Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rose of Sebastopol - Katharine McMahon

Title: The Rose of Sebastopol
Author: Katharine McMahon

Genre: Historical Fiction

Love/Hate?: Love, ohmygod, love.
Rating: 5/5
Did you finish?: Yes. I couldn't stop reading!

One-sentence summary: Proper English woman, Mariella, goes to Crimea in search of her missing cousin Rosa.

Why did you get this book?: Frankly, because it was available in e-book form from the library at a moment when I was between books.

Do you like the cover?: Yes, the cover just grabs me.

First line from book: We arrived in Narni late on a Sunday evening.

Review: This is going to be another breathless, sputtering review as I literally finished this book minutes ago. I'm teary, all caught up in the emotion of the story and my love for the characters, which is the sign of a fantastic book.

I knew absolutely nothing about this book when I got it which meant I had no idea even of the plot, so it was a real delight to try to guess where the story was going. McMahon is a talented writer: she conveys the sense of the Crimean War without bogging the reader down in too much exposition or narrative about the war, and I found all the characters gripping. Her technique of flashing between the present to Mariella and Rosa's childhood years was lovely -- I found myself as in love with Mariella and Rosa as they were with each other.

The ending of the book was pitch perfect, even though I would have loved an Epilogue that neatly wrapped up the story for the characters (especially Mariella and Max). This is the kind of historical novel I adore and I can't rave about it enough.

Tropes?: Beautiful reckless girl that everyone is obsessed with, scoundrel soldiers

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Reading and writing

After finishing my Ada Leverson (review to come soon, I hope), I immediately began Rose of Sebastopol by Katharine McMahon. Initially, I thought I'd quit reading -- the infidelity presented so immediately bothered me and I wasn't sure I could take the story -- but the characters are so engrossing, I'm unable to put the book down. I hope to finish it before this weekend -- I can't stand not reading it during the day!

I'm curious about a writer's group in the area but don't know where to start. I hope the Progoff workshop this weekend will help kick start my writing. Reading all my author blogs has made me wish and yearn again, even though I know all I have to do is start. Such a tough leap.