On Friday I got up, cleaned the house a little, then went shopping with my mother-in-law. I got to pick out some lovely new boots so that I can keep up my recent habit of walking a mile or two each morning even when the snow comes. I got some toasty woolen socks, too, and then we went out to lunch.
When I got home, I passed a relaxing few hours reading, listening to Christmas songs, and finally redesigning my blog into a color scheme that I like. I discovered that a piece of mail from my school was pay for unused sick days, which meant that I was going to be able to go to the SCBWI Winter Conference after all. In short, I was having a really delightful day. And I went to blog about it, but first, I checked some of the other blogs I follow.
And of course, several of them mentioned the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
That's why, despite a weekend that was lovely in every other respect, in which I've had many, many things make me happy, I'm feeling pretty subdued this morning. But I'm trying to balance the sadness I feel for Newtown with my own reasons for happiness, large and small. I made the last of my Christmas travel plans today, and picked up the last of my gifts yesterday. Today and the rest of the week I'll be baking the Christmas cookies I've always loved. I'll be enjoying the holiday season, but I have a hunch the children and teachers of Sandy Hook won't be far from my mind during any of it. I'm planning a catch-up post, to properly celebrate the things that have made me feel especially lucky and joyful this week, but I'm not ready to do that quite yet.
As always, though, here's What I Read This Week:
A Breath of Eyre by Eve Marie Mont
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book is kind of tricky to review. For long stretches, it's just a fairly compelling contemporary novel. And those stretches, if they had made up the whole book, might have been a four-star read for me (they'd need a little of the fleshing out provided by the other sections, but I think it could be done.) I liked the writing, I liked the characters, there were scenes that made me smile and character revelations I cared about.
But the whole thing of the book is the Jane Eyre business. I'm a fan of that novel; it's a big part of why I picked this one up. However, there are big chunks of this book that read like the Sparknotes for that one. (Spoilers ahead, potentially?) The idea of Emma getting sucked back into the world of Jane Eyre, and into Jane's life, was interesting. And I liked the parallels, and all of that. But in order to make that work, Jane Eyre had to be re-told for readers unfamiliar with the plot. At one point, Emma herself fades away, and it's just straight up Jane Eyre for...a while. During that part...I kind of just felt like, ok, I should just go re-read the original.
By the end, watching Emma-as-Jane make some independent decisions worked for me, for sure. And the way the novel resonated in Emma's life worked for me. So I'd still recommend this one to fans of contemporary and classic romance--with the caveat that, if you've read Jane Eyre, you may be ok skimming most of part 2. It does pick back up, though, and overall I enjoyed it.
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