Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Gone With the Wind (1939)


  "There was a land of cavaliers and cotton fields called the Old South. Here in this pretty world gallantry took its last bow. Here was the last ever to be seen of knights and their ladies fair, of master and slave. Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered. A civilization gone with the wind."

   I always have trouble beginning reviews, and it only makes it harder when the movie is one that I absolutely love. I want to do it justice and I want to cover everything, but it can be very hard to know where to start. Where do I begin? How do I begin to express how much I loved this movie? How best to describe the effect it had on me, and how enamored I was--and, truthfully, still am-- by it?

  Every so often there comes along a movie that completely sweeps me off my feet, carrying me away into the story, with characters every bit as vivid as real people, and keeps me thinking about it for days, even weeks, after I've finished it. East of Eden is one of those, and so is The Adams Chronicles and Little Dorrit.....and so is Gone With the Wind.

   I love long movies and miniseries. Chances are you probably already knew that. :-P I like long, sprawling, epic stories with lots and lots of characters that cover long periods of time, stories with good character development that show how the characters learn and change, and all that. I also like to really know a lot about the characters. That's one of the reasons why I love East of Eden so much-- it covers more than fifty years and it tells the story of three generations and has a lot of historical detail. Besides that, it's a form of awesomeness. And now I will stop talking about EofE and get back to the movie at hand, shall I?

  I also love old movies. Sure, some of them are tacky, but there's something so charming about Hollywood in the 30s and 40s and 50s. Old movies make me so happy.

  So, with that preamble, I suppose I should just dive right in.

    I'm going to warn you right now that this is going to be very long. Also, it is bound to contain some major spoilage, as I am not very tactful in avoiding mentioning key events, so if you have not seen GWTW and you don't want to know what happens, read with care.

   Naturally, we should start with the legendary Scarlett O'Hara. Because that's exactly what she is: legendary.

   She's also rather horrible, which you probably know if you know anything at all about GWTW. Now, I am not a fan (nor advocate) of perfect, flawless heroines. In fact, they often drive me nuts. (Like, for example, Elsie Dinsmore. Every other minute she's bursting into tears, and it often seems as though she's trying to find fault with everyone just so she has something to cry about. The girl is, what, seven? COME ON.) When a heroine is just so perfect it usually makes them unconvincing, and often uninteresting. It's much more interesting when they have real faults and failures and work to overcome them, and then become a better person by the end of the story. That's what makes a heroine likeable.

  Scarlett, however, is just downright awful. She is selfish and spoiled and manipulative and just plain rotten most of the time. But even so, I didn't hate her. As dreadful as she can be, she fascinated me, and in fact she even reminded me of myself when I'm in a bad mood at times. (Although I flatter myself that I am not nearly as unkind as Scarlett-- at least, I certainly HOPE not!) I do admire some things about Scarlett. I admire her strength and her courage and determination, but it's also puzzling how she can be working so tirelessly one minute, and then switch to whining pathetically the next. But in a way I'm glad she was the way she was, because her strong personality makes the story even more dramatic and spell-binding.



   Plus, it's not as though I was expecting her to be any different. In fact, I actually liked her more than I was prepared to, from all that I have heard about her from other people who've seen the movie and read the book. Sure, she was awful, but she wasn't completely without human kindness or compassion (unlike Cathy from East of Eden, who is just about the nastiest literary heroine you will ever find.) No, Scarlett has a heart. It may be made of stone, but she does have one, and I didn't dislike her so much that I was beyond hoping she would somehow get better by the end of the movie. And honestly, I think she had softened a bit by the end. She still has a long way to go, but there's hope, I think.


    Vivien Leigh is an amazing actress, and even though I haven't read the book yet, I don't think anyone could have played Scarlett better. In the first line of the book Margaret Mitchell says that "Scarlett was not beautiful", but whoever cast GWTW obviously disagreed, because Vivien Leigh is one of the most beautiful actresses I've ever seen. She was gorgeous as Scarlett, and charming, and also horribly annoying. In short, I think she was perfect.


