Tag Archives: romance

Husband/Wife Book Reviews: ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ by Alexandre Dumas (March 19th, 2015)

Re-posted from LiveJournal:

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As you can tell, since my last entry (basically about a year ago already!) in which I reviewed Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and was given the further assignment by my husband Graham to read Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo, my copy of this beloved tome of over 1400 pages has seen some wear and tear. But it is now finished, and worth every single day I spent reading it!

The first Dumas book I ever read was an adapted version of The Knight of Maison-Rouge, which I do NOT recommend, especially as the adaptation I was unfortunate enough to read included such verbs as ‘electrified’ (as in ‘her presence electrified the silence’ or some similar usage) when CLEARLY, electricity was probably not discovered, let alone in such popular usage as to include in the lexicon of the average person. (Does anyone else get really annoyed by such anachronisms?) I would someday like to read a translated but NOT adapted version, as the story itself would have been interesting if it weren’t for grievous errors like those mentioned above. Needless to say, my first Dumas experience wasn’t as illustrious as his reputation had given it to be.

HOWEVER. I had seen the 2002 movie version of The Count of Monte Cristo,and had truly enjoyed it. I had also had the distinction of reading from cover to cover an unabridged version of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables a few years previous, so I knew I was up to the task. I accepted, and thus my journey began.

Wait and hope: One of the last lines of this book basically describes the many facets of it, for those two elements are necessary for both revenge and redemption (two major themes of The Count of Monte Cristo). They are also important in every stage of a person’s life, which is so clearly seen in the life of poor Edmond Dantes. As a young sailor he waits and hopes for his chance to become captain and to marry Mercedes, the woman he loves. When that is all taken away from him, the fact that he has waited and hoped makes his disappointment even more palpable. While in prison with the intelligent Abbe Faria, he vows for revenge and this is what he waits and hopes for. When the Abbe dies and leaves his entire treasure to Dantes, he sets his desire for justice into action, but must wait and hope for each piece of his carefully constructed plan to fall into place. When his whirlwind of revenge begins to negatively affect the hopes and dreams of his young protege, Maximilian Morrel (the son of his former shipmaster), Edmond realizes that perhaps all he needs to wait and hope for is happiness, and after so much waiting and so much hoping, he seizes the day and sails off into the sunset with his new love, leaving Maximilian and his fiancee with a more positive form of his life motto of wait and hope

This book has everything. It has crime. It has romance. It has the dreams of the young crushed by the ambition of the powerful. It has murder, duels, intrigue, exotic locations, bandits, dandies, honour, luxury, and revenge, revenge, revenge! This book was originally serialized, which is why it was so long: it was so popular nobody wanted it to end! The Count of Monte Cristo was the popular TV drama of its day, and there are so many ways that modern shows have drawn from serialized works like it, I would be here all day if I tried to point them all out. All in all, I give this book 5 stars out of 5. It can be a bit daunting to carry around a hard copy like I did, so if you really can’t bring yourself to carry a book the size of a Bible around with you, please do get this on your e-reader. It will be worth your time, I promise you.


‘Resurrection: Amazing Grace’ by Elizabeth Davies (February 21st, 2015)

Re-posted from LiveJournal:

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This is the second book in Elizabeth Davies’ Resurrection trilogy, and while still more interesting and well-written than most eBooks I have been unfortunate enough to read, I did not find it up to par with the first book in the trilogy, State of Grace. I truly enjoy the characters and the exploration of Brecon, Wales throughout various periods of history in this trilogy, but it is severely off-putting that the heroine, Grace Llewellyn, is constantly getting severely battered around (and not even seeking medical help!) without ever being able to properly fend for herself. I mean, she’s a pilot, right? Don’t you have to be really level-headed and focused to fly an aircraft? She’s really resourceful and sturdy, but would someone with the analytic skills required of a pilot really not look both ways when crossing an unknown street? I mean, yes, she’s been transported in this instance to 1873, but this basic safety principle has been ingrained in modern-day people since childhood, and would especially be put into effect by a person like Grace whose career involves piloting an aircraft. I mean sure, there are coordinates she must follow when flying, but she would also have to scan the sky at some point or other – she would be used to checking. There is no excuse for her to get run down by a horse because she didn’t look before she stepped out of an alleyway. And what was with refusing to go to a hospital when she returned from the 1700s??? Her collarbone was freaking BROKEN. I understand that she doesn’t want people to keep her in hospital because of her tumour, or to ask too many questions. But I mean, her consultant, Mr. Cunningham, is okay that she’s not in hospital, so if anyone had a problem with her leaving, she could refer them to him. She could explain her broken collarbone and bruising to thugs. They could be masked. The whole scene where Ianto smuggles her to London was basically just so Jeremiah could wipe her memory there. It was completely unnecessary. There could have been a better way to make that happen. However, I really do enjoy the time-travelling vampire romance idea, and I truly look forward to seeing if Grace will become a vampire or not, and if she and Roman will meet in their future. ¬†Also, it bothers me to no end that this book series is advertised as a trilogy, when in reality it is more like three volumes of the same book.
3 stars out of 5.


‘Resurrection: State of Grace’ by Elizabeth Davies (January 18th, 2015)

Reposted from LiveJournal:

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State of Grace is not at all what I thought it would be like. It’s a paranormal romance/time travel novel set in Brecon, Wales. Grace Llewellyn is dying of an incurable brain tumour and often finds herself transported back to various time periods but still in the same location. During these unexplained trips that simply happen out of the blue (which she attributes to her tumour), she meets and falls in love with an intriguing vampire named Roman, who had been born in Roman times and resurrected 900 years previous to the book’s main time period of around 1060. The tiresome repetition of erotic coupling scenes aside (the first one or two were engaging, the others felt somewhat obligatory to me, but then again, I’m not much for sex scenes unless I’m really specifically seeking erotica, so that could just be my personal preference), I was pleasantly surprised by Davies’ clear and concise, yet descriptive and emotionally engaging writing style. I enjoyed and appreciated the amount of research that must have gone into the historical accuracy of events and people and places and even the linguistic changes that can take place in one place over hundreds of years, as well as the same attention to detail regarding the popular culture of Grace’s (our) modern time. Reminiscent of the best parts of both the Twilight Saga and Shades of Grey, yet not completely either, I really did enjoy this book. I am not much of a romance novel fan, so I was really surprised how much I liked it.

The only thing I will say straight off that I did not like was how abruptly the book ended. A cliffhanger is one thing, but I felt that nothing had truly been resolved and that there had been no clear direction or catharsis after Grace’s sudden return to her own time near the end. It really is necessary to have the next book (and possibly the last in the trilogy as well) to actually feel a sense of completion or satisfaction, and I did not like that. I feel any given book in a trilogy should be able to stand as a book on its own unless it is merely the first volume of one story. This book is marketed as a complete story in and of itself, and that’s simply not true.

That said, I eagerly began the next book in the trilogy, Amazing Grace, and look forward to finding out why Grace is able to time travel, why she keeps running into Roman the vampire, how their relationship progresses, what can be learned about Wales during the times she experiences there, and whether or not she will meet Roman in her own time. Also: will she become a vampire herself? I have a feeling that story (if it does take place) might be something reserved for the third book, Sanctifying Grace. A great light read, which I give 3.75 stars out of 5.