Review: Wideacre by Philippa Gregory *contains spoilers*

Good afternoon fellow bookworms!

This time, I’m back with a negative book review; something which I’ve never uploaded on this blog!

Roughly a year ago, I found the book Wideacre by Philippa Gregory in an Oxfam book sale. Now Philippa Gregory is an author I have read multiple books by (I first picked up one of her books at the recommendation of my history teacher) and I’ve enjoyed almost all of those that I’ve read.

I’d first picked up this book because I liked the sound of it from the blurb, which is as follows:

“Wideacre Hall, set in the heart of the English countryside, is the ancestral home that Beatrice Lacey loves. Built from yellow stone, facing due south and surrounded by the rich woodlands and rolling downs of Sussex, it has been in her family for generations. But as a woman in England in the 1770s she has no right of inheritance; only a loveless arranged marriage lies ahead. Beautiful, sensual and passionate, Beatrice sets out to pursue her own goal: control over Wideacre – at any cost.
Yet even as her scheming succeeds, Beatrice is haunted by the one person alive who fully understands her obsession and knows her capacity to let nothing – and no-one – stand in her way.”

(In case any of you didn’t fully read the title of this post, this review does contain spoilers – don’t read on unless you plan to read this)!

Initially, I liked this book. I liked how it opened, with Beatrice as a child, being taught how the Estate was ran by her father and I disliked her mother, who tried to force her into staying at home and learning skills such as needlework (she later became one of my favourite characters, partly because I sympathised with her).

BUT THEN

When Beatrice got older and started sneaking away to meet Ralph (the gamekeeper’s son/future gamekeeper), I figured they’d be discovered and that would be the end of that.

It wasn’t.

I’ll be honest, the sex scenes in almost every/every other chapter were a little overkill and made it a little awkward to read, but she was young and this was her childhood crush so fair enough, I guess?

No. It got worse.

When Harry (Beatrice’s older brother) found them, I thought he’d tell their father, or at least their mother (who he was closest to). I didn’t expect him to ask to be beaten by Ralph (I mean, why didn’t I just stop reading at this point).

Then when Ralph killed her father, I was furious (with both of them to be honest, because she should never have agreed to it in the first place). If I’m honest, the book kind of went (rapidly) downhill from there; probably because I started to really dislike Beatrice.

I really didn’t like the whole incest side of the story, especially when Harry got Beatrice pregnant twice and she then lied about it.

Honestly, I could spend all day complaining about this book but I’ll summarise the rest of it here before I get annoyed about it all over again:

  • Dr MacAndrew was lovely and deserved a million times better than Beatrice (he would have still married her if she’d actually told the truth and said she was pregnant with another man’s baby although maybe not if she’d told him it was her brother’s) – she completely ruined his life AND stole his fortune/inheritance.
  • Celia was an angel and should have just married Dr MacAndrew because her husband (Harry) did not deserve her.
  • The ending wasn’t the greatest and I don’t plan on reading the second and third books (Wideacre is the first in a trilogy),  but I hope Celia finds a new husband and manages to have children of her own.

Overall, the plot wasn’t bad, but I would have enjoyed this book more if there was less sex scenes and no incest. If Beatrice had come up with a different plan to win Wideacre (and had non-incestuous children to leave Wideacre to), or even if she had followed Ralph’s plan to kill off her father, then slowly bankrupt Harry and buy Wideacre for themselves, I think the book would have been better.

I don’t think I’ll ever read the rest of this trilogy (but I’ve said that about other trilogies so who knows) and I don’t think this is a book I’d recommend to others.

Rating: 2 Stars (If you’ve never read one of my book reviews before, you might want to read my post that explains my rating system).

Have any of you read this book? What did you think of it?

Elanor 🙂

 

Advertisements

my top 4 book to screen adaptions (because not every book is better than the film)

Hello and welcome!

I’m sure every reader has felt the same pain when one of their favourite books is adapted into a film and it’s awful…but this isn’t always the case (I’m fighting against that the book was better reader stereotype)!

Here are my top four book to screen adaptions that I loved!