   Then we have Rhett Butler. Some people think he's just the greatest hero ever. Some people can't stand him. While I most certainly do NOT think he's the greatest hero ever, I really don't hate him. In fact, for awhile, I actually...sort of liked him. *gasp!*


   Rhett Butler is a rogue and a rake and a bunch of other not-exactly-flattering-adjectives, with basically no morals at all. Which is why I feel like somewhat of a traitor for actually sort of liking him. :-P *ducks head*

  Alright. I admit, I can't help it. He's clever, cunning, dashing, intriguing, and terribly handsome. (Seriously, I almost fainted dead away the first time he appeared on screen. I was like, "THAT'S Rhett Butler?!") Even when he's wearing hideous polka-dot cravats, he's still handsome. As one character in a favorite book of mine says, "It sure do make it hard to hate a man when he's handsome." Well, I'm afraid that was true for Rhett. Another thing I liked about him was that even though he was roguish and cunning and naughty, he could also play the part of the perfect Southern gentleman seemingly effortlessly and was perfectly content to be exactly who he was. "With enough courage, you can do without a reputation." But besides being irresistibly charming and good-looking, I also thought he was pretty smart. He knew that the war was not going to be some piddly three-month skirmish, and he told all the other men how much damage the Yankees could do to the south and how unlikely it was they could actually win, when everyone one else was just so fired-up and excited about the war. Rhett is no fool, as much as some people dislike him.

Admit it, ladies. Rhett is handsome.
   Now, I'm not saying that Rhett is a good example. He's not. Far from it, in fact. Rhett and Scarlett are pretty much the perfect examples of How Not To Act. As I mentioned before, his morals are practically nonexistent, he's very moody and often snappish, and there were times when he aggravated me excessively (mostly during the laborious second half of the movie, *ahem*). I would never DREAM of marrying a man like Rhett, no matter how good-looking he was. I would like my man to have principles and decency, thank you very much. However, I did like him enough to hope that he would get better and turn his ways around and maybe become a better man. Unfortunately he didn't make any discernable progress during the movie-- in fact, unlike Scarlett, if anything he may have gotten worse-- but I still like to hold on to the foolish hope that maybe he did become a better man at long last, even if we, the audience, don't get to see it. And yes, of course I know he's fictional. I can dream, can't I? :-)

     Seriously, though, Clark Gable really is extremely good-looking. And he's a brilliant actor (although apparently he wasn't the easiest person to get along with...go figure.) Sink me, but Hollywood had some handsome actors back in those days! Clark Gable, Tyrone Power, Jimmy Stewart......now who do we have? No, don't answer that. :-P

*Swoon*
   What I want to know is, where does all of Rhett's money come from? Does he really get that wealthy from running blockades? What does a blockade runner do, anyway? And how come he didn't have to go join the Confederate army in the first place? And why did he decide to join them right at the moment when it was obvious that they were going to lose the war???


   Scarlett and Rhett hardly ever get along. Most of the time Rhett is being sarcastic and doing things to intentionally upset Scarlett, and Scarlett is throwing things and calling him a varmit. After they get married, for a short time it seems as though things are going better, but even then you're sitting at the very edge of your seat, biting your fingernails because you're afraid that at any moment Rhett is going to say something wrong and Scarlett is going to start yelling and throwing things. It's a very uncomfortable relationship they have, which makes it extremely uncomfortable to watch, and at the same time utterly fascinating.

   Rhett: "Would you satifsy my curiosity on a point which has bothered me for some time?"

   Scarlett: "Well, what is it? Be quick!"

   Rhett: "Tell me, Scarlett, do you never shrink from marrying men you don't love?"

   Scarlett: "How did you ever get out of jail? Why didn't they hang you?"

    See what I mean??? But then again, even though Rhett and Scarlett are always at odds, on the other hand they do seem to understand each other. They really know each other, and they're not afraid of each other. Rhett isn't fooled one bit by Scarlett. He can see right through her like a lace curtain. He knows exactly what she is, and that's why he makes her so nervous at first. But Scarlett can also see right through Rhett. Really, Rhett deserves Scarlett and Scarlett deserves Rhett.

    I did truly feel sorry for Scarlett at the end of the movie when Rhett left (although I admit his famous "Frankly, my dear" line did send shivers down my spine). Even though they never got along and they were not happy together, I still wish he would have stayed and maybe they could have been happy someday. But it didn't happen. *sigh*



   Ashley was just maddening. It wasn't that I really disliked him; I didn't. Pathetic as he is, I actually do like Ashley Wilkes. He's just so.....stupid! Argh! He annoyed me excessively, mostly because he kept letting Scarlett go on with her obsession even after he was married to Melanie, and in many ways he even encouraged her! He was constantly bringing up the past and dredging up old memories, which only fanned the flames of her obsession and made the situation worse. "Scarlett, remember that day at Twelve Oaks? Where have the years gone?" SHUT UP. Why he could not simply say, "I'm married, Scarlett, so just don't bother me anymore", I can't say.
   Ashley Wilkes has about as much backbone as a jellyfish. However, he was very gentle and kind, even if he was stupid. And I couldn't help feeling sorry for him, especially when *SPOILER* Melanie died and he was so sad. He was a good man and it wasn't his fault Scarlett caused so much trouble, he just unintentionally made it worse. Stupid Ashley.

