Friday, August 17, 2012

still reading!! Prisoner of Heaven & The Virgin Cure

Ever So Slow, But They WILL Get Posted --
Assorted playing with medicines, some causing problems that gummed up my brain and then got off it which fiddled with my brain an body more.  So my "to read for review" pile is big and there are a couple in the "read but not reviewed"....always a challenge when it gets delayed too much and I lose the initial "feel" of the book. 

But, I've got a bit of time...oddly post-Ambien, pre-it-kicking-in (1-2h) for me is ofter my clearest time of day.  So....

This is the third piece of a four book series that definitely isn't in a true linear fashion.  I'd read the first book (The Shadow of the Wind) but not the second (a prequel, The Angel's Game).  PoH occurs after Shadow but much of it tells a story that I think connects the plots and people of the to prior books and lets them overlap.  I may reference things that would be a spoiler to Shadow...I might for Angel's but can't know...so that's the best warning I can give.

Daniel works in his father's bookshop.  He and his wife, Bea, live upstairs with their baby boy.  Fermin works in the store and has a much deeper relationship making him close to family (though more of how that came to be is in this book).  A man comes and buys a pricey book and asks Daniel to take it, with an inscription, to Fermin.  The eventually leads Fermin to share the story of his time in prision (in an era with a "thought police" piece of the culture).  He meets folks there and we also see how he gets from the prison to the time he met Daniel.

I very much enjoyed Shadow....I gave it 4 stars but didn't write any details.  I think it was kinda an easy one to "grab" me since a big feature is a huge, hidden library called the Cemetary of Forgotten Books.  The book he picks motivates much of his role in the book.  There's also a lot of intrigue and mystery about motives and connections...I didn't DISLIKE that, but it wasn't the draw.

This book is good.  It is a lot about how we become who we are with a prision holding some innocent folks, some thinkers/writers, and some who just plain did the crime.  There's a lot of questions of love and loyalty in there.  The past story, and remedying a situation it created, is crucial to moving Fermin ahead in his life and starting his marriage. 

But, still, it didn't truly grab me.  Not sure if I'd have read it w/o the Shadow experience (and know idea how it might have mattered if I read Angel's).  Taking it as its own book...3 stars.  It is intriguing with a push on the role of gov't and intellectualism.  I do like that stuff, but it really never captured me fully.  Still, regards and thanks to Harper for the copy!

This was one I was excited to be offered by Harper and hopped right on the request a review copy.  Part of that could be it might be one I'd feel odd buying...that's not "right" but it is honest....I think it was about the idea of marketing a book about a culture that marketed young girls (though, certainly worth knowing this stuff is in the country's past).  But I def wanted to read it given that I later followed-up and happy to see more become availale since I hadn't been able to snag one at first.

Moth is living with her mother in a rough, poor, slum in 1871.  She was pretty sure her mom would eventually sell her into service but thought she had a little longer and was just woken up and taken off at age twelve.  The woman she is taken to becomes increasingly abusive, with concern escalating that it might get worse.  She escapes with help of one friendly, kind person.

Moth ends up on the street.  She tries a little stealing and a lot of begging and eventually meets a girl who takes her to the home of Mrs Everett.  This is pretty much a training brothel.  The girls spend time learning the art of being a good date to a wealthy man, both in terms of being a partner at public events and in the home's sitting room.  The plan is for one man to eventually pay a large sum for the chance to take her virginity.  The girls dream that this will be about love, and that they'll find a man who'll eventually take them in (or at least after a few more "clients"...fee is lower for non-firsts). 

Not hard to imagine, the glamour of the clothes and social life draw her (and others in).  Also, not surprising from our view, it is never that simple.  One big risk, that gives the title, is that some believe that sex with a virgin will cure STDs (even though Mrs Everrett promises that is not a worry in her home). 

I liked this.  I do feel like there are a lot of places that I wanted more (the friend who helped her escape the prior job, some of the girls in the house).  Dr Sadie is a woman doc who tends to the girls at the house and tries to talk them out of it....I'd like much more of her, although we do get some shots of her life).  

Honestly, right now I'm feeling like a 4 but I am 90% sure I was at 3.5 (and maybe even 3) before.  So I'll go 3.5 and round up simply b/c it stuck with me a bit.  I think part of the lower initial rank was not feeling drawn to it nightly, but that's appeared to come on the far end.  Portrait of a tough time that's not nearly so distant as it sounds (and is still part of lives in some places...including, in various forms, in the U.S

1 comment:

Annabelle said...

Cemetery of Forgotten Books? I must pick that up.