1. Poldark by Winston Graham (BBC Series)

I actually watched the first three series of Poldark (I cannot wait for series four) before I read any of the books (although I’d bought the first three books after watching series one…oops). I’ve only read books one to three and I know there are a lot more in the series but I loved them and definitely plan to read the rest at some point. I think Aidan Turner is perfect as Ross Poldark and I love Eleanor Tomlinson as Demelza (Aunt Agatha was my favourite character though) and this is one book to screen adaption that I absolutely love!

2. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (3-Part BBC Drama)

Are you sensing a theme with BBC dramas yet?

Agatha Christie is one of my favourite authors and this is my favourite book by her to date. When this three-part drama was first aired, I didn’t watch it, however, it recently came back onto BBC iPlayer and I loved it! I feel like it didn’t miss out any (important) parts of the book and covered it really well – I really enjoyed watching it!

3. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis (Disney Film)

Although I haven’t read this book for a while, I have read it more than once. I love the Narnia series,  but in this case, I actually preferred the film to the book! I feel like the casting was done really well and, although some parts were changed, the film overall was really good (it’s my favourite of all three Narnia films)!

4. The Host by Stephanie Meyer (2013 Film)

If any of you are followers or regular readers of my blog, you’ll be sick of hearing about this book and probably not surprised that it’s on this list! I loved the book and never tire of re-reading it and I love the film almost as much (although I do have some complaints, like the colour of the Seeker’s hair, but we’ll ignore that).

Do you have any favourite book to screen adaptions or do you share any of mine?

Elanor 🙂

3 things that make bookshops some of the nicest places to visit

Hello and welcome to another blog post about bookshops!

I sometimes feel like bookshops don’t always get the appreciation they deserve, so here’s my top 3 things that make bookshops some of the nicest places to visit!

1. The people

By people, I mean the people working there, although this does heavily depend on the individuals themselves and your own personal experience. For example, in my local Waterstones, the employees are all really friendly and often strike up a conversation about the book being purchased by either myself or whichever friend I happen to be with. It’s nice to talk to people with a common interest and even if the conversation only lasts a few minutes, it makes the whole bookshop experience better (particularly if it’s a new book and they give you a good review of it, or even recommendations based on it)!

2. The smell

Now don’t get me wrong, I love walking into the LUSH store and being hit by the smell of all the different types of bath bombs etc., but there’s nothing quite like walking into a bookshop (particularly one which sells second-hand books) and being able to smell the books. Just me? No?

3. The atmosphere

Like most readers, I have shelves filled with books at home, but there’s nothing quite like being in a (very large) room filled with books and others who enjoy reading. Now you may say, “well what about libraries?” and while I do like visiting libraries, I find the total-quiet of a library a little unsettling at times. However, a bookshop filled with the hum of people talking, whether it be to the person they’re shopping with, or to an employee of the store, all discussing books or giving recommendations, now that’s an atmosphere you don’t get anywhere else.

Do you agree with my top 3 things that make bookshops some of the nicest places you can visit? What are your top 3 things?

Happy book buying/browsing!

Elanor 🙂

I’m dreaming…of owning a bookshop

Hi all!

Now, like everyone, I’ve had various ideas with regards to my goals for the future and what my “dream job” is and I can honestly say that one of the jobs I’ve considered most in my 18.5 years on this Earth is opening up my own bookshop.

Some may laugh and say that it’s a ridiculous idea and that I clearly haven’t thought it through, but I’ve put a ridiculous amount of thought into this.

My dream bookshop would have a small café, selling tea, coffee, soft drinks and cakes only, with comfy chairs for shoppers to begin their new books, or simply to sit and chat.

I’d love to have the shop divided into two sections, for brand-new and second-hand books, making it possible for anyone to shop there, regardless of their budget.

In an ideal world, my bookshop would be ran by myself and a handful of my closest friends, and possibly even a few family members.

Obviously, with a vast range of other bookshops selling both brand-new and second-hand books, my shop would be up against a great deal of competition, therefore making it important to ensure that it stood out.

I’m not aware of any form of book clubs or groups in my local area, so a good place to start would be to set one up within my shop (this could take place in the café area). Depending on popularity, it may even be possible to arrange and hold events for children (e.g. a children’s book club in addition to the normal one).