    However, even though Ashley was pathetic, Lesley Howard is a really great actor and I would love to see him in another movie, preferably playing a character with a bit more spunk. I'm not sure, though, if I'm quite up to seeing him play Sir Percy. And to be honest, I'm really not sure he is either. :-P


  

     Melanie Hamilton Wilkes is an absolute doll. She's one of the sweetest, kindest characters I've ever seen and possibly my favorite character in the movie. She's also one of the only ones to draw an example from. She's everything that Scarlett isn't: kind, loyal, and completely selfless, and yet Melanie adores Scarlett and defends her all the time. But Melanie isn't just sweet and pretty-- she definitely has a great deal of spunk and courage as well. She is this close to being perfect, but she isn't. She's not wishy-washy or melodramatic, and she's always thinking of others, as opposed to Scarlett, who rarely thinks of anyone but herself. Yep. Melanie is awesome.

  I must say, it is pretty funny the way Melanie thinks Scarlett is so nice to her, when really Scarlett is always thinking of herself and putting her own needs first. Melanie seems completely oblivious to the fact that Scarlett is in love with Ashley, and she seems to think that Scarlett is the greatest friend anyone could ever have. *cough, cough* Okaaayyyyy.

   Olivia DeHavilland is also a terrific actress, and I think she's just as beautiful as Melanie Wilkes as Vivien Leigh is as Scarlett-- more so, in fact, because the character is just so much nicer. I'd love to see her in another movie! And by the way, did you know that Olivia DeHavilland is Joan Fontaine's sister? I didn't until I read it somewhere. They do look quite a bit alike, come to think of it.


   The rocky relationship between Scarlett, Ashley, and Melanie is very complicated, so instead of me trying to explain it, here's a paragraph from a book about the making of GWTW that aptly describes the whole muddle of Scarlett's relationships with Ashley and Melanie:

     The intertwining and complex relationships among Scarlett, Ashley, and Melanie described in the novel were not changed at all in the film. Scarlett loves Ashley, who loves Melanie, who loves Scarlett, who despises Melanie. Scarlett's attitude toward Melanie softens later, for she stays through the siege of Atlantaa to help Melanie have Ashley's child and then nurses her back to health at Tara. Scarlett's reluctant admiration for Melanie grows after Melanie helps Scarlett bury the marauding Yankee soldier Scarlett has killed, and on Melanie's deathbed, Scarlett finally sees that Melanie has always been her best friend-- and the kind of great lady Scarlett had wanted to be. Scarlett also realizes that she never really loved Ashley and that she in facy loves Rhett. But it's too late: Melanie dies, Rhett leaves, and Scarlett is left with nothing but Tara and a helpless Ashley, clinging to her skirts and sobbing.

  *** Taken from the book David Selznick's 'Gone With the Wind', which is a fascinating and interesting and thoroughly engrossing book about the the making of the movie.


   I liked both Gerald and Ellen O'Hara, although I was a bit disappointed that we didn't get to see more of Ellen before she *SPOILER* died halfway through the movie. They seemed like very kind and loving parents, so I really don't know what they did or failed to do that made Scarlett grow up the way she did. I don't think they were to blame for her behavior; I think that's just the way Scarlett is. And plus, that was just the way of things back then in their society: rich southern girls were pampered and indulged. It was their lifestyle. Obviously, all girls didn't turn out to be as spoiled as Scarlett. Melanie was probably just as pampered and indulged as Scarlett, and she and Scarlett are like night and day.
   But anyway, back to the O'Haras. I liked them both immensely. Gerald O'Hara for some reason really reminded me of Buster Killroy from  Gettysburg and Gods and Generals, probably because they're both Irish, but I think they really look a lot alike too. I loved the scene at the beginning with Scarlett and her father, when he tells her that "land is the only thing that lasts". It's a very significant and touching part of the movie, and I love the famous scene of Scarlett and her father standing under the big tree and looking out over the fields of Tara. *sigh*


  Mammy is just plain-down awesome. I love Mammy. She's hardworking, shrewd, has a sense of humor, and isn't the least bit fooled by Scarlett's charms and wily ways. She is also a very authorative figure in the O'Hara household, which is made clear in the scene near the beginning where Mammy is going around the house telling everyone what to do and muttering to herself about "poor white trash". Mammy seems to be disgusted with the world at large and men in general, and she has a very definite opinion of what's fittin' and what ain't. She's always frank and tells it like it is, scolding and reprimanding people and trying to keep Scarlett in line, and yet she is nice to everybody. Yep, I love Mammy. :-)

  

   Prissy, on the other hand, was quite simply nuts. She could be so aggrivating sometimes that I didn't blame Scarlett at all for getting angry with her, especially when Prissy told Scarlett she knew everything about babies and then later said she'd never delivered one in her life. However, she was also a riot, and in fact Margaret Mitchell said that Prissy was the character she would have most liked to play herself. I think it would be fun to run around the entire movie, shrieking and wailing "The Yankees are coming!" :-P I love the part when Scarlett and Melanie and Prissy are getting ready to escape Atlanta and Prissy is running around the house, screaming, frantically packing and breaking things. "I's packin', Missy Scarlett!"


