Books I purchased recently:
The Lost Queen by Norah Lofts
A novel based on the life of George III's sister, Princess Caroline-Matilda, whose marriage brought her to the throne and whose secret love brought her to disaster. This is a story of high romance and tragedy, a moving drama of human frailty set against the implacable demands of a royal crown. With careful attention to the historical record, Norah Lofts has recreated Caroline-Matilda's life in a tale that vividly evokes the stark contrasts of 18th century Denmark; the cruelty, poverty and oppression of existence under an absolute monarch sinking into madness; the royal court with its pomp and pageantry, and the hatreds and intrigues that swirled around the young, lovely figure who was, briefly, its queen.
I've already read Per Olov Enquist's The Visit of the Royal Physician some time ago and I can't wait to revisit 18th century Denmark and see the happenings from Caroline-Matilda's point of view. I didn't like the princess in the The Visit..., I hope I will grow to love her in this book. Along with the book I also bought En kongelig affære (A Royal Affair) on DVD, simply because I adore the movie too.
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Streetwise George and his big, childlike friend Lennie are drifters, searching for work in the fields and valleys of California. They have nothing except the clothes on their back, and a hope that one day they’ll find a place of their own and live the American dream. But dreams come at a price. Gentle giant Lennie doesn’t know his own strength, and when they find work at a ranch he gets into trouble with the boss’s daughter-in-law. Trouble so bad that even his protector George may not be able to save him…
It only takes an afternoon to read this gem of American literature. Steinbeck's masterpiece portrays a true friendship, the like of which is hard to find.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
'Shoot all the Bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a Mockingbird.' Atticus Finch gives this advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of this classic novel - a black man charged with attacking a white girl. Through the eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Lee explores the issues of race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s with compassion and humour. She also creates one of the great heroes of literature in their father, whose lone struggle for justice pricks the conscience of a town steeped in prejudice and hypocrisy.
I'm currently reading it and it is brilliant.
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Born into an oppressive, colonialist society, Creole heiress Antoinette Cosway meets a young Englishman who is drawn to her innocent sensuality and beauty. But soon after their marriage, rumors of madness in her family poison his mind against her. He forces Antoinette to conform to his rigid Victorian ideals.
I've read Jane Eyre. I'm fascinated with the mad wife. Enough said.
Daniel Deronda by George Eliot
Gwendolen Harleth gambles her happiness when she marries a sadistic aristocrat for his money. Beautiful, neurotic, and self-centred, Gwendolen is trapped in an increasingly destructive relationship, and only her chance encounter with the idealistic Deronda seems to offer the hope of a brighter future. Deronda is searching for a vocation, and in embracing the Jewish cause he finds one that is both visionary and life-changing. Damaged by their pasts, and alienated from the society around them, they must both discover the values that will give their lives meaning.
I plan to write a review on this one, so shhhhhhh.... I bought the BBC mini series on DVD when I was about halfway through the book. Having read it I have to say it's not exactly a perfect adaptation, but if someone doesn't plan to read the book or doesn't mind that the series doesn't discover characters as deeply as the book does (how could it anyway?), it's worth to give it a watch.