Published by Penguin Press Format: Hardcover
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When Lionel Savage, a popular poet in Victorian London, learns from his butler that they're broke, he marries the beautiful Vivien Lancaster for her money, only to find that his muse has abandoned him.
Distraught and contemplating suicide, Savage accidentally conjures the Devil -- the polite "Gentleman" of the title -- who appears at one of the society parties Savage abhors. The two hit it off: the Devil talks about his home, where he employs Dante as a gardener; Savage lends him a volume of Tennyson. But when the party's over and Vivien has disappeared, the poet concludes in horror that he must have inadvertently sold his wife to the dark lord.
Newly in love with Vivien, Savage plans a rescue mission to Hell that includes Simmons, the butler; Tompkins, the bookseller; Ashley Lancaster, swashbuckling Buddhist; Will Kensington, inventor of a flying machine; and Savage's spirited kid sister, Lizzie, freshly booted from boarding school for a "dalliance." Throughout, his cousin's quibbling footnotes to the text push the story into comedy nirvana.
Lionel and his friends encounter trapdoors, duels, anarchist-fearing bobbies, the social pressure of not knowing enough about art history, and the poisonous wit of his poetical archenemy. Fresh, action-packed and very, very funny, The Gentleman is a giddy farce that recalls the masterful confections of P.G. Wodehouse and Hergé's beautifully detailed Tintin adventures.
“A funny, fantastically entertaining debut novel, in the spirit of Wodehouse and Monty Python, about a famous poet who inadvertently sells his wife to the devil–then recruits a band of adventurers to rescue her.”
This is a short and sweet book review.
I read this book back in February because I was planning on reviewing it for National Poetry Month (in April), but April was busier than I anticipated. Thus, I am reviewing it now, even though its hilarity and cleverness are not freshly imprinted on my brain.
This witty and entertaining Victorian era novel is true to form and unfolds in 19th century dialect. The Gentleman is not a fast read because of the period syntax, but it is oh, so enjoyable. Period detail throughout is on point, and the characters are delightfully shallow. You will end up staging this book like a theatre play in your mind’s eye because it is so easy to imagine the story world and characters from the author’s exquisite attention to detail.
Fans of Jane Austen’s Emma will enjoy the twists and turns and mixups that the popular poet, Lionel Savage, encounters. The story switches narration between the poet and his editor, who admits that he reluctantly published the poet’s story that readers are indulging in. (The editor regularly interjects with footnotes and quotes before the beginning of chapters.) Read the fictional editor’s note that opens the book below:
I have been charged with editing these
pages and seeing them through to
publication, but I do not like the task.
I wish it on record that I think
it better they had been burned.
— Hubert Lancaster, Esq
The poet’s wife, Vivien, is a satisfying character that ends up stealing the show, in my opinion.
A literary comedy of errors that will enchant fans of poetry, the Victorian era, and historical mysteries, The Gentleman is as enjoyable for its form, syntax, and witticisms, as it is for its characters and plots.
The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas
Published by Delecorte on April 19, 2016
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The Darkest Corners is a psychological thriller about the lies little girls tell, and the deadly truths those lies become.
There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.
Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.
Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.
But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.
Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.
GIVE IN TO THE BIIIIIINGE!
The Darkest Corners is a gripping psychological thriller. Once you read the first few pages of this book, be ready to give in to the binge-reading urge that will overcome you.
Once-upon-a-time there was some television-crack called the O.J. Simpson trial, the Casey Anthony trial, and most recently, Making A Murderer. The dark and addictive pull of these trials has been wonderfully crystallized in The Darkest Corners.
This book could not have come out at a better time. With the wave of murder-mystery hungry people the documentary Making A Murder left in its wake, The Darkest Corners is the perfect novel to follow-up with.
The main character, Tessa, is meticulously constructed as well as the main supporting characters in this story. Peering into Tessa’s mind and the memories that make up her sketchy past were as enthralling as the whodunnit trails the author leads us down through Tessa’s narrative. Everyone has an incriminating past and exploring them through random connections was like a dopamine hit every time.
The story world is vividly depicted and has all the creeptatistic appeal of a former industrial town with forests occupied by squatting meth addicts.
There were some truly shocking twists and turns to the story that completely busted my original theories about the murders going into this book, and that’s something I can appreciate.
I had not read a book this compelling in a loooong time and I highly recommend The Darkest Corners to those who obsessively watched Making A Murderer, or to those who enjoy a clever thriller with deep central character development. In this book, the most prominent characters were just as important as the plot making for a satisfying read.
This is how I got my binge-read on:
How will YOU get your The Darkest Corners binge-read on once the book releases? PRE-ORDER NOW so you can start planning. 🙂
Kara is the author of THE DARKEST CORNERS, coming from Penguin Random House/Delacorte Press in Spring 2016. She also wrote the Prep School Confidential series (St. Martin’s Press) and the pilot The Revengers for the CW under the pen name Kara Taylor. She’s represented by Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary & Media. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or on the couch with her rescue cat, Felix.
