Monday, December 24, 2012

The Queen of Hearts

The Queen of Hearts. Wilkie Collins. 1859. 484 pages.

  Although it took me months to finish reading this collection of short stories by Wilkie Collins, I still found most of it to be delightful. I just LOVED the framework of this book. Three (old) men are entertaining a young lady, Jessie Yelverton. (I believe one of the men is one of her guardians?). As her visit draws to a close, one of the men in hopes of keeping her around just long enough for his son, George, to return home--he would love to have her for a daughter-in-law--proposes that she stay for ten more nights to hear ten stories. The brothers will take turns writing/telling/sharing stories. In between each of the stories, there is narrative linking them all together. The three brothers are Griffith, Owen, and Morgan. The ten stories are: Brother Owen's Story of the Black Cottage, Brother Griffith's Story of the Family Secret, Brother Morgan's Story of The Dream Woman, Brother Griffith's Story of Mad Monkton, Brother Morgan's Story of The Dead Hand, Brother Griffith's Story of the Biter Bit, Brother Owen's Story of the Parson's Scruple, Brother Griffith's Story of A Plot in Private Life, Brother Morgan's Story of Fauntleroy, Brother Owen's Story of Anne Rodway. All of the stories had been previously published in various magazines from 1855 to 1859.

My favorite part of Queen of Hearts was the framework of the narrative. I loved meeting Jessie Yelverton. I loved Griffith, Owen, and Morgan. I loved seeing how she changed their lives for the better. I loved seeing the life she brought back into their lives. And I loved seeing her come to care for these men, too. How much at home she felt with them. She wasn't anxious to depart either. Many of the stories were good; however, some of them were just so long! I felt some of them were definitely long enough to be novellas. 

Read The Queen of Hearts
  • If you enjoy Wilkie Collins
  • If you enjoy short stories
  • If you like mystery, suspense, gothic, or horror
  • If you enjoy romantic comedies

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

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