Tuesday, April 28, 2015
In spite of that, I did manage to finish A Rare Benedictine, by Ellis Peters. Cadfael novels are my favorite mystery fiction. They combine everything I love--a detective with keen perception, biblical, unformulaic justice, sweet love stories, and the overarching back-drop of Benedictine monastery life. Throw in the politics of the time and a mix of Welsh and English names, and what better combination could you have?
This book is a collection of three short stories. While the first one deals with Cadfael's entry into the monastery, the other two don't give much indication of when they take place.
A Light on the Road to Woodstock--Cadfael promises to serve his master until he settles a dispute over abbey lands with the king. But when Cadfael discovers that his master has a disloyal wife, not to mention that his claim to the land is far from just, his promise of loyalty may not be as simple as it appears.
The Price of Right--Rough Sir FitzHammon has a lot to atone for. So when he brings a pair of silver candlesticks to the abbey, the gift, although doing no good to the starving poor, might do some good to his sorry soul. Then the candlesticks are stolen, and Cadfael has to turn his eye to the man's wife and servants.
Eyewitness--A blackguard may have failed in his attempt to murder Master William, but he didn't fail in stealing the year's rents for the abbey. Cadfael has a double challenge--how to find the money, and how to prevent another murder from occurring. But could the deed have been committed from one of the abbey men themselves?
If you're new to Cadfael, I would recommend choosing a more full-blooded mystery before reading these short stories. They're like Tolkien's ad infinitum appendices: most appreciated by those who love the characters and can't get enough.
A Light on the Road to Woodstock--This is interesting in that it gives us a glimpse of Cadfael before he becomes a monk: but the first mystery he solves is lackluster as a whole. It didn't give me anything I didn't know about Cadfael, nor did it explain (as the back claimed it would) why he became a monk. He simply told the prior he was coming to the abbey, and that was it. What the light on the road was I'm sure Cadfael knew, but I didn't. The mystery was easy to guess.
The Price of Right--This was my favorite. With a few deft pen strokes, Ellis Peters painted a self-centered female main character in an absolutely charming shell, including a varied and fascinating cast of drunkard husband, doughty manservants, and self-effacing maidservant. I expected it to be a tale of freedom-from-husband-and-marries-her-true-love--but oh, no. It was quite different, and Lady FitzHammon and Elfgiva were both female characters worthy of their salt. (Not virtuous, mind, but proverbially saltish.) I would read that mystery again.
Eyewitness--Eyewitness has the great virtue of offering several prime suspects, all of which are hard to single out. Just before the final climax I forced myself to pick one, and by sheer mad luck I was right. The character development was fairly nonexistent, but it was fun to have a challenge in figuring out the twists and turns.
It was the perfect book to read during a chaotic week. My favorite part, however, was the introduction, in which Ellis Peters says "So here he is, not a convert, for this is not a conversion...Cadfael has always been an unquestioning believer. What happens to him on the road to Woodstock is simply the acceptance of a revelation from within that...he is confronted by a new need and a different challenge." Sometimes authors feel such a weighty burden to have their character's behavior match his beliefs that they don't allow them to believe until they are good. For her to simply accept that Cadfael was a believer, with all his faults and virtues, was refreshing. Peters also explains the origin of Cadfael's name (which I love, because I pick out character names just the same way) and how unexpected to her his popularity was.
If you're new to Cadfael, and looking for a good place to start, I've reviewed several more Ellis Peters' novels, including The Hermit of Eyton Forest and The Rose Rent, The Holy Thief, and The Pilgrim of Hate.
I've watched a handful of the BBC Cadfael movies from the library, my favorite so far being One Corpse Too Many, which you can watch for free on Amazon. Please be aware that there is language worth muting, and several scenes after a battle that I fast-forward through. It is not for young viewers, and even though it is portrayed fairly tastefully, it is honest in its dramatization of the times. Previewing by a responsible adult is advised.
Friday, April 24, 2015
Laddie and Little Sister (Laddie: A True Blue Story)
My all-time favorite pair.
"Have I got a little sister anywhere in this house?" Laddie inquired at the door.
"Yes sir," I answered, dropping the trousers I was making for Hezekiah, my pet blue jay, and running as fast as I could. There was no telling what minute May might take it into her head that she was his little sister and get there first.
Matthew and Marilla (Anne of Green Gables)
They get along quite well, even if they do have to stick their oars in once in a while.
Jane and Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice)
One sweet and innocent, one witty and discerning. Both very fond of each other.
Fanny and William Price (Mansfield Park)
"My Dear William"--their correspondence throughout the years of William being at sea was very sweet.
Henry and Eleanor Tilney (Northanger Abbey)
What brother could not be awesome who is a good judge of white muslin? Add to that reading Gothic romances with his sister, and you have the epitome of excellence (spoken facetiously, of course).
Godwin and Wulf (The Brethren)
Two brothers, both in love with the same girl. Both fully resolved to stay true to each other at the same time. How's that for shaking up the cliche?