Official Website : TheDarkestCornersBook.com
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the stops on this blog tour!
|3/14 Fresh Fiction||3/27 The Eater of Books!||4/9 Reading Nook Reviews|
|3/15 Jessabella Reads||3/28 Reading Teen||4/10 Downright Dystopian|
|3/16 Book Addict Confessions||3/29 Chapter by Chapter||4/11 Such A Novel Idea|
|3/17 Hollywood News Source||3/30 Winter Haven Books||4/12 Across the Words|
|3/18 Undeniably (Book) Nerdy||3/31 Once Upon A Twilight||4/13 Reviews From a Bookworm|
|3/19 Curling Up with a Good Book||4/1 Intellectual Recreation||4/14 Itching For Books|
|3/20 Out of Time||4/2 The Hiding Spot||4/15 Waste Paper Prose|
|3/21 Supernatural Snark||4/3 Carina Books||4/16 The Irish Banana|
|3/22 Live to Read, review||4/4 Cover Contessa||4/17 The Book Rat|
|3/23 Dark Faerie Tales||4/5 Me Read A Lot||4/18 YA Reads|
|3/24 Ex Libris||4/6 The Writer Diaries||4/19 No BS Book Review|
|3/25 Reading with Cupcakes||4/7 Whimsically Yours||4/20 Serenity’s Lovely Reads|
|3/26 The Reader Bee||4/8 Hook of a Book||4/21 Pandora’s Books|
Published by Knopf, Penguin Random House on June 3, 2014
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
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A dazzling, heartbreaking page-turner destined for breakout status: a novel that gives voice to millions of Americans as it tells the story of the love between a Panamanian boy and a Mexican girl: teenagers living in an apartment block of immigrant families like their own.
After their daughter Maribel suffers a near-fatal accident, the Riveras leave México and come to America. But upon settling at Redwood Apartments, a two-story cinderblock complex just off a highway in Delaware, they discover that Maribel's recovery--the piece of the American Dream on which they've pinned all their hopes--will not be easy. Every task seems to confront them with language, racial, and cultural obstacles.
At Redwood also lives Mayor Toro, a high school sophomore whose family arrived from Panamà fifteen years ago. Mayor sees in Maribel something others do not: that beyond her lovely face, and beneath the damage she's sustained, is a gentle, funny, and wise spirit. But as the two grow closer, violence casts a shadow over all their futures in America.
Peopled with deeply sympathetic characters, this poignant yet unsentimental tale of young love tells a riveting story of unflinching honesty and humanity that offers a resonant new definition of what it means to be an American. An instant classic is born.
If you’ve ever been curious about how the other half of America lives- the immigrants and the undocumented and those who would never even imagine having enough money to spend any on buying books to read for pleasure- then this powerful piece of fiction is a great place to start.
This book is for readers that enjoy character studies and learning about other cultures and socioeconomic classes. What I had first thought was going to take a very sociological and subjective approach, ended up taking a very poignant and objective look at the lives of American immigrants from multiple Central and South American backgrounds. Despite what’s being examined in this book, it reads like a lyrical page-turner.
The author’s writing is vivid and beautiful and cuts to the quick. The thread that connects all of the lives examined in this story creates a seamless and emotive narrative that relates what it’s like to fall in the kind of love that’s outside of the pop-culture idea of love, and what it’s like to be an outsider in America on top of that.
I was born in Patzcuaro, Michoacan, Mexico. I lived there all my life until I came here. Other people from our town had gone north. Most of them left because they wanted a better life. That’s what they said. A better life. But it wasn’t like that for us. We had a good life, a beautiful life. We lived in a house that I built. We married in the town square when Alma and I were young, when people told us we didn’t know anything yet about the world. But we knew. Because the world to us was each other. And then we had Maribel. And our world grew larger.
We came here for her.
The characters are beautifully realized and capture the essence of what it is to be a human trying to navigate this world without the proverbial life-jacket of financial security and favor. The love story that blossoms between the two teenage characters was utterly different and refreshing. Their story is definitely a tearjerker.
I couldn’t put this book down. I practically read it in one sitting. It’s for those of you who need a therapeutic cry every now and then, or those of you who want something completely different than what you’ve been reading in the Adult and Young Adult mainstream. The Book of Unknown Americans will make you obsess over the incredibly talented Cristina Henriquez, and make you anxiously await her next novel.
About the Author
Her stories have been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Glimmer Train, The American Scholar, Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, and AGNI along with the anthology This is Not Chick Lit: Original Stories by America’s Best Women Writers.
Cristina’s non-fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Oxford American, and Preservation as well as in the anthologies State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America and Thirty Ways of Looking at Hillary: Women Writers Reflect on the Candidate and What Her Campaign Meant.
She was featured in Virginia Quarterly Review as one of “Fiction’s New Luminaries,” has been a guest on National Public Radio, and is a recipient of the Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral Foundation Award, a grant started by Sandra Cisneros in honor of her father.
Cristina earned her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She lives in Chicago.