Friday Finds (20 Feb, 2015)

Tea Time For The Firefly



Layla Roy has defied the fates.
Despite being born under an inauspicious horoscope, she is raised to be educated and independent by her eccentric grandfather, Dadamoshai. And, by cleverly manipulating the hand fortune has dealt her, she has even found love with Manik Deb—a man betrothed to another. All were minor miracles in India that spring of 1943, when young women’s lives were predetermined—if not by the stars, then by centuries of family tradition and social order.

Layla’s life as a newly married woman takes her away from home and into the jungles of Assam, where the world’s finest tea thrives on plantations run by native labor and British efficiency. Fascinated by this culture of whiskey-soaked expats who seem fazed by neither earthquakes nor man-eating leopards, she struggles to find her place among the prickly English wives with whom she is expected to socialize, and the peculiar servants she now finds under her charge.

But navigating the tea-garden set will hardly be her biggest challenge. Layla’s remote home is not safe from the powerful changes sweeping India on the heels of the Second World War. Their colonial society is at a tipping point, and Layla and Manik find themselves caught in a perilous racial divide that threatens their very lives.

Did you find anything interesting this week?

Book Review : The Thirteenth Tale By Diane Setterfield

ImageIt’s a story about sisters. A dark tale about family secrets and loss. About a big estate in ruins, a weird and creepy family causing their own destruction.

A famous author, Ms. Vida Winter calls for an amateur biographer, Margaret Lea to write her biography. Until then the author’s life is a mystery. she makes up stories about her life when journalists interview her every year, each story a different one. Now she is dying and wants to tell her life story. During the story telling, Margaret and Vida Winter feel
connected through a common loss.

Margaret character is not very strong, I did not feel connected to her at all. She is constantly mourning about something which she could get over with. She is a loner, prefers books to people, nothing wrong with that. She just seems too sad for no good reason.

I liked the twist towards the end of the book, the most. It wasn’t something I expected.

There are some very good quotes in the book. For example:

“There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic.”

“All morning I struggled with the sensation of stray wisps of one world seeping through the cracks of another. Do you know the feeling when you start reading a new book before the membrane of the last one has had time to close behind you? You leave the previous book with ideas and themes — characters even — caught in the fibers of your clothes, and when you open the new book, they are  still with you.”

The attempt to make  the story seem paranormal  annoyed me simply because most situations were not eerie enough, they were in fact stupid. Several times, Margaret sees her reflection in the mirror or a window glass and feels its her dead sister from the other world. Once is okay, not ten times.

The book goes on after the story is finished, it tells about what happens to the characters in the book. I didn’t quite like it. Yes, most authors won’t do that and you wouldn’t know what happens to a chararcterafter its role is played in the
story. Somehow I like it that way, it keeps the mystery. I was disinterested in all these details added after the actual story. This might be a good thing for other readers but for me, it did not work.

Overall the book was interesting, Vida Winter’s past – the crazy family , the sisters behaviour, the governess and the twist.

Book Review : The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

A circus has never interested me. I have not liked movies based on the circus themes or daily soaps and ditto with books. So why did I pick up this book? Hmm, let me see, one – Goodreads gave it a very high rating, two – I had just read Belong to me and did not like it and wanted to read something better, three – it falls under the Fantasy genre. I am like a little child when I see the word magic which I now refer to as Fantasy ( a more sophisticated word) I am drawn to it. Not the young adult Twilight kind of books, no this book is not like it and I am glad.

ImageThe story is about a competition between two magicians and how they involve the circus. The story is still with me after the book is over, the scenes especially, not the characters. I think they could have been stronger but they do okay. I love the descriptions in the book. It has numerous fantastical, unbelievable things that will grip you. The Imagination is simply beautiful!

The strong characters are the ones on the sidelines, for instance the professor, the clockmaker and the contortionist. The story also has romance as a subplot. However the book has a sad undercurrent to it.

The ending really disappointed me. It was sort of predictable. I would have definitely like something meatier. It is also a little absurd, it doesn’t fit.

Overall its a very good book especially if you like fantasy novels.