Bree and Devin (Viking Quest)
OK. So I fangirled over Devin. He's nice.
Angus and Duncan (Crown and Covenant Trilogy)
I liked when they teamed up at Aird's Moss. And the puddock swap in book 1 was too cute.
Scarlet and Cliff (Chasing Jupiter)
Heart-wrenching pair--an autistic little boy who wants to go to Jupiter, and his big sister trying to make his dreams come true.
Ruth and Tom Pinch (Martin Chuzzlewit)
They were so cute keeping house together, especially with the famous pudding-that-wasn't.
John of Bedford and Henry V
While I have no book to recommend on this pair (Someone Needs to Take Note), I have a deep love and high respect for the hard work John of Bedford accomplished in advancing Henry's kingdom in France. Even after Henry's death, John kept his memory very dear, and literally worked himself to death to honor him.
Richard III and Edward IV
Reading Paul Murray Kendall's Richard the Third has only served to drive the point home: Edward was Richard's hero. At eighteen, Richard was already managing troops and fighting battles to keep his brother on the throne. I love them both.
Marguerite and Armand (The Scarlet Pimpernel)
While the two of them certainly kept the Scarlet Pimpernel on the constant edge of death, one can hardly blame their fidelity to one another. It was a hard either-or.
Fili and Kili (The Hobbit)
Ahem. Familiar, those two. And no, I hate that line about "I-must-stay-with-my-brother" in the movie. Please don't hate me for hating it.
Boromir and Faramir (The Lord of the Rings)
Margaret and Fredrick Hale (North and South)
It occurred to me that John Thornton is slightly hypocritical for his displeasure at Margaret kissing Fredrick in the train station. After all, he seemed to do it himself with very few qualms of conscience. But we'll forgive the man.
Melangell and Rhun (The Pilgrim of Hate)
Cadfael meets quite a few hassled young people, and The Pilgrim of Hate is no exception. But while Melangell and Rhun didn't have a legendary bond between the two of them, they did seem to love each other. Besides--it's my favorite mystery.
Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy (Little Women)
Can't forget these dear girlies.
Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy (The Chronicles of Narnia)
And what list would be complete without this immortal four? (Though I admit, I had to be reminded.)
Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes (Sherlock Holmes)
Two of the most anti-social and politically-influential gentlemen of the 19th century.
Judah Ben-Hur and Tirzah (Ben-Hur)
While I only know them from the Focus on the Family audio drama, they were endearing with their banter.
"Very pretty, my Tirzah."
"Now I know you are sick. You're teasing me!"
Nat and Lizza--Carry on Mr. Bowditch
:'( While I am not big on good-luck charms, it was sweet of them to jingle the silver together to try to help their parents out. And they were a beloved sharer of each other's joys and sorrows.
The Boxcar Children
None of the later mysteries ever matched my love for the first book in the series. What a delightful foursome. I can't wait to introduce my own children to them someday.
Caroline and her siblings (Little House in Brookfield)
Caroline's books were my favorite of the Little House knock-offs, though I also loved Martha and Duncan as well (Little House in the Highlands). But Caroline and her siblings helped their single mother make a living, while also managing to have fun along the way. They were some of my best childhood friends.
Caddie Woodlawn and her siblings (Caddie Woodlawn)
The watermelons. Annabelle's buttons. Swimming across the river. I read that book so many times.
In making lists like these, I always forget some of the most obvious and best. Plus, all my books are packed, so I can't reference them right now. So help me out! Who would you add?
Thanks to this article, this article, and this article for jogging my memory. But I did not actually read through them, so proceed at your own risk.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
To be honest, I had forgotten my promised post on Anne of Green Gables, until last week. On Saturday, I found out Jonathan Crombie (Gilbert Blythe) had passed away of a brain hemorrhage. While I never wanted to marry him, I loved everything he stood for in the Anne books--truth, love, faithfulness--one of those Jimmy Bean type heroes that never do anything stunning, but prove by their uprightness in family and community that providing for their hearth fire is the most worthy calling they could think of. I loved his grin, and his 'soary' and his teasing. I even
I love Anne so much. She is a young woman beautifully flawed and full of resilient grace. She's not merely a talkative little girl in a quirky community of saints and sinners. She's a master portrait of living and loving, and one I hope to read about again and again.
Friday, April 17, 2015
Ben debated on whether to be politic or truthful, and settled for politic.
There you have it, folks. :) This will be the last War of Loyalties snippets post throughout the summer. I will likely resume in fall, but for now I am moving on to other writing projects, and would like to share those with you! Look out for new stories next month, as the snippets feature continues. :) Thank-you all so, so much for your interest and encouraging comments. You can't imagine how much it means to me to have you love these characters too. I hope sometime in future a physical book will be available so you can meet them in more detail!
