Quote of the Week

“Other suns will shine as golden,
Other skies be just as blue;
Other south winds blow as softly,
Gently drinking up the dew.”

Sarah Morgan Bryant Piatt [1836-1919]
“To-day.” Stanza 1

Pulled from Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations by John Bartlett
Published by Little, Brown and Company in 1955, page 687.

[Review] John Eyre: A Tale of Darkness and Shadow by Mimi Matthews

Publisher and Publication Date: Perfectly Proper Press. July 20, 2021.
Genre: Gothic literature.
Pages: 364.
Format: NetGalley e-book.
Source: I received a complimentary NetGalley e-book copy from Austenprose. I am not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Readers who are in the mood for a Gothic literature story.
Rating: Excellent.

Purchase links:
Amazon
Audible
Barnes and Noble

Advance Praise:

“Bertha Mason Rochester shines, dominating her scenes with vitality and strength. The style, too, is spot-on, reprising the spirit of 19th-century Gothic prose without descending into mimicry.”— Publishers Weekly

“An entertaining spin on a classic with thrilling twists and turns…Matthews skillfully transforms a well-known story into a truly original tale.”— Kirkus

“[Matthews] retells Charlotte Bronte’s classic story in a way that will keep fans of the original novel totally gripped from cover to cover… Fresh and dynamic… Fast-paced and spellbinding…a book you will have a hard time putting down.”—
Readers Favorite

“One of the most moving, suspenseful, innovative and remarkable retellings of a classic in the history of, well, ever… Every page is sheer rapture as [Matthews] moulds popular source material into a spell-binding creation so wholly her
own.”— Rachel McMillan, bestselling author of The London Restoration

“[A] captivating and ingenious retelling of Jane Eyre with a supernatural twist. Smart, suspenseful, and deliciously spooky, JOHN EYRE is a must-read; I loved everything about it!”— Ashley Weaver, author of the Amory Ames Mysteries
and the Electra McDonnell series

Author Info:

USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical nonfiction and award-winning proper Regency and Victorian romances. Her novels have received starred reviews in Library Journal and Publishers Weekly, and her articles have been featured on the Victorian Web, the Journal of Victorian Culture, and in syndication at BUST Magazine. In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes a Sheltie, and two Siamese cats.

Website/ Twitter/ Facebook/ Pinterest/ BookBub/ Goodreads

Summary:

Yorkshire, England. 1843.
When disgraced former schoolmaster John Eyre arrives at Thornfield Hall to take up a position as tutor to two peculiar young boys, he enters a world unlike any he’s ever known. Darkness abounds, punctuated by odd bumps in the night, strange creatures on the moor, and a sinister silver mist that never seems to dissipate. And at the center of it all, John’s new employer—a widow as alluring as she is mysterious. Sixteen months earlier, heiress Bertha Mason embarked on the journey of a lifetime. Marriage wasn’t on her itinerary, but on meeting the enigmatic Edward Rochester, she’s powerless to resist his preternatural charm. In letters and journal entries, she records the story of their rapidly disintegrating life together, and of her gradual realization that Mr. Rochester isn’t quite the man he appears to be. In fact, he may not be a man at all. From a cliff-top fortress on the Black Sea coast to an isolated estate in rural England, John and Bertha contend with secrets, danger, and the eternal struggle between light and darkness. Can they help each other vanquish the demons of the past? Or are some evils simply too powerful to conquer?

My Thoughts:

John Eyre: A Tale of Darkness is a story strong in atmospheric tension and mystery. It is a story re-written from two famous stories of the 19th century. Both of these stories are favorites of mine. When I had the opportunity to read and review John Eyre I jumped at the chance with excitement.

There are several reasons why I love John Eyre:
1. It is a story thick with tension, mystery, anticipation, fear, and dread.
2. I love the details in the story. Human mannerisms and the small things that are done every day that bring a realness to the story. For example, the winding of a pocket watch.
3. I love the descriptions of the scenery and homes. In an atmospheric story like Gothic literature, it is important to show the reader an impact of the gray and grim; and a mist or fog or other objects that obscures what maybe behind it. It is writing that brings mystery and tension.
4. There is a level of sexuality or sensualness in some of the characters, but it is not to a point that takes the story to a level that is too revealing. It is subtle but noticeable.
5. John Eyre is the lead character or hero in @Austenprosethe story. If you recognize his last name, and if you remember the character in the famous 19th century story, Jane Eyre, you are correct. He is the male form of Jane. The story Jane Eyre is my number one favorite story!
6. John Eyre comes across as a Byronic type hero. One of the anticipations for me while reading is I waited and hoped for his character to mature or blossom. I wanted to see a full revealing of his person. I also had strong empathy for him.
7. The story towards the end has gruesome details. This is necessary and is apart of the revealing of what the story has been building up to.
8. Bertha Mason is the female lead character. She is strong, assertive, intelligent, and bold. She is beautiful and has a vibrant personality. She is a person people notice. She is the opposite, because of her language and behavior, in how many of the women are portrayed in l9th century literature. Her character is more of a contemporary written figure. However, her character is a solid balance for the whole of the story. She is certainly intriguing.

