Bite-Sized Book Reviews: “Bitter Greens”

When I say I have a lit nerdy soul, I’m not exaggerating. My husband has to give me visual cues to “STOP TALKING” when he sees my impromptu lit lectures are losing our friends. I’ve begun timing myself to ensure I keep my comments about books under two minutes. I’ll often ask loved ones if they’re sure they want me to answer that lit-related question.

The last time I asked this, my brother thought for a minute, then said, “Let me go to the bathroom first.”

Not a good sign.

But that’s why I’m such a fan of Kate Forsyth. Her historical novels are inspired by fairy and folk tales, which is already enough to intrigue me. But even more than this, both Bitter Greens and The Wild Girl (which I adored [review here]) explore possible answers to mysteries in literary history. I think that’s just the coolest spark to start a novel.

Again, lit nerd here.

In the case of Bitter Greens, Forsyth looks to the tale of Rapunzel. She considers how Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de la Force, the 17th century French authoress who penned the version of Rapunzel we know and love, might’ve learned of the story. Because the tale, originally written in an Italian dialect, was not translated into a language accessible to de la Force until after her death. Continue reading “Bite-Sized Book Reviews: “Bitter Greens””

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The Haul

“Are those armadillos are your feet?”

“Why, yes. Yes, they are.”

Note to you, dear reader: Step 1 in creating a perfect “reading kit” is to get yourself an excellent book. But Step 2 is to grab yourself something comfy for your feet. Some recommend fuzzy socks; flip flops are a classic choice if you’re heading to the beach. For me, it’s armadillo slippers or nothing. Just seems right for this Texas gal.

But I’ve skipped ahead, since it’s books first, fabulous footwear later. This post is admittedly several weeks overdue, given that it’s my book-related Christmas haul/to-read list for the new year. But it took a while for all the Christmas packages to make their way to South America. (Remember when I said Foreign Service folks get ridiculously excited about their long awaited mail?) Continue reading “The Haul”

Napoleon & the Grimm Brothers walk into a bar….

Note: Spoilers will be relegated to a “Spoiler Section” at the end of this review. Read the first half without fear.

Kate Forsyth’s The Wild Girl took me by surprise. Some books possess a singular kind of magic, catching you from the very first line. For me, The Wild Girl was not that book. Blame it on my being particularly distracted the day I began it; ascribe it to my being so busy, I could only read the first few chapters in five-minute increments (this is never a recipe for a well-enjoyed book)–whatever the reason, the novel’s first pages left me disengaged.

But somewhere along the way, a 180° occurred and The Wild Girl became one of those books I couldn’t stop thinking about. I was distracted at work (sorry, boss!) as I mulled over various plot-points. As I swam laps, I untangled my emotional responses to some of the more traumatic scenes. One day, I even delayed my own, jealously-guarded writing time to get a few pages further in Forsyth’s novel. The book even invaded my dreams. Continue reading “Napoleon & the Grimm Brothers walk into a bar….”