Books

tropes i would like to see more of

I read a lot. And when I find certain things (Tropes? Themes? i no do wurdz) in fiction … I perform an inner happy dance and gobble the book down whole. Here are a few reasons for such exuberance, expressed in words. And gifs. Gifs are gifts.

mawwied couples

Image result for marriage gif princess bride

I … have a dream. A dream that a healthy marriage will be portrayed in fiction; where the lead character would be married and that this would simply be the backdrop to the actual story.

Sometimes it’s just nice to read of a stable relationship; to not get readerly stressed when oh, no! look! they’re not communicating again. Gee, I feel so shocked.

And sure – there can be some conflict in their relationship but not major conflict. There is a difference.

Books I’d Recommend:

188230The Amelia Peabody Series by Elizabeth Peters: think archaeology, romance, humour, lots and lots of dead bodies, and Egypt. And a cast of characters you will grow to love over a nineteen book series. Though, you know, it should come with a warning.

WARNING! READING ANY OF THE AMELIA PEABODY SERIES WILL INSTALL A STRONG DESIRE TO:

  1. brandish a parasol
  2. find your very own Radcliffe Emerson.
  3. war with a dastardly arch nemesis
  4. solve grisly crimes in Egypt
  5. be a terribly good archaeologist

Image result for the mummy gifs

just do it!

I cannot respect characters that have good intentions, but are side-tracked by a pair of bootiful, bootiful [insert colour here] eyes.

If you’re going to take down an evil emperor, stand by a resolve, keep to your morals, or read every single book in the Great Library of Alexandria … then you should do it. You should just darn do it.

Kill the bloke. Don’t eat that ice cream. Kick temptation in its face. Invent time travel.

Do not, I beg you, think, it doesn’t matter that he killed my best friend and thousands of innocents, but I can’t kill this evil king because he might possibly have a Tragic Past and more depth than a puddle.

Feelings. Bah. So much selfishness is committed in their name.

15839976Books I’d Recommend:

The Red Rising Series by Pierce Brown: Darrow needs to bring down an entire class system. And by golly, he just goes for it. The series is bloody and brutal, but I like it. I like it a lot.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë: this is one of my favourite classics. Because Jane Eyre? She stands by her principles – even though it means she loses the man she loves.

a slow burning romance

If you tell me a character loves just for the sake of love and oh he said ‘I love you’ so they definitely ARE IN LOVE AND IT’S TWU WUV AND YOU WILL BELIEVE ME. JUST BECAUSE I SAID THEY ARE … I won’t always be able to see it.

I like watching a romance grow – slowly, steadily, quietly. The sort that creeps up on a character until they think: oh, that’s what it is.

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Sure, ‘love at first sight’ can happen; in fiction and real life. But I adore reading fiction where you can believe and see that maybe, just maybe this is love – not because the character declares it every. other. page (I could say that I am a dragon-slaying astronaut, for sure, but that don’t make it so) but because we – the reader – have watched it grow.

Books I’d Recommend:

Devil's Cub (Alastair, #2)Gosh. This is a hard one. Buuuut … I’ll pick these two. And one of them – in a shock twist that surprises absolutely no one – is a Heyer:

The Devil’s Cub by Georgette Heyer: I view this book as one of the most wildly romantic books I’ve read, purely because of one, rather ridiculous statement that Vidal passionately utters in a climactic scene.

The action begins with the lead kidnapping the heroine. The heroine isn’t impressed. She shoots him. And thus marks the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

Harvest of Rubies by Tessa Afshar: containing a cringeworthy scene full of second-hand embarrassment, this book has a marriage of convenience that changes into something more as the heroine grows and the lead realises that hey, maybe he kinda leapt to conclusions.

Image result for sudden realisation gif

happy reading!

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Books, Characters, Quotables, Recountings

Recountings: how do you reform a rake?

Instead of sorting out bookshelves, I’m reading what is on other bookshelves. Dashing and arrogant heroes? Abductions? Intrepid and brave, take-no-nonsense heroines? Fabulously funny side characters? Hilarious dialogue? It can only be a Heyer.