     The slaves at Tara were all very likable, especially Mammy, Pork, and Big Sam.  Another thing I did like about Scarlett was the way she treated the Tara slaves. She wasn't cruel to them at all, surprisingly. No, she didn't quite treat them like equals, but most of the time she was fairly polite and civil to them. After the Yankees had all but destroyed Tara, she really didn't make any of the servants do anything she wasn't doing herself. It was almost uncharacteristic how decently she treated them.

 Field Hand: "Quittin' time! Quittin' time!"
 Big Sam: "Who says it's quittin' time?"
 Field Hand: "I says it's quittin' time!"
 Big Sam: "I's the foreman. I's the one who says when it's quittin' time at Tara. Quittin' time!"



   I was quite happy that they used so many Civil War tunes in this movie. I recognized pretty much every song played, which pleased me excessively. :-) I especially loved the scene at the Christmas bazaar, because (besides all the gorgeous balll gowns and RHETT), it was fun to hear all the familiar songs and be able to name them. I was practically squealing with delight when they played "Lorena"!


 I loved the scene where Atlanta burned. I just loved it. I know that may sound kind of morbid, but it was absolutely thrilling and amazing and exciting and I loved every bit of it. It may be my favorite scene in the movie, along with the Christmas bazaar and the barbeque at Twelve Oaks. Rhett is driving the wagon through the burning buildings, Prissy is screaming, men are trying to steal the horse (the same horse that Rhett himself stole, but for a good cause :-P), Rhett is fighting them off while buildings collapse all around them-- this is classic DRAMA, people. I was simply revelling in all the cimenatic glory of it.

   "Take a good look, my dear. It's an historic moment you can tell your grandchildren about-- how you watched the old south fall one night."


 
   The sheer scope and utter epicness of this movie is stunning. I'll admit that I had no idea a movie from 1939 could be so good. Well, they sure knew how to make a good movie back then, let me tell you! Seriously, we could use some help now. This movie is filmed on such a grand scale that it's almost overwhelming. I loved the scenes in Atlanta when it was under siege (there I go with the morbid again!), and one of my favorite parts is when Scarlett is walking through the streets of the city looking for Dr. Meade, and the streets are filled with hundreds of thousands of wounded soldiers. It's amazing, and it completely took my breath away. Of course, by that point in the movie I hardly had any breath left anyway.

   Speaking of Dr. Meade.....



     He was Grandpa from Meet Me In St. Louis!!!!!!


    And while we're on the subject of favorite scenes....the scene where the Yankees come to Ashley and Melanie's house in Atlanta looking for Ashley and Frank is one of the best in the movie, I think. It's Melanie at her best, and, if I may say, Rhett at his best too. "Come on, Major. I've seen him drunker. I've seen you drunker. And you've seen me....!" (After we watched the movie, my sisters and I kept quoting that line. Face it, people. You've got to love Rhett in that scene. :-P)


   The Yankees aren't portrayed in a very positive light in this story. Well, duh. The Yankees did this, the Yankees did that, the Yankees are the source of all evil, we all hate the Yankees. Which is accurate to how most Southerners felt, I suppose, although it's not terribly flattering. Since the whole story is from strictly a Southern viewpoint, we don't get to see any of the Yankees' perspective. Another thing was that we never got to see any army generals or any actual combat (well, not much at least-- I think maybe there was one scene shown from afar but I can't remember exactly.) In all the other civil war movies I've seen, even the ones based on average citizens and not on 'the war' alone, there have been army generals and combat, so I was rather surprised that there wasn't a single general who made an appearance in GWTW. Although General Sherman did get a nice little tribute at the start of the second half, but that was all.

   And speaking of the start of the second half....


     EPICNESS, PEOPLE.

   Actually, I should probably stop restating myself and just say that this entire movie was pure epicness. I was completely swept away from the beginning credits to the very end when Scarlett stood alone under the old tree looking out over Tara plantation. I love the way in old movies the credits always come first (and they're actually big enough so you can read them, thank goodness). The opening was so spectacular and the music is SO gorgeous, and when the the words GONE WITH THE WIND rolled by, well......I was gone. Literally. With the wind.

