A Case of the Quickies.....

To be honest, not every book needs a full page review devoted solely to that book.  So A Reader's Respite occasionally offers the quickies, a short and sweet over view of some of the books we've read.  Some we loved, others....not so much.  Read on.....

"Three hundred and eight days.  That's how long I spent on board that rusty old tub, the Bounty."

Another arguably "best YA author" on the scene today.  A Reader's Respite loves John Boyne.  His novel Mutiny on the Bounty might be his best work (yes, even better than The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas).  Think you know the real story of Captain Bligh, Christian Fletcher and the HMS Bounty?  Reading this fabulous novel may make you think again.  Utilizing some of the most recent historical interpretations, Boyne tells the story of this most famous of mutinies from the first-person narrative of fictional John Jacob Turnstile, the unlikely and unwilling personal valet to Captain Bligh ("...he was too well educated and of too high a social class to have respect for the rights of man.").

The narrative moves along quickly for the entire 398 pages while developing the characters of Turnstile and Bligh to the point that the reader feels as if they are there in that wretched situation.  Filled with witty observations ("I believe she is a reader of novels, sir, which is hardly appropriate") to offset the dark nature of man, it's hard to believe that this event really did take place.

Rating:  As close to 5 stars as is possible.
Source:  Library Copy

"But changes - huge changes - do take place and in spite of Freudian evidence to the contrary, the deep stamp of past years and even of dreams can be eradicated, washed away, and new people can emerge: and it will be a bad day for novels when this is not so."

Continuing on our 'marooned on a desert isle' theme, A Reader's Respite was drawn to Jane Gardam's novel Crusoe's Daughter after hearing NPR refer to Gardam as "the best author you've never heard of."  The novel is Polly's story. From her early childhood as an orphan dropped off with her spinster aunts in a small desolate English town on the coast of the Irish Sea. Lonely and cut off from the world, Polly grows up isolated and develops an intense 'relationship' with the novel Robinson Crusoe. Indeed, there are many similarities between the two. The intertwining of their lives and circumstances, however, seem undeveloped...never quite reaching what it might have been throughout the novel.

Ultimately, it was a worthwhile read, although we suspect not her best work, the author's thoughts to the contrary. It was an admirable literary fiction effort, though, and enough to make us pick up another of her novels ---- if only our library would carry them. 

Rating:  4 stars
Source:  Library Copy

A Reader's Respite was quite prepared to be disappointed with this latest installment of the almost-too-adorably-clever Flavia de Luce since the previous novel in the series proved to be such a disappointment. But it seems author Bradley has managed to resurrect the incredibly high standard established from the inception of this wonderful series. While we would have liked more interplay between the young heroine and the Inspector, but the finale provides sufficient (*understatement*). Distressingly, the totally surprising denouement left us how anxiously awaiting Flavia' s next adventure. If his intent is to sell the NEXT book, he has succeeded....what a corker of an ending!

Rating:  4.5 stars
Source: Review Copy


  1. I would never have given Mutiny on the Bounty a second glance if I hadn't seen your post.

  2. I know, right? I would never have given it a second glance if it hadn't been written by John Boyne. Interesting where our literary discoveries take us, I think.

  3. You're pushing the envelope with me here. I think the only one I would seriously consider is the Flavia book. I haven't read any of them, but I want to someday. Yes, it is on THAT list.

  4. And you absolutely should read those damned Flavia books. And don't give up just because the 4th one gets a little old....wait for the bomb to drop in the 5th! (They are all cute and make me feel good and laugh a little when I read them.)

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