Book Review: 10 Piquant Things about PERSUASION by Jane Austen

Persuasion

by Jane Austen

Nikki’s Rating: 10 out of 10

Summary: Persuaded once to refuse the man she loved, Anne Elliot is haunted by the choice she made nearly eight years ago. Now as her family deals with a financial crisis, his relatives become their tenants and Captain Wentworth and Anne are thrown into each other’s company once more. As they navigate their emotions, social etiquette, and Anne’s snobbish family, they come to realize that their feelings may have not changed and that their love might have survived their long separation.

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10 Piquant Things about PERSUASION by Jane Austen

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Family Dynamics

One of my favorite things about Persuasion is the banter that captures the family dynamics. Poor Anne is constantly in the middle of multiple family members, each telling her to tell other family members to stop this or do that. All of them are secretly complaining and talking shit about each other and it is hilarious! Mirrors many real-life family dynamics.

2. Class System

As seen in her other novels, Jane Austen shows the ridiculousness of the class system. Anne’s father, Sir Walter Elliot is seen as a snobbish, superficial Baronet who is obsessed with class and being part of the gentry. Even when dealing with a financial crisis, due to his own frivolous spending, he balks at the idea of letting his house to a professional career man.

3. Anne Elliot

Like all of Austen’s heroines, Anne is a wonderful character. While not outspoken and bold like Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, Anne Elliot has her own strength that is quiet and gentle. Anne is immensely kind and thoughtful to all she comes across, without regard to class or rank. Throughout the novel, she is constantly thinking of those around her, putting their own comfort and needs before her own.each other and slowly coming to terms with their attraction to one another.

4. Unrequited Love

Unrequited love is something that everyone can identify with, most of us have dealt with it in some capacity in our lives. And Austen captures this painful experience so well through the thoughts of Anne. Wanting to be around the person because you love them but also knowing that they do not feel the same is torture as Austen describes so eloquently:

“It was agitation, pain, pleasure, a something between delight and misery”

p. 165

5. Going Against Family/Friends

The factors that influenced Anne to reject Captain Wentworth’s first proposal were that her family and more importantly, her good friend Lady Russel, voiced their displeasure of the match. While there were various reasons for each side, some based simply on snobbery, it is always a difficult situation to go against the advice from the important people in our lives.

6. Lady Russell

While Lady Russell had told Anne to break off her first engagement to Captain Wentworth, it was not out of malice or snobbery. Rather it was done due to her belief that a long engagement with no foreseeable date for the wedding to be too trying on both parties. Lady Russell only ever wanted happiness for Anne and was trying to prevent her from heartache. I appreciated that Austen didn’t make Lady Russell into a villain. Austen could have easily made Lady Russell’s motivations about being a snobbish aristocrat but instead, preserved the friendship between Anne and Lady Russell, with Lady Russell portraying the very thoughts that Austen had of long engagements.

7. Love

All of Austen’s novels are love stories and this is probably the biggest reason why I’m a huge Jane Austen fan. The love story in Persuasion is unique from her other books as it is a story of two people finding love again with each other. Well, realizing that they never stopped loving each other and that they were in a place that they could finally marry without a long, drawn-out engagement.

8. Writing

Jane Austen is a wonderful author and her books are timeless. Persuasion has a colorful cast of characters that are charming, even with their faults, and thus totally realistic. Austen’s writing throughout the novel is impeccable and provides enough detail without the reader getting lost in descriptions. And while Persuasion is not a fast-paced action story, it is a story of the heart that is touching and utterly heartwarming.d”.

9. Jane Austen

The inspiration of Persuasion came from Jane Austen’s own experience in giving her beloved niece advice about whether to enter into a drawn-out engagement or to pass up on the opportunity. Probably why Austen is such an effective writer is that she draws upon her own life. She writes about what she knows, allowing her to paint that picture in words. And of course, her books reflect her own opinions which were ahead of her time such as the absurdity of the class system, the idea that marriage should be about love, and that women can be strong and independent.for the more sensible family members. Basically how all our families are!

10. The Ending

The ending of Persuasion doesn’t provide the reader with information about if Sir Walter Elliot succeeds in being able to return to Kellynch-hall or the fate of Mrs. Clay and Mr. Elliot but frankly, I couldn’t give a shit. Anne and Captain Wentworth end up happily married and that is all that matters. Love and goodness triumphed and the rest can keep company in their misery.


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Book Review: MY PLAIN JANE by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows (Owlcrate Book July 2018)

“My Plain Jane”

The Lady Janies #2

by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

Nikki’s Rating: 8 out of 10

Summary: Wanting nothing more than to become a governess, Jane Eyre leaves the miserable Lowood school to pursue her dream. But then her secret gets out, Jane Eyre can see ghosts. As she is caught up in the Royal Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits, Jane finds herself falling for the wrong man, while her best friend Charlotte Brontë finds inspiration for the novel she always wanted to write.

