Category Archives: Women’s Fiction

Revisiting Jane Eyre

I first read Jane Eyre when I was 11, and I really liked it. Although, I never liked or forgave Edward Rochester for locking his first wife in the attic. I actually didn’t want Jane to marry him, but the author and her character didn’t see it that way.

I still have that 1940 copy of Jane Eyre. I  kept it because of the illustrations and that my neighbor gave it to me. .She had given us some books she didn’t want anymore, and it was in the bag. At the time, I didn’t know about Charlotte Brontë, her family, or where she came from. That would change a couple of years later, when I did a book report on the author. I was to encounter the novel several more times in high school, and by then I got bored. But I still love the story in all its forms over the years.

One of the latest, Reader, I Married Him, is a short story collection created and edited by historical novelist Tracy Chevalier. She contributes one story in the collection.  She was inspired to organize an anthology after visiting the Brontë family home and parsonage in Haworth, Yorkshire.

Whether sticking closely to the novel or giving the story a modern and very contemporary viewpoint, each of these women–very well known international authors–gives a creative, diverse, and unique interpretation to Jane’s famous line: “Reader, I married him.”  You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, sympathize, be outraged. perhaps, or maybe curious about how life turns out for the characters. I couldn’t help but think of Shakespeare, too: “The course of true love never did run smooth.”

 

 

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Filed under Classics, Marriage and family, Short Stories, Women's Fiction

Reviving a Family Tradition

I discovered Stuart Srevens’s memoir, The Last Season: A Father, a Son, and a Lifetime of College Football last September at the library.  I enjoyed it so much that I recommended it to others. I gave it to a friend for Christmas because he, too, loves college football–the Carolina Gamecocks as opposed to the Ole Miss Rebels. But he still liked it a lot.

On this Father’s Day, I reflected how many dads (or uncles) connect with their kids through sports. But that’s not the only way, obviously.  The Last Season moved me because Ole Miss games–and his parents’ parties to celebrate them–were part of Stevens’s growing-up years. His mom and sister were fans as well, but Stuart and his dad always made the journey to the stadiums themselves.

Alas, this father-son bonding time ended when Stevens went to boarding school, then college, then embarked on a fast-paced career as a journalist, political writer, and presidential campaign manager. Stevens describes himself as “a man who doesn’t like losing.”

However, when his candidate lost, Stevens had reached a crossroads in his life. Celebrating a birthday also didn’t help. As he took time off to plan his next steps, he thought more and more about going to those games with his dad, who was now in his nineties. He longed for one last road trip before one wasn’t possible anymore.

When he pitched the idea to his parents, they were skeptical, but agreed. The stories, memories, epiphanies, and a season’s Ole Miss games are poignant, insightful, and often very funny. Best of all, traders don’t need to be avid sports fans to respond to the book. The author’s family photos are also a joy.

Most of all. The Last Season reminds us to treasure the important people in our lives while we can. Browse the author’s website for his novels and other works.

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Filed under journeys, memoir, Nonfiction, Sports, Women's Fiction

I’m a Debbie Macomber Fan!

Saturday night, I stayed up to finish reading Debbie Macomber’s Love Letters, the new third novel in her “Inn at Rose Harbor” series, also set in Cedar Cove. Mostly, I really wanted to see what happened to the characters. I got really involved in their stories. The second reason was more practical. My eBook borrowing period was about to expire, and I didn’t want to renew it or put it on hold. Before I knew it, the time had flown to 3:15 a.m.! But it was worth it. I can’t wait for the next installment! And I didn’t even peek at the ending–a bad habit of mine.

My first experience with Debbie Macomber’s books was when I read Summer on Blossom Street. I admit that the cover painting grabbed me. Baxter the Yorkie–owned by Anne Marie Roche, was on the front cover, and looked so cute. The rest is history…

So I kept looking for more of her titles. I haven’t read them all yet, but I will. There is no hurry. (Her early work has also been reissued, which is nice to see.) The only one I still can’t get through is Susannah’s Garden. Susannah, who owns the flower shop on Blossom Street, soon realizes that her mom is experiencing significant memory problems. Cuts a little too close to the bone. Maybe I can manage it one day. But I’m not promising myself anything.

Ironically, I have read few romance novels; however, these are worth reading because of the down-to-earth characters, the plots, the sense of community, and the quality of her writing. Even when bad things happen to the characters, there is still a sense of hope. The stories set in  Washington state make me curious about that part of the country. Interestingly, without meaning to, I’ve discovered other authors and works about Washington state and the western part of the country.. It sounds so beautiful.

Many of her characters are good at homemaking and crafting skills…mainly knitting. That’s not me, but I love the stories anyway.

Don’t be afraid to get comfy with a cup of coffee or tea, and curl up and read Debbie Macomber. You won’t regret it.

 

 

 

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Filed under Romance, Women's Fiction