Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Book Review-- The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck

I seem to be on a review trend lately, so here is another one.

The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck by Kathleen Y'Barbo (WaterBrook Press 2011)

I did not realize when I selected this book for my next Blogging for Books read that it is actually third in a series, The Rocky Mountain Heiress Collection; however, the novel is quite independant and works well as a stand alone.

Charlotte is eager for independance and bent on recieving a higher education so that she can help run the family business, but the only way her dad will agree to let her attend the renowned Wellesley is if she agrees to marry Alex Hambly, a handsome English Viscount. Alex is also offered strong incentive by Charlotte's father to marry into the Beck family, and the two agree to wed but make a secret agreement to annaul the marriage after a short time. What follows is an entertaining and lighthearted, if somewhat predictable, story which I enjoyed reading, even if it didn't exactly turn my world upside down. It seemed like a quick read, though the writeup says it's 352 pages (I read it on kindle). The book did contain some fresh aspects which I really appreciated, such as Alex being an astronomer and Charlotte somehow managing to be both spoiled, even outright bratty at times, and yet endearing. Overall, a pleasant and simple read. I wouldn't go out of my way to seek out the other books in this series, but may read them if given the opportunity.

I recieved the kindle edition of this book for free from the editor, in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Les Misérables film review

It suddenly occurred to me whilst I sat pondering what ever in the world to make my next blog entry about, that I have not written a review for the Les Misérables film! How could this be!? I shall promptly remedy such an oversight. So...DUN DUN!

The film was released on Christmas day and I had the joy of seeing it just after. My pulse was pounding the instant it started-- how could it not be with Look Down thundering pleasantly in my ears? The story focuses on a man named Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), an ex-convict who has spent the past 19 years working in the galleys as the repercussions of stealing some bread. At the beginning of the story Valjean's sentence is up and he is released into a world too unforgiving to accept him because of his "dangerous" reputation. He finds refuge, however, in the home of a kind Bishop (Colm Wilkinson), but repays the Bishop's kindness by stealing from him. Valjean is caught and hauled back to the Bishop who orders the officers to release him and insists that he gave the man the silver. With this deed the Bishop tames Valjean's wild heart and thus the hardened criminal becomes a changed man, committing his life to good. The story that follows is of a man redeemed in the eyes of God but ever pursued by the strict and unforgiving laws of man personified through the legalistic Inspector Javert (Russel Crowe).

I will tell you flat out that if you do not like musicals you will hate this movie, because I could count the times the actors spoke their lines as opposed to singing them on my hand, but that's the way the play was written and that's the way the movie goes and that's one of the reasons I love it. I do feel that the story as read in Les Misérables the book could definitely be better represented than the play on which the movie was based, but as a film and as a work of art, it was beautiful.

Keep in mind that the title of the movie IS Les Misérables, and it IS a portrayal of "the miserable", so the story is not at all times uplifting, and you will likely cry more than you smile; in fact, it will break your heart, but in that emotionally binding way that we humans seem to love. Also, be warned that some scenes are inappropriate for children (the film is rated PG-13 and I did avert my gaze on a couple occasions).

The only thing I have left to tell you is, even if for NO other reason at all, see this movie for Anne Hathaway's performance as Fantine singing I Dreamed a Dream-- there has never been and likely never will be a more powerful performance of that song than hers.

I mentioned a while ago that I was reading the novel and wanted to finish it by the time this film was released; well, sadly I did not meet that goal, but I am still working my way through the very, very long --and incredibe-- story. Also, my wonderful fiancé is taking me to the play next month-- yeah, I'm more than just a little bit excited about that. So, certainly more thoughts and reviews to follow!