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8 Magical Things about MY PLAIN JANE by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre is a beloved novel with a Romantic love-story and “My Plain Jane” is a rather hysterical and fantastical retelling of this classic. As Hand et al. states in their dedication:

“And for England (again). We’re really sorry for what we’re about to do to your literature.”

2. Charlotte Brontë

Being the author of Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë is actually a main character in “My Plain Jane” and in the novel, it is the events that take place in “My Plain Jane” that inspire Charlotte Brontë to write Jane Eyre. It is a nice touch done by Hand et al. and they also include some facts of Charlotte Brontë’s real life throughout “My Plain Jane.”

3. Hysterical

Probably the best thing about “My Plain Jane” is the humor. The authors’ main goal appears to be providing the reader with a comical story and they truly deliver. One of my favorite quotes that had me laughing:

“There was only one conclusion Jane could draw from the style and design of the dress and it was this: it had to be thought up by men. Then women could in no way outrun them, and with the lack of oxygen to the brain due to a rib cage the size of a fist, they could not outthink them. And with the bright colors, they couldn’t hide. No running, no thinking, no hiding.”

(Hand et al. 373)

4. Pop Culture

Throughout “My Plain Jane” are little pop culture references to other stories such as Harry Potter and The Princess Bride which just adds to the fun!

5. Collaboration

Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows are all successful writers and it is amazing to see such talented writers come together to collaborate on one project.

6. Explanations

Thankfully the authors explain terms and customs that readers may be unfamiliar with due to the novel taking place in the 1800s.

7. Fun

Overall “My Plain Jane” is a fun novel. The novel is fast-paced, writing is good, and while the novel is inspired by Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, “My Plain Jane” is drastically different and offers a fresh spin on a timeless classic.

8. My Calamity Jane

The Lady Janies book 3 “My Calamity Jane” is set to be published in 2020 and it looks to be another fun read!


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

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Book Review: 8 Worthwhile Things about WUTHERING HEIGHTS by Emily Brontë

Wuthering Heights

By Emily Brontë

Nikki’s Rating: 8 out of 10

Summary: Growing up together, Heathcliff and Catherine fall deeply in love, believing that one could not survive without the other. But Heathcliff has no title, no land, no occupation and Catherine must be provided for. After losing Catherine forever, Heathcliff torments the next generation as he is haunted by Catherine and what could have been.

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8 Worthwhile Things about WUTHERING HEIGHTS by Emily Brontë

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Romanticism

Wuthering Heights like Jane Eyre is a prime example of Romanticism. With its Gothic themes of ghosts and elements of the Byronic hero seen in Heathcliff, Wuthering Heights is truly inspired by the Romantic era.

2. Perspective

The perspective of Wuthering Heights is not told through one of the main characters of the story but rather an outsider who is not an intimate of the family and who seems to be unreliable as well. This leaves the reader in an interesting predicament of being further removed from the actual main characters and knowing that we are not seeing the whole story.

3. Speech

Emily Brontë kept her characters authentic by writing phonetically for those of the lower class who had a very different pattern of speech.

4. Love Story

While Heathcliff’s obsession is a bit stalkerish/creepy and Catherine is truly a spoiled brat, their love is still romantic on many levels. One cannot help but wish that they had ended up together and feel how tragic it is that they didn’t.

5. Heathcliff

Healthcliff is a dynamic character. While he appears to be quite a brute with questionable morals, there is an element of softness about him. A tortured soul who only wants to be with his true love. A Bryonic hero indeed!

6. Parallels

There are many parallels in Wuthering Heights between the first and second generations. One such parallel is that between Heathcliff and Hareton. Being the son of his bitter enemy, Heathcliff treats Hareton accordingly. Heathcliff actually raises Hareton similar to how he was raised, treating Hareton like a servant and denying him an education. And yet we see this goodness in Heathcliff through him saving Hareton’s life as a baby and treating him better than Hareton’s real father ever does.

7. Hareton and Catherine

The love that eventually develops between Catherine and Hareton is quite beautiful and provides an ending to Wuthering Heights that is positive and hopeful especially after the heartbreak of Heathcliff and Catherine.

8. Beautifully Written

Written eloquently with beautiful descriptives, interesting characters, and a tragic, heartbreaking love-story, Wuthering Heights is an enchanting novel that will remain a timeless classic for years to come.


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

Book Review: 5 Magnificent Things about MY DEAR HAMILTON by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton

by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie

Nikki’s Rating: 5 out of 10

Summary: The wife of one of America’s Founding Fathers, Eliza Hamilton suffered greatly due to her husband’s ambition. But she was more than the jilted wife of a public sex-scandal. Eliza, being the daughter of a great revolutionary helped shape and influence America’s independence and the shaping of the Union. This is the tale Eliza’s great love, loss, and legacy.