With all that said, when opening up any form of your own business, you’re bound to come across any number of difficulties, some of which you may not have even anticipated for; whether it be issues with budgeting or ordering of stock, or even be due to an underestimation of the level of competition from other businesses.

However, for now, this bookshop is nothing but a dream…but who knows, maybe one day I will open up my own bookshop (fingers crossed)!

Keep dreaming!

Elanor 🙂

a(nother) series I was unable to finish

Hi all!

Now it’s not often that I give up on a series (or trilogy)…I even ended up finishing the Divergent trilogy, after I swore I wouldn’t (still haven’t read Four but it is on my tbr), but there are some series that I just can’t seem to get into.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was a trilogy I couldn’t wait to read. I loved the sound of it, I’d heard good reviews and everyone seemed to love it. Everyone apart from me.

I finally read the first book in this trilogy last year and I really struggled to get into it. This trilogy was one I’d been looking forward to reading and, I’ll admit, I had high expectations for. Unfortunately, the book didn’t live up to my expectations and it took me a while to actually finish reading. By the time I’d reached the end of the book, I knew I wouldn’t be reading the others and I felt a little disappointed…almost as though I had been let down.

Since then, several months have passed and I have since started reading a new series: Pittacus Lore’s Lorien Legacies. From what I can gather, this series has been around a while and I arrived to this party late.

I found the first book in this series: I Am Number Four in a charity shop while on holiday last year and didn’t realise it was the first in a series until I started reading it a few months ago. I absolutely loved the first book and immediately (after finishing it) ordered the second, which I enjoyed almost as much as the first…I was so excited, here was a series that appeared to be promising and best of all, it was all already published (which meant no waiting around for the next book to come out)!

I should have known that it was too good to be true. I bought the third book and, while I did still enjoy it, I didn’t find it as gripping as the first and second – I found it easy to put down and come back to, whereas I had found myself racing through the first two books.

Nevertheless, I bought the fourth book not long before Easter…several weeks have passed and I’m not even halfway through it.

On one hand, I still want to read the rest of the series and find out what happens, however, I can’t see myself buying the rest of this series as it feels like it’s starting to drag on already.

I’m feeling the same sense of disappointment I always feel when I don’t finish a book series. I had high hopes for this series and unfortunately, it hasn’t lived up to them.

Do you get a feeling of betrayal when a series doesn’t live up to your expectations? What book series have you been unable to finish?

Here’s to hoping I get through this book, even if I don’t read the rest of the series!

Until my next post,

Elanor 🙂

 

which book am I?

Hi fellow bookworms!

I thought it would be fun to make a post where I described books in one sentence and you guessed which book I’m describing in the comments, so let’s try this!

1. Short guy who likes loves food gets forced to leave his house.

2. Narrated by Death.

3. Kid gets crushed by notice-board in his sleep and wakes up flat.

4. Group of kids fight to the death.

5. Wife disappears. Husband is a suspect.

6. Pale girl gets depressed for several months when her boyfriend leaves her for her own safety.

Comment your guesses below! Some of these aren’t amazingly clear, so hopefully you’ll be able to work out which books I’m describing!

Good luck!

Elanor 🙂

 

 

20 Questions Book Tag

Greetings, fellow bookworms!

I’ve always wanted to take part in a book tag and I found this one on Brin’s Book Blog (I’ve recently discovered this blog and I’ve really enjoyed the posts I’ve read so far) and really liked the sound of it so I’ve tagged myself to do it!

1. How many books is too many books in a series?

To be honest, I think it depends on the series. I’d normally go for trilogies, but I loved the Harry Potter and The Mortal Instruments Series…generally, I think I’d say 4 or 5 max per series.

2. How do you feel about cliffhangers?

Again, I have mixed feelings. If the whole series has been published at the time that I’m reading it, I don’t mind cliffhangers, but if only part of the series has been published and I have to wait for the next book, right after a cliffhanger…I’m not a fan (*cough*The Dark Artifices*cough*).

3. Hardback or paperback?

Paperbacks all the way! They’re lighter and easier to carry around and, as I read a lot when travelling, paperbacks are way more convenient.

