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Archive for February, 2016

Library Lust

credit: Vogue, December 2015

credit: Vogue, December 2015

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badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Library Loot

Interlibrary loan week here!  My library is amazingly well-stocked but they don’t have everything.  When that happens, it’s so nice to be able to use the (free!) interlibrary loan system to track down what I want.

Bowman of Crecy and The Hawk by Ronald Welch – two from Welch’s Carey series, which follows the fortunes of the Carey family from the Crusades to the First World War.

The Half-Crown House by Helen Ashton – Loved, loved, loved this novel about a day in the life of a family who, struggling post-WWII, have opened their stately home to tourists.  It had been on my to-read list since Scott reviewed it last year and Ali’s enthusiasm for it last month finally spurred me to place my hold.

What did you pick up this week?

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In honour of my (30th!) birthday today, a gift for you all: my five favourite libraries from the last year of Library Lust posts.  Enjoy!

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Photocredit: Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg (via here)

Photocredit: Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg (via here)

via Country Life

via Country Life

photo credit: Simon Brown

photo credit: Simon Brown

via Country Life

via Country Life

If you’re interested, you can also check out past birthday editions from 2015201420132012, and 2011.

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Five WindowsI hope you are all having a lovely Valentine’s Day, enjoying the people and things you love.

Speaking of lovable things… the most delightful discovery of my week was that Greyladies has now released their reprint of Five Windows by D.E. Stevenson.

Five Windows is the story of David Kirke from his Scottish childhood to his early adulthood in London.  It follows him through five different homes: the manse where he grew up as the only child of loving parents, the townhouse in Edinburgh where he lived with his uncle while attending school, the seedy London boarding house where he lives after first arriving in the city, the cosy flat above a bookshop which he has the pleasure of making his own, and the house just outside London where he begins his married life.

It is one of my very favourite of D.E.S.’s books and I have been looking forward to owning a copy since I first read it in 2013.  Rereading it last year only confirmed my love for it and my desire to own it.  However, used copies were prohibitively expensive.  Greyladies to the rescue!

 

 

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Library Lust

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badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

The only bad thing about long weekends is how the week sneaks up on you and suddenly – wham! – it’s already Wednesday. Good news: this week is going quickly. Bad news: it’s going quickly because I’m so busy. I know I checked out library books but I can’t remember what they are, where they are, or why I thought I would have time to read them.  I have a large assignment due this week for a course I’m working on, plus it’s a busy week at work so there’s no reading for me until the weekend (bless this assignment for being due on Friday – if I lost another weekend to it I’d go mad).  Do, however, feel free to entertain me with tales of your own reading.  Did you pick up something intriguing from the library or, let’s be reckless and disregard the intent of this meme, from your own shelves this week?

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The Rose Garden HusbandTo many, The Rose-Garden Husband by Margaret Widdemar would appear to be a light, fluffy, harmless story, perfect escapism for a few hours on a rainy February day.  But these people would be very, very wrong.  Indeed, for certain types of readers, it is the most dangerous sort of book to pick up on a dark winter day because we, unlike the heroine, have no rose garden awaiting us at the end and that makes the return to the real world once you finish the last page of this charming tale all the more jarring.  Oh, woe betide the lazy working woman!

First published in 1915, I’ve had this simple romance novel on my to-be-read list since Jane read it back in 2013 but it was Bree’s review in December that finally led me to load it on to my e-reader and start reading.

When we meet her, our heroine, Phyllis, is in her mid-twenties and toiling away in the children’s section of a city library earning a scant $50 a month and feeling generally run-down, friendless, and doomed to more years of the same.  A chance encounter with a girl she’d known in her hometown – now a pretty, graceful young matron with two perfectly-turned out children – has her feeling more than ever the shoddiness of her own life, with only a drab boarding house to go home to after her long days at work.   And so, like every overworked person dreaming hopelessly of an easier life, she makes a wish:

I want to be looked after, and have time to keep pretty, and a chance to make friends, and lovely frocks with lots of lace on them, and just months and months and months when I never had to do anything by a clock – and- a rose-garden!

And almost immediately her wish is answered.

Friends of the library, a couple Phyllis has long admired, have an unconventional proposal for her: to marry a young, crippled man whose mother is about to pass away.  The young man is not expected to live many more years but his mother cannot stand the thought of him being left alone for that time.  A wife, she feels, will be honour-bound to stay with him until the end, unlike a hired nurse.  No wifely duties would be expect of Phyllis and she would have considerable funds at her disposal and time to rest and make herself pretty and, yes, have a rose-garden.

It is too irresistible a prospect to decline and soon Phyllis finds herself married to Allan Harrington, who has not walked since being injured in a car crash that killed his fiancee and crippled him seven years before.  Under his gloomy mother’s care, he has lived a cheerless, pain-filled life without anything to interest him or brighten his days. Into this bursts Phyllis, freed from her dreary working life and bursting with optimism, vitality, and, above all, happiness.  She takes an interest in her new husband’s well-being, prescribing a change of setting, plenty of new magazines, books and records, and lots of laughter.  After years of his mother crying over his bed and lamenting his imminent death, Allan can’t help but be cheered and as his mental health improves, his body slowly begins to improve as well.

It’s all very lovely and sweet and has as neat and tidy an ending as you could wish (if rather melodramatically brought about). But what an awful book to read on days when you feel like the pre-rose garden Phyllis!  It is too easy to sympathize with her frustrations over dull complexions and duller hair after long days in the office, her longing for the time to indulge her interests and make friends when there is no time to be had, and her desire to be a pretty young woman rather than a tireless worker.  I enjoyed her story greatly but felt all too frustrated by it (ahem, jealous might be the more accurate description) once I finished, recognizing that there are no rose-garden husbands and lazy days waiting for me!  I think Saturday’s Child by Kathleen Norris, an excellent novel from 1914 about a young working woman who, over the course of several years, learns to understand the importance and joy of working hard at something, is probably the best antidote for this mood…

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Library Lust

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