***This Post is Lengthy But Contains a Life-Changing Answer.***

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Devil’s Cub

by Georgette Heyer

The Marquis of Vidal (whose father is the ‘hero’ of These Old Shades) is forced to leave England due to nearly killing someone. His morals lie in the rakish direction and so he decides to take the young Sophia Challoner with him. To France. With no marital ties involved.

How outrageous! How immoral! But fear not –  Mary Challoner is to the rescue. For the message that comes to her house is for her sister but is addressed to ‘Miss Challoner’.

“It’s a letter, miss, brought by a footman. For you,” added Betty, in congratulatory tones. Betty did not think it was fair that Miss Sophy should have all the beaux, for Miss Mary was a much nicer-spoken lady, if only the gentlemen had the sense to see it.

(Too true, Betty, too true.)

Mary is no fool and has been Suspicious of the Marquis’ intentions all along. She opens the letter. She sees her sister’s fate. She thinks. She acts. She takes her sister’s place!

“… it is plain he has no thought of marriage. I have a plan to show him she is not to be had so easily.”

– from a note to her Mamma

I like her already. She pops a mask on and with a mingling of fear and brave resolution heads off to show Vidal who’s boss. All is going according to plan – he suspects nothing as he bundles her into the carriage. And then they ride. And ride. She finds a pistol and bags that pistol. They go on. And then she sees that they’ve travelled to the sea.

He was going to take her sister to France? Of all the-! The time to act is nigh. At the inn by the sea, she takes off her mask.

The smile was wiped from his face.

She pretends that her deceit was a part of a jest with her sister.

“You need not think, my lord, that you can seduce Sophia so easily. She led you on finely, did she not? But when she found you’d no thought of marriage, she determined to teach you a lesson!”

It … doesn’t go down the way she expected. Vidal sort of shrugs his shoulders and says ‘fair ’nuff – I’ll have you instead.’

Proving that – at this point, at least – he is Without Conscience (and is basically a jerk) he forces her on board the boat. And then he turns his wicked gaze to her with a threatening ‘And now, Miss Challoner …”

wriggling eyebrows are not stated, but I like to believe that they’re implied.

However, Mary has other plans. Or rather, Mary’s stomach has other plans.

“I do not care whether you go or stay, but I desire to warn you that I am about to be extremely unwell.” She pressed her handkerchief to her mouth, and said through it in muffled accents: “Immediately.”

(Trust Heyer to flavour a scene of High Peril with a bout of seasickness.)

They arrive in France. Vidal has been indulging in the cups. They are alone. Poor Mary’s virtue is at stake. She is in a strange country with a dangerous man. She has no one to help her and only her courage to rely on. Well. Her courage … and a pistol!

“My lord,” she said desperately, “indeed I am not what you think me!”

He burst into one of his wild laughs, and she realised that in this mood she could make no impression on him.

He was advancing towards her. She brought her right hand from behind her, and levelled the pistol. “Stand where you are!” she said. “If you come one step nearer I shall shoot you down.”

He stopped short. “Where did you get that thing?” he demanded.

“Out of your coach,” she answered.

“Is it loaded?”

“I don’t know,” said Miss Challoner, incurably truthful.

He began to laugh again, and walked forward. “Shoot then,” he invited, “and we shall know. For I’m coming several steps nearer, my lady.”

Miss Challoner saw that he meant it, shut her eyes and resolutely pulled the trigger. There was a deafening report and the Marquis went staggering back. He recovered in a moment. “It was loaded,” he said coolly.

With a single shot of a pistol, Miss Challoner’s honour is saved and a Rake is set on his way to Redemption and True Love (and bit of time bed-bound. After all one cannot be shot without a few trifling annoyances.)

Later on, this book contains one of my all time favourite Heyer scenes: take a misunderstanding, throw in a few swords, toss in a Marquis, add a large dose of melodrama and a dash of absurdity and it’s deliciously exciting.

“Mr Comyn would have been killed,” Miss Challoner admitted, “but I stopped it. I thought it was time.”

The gentleman surveyed her with distinct admiration, not untouched by amusement. “Of course I should have known that you stopped it,” he said. “What means did you employ this time?”

“Rather rough-and-ready ones, sir. I tried to catch the blades in a coat.”

And now, my friends, to the question of ‘how do you reform a rake?’ I put a single, simple answer:

Shoot him.