Review: Silas Marner by George Eliot

YFBE6659[1]Fairly recently I delved back into the world of classics, giving the much loved author Edith Wharton another go with her novel Ethan Frome. I’d previously read The House of Mirth by her and hadn’t been very impressed, but I was actually pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed Ethan Frome in comparison. Feeling inspired by this, I decided to revisit another classic author; George Eliot. Middlemarch, arguably her most famous work, was a novel I studied in University, and whilst I appreciated the talent within it, I also found it lengthy and pretty boring. However, I knew that many people loved this author, so I decided to give her another go with the much shorter and therefore much quicker read of Silas Marner.

Silas Marner tells the story of the eponymous titular character. Wrongly accused of theft by those he most trusted, Silas is forced to leave the place he calls home, making his way to the smaller rural village of Raveloe. Here he establishes his usefulness in the community as a weaver, yet despite his skills Silas refuses to integrate himself into Raveloe’s society. He lives on the fringes of the rural village, a man whose strange ways cause the local folk to easily condemn him, whilst the children run in fear. All that Silas cares for is his precious stash of coins, saved meticulously over the many years. Yet when his gold is stolen, Silas is forced to once more face society, a task that becomes all the more urgent when an orphaned child, Eppie, finds her way into Silas home and heart. Through Eppie, can Silas transform his life for ever?

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Review: Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

OBIF2651[1]So far this year I’ve read an awful lot of books which are fairly newer releases in the grand scheme of things. Whilst this is great and I love keeping up with the newer reading trends, I’ve been finding myself craving one of my true loves; a good old fashioned classic piece of literature. I love reading the classics, and whilst I can freely admit that they might not be for everyone, I personally love them. There’s something about the words and the stories you can find within them that make me feel incredibly cosy and comforted. I read a lot of classic fiction when I was very young so I think a lot of this is mixed up with feelings of nostalgia. Either way, I knew it was time I gave in to the cravings.

I’ve previously read one other book by Edith Wharton, and that was arguably her most famous work The House of Mirth. As you can see from my review here and the fact that I gave it a 2*/5* rating, I wasn’t overly impressed with her work. Seeing that I had another of her books, Ethan Frome, sitting on my bookshelves in the gorgeous Penguin English Library Edition, I decided to give the author another go, with the story sounding more up my street. The novel follows the eponymous character Ethan Frome, and is described as a story of ‘ill-stared lovers and tragic destinies’. Ethan works the best that he can in a hostile farm, trying to appease his difficult and hypochondriac wife Zeena. When Zeena’s cousin, Mattie, comes to help around the house, Ethan begins to realise that there is more to life than the rut he has become stuck in. Time passes and his love deepens, but how could Ethan ever forsake the wife he is promised to?

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Review: My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

TQWT4610[1]My Sister, the Serial Killer; what a sentence to say aloud! As soon as I heard these words uttered on BookTube I instantly knew that this was a book I desperately needed to read. It conjures up crazy scenes and scenarios in your head, pulling you along for the ride before you’ve even opened the book itself. In short, the very concept that the title of this book suggested seemed entirely fascinating to me, and on a recent trip to London I rapturously purchased myself a copy.

Obviously this book is called My Sister, the Serial Killer, with obvious connotations, but what is it really about? Our main protagonist is Korede, a young woman who works as a nurse in the local hospital. One night her dinner is interrupted by a seemingly innocuous phone call from her sister, Ayoola; she’s done it again, killing her third boyfriend in a claim of ‘self-defence’. Korede goes to her aid, helping her dispatch of the body and hide the evidence. She knows the right thing to do would be to go to the police, but she loves her little sister, despite their complicated relationship. That is, until Ayoola turns up at the hospital Korede works in, catching the eyes of the doctor Korede has been in love with for the longest time. She knows she needs to save him from the trends of her sister’s past, but how can she do so when saving this man means betraying her own sister?

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Review: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

IMG_0439[1]Shirley Jackson is a name filled with the heavy weight of literary fame. It’s impossible to be a fan of great literary writers, especially of the Gothic, terror filled kind, and not to hear her name repeatedly rained down upon you.  As a lover of both classic fiction and anything remotely creepy, I always knew that my reading life would somehow collide with the works of Shirley Jackson. When Netflix recently released their adaptation of The Haunting of Hill House, I knew it was time to finally delve into the original story.

The Haunting of Hill House is pretty self explanatory, with the title aptly telling readers that we are about to be taken on a journey into Hill House. Although large and rather grand in style, Hill House is decidedly eerie, with a shocking history. When Eleanor, a woman recently freed from the task of caring for her ailing mother, is invited by Dr Montague to spend the summer in this house, she surprises herself by agreeing. The party is joined by Theodora, an artistic young woman, and Luke, heir to the house. As the group begin their experiments, eager to make notes on what might occur, they are far from realising the full scale of what is in store for them. With terror filled nights and dark nightmares, their summer at Hill House is only just beginning.

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Review: Heroes (Mythos: Volume II) by Stephen Fry

IMG_0438[1]The other week I put up a blog post with my thoughts about Stephen Fry’s Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold. You can see the full review here, but to summarise I really enjoyed it and I thought Fry’s attempt to make the Classics accessible to all walks of life was commendable. When I realised that he had another book coming out, a sequel of sorts, I was truly excited. Then, when I opened my Christmas presents from my fiancé and discovered that he had bought me said book in the beautiful hardcover edition I was even more thrilled! Needless to say, it didn’t stay on my unread shelf for very long!

Heroes: Volume II of Mythos is essentially a continuation of the mythical world Fry has established in the first book. We already have the foundations from Mythos, having learnt who the central Gods are and the quite frankly confusing as hell relationships between them. We’ve been told how they came about and how their hierarchies work, increasing our base knowledge of the Greek myths. Now, in this second volume, Fry is able to embellish this background we have already formed, with the further itroduction of the human race allowing him to delve deeper into the world of the heroes. This division between the two books felt very natural and as though Fry was still trying to keep everything as chronological as possible for us (a welcome addition considering how much the myths often interlink and confuse one another!)

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Review: You by Caroline Kepnes

IMG_0437[1]Fairly recently I became obsessed with the Netflix show You. It was addictive to say the least, with great twists throughout, moments of humour and above all a dark and disturbing plot. I was actually quite shocked when I realised that the show, like so many others, was based upon the novel of the same name by Caroline Kepnes. I love thrillers, so the fact that I’d enjoyed the show so much yet had never heard of the book was pretty shocking to me. Needless to say, I was determined to rectify this and immediately bought myself a copy of the book.

For those of you that don’t know, You follows the central characters of Joe and Beck.  Joe is a bookshop manager in New York, and he is instantly smitten with Beck from the moment she enters the bookshop. Determined to know more about her, Joe begins to do all that he can to understand Beck, needing to install himself firmly in her life. Yet from that initial attraction begins a downwards spiral of deadly decisions, all of them leading to a terrifying obsession.

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