Have you noticed how the sky is always orange?
     Another of my favorite parts is the scene at the end of the first half, just after Scarlett returns home to Tara and says her famous "I'm going to live through this" line. This is one of the times when I almost like Scarlett, and without a doubt this is one of Vivien Leigh's best scenes in the movie. I absolutely loved it. :-)

"Frankly, my dear...." well, I think you know the rest.
   I must say, the first half of the movie is infinitely better than the second, mostly because all of the action occurs in the first part, and also because during the first half there's still hope. Any and all hope all but fizzled out during the second half. While I adored the first part, the latter half of the movie got progressively worse and worse, and then worse still, before it finally ended tragically. However, even though the ending was tragic, I still loved the entire thing. I can see why it's such a classic, and I can see why it caused such a hoop-la when it first came out. (By the way, did you know that when GWTW was first released, it cost seventy-five cents per ticket to go see it? Seventy-five cents! Unheard of!)


    Even though the end was tragic, I am glad that Scarlett went back to Tara. After all, it was her home, and the only place she really loved so I think it was the best place for her to go. Like I said, I like Scarlett just enough to care about what happens to her, even though I know some people will think me mad for saying so. :-)


    The costumes in GWTW are simply gorgeous. Sure, some of them are inaccurate--almost laughably so (like the dark red gown Rhett makes Scarlett wear to Ashley's birthday party, which looks exactly like a Barbie doll dress from the 1930s--go figure), but most of them are stunning. Scarlett has some of my favorite period dresses ever. I am still obsessed with hoopskirts after seeing this movie. :-)
  The men's costumes are also very attractive. Rhett is a very sharp dresser, and I loved his outfits. He seems to wear light colors a lot, like white and tan, which contrast with the darker colors that everyone else is wearing. But then, that's Rhett for you: being different. :-P

I want a dress like this one!!!!
     Now, I have not read GWTW yet (although I REALLY want to now that I've seen the movie!), but from what I've heard from people who have read it and from what I've read about the making of the film, it's very accurate to the book and the movie makers payed close attention to little details that Margaret Mitchell wanted in the movie. And book accuracies in movies, we all know, is a very good thing. Although maybe in this case it was because Margaret Mitchell was still living when the movie was made, and they didn't want to offend her by taking liberties with the story. From what I've read-- and yes, I've read a lot about the making of GWTW, since we have a book about it-- Margaret Mitchell heartily approved of the movie (especially Clark Gable as Rhett! Woo-hoo!!!), except she didn't like the title card about "cavaliers and cotton fields" and "knights and their ladies fair". She once wrote to a friend, "It was never my intention to write about cavaliers". So obviously they did take a few liberties and glamorized it a bit, but I personally loved it. :-)



   I really do love this movie. Everything about it was well-done. The costumes are lovely, the acting is superb, the music is absolutely gorgeous, and the cinematography is simply stunning. I was completely drawn in the entire time, and by the time we finished watching it I would have gladly started watching it all over again. I know a lot of people don't like it, and I suppose I can kind of understand why. It is frustrating, and if you don't like old movies with lots of melodrama then I can understand how it might not be your thing. But if you haven't watched it, I really think you should. It truly is a masterpiece, and one of the best movies I've ever seen. It's not my favorite, no, but it's a classic that I would love to watch again.


    And that's the end. :-)



Sunday, April 13, 2014

Love Comes Calling Review


by
Siri Mitchell
Bethany House Publishers

   When a look-alike friend asks Ellis Eton to fill in for her as a telephone operator, Ellis jumps at the chance. For her, the job will provide not only acting practice but the funds to get Ellis a start in the movies. She's tired of always being a disappointment to her traditional Boston family, and though she can't deny the way he makes her head spin, she knows she's not good enough for Griffin Phillips, either. It's simple: avoid Griff's attentions, work, and get paid. But in typical Ellis fashion, her simple plan spirals out of control when she overhears a menacing phone call...with her very own Griff as the target.


~*~*~*~

    Siri Mitchell is one of my new favorite Christian fiction writers. A few months ago I read The Messenger, which, although a bit somber, was really, really good and very historically detailed. At first I didn't really care for her style of writing, but it's really grown on me and now after reading her latest book, Siri Mitchell has officially made my top ten list. One of the things I really love about her books is that they're always so well-researched. There's a lot of attention to historical detail and I love reading the author's notes at the end.

