Sunday, October 16, 2011

 

Sunday Reading

With cold, fally weather arriving at last, our living room has become a much cosier place. (Some furniture rearrangement helped; and the new music-playing device we acquired using Air Miles.) Now all I want to do is read. Add that to Sunday afternoon and a damn good book, and I can barely tear myself away to type this. (Helps that I needed to update my reading device and now might as well let it charge.)

So, the book is The Sterkarm Handshake by Susan Price. I found it in a “Best British Books” list for young people, the end result of several link hops from Fuse#8. There’s the tiniest SF device—a time and dimension machine, all nicely explained so that we don’t have to worry about things done in the past affecting the present—and then it’s part spec and part historical fiction. We’re sometimes in the 21st century, with the organization that built the machine, and sometimes in the 16th century, in a wild borderland between that day’s England and Scotland, populated by violent, vengeful descendants of Vikings. Our heroine, a disregarded “fat girl” in the 21st century, is living with the Sterkarms, the most vengeful of the lot, and reporting back to her employers—and also coming to love the Sterkarms, who regard her highly and expect her to marry the flower of the flock, the chieftain’s son Per. She loves him, and in such a messy, honest way—this book has Outlander beat, hands down. 

Now, before I forget, I purposely left The Best Laid Plans lying on the coffee table last weekend when my father-in-law came to visit, and over the weekend he read the whole thing. He loved it, as I thought he would, and I thank Terry Fallis for providing him with much entertainment and smiles.

Also, a tip of the hat to Sister, for giving me Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll. I had to promise that I was no Austen purist before she gave it to me. It was definitely entertaining, based on the notion that behind closed doors and properly wed, Darcy and Elizabeth are as passionate toward each other as they are about their self-respect in polite company. So, very salty reading, all couched in Austen-like language. The author managed the latter fairly well, though I think she used “hence” too much and not always properly, and lost her grip on lay-lie when faced with accouchement (laying-in—ouch!). She managed a neat plot trick: when their passion may be getting in the way of procreation, Lizzy and Darcy are separated by the Napoleonic Wars for just the time it takes to grow and deliver two healthy babes. Nice!

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