking in a room where there are ducklings. WHY ARE THERE DUCKLINGS? I could relate to him because I, too, have had colds. Miss Wraxton rises to the occasion as the only person in this madhouse who understands how confusing ducklings are when you have a cold, and takes appropriate action. Their whirlwind courtship around a soothing mustard-bath is a beauty and a joy.

After I finished the book, I read the introduction, by New York Times Bestselling Author Catherine Coulter. It was a strange introduction that focused primarily on Coulter's personal sexual fantasies about the characters. "That's an interesting approach," I thought, because I try to be polite even in my own mind, but deep down I knew I wasn't really interested.

What I'm Reading Now

Not much, due to work. The Celebrated Mrs. Oldfield is from my bookshelf. It's a short study of an early 18th-century actress and her milieu, which is a world I know nothing about. The plays and the descriptions of performance styles are fascinating.

Under the Volcano is so drunk right now, you guys.

The Laughing Monsters is better now that its unlikable assholes are on a bus instead of just hanging around in hotel bars being cagey about their asshole plans, but I still wish I were reading something else. Soon, I will be reading something else!

What I Plan to Read Next

Work stuff, as far as the eye can see.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 10th, 2016 12:51 pm (UTC)
I'd come across advice to just skip the anti-Semitic chapter, so that's what I did when I read The Grand Sophy. The book made perfect sense without it.
Feb. 10th, 2016 03:12 pm (UTC)
Probably good advice? It really comes out of nowhere and vanishes leaving nothing but unease.
Feb. 10th, 2016 02:04 pm (UTC)
Heh, glad you still made it through to the end, despite That Chapter.

Sophy and Charles, who were a bit too underdetermined and 1950s-Hollywood slap-kiss-grab for me

They are a bit, although Sophy was obviously working to that intent all along, really. They're not, I think, especially typical of her main couples. (I was thinking about which others you might enjoy if you find any more, or are willing to brave them - maybe Arabella, Frederica, Cotillion and then The Quiet Gentleman (which has one of my favourite of her heroines and a murderer who keeps trying to kill someone and has to be stopped) plus maybe The Talisman Ring, which is still quite early for her, but in which everyone has shenanigans while solving a murder that happened a few years ago.

Good luck with the endless stretch of work-stuff, though!!
Feb. 10th, 2016 03:21 pm (UTC)
Hah, thanks! I'll brave anything a few times, probably, though I don't know when I'll get around to any more Heyer. (The rest of the shelf I found it on is 100% billionaires, babies, secret cowboy billionaires, allegedly sexy cops on the run pursued by allegedly sexy Marines, and other things that have limited intrinsic appeal for me). I'll keep these in mind for the future, though!
Feb. 10th, 2016 05:37 pm (UTC)
What, no pregnant princesses? ;-p
Feb. 11th, 2016 05:03 am (UTC)
There might be! To be honest, I haven't looked too closely at the selection. There could be any number of permutations of wealthy + reproductively capable + traditionally gender-expressive + hat-wearing in there.
Feb. 10th, 2016 03:37 pm (UTC)
I met more than one person who just skipped that chapter in The Grand Sophy.
Feb. 11th, 2016 05:04 am (UTC)
It is eminently skippable! Wikipedia tells me that some editions leave it out entirely, which is one way around the problem.
Feb. 10th, 2016 06:54 pm (UTC)
It was a strange introduction that focused primarily on Coulter's personal sexual fantasies about the characters. "That's an interesting approach," I thought, because I try to be polite even in my own mind, but deep down I knew I wasn't really interested.
Haaaaaa! I have felt that way about a lot of introductions, though (thankfully?) I missed out on this particular one.

If you're interested in more Heyer, I'd recommend Cotillion. It is also a delightful trifle, and has a main couple who in many ways is the exact opposite of slap-slap-kiss.
Feb. 11th, 2016 05:16 am (UTC)
I'll give it a try! :D

Feb. 10th, 2016 10:44 pm (UTC)
Hmmm...really want to re-read 'the Two Georges' My taste in fiction seems to have shifted and I want to see if alternate history still holds appeal...

Feb. 11th, 2016 05:19 am (UTC)
I had to look up this title, because I'd never heard of it. Harry Turtledove is an author I see a lot of at the bookstore, but have never attempted to read. I hope it holds up for you! Or if not, that you find something that does.
Feb. 11th, 2016 05:22 am (UTC)
I was given 'Two Georges' when I was in my early twenties by an avid reader of H.T. (thank you - had forgotten his name - eep! Always happens to me, lol!) and I highly recommend it. It IMMEDIATELY pulled me in and I rather got hooked on the taste. Wonder why I didn't pursue more...hmmm.

Welp. Need to get ahold of it again. Just to see if it stands the test of time.

Feb. 11th, 2016 11:03 am (UTC)
I've had a copy of The Two Georges lying around for some time. I've started reading it finally. Should be interesting. I enjoy HT, as long as he limits the number of viewpoints - Guns Of The South, Ruled Britannia and his YA Crosstime Traffic series are limited to two viewpoints, which I can handle. The thick-as-a-brick ones I find confusing, as they have several viewpoints each.
Feb. 14th, 2016 03:08 am (UTC)
I can see how!! He gets rather in depth - and with too many povs, it can make it a hopeless mess rather than gripping insights. That's when an author should determine to make 'chapter books' out of 'same event, different views per book, one final book for conclusion'. There was a reason I didn't read the Dune series. When one needs a book to explain the other books...well, at that point, I give up, lol! When I want to research, I research. When I want to read for pleasure, I'd prefer to not have a lexicon to refer to, to be able to do so. :D
Feb. 14th, 2016 11:10 am (UTC)
I read the first Dune novel and that was it. I enjoyed it, but couldn't read the rest. And it took me a while at that. I think I only finished it in the end because the author visited Melbourne and he was so nice, I had to try again. Yo're right, that one has too many POVs.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )


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