   That being said, this book is so much fun! It's a lot different than The Messenger, but I think I enjoyed it even more. I love the main character, the 1920s era, the high-society Boston setting, the way it's written from Ellis's perspective-- all of it. Reading it is like watching a movie. I read it in three days and by the time I was done with it I wanted to read it again. I really haven't a negative thing to say about this book!

   I think probably the main reason why I enjoyed Love Comes Calling so much is because I found Ellis Eton to be such a kindred spirit. Ellis is so refreshingly relate-able. She's so much like me, it's ridiculous. Her wild imagination, her penchant for getting into awkward situations, her difficulty concentrating on anything....I understand!!!  Do I ever! Ellis is extremely scatterbrained and often misinterprets things, and so she can be really annoying, but I didn't think she was that annoying because I could relate so much to how she felt. Of course, I hope I am not quite as scatterbrained as Ellis. But so many things she thought and did reminded me of myself! I love reading about heroines who are always getting into awkward situations and having misadventures, probably because so many times I find myself in awkward scenarios, so reading about Ellis's antics was immensely enjoyable. The whole grape juice-fermenting-in-the-closet incident was hysterical. :-)
   Ellis is definitely one of those characters who you really feel a bond with. At least, I certainly did. Also, I think the name Ellis is absolutely adorable. This is the first time I've heard of it as a girl's name and I love it.

  I really, really liked Griff. He was kind and principled and handsome and pretty much perfect, but not so perfect that it was irritating. And he loved Ellis, so he completely won me over. Officer Jack Feeney was also a pretty interesting character, and I liked how he had softened some by the end of the story.

   The story was totally riveting, which was one of the reason why I found it nearly impossible to put this book down. There were so many intriguing aspects to the plot and whenever something happened it just got more and more interesting! The whole prohibition/right and wrong premise was really good, I thought, and very well-written. I don't read many books set in the 1920s, and since Downton Abbey is set in England (haha), I didn't know a whole lot about prohibition prior to reading this book. It was educational and enjoyable! I love how Siri Mitchell isn't afraid to write about tough issues. This is only the second book of hers that I've read, but Love Comes Calling definitely had some serious issues in it, mostly concerning prohibition and political justice, and so while it was mostly a light-hearted story, I appreciated the more serious tone of it too. 

  Also, if I'd lived during the 1920s, I think it would have been such fun to be a hello girl! :-)

   So my final verdict on this book is, I absolutely loved it and I think it's one of the best historical novels I've read in a while. If you're a fan of Siri Mitchell's other books or historical fiction in general, I definitely recommend this book!

 My rating: 9 1/2 out of 10

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Another Quotes Game~ Answers!


 And now for the answers to last weeks' quotes game! :-)

Quote #1
William Wilberforce: "What time is it?"
Henry Thornton: "This is your 3:00 AM dose."
William: "So, cousin, you're waking me up to give me medicine to help me sleep."
Henry: "Ah, so now you've taken on the medical profession as well as everyone else."

This picture has nothing to do with the scene, but I found it and I just love it. :-)

Answer: Amazing Grace (2006)


Quote #2
Lady Violet Grantham: "I'd forgotten what a good game this is. How long does it go on for?"
Isobel Crawley: "Oh, ages."
Violet: "Oh, goody goody!"


Answer: Downton Abbey: Season 4


Quote #3
William Dorrit: "You talk easily of hours, sir. Have you any notion what an hour is to a man who is choking for want of air?"


Answer: Little Dorrit (2008)


Quote #4
Sybil Crawley: "There's nothing wrong with doctors. We all need doctors."
Mary Crawley: "We all need crossing sweepers and draymen, too. It doesn't mean we have to dine with them."


Answer: Downton Abbey: Season 1 (Or maybe it was Season 2?)


Quote #5
Field Hand: "Quittin' time!"
Big Sam: "Who says it's quittin' time?"
Field Hand: "I says it's quittin' time!"
Big Sam: "I's the foreman. I's the one who says when it's quittin' time at Tara. Quittin' time!"


Answer: GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) (It looks better in capitals, right, Sadie?)


Quote #6
Marianne Dashwood: "Elinor, where is your heart?"
Elinor Dashwood: "What do you know of my heart? What do you know of anything but your own sufferings? For weeks, Marianne, I've had this pressing at me, without being at liberty to speak of it to a single creature. And believe me, had I not been sworn to secrecy I could have produced proof enough of a broken heart, even for you."


Answer: Sense and Sensibility (1995)


Quote #7
Captain Sawyer: "When were you last in the West Indies, Mr. Buckland?"
Mr. Buckland: "Sir, I--"
Captain Sawyer: "Answer the question, when were you last in the West Indies?"
Mr. Buckland: "I regret, sir--'
Captain Sawyer: "Never. You were never in the West Indies, that's when you were in the West Indies, Mr. Buckland."