4. Favourite book?

I have several favourite books, but my all-time favourite has to be The Host by Stephanie Meyer. I think this is my most-read book and I enjoy it every time I re-read it.

4. Least favourite book?

This has got to be A Word Glittering With Spikes by Nigel McClea. This was a book I bought purely based on how pretty the cover is (I mean look at it), but I didn’t enjoy reading. a word glittering with spikes

5. Love triangles, yes or no?

In real life, no. In books, I kind of love them – they add more drama and sometimes make the book funnier or open up plot lines that otherwise couldn’t have existed.

7. The most recent book you just couldn’t finish?

I started reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen last year and just couldn’t get into it. Hopefully, I will read it at some point, but I only got about halfway through it.

2017-02-03 11.27.20

8. A book you’re currently reading?

At the minute, I’m currently reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I watched the film in cinemas a few weeks ago with my best friend, which finally motivated me to buy this book. So far, I’m noticing loads of differences between the book and the film but I’m enjoying reading it!

9. Last book you recommended to someone?

The last book I recommended was to one of my friends and it was And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, who is one of my favourite authors. This is my favourite of her books that I’ve read so far and I’ve been pushing everyone I know to read it.

10. Oldest book you’ve read? (publication date)

According to my Goodreads, the oldest book I’ve read is Tales of Brave Adventure by Enid Blyton which contains retellings of the stories of both Robin Hood and King Arthur and was published in 1963 – it was one of my favourite books as I was growing up.

11. Newest book you’ve read? (publication date)

The newest book I’ve read was The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu, which was published this year. I really enjoyed this book and posted a review of this book on this blog a few days after I finished reading it.

12. Favourite author?

I’ve had a few different favourite authors, but my current favourite is Agatha Christie. The  photo below is an older photo of my Agatha Christie books, I own almost a whole shelf-full now!

christie

13. Buying books or borrowing books?

I used to borrow books from the local library when I was younger and in recent years I’ve borrowed one or two books from friends, but on the whole, I prefer to buy my own  books, so I can read and re-read them as many times as I want to, without having to worry about how long I have before I have to return it, or how long is acceptable to borrow a book for.

14. A book you dislike that everyone else seems to love?

I read some many good reviews for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, so when I finally got around to reading it, I had high expectations. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really get into this book (although I did finish reading it) and I don’t think I’ll read the second and third books.

15. Bookmarks or dog-ears?

Right from when I was small, my parents told me I should always use bookmarks and should never bend pages in the book I was reading (especially when they were borrowed books) and that’s always stuck with me. If I don’t have a proper bookmark at hand, I tend to use a receipt or a bus ticket as a bookmark, rather than dog-ear the pages.

16. A book you can always re-read?

As I mentioned above, I have a few favourite books and I can re-read all of them over and over again without tiring of them. I’d say the individual book I can always re-read is The Host by Stephanie Meyer.

17. Can you read while hearing music?

This is actually a conversation I had with my boyfriend’s Mam and sister a few days ago; his Mam couldn’t understand how we could both read while listening to music but I’ve done it for years, although I do tend to listen to soundtracks or music with no lyrics while reading.

girl online.jpg

18. One POV or multiple POV’s?

I haven’t actually read many books that are written with multiple POV’s but I didn’t majorly enjoy those that I have read, so I’d have to say that I prefer single POV books.

19. Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days?

Ideally, I’d love it if I could read books in one sitting, but realistically, this never happens. I tend to read books over the space of a few days or weeks depending on how busy I am, how long the book is and how much I’m enjoying it.

20. A book you’ve read because of the cover?

Generally, I don’t buy books simply based on the cover, I tend to read the blurb and may skim the first couple of pages before deciding whether or not to buy it, although the cover may impact whether or not I’ll even read the blurb. HOWEVR, the above book (A Word Glittering With Spikes) was one which I read because I really like the cover of it. As this turned out to be a bad decision, I don’t often judge books by their covers anymore.

 

I hope you all enjoyed reading this tag! I tag anyone who wants to do this tag!

All photos I used within this post were my own and most can be seen on my bookstagram account (if you use any of my photos, please give credit).

Until my next post!

Elanor 🙂