Coming Up Next Month
I think most of the difference is that homeschoolers can let their hair down and they don't have to get out of their pajamas or leave the house. That's all I can find, anyway....
Thank goodness Mrs. Van Alstyne can't read this, or she would slay me in the spirit with malicious intent beforehand. Especially as she wouldn't want the Parkers to hear it come Judgment Day.
~Homeschool Diaries, by Schuyler M.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
It is so good to be here with you all again! I love our little community of conversations, and can't wait to get back into the book reviews. Since this is a busy week, I covet your grace while I arrange regular life into some semblance of normalcy. Today I have a few tidbits of what I've been occupied with on break, and on Friday we will have a War of Loyalties snippets post. I hope to resume customary articles and book reviews next week! Enjoy. :)
reading// A massive tome on the life and times of Richard III. Simply entitled, Richard the III, by
Warwick really set me up well for understanding his book on Richard.
playing// Dutch Blitz. We rediscovered the joys. It is not beneficial either to my heart or my temper, but I held my own.
watching// Wives and Daughters (1999 adaptation)--with Junior B! You gotta love it when Roger gives Molly books and Osborne kisses her hand, both as attempts at comfort. Junior B: "You'd probably want the books instead of the kiss. Or maybe not--you're a sucker for romance underneath." Well.
trying// To update the Articles and Book Reviews pages. Coming soon, and thank-you for your patience.
cooking// Nothing much, since our complete flooring is being replaced. It is Armageddon this week at the Bibliophile House.
eating// Donuts. Five people eating one donut at a time don't get through 3 dozen very fast, but we are heartily enjoying them.
drinking// Water. Because that's healthier, and I don't need more sugar.
calling// Nobody this week. 'Tis sad, but true. Maybe something will pop up spur-of-the-moment.
texting// Dear friends who will text me about book sales. Ain't I lucky?
pinning// Writing articles, unicorns, pancake squares, and quotes. Take a look.
tweeting// You can see for yourself. Follow me on Twitter?
crafting// Nothing right now but desktop wallpapers. Here's my latest:
doing// Lots of packing for our ongoing carpet replacement this week.
going// To hear Nancy Leigh DeMoss live-record radio sessions this week. So excited!
loving// The authentic, life-filled community at our local Bible Study Fellowship group. I have learned how important community is to the life of the soul, and more importantly, how deeply, soul-satisfying God's love is. It moves me to tears again and again.
discovering// Adult coloring books. So cool. I'm already looking at my paychecks to see how I can finagle one.
enjoying// Warmer weather! Hooray for short-sleeved shirts!
thinking// About Hannah's prayer life (from 1st Samuel) for the Bible study lesson for the group I lead. Hannah is an inspiring and precious woman of God. I love her confidence and humility before the Lord. (Caveat: I should be thinking about this. I have every intention of doing so. It just hasn't...happened yet.)
feeling// Tired. Starting out the week on a sleepless Sunday night is not a good idea. But Bible reading about 4:40am was wonderful.
hoping (for)// My new review book to come in the mail this week. (Everyday Grace, by Jessica Thompson/Elyse FitzPatrick)
listening (to)// The Incomparable Christ series, by Nancy Leigh Demoss. She aired these 1/2 hour radio shows during the Lent season, and we're almost through them. My favorite was The Soul-Anguish of Christ, but all of them have been excellent.
celebrating// Starting up my Gaelic and French studies on Duolingo again! I had to take a short break during the last weeks of editing, and I am overjoyed to resume. Dia duit, what? (And you would say "Dia is Muire duit!" :)
|We also went hiking to see endangered snow trilliums.|
considering// How to make a completely tragic story into something redemptive. I'm not sure whether just to tell the story and let the redemptive come, or have a plan in place before I start.
finishing// Memorizing Psalm 51! It's actually all memorized; I just have to firm up the last few verses.
starting// New writing projects! I'm going to whip up some magazine articles in the next few weeks, and workshop notes for our state homeschool convention. Join me there?
What has your week looked like? I'd love to know! :)
*This handy list was taken from this pin.
Monday, April 6, 2015
|Cause it's CUTE.|
Dear Friends and Fellow Bibliophiles~
Late Saturday night, I finished the fourth rewrite/edit of my work in progress, War of Loyalties. In celebration of that fact, I am treating myself to a vacation. Chocolate. Reading books. Watching movies. Possibly making doughnuts in my new doughnut pan.
My Lady Bibliophile will return to regular posting on April 14th. Have a fantastic week, and I can't wait to see you all back again next Tuesday!
Friday, April 3, 2015
But lately it's sure hard to admit that anyone but Jesus can finish the race victoriously. There are so many stories of compromise that are reaching the headlines, it's easy to focus on the people who stumbled in their race instead of so many stories of faithfulness that nobody ever hears about.
That being said, even though Christ won the victory, he's still given us a battle to fight. Because Satan hasn't acknowledged Jesus as victor yet, and he is attacking Christ's glory by seeking to crumble his Church.