Answer: Horatio Hornblower: Mutiny (2001)


Quote #8
Millie Warne: "All the unmarried women of our set, and believe me, there are many, they sit around all day gossiping and unaccountably bursting into tears. But you have done something. You've written a book. I warn you, I am prepared to like you very much."


Answer: Misss Potter (2007)


Quote #9
Mr. Sloppy: "Meat, one; vegetables, two; beer, three....what was four? Oh! Pudding! He was four!"


Answer: Our Mutual Friend (1998)


Quote #10
Lord Cumnor: "I'm sorry I said anything about it now. I'll try to find a more agreeable piece of news. Old Marjorie at the lodge is dead."


Answer: Wives and Daughters (1999)


Quote #11
Margaret Hale: "I wish I could tell you how lonely I am. How cold and harsh it is here. Everywhere there is conflict and unkindness. I think God has forsaken this place. I think I've seen hell. It's white-- it's snow white."


Answer: North and South (2005)


Quote #12
Mr. Garrad: "Can't be too careful in foreign climes."
Reginald Anson: "It's only Wales."
Mr. Garrad: "It's still foreign!"


Answer: The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain (1993)


Players' Scores
Sadie-- 57 points
Kiri Liz-- 37 points
Miss Laurie-- 37 points
Danielle Frederickson-- 33 points
Naomi-- 19 points
Hamlette-- 19 points
Maddie Rose-- 19 points


   19 seems to be the popular score. :-P Thanks so much for playing, girls! :-)




   

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Beauty So Rare Review


by
Tamera Alexander
Bethany House Publishers

 Plain, practical Eleanor Braddock knows she will never marry, but with a dying soldier's last whisper, she believes her life can still have meaning and determines to find his widow. Impoverished and struggling to care for her ailing father, Eleanor arrives at Belmont Mansion, home of her aunt, Adelicia Acklen, the richest woman in America-- and possibly the most demanding, as well. Adelicia insists on finding her niece a husband, but a simple act of kindness leads Eleanor down a far different path-- building a home for destitute widows and fatherless children from the Civil War. While Eleanor knows her own heart, she also knows her aunt will never approve of this endeavor.
  Archduke Marcus Gottfried has come to Nashville from Austria in search of a life he determines, instead of one determined for him. Hiding his royal heritage, Marcus longs to combine his passion for nature with his expertise in architecture, but his plans to incorporate natural beauty into his design of the widows' and children's home run contrary to Eleanor's wishes. As work on the home draws them closer together, Marcus and Eleanor find common ground-- and a love neither of them expects. But Marcus is not the man Adelicia has chosen for Eleanor, and even if he were, someone who knows his secrets is about to reveal them all.

~*~*~*~
    This is the second book of Tamera Alexander's that I've read-- the first being A Lasting Impression, the first book in the Belmont Mansion series. Actually, it was my sister who first read A Lasting Impression, and since she liked it I decided to read it too.  I didn't really care for it, and I found it kind of slow and boring.  The story didn't interest me either, and the romance really annoyed me. That's why I was a bit hesitant to request this book, but I decided to give it a chance. And plus, the cover is just so gorgeous I couldn't resist.
   From the very beginning, I found A Beauty So Rare to be much the same as the first book in the series. It started out really slow for me, and I just wasn't drawn into the story.  (I also found that the book descriptions I had read were somewhat misleading.) The plot in general reminded me a lot of A Lasting Impression, and in fact the it was altogether so much like it that I got the distinct impression that maybe Tamera Alexander has some sort of checklist she uses when writing her novels.

   Eleanor, the heroine, is a likable character, although she didn't really strike a chord with me. She is very practical (with absolutely no nonsense about her), but she was just too practical for me to really identify with her. She doesn't care about flowers, people. However, I admired her compassion for the widows and children and her strength when it came to her father's deteriorating condition (which was also one aspect of the story that I thought was well done).

  The romance-- and the relationship in general-- between Eleanor and Marcus is really what annoyed me the most. From what I've read (and from what I've been told), Tamera Alexander's couples are always so...so...playful. They're constantly teasing each other and trying to make the other laugh, which is alright, but the sarcasm and the never-ending persistence gets tiresome. And besides that, the relationship seems to always be the same: they meet, the sparks fly, they can't wait to see each other again. They're constantly thinking about each other, and thinking about how they shouldn't be thinking about each other, telling themselves how it's foolish to hope and they can never have each other. It's so predictable that it's boring. And not only that, but the author will never let us forget how handsome the man is. Every other page we need to be reminded in detail of how muscular his arms are, how his hair falls into his face all the time, how blue his eyes are, and how just downright "absurdly handsome" he is.

