REVIEW OF WALK OF SHAME
Well. This book is adorable. Lauren Layne has quickly become an author I am drawn to; and when I saw that this was her favorite of her books (she said so on her instagram), I had to read it!
New York socialite Georgie Watkins and divorce lawyer Andrew Mulroney are total opposites. When Andrew is leaving for the day (5am gym time before work, protein shake in hand), Georgie is just coming home (from the club...with a box of donuts). After a conflict over the elevator on their shared move-in day, Georgie and Andrew are locked in a cold war and battle of wits, each not sure whether they hate the other...or actually really like them.
Georgie is delightful. Instead of a cheap characterization as a vapid socialite, Georgie is caring, a deep thinker, and quick-witted. She reminds me of Becky Bloomwood, who you know is my favorite. I love how Andrew is compulsively drawn to Georgie and not the other way around (though there is mutual attraction, to be sure). What I mean is, in many stories the woman is portrayed as being unreasonably carried by her emotions and it’s nice to see a man who finds himself indescribably attracted to a woman who is “all wrong” for him. And the banter between Georgie and Andrew is top notch.
My one complaint is at the end, when Andrew finally “resolves the conflict” so to speak (don’t want to give away spoilers!), it came across SO cheesy and out of character that I didn’t find it believable. I know I didn’t write the character so I am not the best judge of what is “in character,” but the scene just wasn’t my cup of tea.
NB: There’s a wee bit of steam about 2/3 in, but it wouldn’t affect the story too much if you prefer to skip it.
All in all, a cute 4 star read that definitely will make you smile.
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Over the weekend, I saw @reneecarlino1 at @mystgalaxybooks talking about her new book #TheLastPost and discussing the romance genre. She read a quote from @kristan.higgins that SPOKE TO ME. I'll put part of it here: 👇🏼
"The categorical dismissal of the most-read genre in the world reveals ignorance, not intellectual superiority. ... It exists and thrives because romance authors offer readers an emotional experience that mirrors an elemental desire in life: to find a constant and loving companion; to become our best selves; to forgive our mistakes of the past and learn from them. ... The only difference between romance and just about any other kind of fiction is the promise of an emotionally satisfying ending. I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t think readers are lazy or stupid because they want to feel uplifted at the end of a book."
I confess I had avoided romance books on the premise of my intellectual superiority, and I am proud to admit that I was wrong to do so. In the few romance books I have read, instead of being bombarded with vapid "mommy porn," I have read some of the best characters I've come across in literature, and yes, some of the most emotionally satisfying stories. Ain't nothing wrong with a happily ever after!
And for the pearl-clutchers, only a handful of the romance books I've read have contained sex. So, avoiding them for that reason alone isnt worth it! If you want recs for romance without the steam, I and many others more well-versed in the genre can provide some.
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REVIEW OF CALICO CAPTIVE
On the cusp of the French and Indian War, Miriam Willard and her family are captured by an Indian raid and marched north to be sold as slaves to French settlers in Montreal. While in Montreal, Miriam learns French from another servant and befriends a young member of the powerful du Quesne family, a handsome fur trader, and even the governor's wife. This story is based on an actual narrative diary of Miriam Willard's sister Susanna Willard Johnson.
When I was in middle school, I loved this book. I enjoyed the story immensely and ended up looking for other captivity narratives and novels because of it. I have held it in a place of love and reverence in my mind for almost 2 decades. But reading Calico Captive as an adult has been eye opening.
The Willards are a Puritan English family, and Miriam's opinions of Native Americans and the Catholic French are problematic. While probably a very accurate reflection of the Puritans' opinions at the time, Speare's (CHILDREN's) book reeks of racism and anti-Catholic sentiment. I cringed many times while reading, and I really wonder how my younger self was so immune to the harsh language.
Admittedly, there were a few moments of potential "growth" for Miriam. At one point, she softens to the idea of her niece turning to the Holy Mother for comfort ("I'm sure it can't be wrong...if it keeps you from being lonely," Miriam says) and in that same thought realizes how kind the priests and nuns are to those around them. And Pierre Laroche (the French fur trader) lectures Miriam on her judgment of the "savages," stating that it's odd the English feel so entitled to the land the Native Americans held first.
But these short scenes do little to nullify the strong negative language used throughout the book. I am torn because I don't think Speare is malicious (having read The Witch of Blackbird Pond, I really don't think Speare is as judgmental as Miriam comes across) and she is likely just trying to write with historical accuracy. But I would feel uncomfortable having my daughter read this without a strong disclaimer beforehand and discussion afterwards.