Themes in John Eyre: honesty, loyalty, jealousy, obsession, courage, bravery, kindness, heroism, innocence, fear, good and evil, deception, romance, empowerment, hope, and charity.

Quote of the Week

“One simile that solitary shines
In the dry desert of a thousand lines.”

Alexander Pope [1688-1744]
Imitation of Horace or Odes of Horace
Line 111

Quotation pulled from Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations by John Bartlett.
Published by Little, Brown and Company in 1955, page 320.

[Review] The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

Publisher and Publication Date: Vintage Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. First published 2010. Published by Vintage 2011.
Genre: Nonfiction. History.
Pages: 634 total reading pages.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Self-purchase
Audience: Readers of American history, biographies, and African American history.
Rating: Excellent.

National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, as well as several other awards.

To read more information about the book: Penguin Random House.

Link @ Amazon

Link @ Barnes and Noble

This is the 2nd book I’ve finished for the Chunkster Reading Challenge 2021.

Isabel Wilkerson’s Goodreads page

Isabel Wilkerson’s Twitter

Isabel Wilkerson’s website

Summary:

The Warmth of Other Suns is a narrative nonfiction account of the migration of Black Americans in the 20th century. It began in 1915 and ended in 1970. Millions of men, women, boys, and girls left the southern states of the United States and relocated to the Northeast, Northern states, and the West coast.

Wilkerson interviewed more than a thousand people for this epic history book (and includes many of their stories), but the focus is on three people.
Ida Mae Brandon Gladney
George Swanson Starling
Robert Joseph Pershing Foster

My Thoughts:

I’d not heard of this book until 2020. I love history. I love biographies. I love reading about a history that had been unknown to me. On that last point, I am unsure how this book had not crossed my path before. I wonder how many other books are out there that are important reads just waiting for me to discover?

Several reasons why I love this book and believe it is an important book!

  • Narrative nonfiction is alongside historical facts and statistics.
  • The three people who have full biographies give a personal warmth to the whole of the book.
  • There is a palpable energy starting at the first page.
  • Extensive and fascinating notes section.
  • A solid foundation is laid about the history of Jim Crow South (1880s-1960s).
  • Examples of the hardships and sufferings: lynchings, sharecropper system, how they traveled out of the South, problems that occurred in the new state they’d moved to, leaving family and friends behind, finding a job, marriage and family, education, and housing. All of these examples are hard to read about, but they showed me how this people group endured and persevered.
  • The epilogue told me the rest of the story about the three who have been the focus. Wilkerson gave me a solid closure for the book.
  • Ida Gladney’s story resonated with me the most. Possibly because she’s a woman. She was a remarkable woman. A remarkable person. If her story had been the only one, this book would still be excellent.
  • The front cover of the book is perfect. Conversation worthy.

[Review] The Count of Monte Cristo (Abridged) by Alexandre Dumas

Publisher and Publication Date: Barnes and Noble Classics. 2004.
Genre: Fiction. Classic literature. Classic French literature.
Pages: 608.
Format: Hardcover.
Source: Self-purchase.
Audience: Classic literature readers.
Rating: Good.

This is the first Chunkster size book for that reading challenge I’ve finished in 2021.

This book is read for the 2021 Victorian Reading Challenge.

This book is also read for The Classics Club.

This book is also read for Back to the Classics Challenge 2021. #4 A book written in not my first language. “4. A classic in translation, meaning any book first published in a language that is not your primary language. You may read it in translation or in its original language, if you prefer.”

I’ve had this book in my TBR piles several years. I’m excited to cross it off the list of books to be read.

Link at Barnes and Noble.

Alexandre Dumas, 1802-1870

Biography on Alexandre Dumas

Goodreads author page

The Count of Monte Cristo was first published in a serialized form. The French title: Le Comte de Monte-Cristo in 1844-1845.

Summary:

France. 1815.

Edmond Dantes has everything going for him. He has a loving father. He is in love with a beautiful woman he is engaged to marry. He has a career as a captain of a ship. He is young and handsome.

There is a man who is very jealous of Edmond. He plots to destroy Edmond. Edmond is accused of treason. His sentence is in a prison fortress built on a small island. Edmond wastes away in his prison cell for 14 years. During this time, Edmond develops a friendship that becomes a lifesaver. And, Edmond plans his revenge.

My Thoughts:

I like The Count of Monte Cristo, but I am not in love with the story. It is not a story that swept me away like Les Miserables or other five star/excellent classic literature books I’ve rated. But it is a good, solid story.

It is a simple story to follow.
It has heroes and villains.
It is told in a chronological order of events.

A man who has everything going for him in life and it is stolen in a brief moment. A great injustice is done to Edmond. I have empathy for his plight. I feel an investment in what is going to happen. I felt surely with a chunkster page book a reckoning will come.

It is a story that in the beginning pages I felt sadness and anxiety. However, the story has a good building up and leads to a satisfying closure.

Themes in the story: betrayal, ambition, courage, redemption, revenge, perseverance, honesty, good and evil, deception, heroism, honor, suffering, judgment, injustice, justice, self-control, empowerment, and grief.