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5 Magnificent Things about MY DEAR HAMILTON by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Educational

Other than knowing that Alexander Hamilton was a Founding Father, I knew nothing else of the man or his life. My Dear Hamilton provides a glimpse into his personal and political life, as well as his many careers.

2. Politics

Another educational piece shown in My Dear Hamilton is that of the political environment of early America. It was interesting to get a feeling of the overall political climate and to see how the Founding Fathers interacted and influenced each other, whether good or bad.

3. Collaboration

My Dear Hamilton was written as a collaboration between Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie, both respectable writers in their own right. Always nice to see authors working together to create a well thought out and researched novel.

4. Female Perspective

While Kamoie and Dray could have easily written this novel through the eyes of Alexander Hamilton, they instead did it from the perspective of his wife, Eliza. This is extremely powerful as women of history have been consistently ignored and excluded from most history books and novels, which is rather ridiculous because as this book shows, women play a huge role throughout history whether up front or behind the scenes.

5. Research

Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie did meticulous research of letters and other original sources to create the basis of My Dear Hamilton and it shows. This novel is full of rich history and is a wonderful example of historical fiction.


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

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Book Review: 10 Beloved Things about BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of Gray

by Ruta Sepetys

Nikki’s Rating: 10 out of 10

Summary: June 14, 1941, Stalin begins his deportation of people in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia who are deemed anti-Soviet. 15-year-old Lina is taken in the middle of the night with her family. Forced into labor camps with hundreds of others, her family must stay together to survive the harsh conditions of the Arctic circle and the brutalities of the NKVD officers.

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10 Beloved Things about Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Real Experiences

While the characters are fictional in Between Shades of Gray all the experiences were inspired by true events and situations that survivors experienced. Absolutely horrifying and touching!

2. Educational

Up until reading this book, I was totally ignorant on Stalin’s cleansing of the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Between Shades of Gray was an eye-opener for me about what happened and also how it was kept secret for so long.

3. Realistic

Ruta Sepetys does an amazing job of capturing the experiences of the survivors she interviewed to write Between Shades of Gray. Lina seemed so real, it felt like I was reading a diary.

4. Different Reactions

We all react to stress, terror, and death differently. Septeys captured these differences effortlessly. Some characters became complacent or even worked with the NKVD officers. Others became angry and would take out their frustration on other victims. Most did what they had to for survival while still trying to help their fellow prisoners.

5. Emotional

Between Shades of Gray is a powerful novel and so emotional. You will cry, you will smile, your heart will break and then be lifted up. This novel is absolutely beautiful!

6. The Writing

Ruta Sepetys kept the writing elegant and simple, there are no unnecessary words or sentences. Easy to read but effectively well-written.

7. Disturbing

While reading Between Shades of Gray was difficult due to the subject matter, Ruta Sepetys does an amazing job of allowing the reader to comprehend the trauma that the victims went through without actually traumatizing the reader. Yes, the novel is disturbing and unpleasant to read at times, but there are no detailed, bloody torture scenes.

8. Strength in Humanity

One of the strongest things about this novel, is not the stories of what the victims survived, but how they survived together. The victims coming together, stealing food and other items needed for each other. Carrying one another when one was too weak or injured. The NKVD soldiers who took risks trying to help, regardless of the consequences.

9. Capacity for Cruelty

Humans are capable of such cruelty and during Stalin’s reign, the NKVD soldiers committed some serious atrocities. Sepetys includes many examples of the needless death, suffering, humiliation, and pain the victims endured.

10. Love

Lina’s letter in the end, “My husband, Andrius…” made me sob. Love found even in the worst of times.


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

Book Review: 3 Delectable things about DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon

Dragonfly in Amber

Outlander #2

by Diana Gabaldon

Nikki’s Rating: 3 out of 10

Summary: Brianna Randall travels to Scotland with her mother Claire Randall and gets the news that her father, is not who he thinks he is. It is 1968 and yet, she is told her father is none other than James Fraser, a Scottish warrior from 1744. Claire unfolds the secrets she has been keeping for twenty years and tells her daughter of the love her and Jamie shared in Scotland and then France in 1744 and how she plans to return to him.

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3 Delectable things about DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. The Writing

Diana Gabaldon is an excellent writer, her descriptions are beautiful and really paint a picture in the mind.

2. 1700s France

As a fan of historical fiction, I enjoyed that most of the book took place in France during 1744. It was also interesting to learn about the Scottish rebellion of ‘45 as I’m completely ignorant of this event in history.

3. Romance

While Claire and Jamie are not my favorite couple ever, I am always a sucker for romance and will admit that there are many heartwarming moments between Claire and Jamie that were thoroughly enjoyable.


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

May 2018 Book Reviews

Books Reviewed in May 2018

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I am Livia by Phyllis T. Smith

Court of Thorns & Roses

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

 

As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. And if you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.