Wednesday, January 16, 2008

In Which the Reader Sheds a Tear...

It snowed every day we were at Whistler and it was fabulous. Since I couldn't ski, while everyone else was, I used my delicious hours of freedom to read. I didn't have much choice in my book selection this time because the books I had on order didn't arrive before we had to leave, so I had to make due with getting something from a Barnes & Noble we passed on the way.

DH didn't want to get stuck driving through Vancouver at rush hour, so he gave me a strict time limit of 10 minutes. I can spend literally hours in a bookstore, particularly now that I get to them so rarely, and 10 minutes (including standing in line) made it impossible to do the kind of poring over books I normally do when I'm trying to choose. There were long lines of people cashing in their Christmas gift cards, which meant I was pretty much limited to whatever I could grab off the New Releases table at the front of the store. That led me to a slight dilemma.

I had to get at least two thick books or three medium ones to be sure I wouldn't end up stranded in the hotel with nothing to do but shop (Shopping at an expensive resort like Whistler? Yikes!), yet nothing I've been meaning to read was on the table. I ended up with three books: something Tudor-ish, whose author and I title I can't recall, Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen, and ... gulp ... Rhett Butler's People by Donald McCaig.

That last one gave me pause; fiction set in Civil War America tends to give me the willies because I'm from the South and because I've read a lot of American history. I also tend to avoid sequels written by anyone other than the original author. I bought it out of desperation, but in my mind, RBP had two strikes against it from the beginning.

I read Garden Spells first, and though it was quite derivative of Alice Hoffman and not really in her league, it was a nice happy little book, made nicer by the comfy chair and fireplace in our room. The Tudor-ish book was fine too -- I think the reason I don't remember the title or author is simply because I've read so many of these things that they all segue into one big "Tudor" compartment in my brain. Neither of those books was very thick and I went through them fairly quickly, leaving me to eye RBP with more than a little suspicion. To be clear ... I loved Gone With the Wind -- loved it -- when I was a teenager, but so rarely does a book stand the test of time. Rarer still is a sequel that's as good as the first, and this one wasn't even written by the original author.

But I started reading and within 15 minutes I was hooked!

I cannot believe how engrossing it was. Really!

The author did an amazing job of weaving a completely different set of stories into the narrative of the original GWTW.

This book actually made me cry at one point -- and I can assure you; books do NOT do that for me very often.


The wonder-dog and I spent two days holed up in the Four Seasons while I read RBP. I only made it out to the shops when DH came back from the slopes and dragged me there.

We both had a great time!


Anonymous said...

Oh, Doubtful Muse, I'm looking for people to read my novel. It's historical fiction that has even caused men to shed a tear. If you are interested in taking a look, please email me at
(It's Shades of Gray ISB N9780979600005) Thanks!

Tess said...

DM - LOVE your pics from Whistler :) Still haven't told Sean you guys were there *g*.

You now actually have me considering reading RBP!! Thanks for mentioning it.

Also love the pic of WonderDog. He knows how to vacation!!!

Elizabeth Chadwick said...

Loved the photo of the wonder-dog. Everyone should have one of those - and snow! I love snow. Never see any these days...
Fascinating to me is your review of RBP. We share similar reading tastes, so usually I'd go for it. However, another very good reading buddy who is almost my reading twin, has RBP on her wallbanger list as one of the worst books she's ever read.
So now I'm sorta hanging in the middle. Guess I'll have to get the book and make up my own mind!

Taminator said...

Good to know that RBP is actually a good read! I just got a copy from paperbackswap as I find the premise interesting but I've heard both pros and cons. I'm glad you enjoyed it!


Gillian said...

I love it when a doubtful book turns out to be wonderful :). Back day-after-tomorrow your time, BTW (and am so looking forward to being home and in touch!)