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The Revolving Door of Life (The 44 Scotland Street Series Book 10)
The Revolving Door of Life (The 44 Scotland Street Series Book 10)
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Something of a disappointment, 17 Mar. 2016
As a great fan of the Scotland Street books, I was - for the first time - disappointed in this one. Too much padding, I felt, particularly when McCall Smith goes on about the Nudist Society. This part didn't really connect with the rest of the characters in the book. In addition, the constant reminders of what has gone before have become tedious. However, Bertie, as always, had my full attention; because of him and Angus and Domenica, I wouldn't have missed reading this book.


Jane Austen's Journeys
Jane Austen's Journeys
by Hazel Jones
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.58

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No pineapples for visitors, 6 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Jane Austen's Journeys (Hardcover)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It tells of the importance of the journeys (both actual and metaphorical) made by the heroines of Jane Austen’s novels, and also recounts some of Austen’s own travels, which were remarkably wide for the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. She got about the country a surprising amount – though admittedly never further north than Staffordshire - in spite of the dangers, the appalling state of the roads, and a woman’s need always to be accompanied by a man. The great discomforts of travel that Hazel Jones reveals didn’t put Jane Austen off one bit.
The British Isles were offering much more interest to tourists now that there was war on the Continent. Gracious stately homes could be visited and admired, as Darcy’s Pemberley is by Elizabeth Bennet in "Pride and Prejudice", and even the industrial sites of the Midlands and the North were starting to be seen as attractions by the inquisitive tourist.
Jones’s amusing accounts of real-life travellers of the time include the adventures of the irascible Colonel Byng, who went everywhere and loathed most of it, even complaining that a gardener showing him round the hot-house of a private country residence failed to offer him any of the owner’s grapes, nectarines or pineapples.
Descriptions of inns and carriages help the reader to understand the Austen heroine’s experience of both. Inns, where horses were changed, and a ‘nuncheon’ swallowed or a night spent, were often filthy, draughty, and unwelcoming; sheets might be unwashed, and privacy by no means guaranteed if drunken intruders were to burst into your room as you slept. The inn where Elizabeth Bennet and her aunt and uncle stay, near Pemberley, is none of these things; fortunately so, as two encounters between Darcy and Elizabeth take place there at a key stage in their relationship; while in "Emma" the draughts and damp of the more down-market Crown Inn, where the longed-for ball is held, are a great worry to poor Mr Woodhouse.
I liked the chapters on public transport and types of private carriage. The latter seem to have prompted as much snobbery and kudos as makes of car do now. The barouche-landau must have been a classy vehicle: "Emma"’s Mrs Elton is eager to boast about her brother-in-law’s wealth by making constant, crass allusions to his barouche-landau. And the curricle, notable for Willoughby’s clandestine excursions with Marianne in "Sense and Sensibility", is described as ‘the Porsche of its time’. We’re told that a racy carriage can hint at a man’s moral character, or lack of it. The real-life public, travelling by stage coach, took risks: carriages could break down or overturn, and passengers were even known to freeze to death when sitting on the roof. Safer to go by post chaise, if you could afford it.
The many links in the book to Austen’s novels and to her Juvenilia give us insights into her characters’ feelings and situations, often explaining references that readers of the time would have picked up more readily than we can today. I found that the author’s easy style, backed up by extensive background research, made "Jane Austen’s Journeys" a stimulating read.


Miss Austen Regrets (BBC) [2008] [DVD]
Miss Austen Regrets (BBC) [2008] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Olivia Williams
Price: £4.98

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing and insightful film imagining part of Jane Austen's life, 5 May 2013
I was surprised to find how much I liked this depiction of Jane Austen, one of the most written-about writers in literature. Many biographers have made inspired attempts to know her, but although we have her novels and some of her letters to give us clues, she somehow remains enigmatic.

However, the characterisation by Olivia Williams in Miss Austen Regrets seems to ring truer than, for example, the romantic glossy Austen we were offered in the film Becoming Jane. This Jane Austen is shown towards the end of her life when all likelihood of marriage has passed, but when her books are at last being published. The excellent screenplay fastens on her writing, her involvement with her family, especially her niece Fanny, to whom she gives advice regarding love and marriage, and, occasionally, her regrets.

Hugh Bonneville puts in a beautifully understated performance as the man Jane might have married, and they have a touching scene towards the end of the film when it's becoming clear that Jane is probably dying. Greta Schacchi, playing Cassandra, gives it all she's got as the much-loved, supportive, single sister, while Phyllida Law as their mother is suitably angry at Jane's life choices, particularly in her refusal, over a decade before, to accept the hand of a rich man who could have changed all their fortunes.

But it is the performance of Olivia Williams as Jane who makes this film into something special. She is offered the chance to show Jane as the clever, witty, loving, but realistic woman of the letters, who can be sharp, bitter and unexpectedly extrovert. And she takes that chance, making the character rounded, believable and completely sympathetic. This is a film that can be watched more than once, for the nuances of Williams' interpretation alone, especially for the moments when she is utterly absorbed in her writing, which is, after all, why we remember Jane Austen nearly two hundred years after her death.


The Cat's Table
The Cat's Table
by Michael Ondaatje
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Delicately drawn shipboard adventure of three boys, 5 May 2013
This review is from: The Cat's Table (Paperback)
A very different novel from the kind I usually read - which tend to be about Western European families in contemporary culture, or period classics. Here, the main protagonist is an eleven-year-old boy who is leaving Ceylon for England in the 1950s, to meet his mother, after a long parting. The book takes in the whole of the voyage and follows the exploits of Michael and his two mates as they run amok round the ship, unsupervised and untrammelled, spying on other travellers and on a shackled prisoner who is brought on deck at night to exercise. As the story unwinds, the reader realises that this is a journey that helps the boy grow up and learn about human nature, sometimes through some shocking episodes. It's a journey that affects the rest of his life. Written with enormous delicacy and insight, and interspersed with reflections from the adult Michael, one cannot help believing that the hero is Michael Ondaatje himself, though he denies this.

I found this to be a book that I grew into, one that subtly changed its nature as it progressed, becoming more layered and serious as I read on. The later passages, showing how some of the story strands turned out (particularly those about Michael's young cousin Emily and the mysterious chained prisoner) are touchingly and cleverly done.

Although the many carefully-drawn personalities on board the ship are all put into the narrative for a purpose, I found them to be rather too numerous; for me, they distracted a little from the story of the three boys and the other main protagonists. But this was a small criticism in a novel that left me with a fondness for Michael, and a strong feeling of engagement with his friendship with the other two boys, Cassius and Ramadhin.


5 Star Stapler Long Arm Full Strip 320mm Reach Capacity 25 Sheets Black - Ref 918656
5 Star Stapler Long Arm Full Strip 320mm Reach Capacity 25 Sheets Black - Ref 918656
Offered by Alba Office Supplies
Price: £7.28

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Long-arm stapler, 19 April 2011
Ideal for use in a home/small office. However if you need a long-arm stapler for frequent/heavy use, suggest you look for a heavier one.


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