   However, I didn't completely dislike this book. While it didn't really capture my interest, there were parts of it that I enjoyed, such as when Eleanor goes to the Nashville Women's League headquarters for the first time. I also liked the parts when Marcus went to visit Eleanor's father, and I thought it was very touching when he introduced Eleanor to her father as "Ellie". Okay, and the proposal scene on the roof of the Home was pretty romantic. But most of the romance was just so....sappy, for lack of a better word. Especially with repeated exclamations of "Oh, this woman..." and "Oh, this man...", the first of which was also verbatim from A Lasting Impression.

   While I don't personally care for her writing, Tamera Alexander does write a good book. There wasn't a whole lot of historical detail in this book-- since it was mostly a romance-- but what there was seemed to be very well researched, and I was happy that Dorthea Dix made a little appearance. I think the main reason why I didn't care for this book was because it is solely a romance. I enjoy romance in novels, but I prefer when it isn't the sole focus of the story, because then it tends to be overdone and sometimes tiresome. Especially when it's thwarted love. 

    So in short, this is a well-written historical romance novel, it's just not my style. It's also very long and quite descriptive, so it can get rather boring at times-- especially if you don't have a lot of patience with thwarted love-- but I've also read some really rave reviews of it, so if you enjoy a good historical romance, you might like A Beauty So Rare.

  My rating: 5 out of 10

    I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.




Saturday, April 5, 2014

Another Quotes Game!


   Wow, it's been more than a month since I did a game! Sorry about that! Just a simple quotes quiz for this week. I've done a few of these games before, and I always love playing quotes quizzes so I hope you enjoy this one. I promise I will try not to make them too difficult. :-) Also, most of these quotes I've just gotten from memory, so I apologize if there are a few wee mistakes. If you notice anything I've got wrong, do tell me.
   Alrighty, so to play all you have to do is guess what period drama the quote comes from, and the name of the character(s) who says it. Five points for each correctly guessed period drama and an additional point for each character named. Ready, set, go!


 Quote #1
Character 1: "What time is it?"
Character 2: "This is your 3:00 AM dose."
Character 1: "So, cousin, you're waking me up to give me medicine to help me sleep."
Character 2: "Ah, so now you've taken on the medical profession, as well as everyone else."

Quote #2
Character 1: "I'd forgotten what a good game this is. How long does it go on for?"
Character 2: "Oh, ages."
Character 1: "Oh, goody goody!"

Quote #3
Character 1: "You talk easily of hours, sir. Have you any notion what an hour is to a man who is choking for want of air?"

Quote #4
Character 1: "There's nothing wrong with doctors. We all need doctors."
Character 2: "We all need crossing sweepers and draymen too. It doesn't mean we have to dine with them."

Quote #5
Character 1: "Quittin' time!"
Character 2: "Who says it's quittin' time?"
Character 1: "I says it's quittin' time!"
Character 2: "I's the foreman. I's the one who says when it's quittin' time at           . Quittin' time!"

Quote #6
Character 1: "           , where is your heart?"
Character 2: "What do you know of my heart? What do you know of anything but your own suffering? For weeks,               , I've had this pressing on me, without being at liberty to speak of it to a single creature. And believe me, had I not been sworn to secrecy, I could have produced proof enough of a broken heart, even for you."

Quote #7
Character 1: "When were you last in the West Indies, Mr.                ?"
Character 2: "Sir, I---"
Character 1: "Answer the question, when were you last in the West Indies?"
Character 2: "I regret, sir--"
Character 1: "Never. You were never in the West Indies, that's when you were in the West Indies, Mr.                   ."

Quote #8
Character 1: "All the unmarried women of our set, and believe me, there are many, they sit around all day gossiping and unaccountably bursting into tears. But you have done something. You've written a book. I warn you, I am prepared to like you very much."

Quote #9
Character 1: "Meat, one; vegetables, two; beer, three...what was four? Oh! Pudding! He was four!"

Quote #10
Character 1: "I'm sorry I said anything about it now. I'll try to find a more agreeable piece of news. Old Marjorie at the lodge is dead."

Quote #11
Character 1: "I wish I could tell you how lonely I am. How cold and harsh it is here. Everywhere there is conflict and unkindness. I think God has forsaken this place. I think I've seen hell. It's white-- it's snow white."

Quote #12
Character 1: "Can't be too careful in foreign climes."
Character 2: "It's only Wales."
Character 1: "It's still foreign!"


~*~*~*~

Have fun! :-)



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