Saturday, January 27, 2018

Keep It Short #4

I read five short stories by L.M. Montgomery.

Missy's Room
First sentence: Mrs. Falconer and Miss Bailey walked home together through the fine blue summer afternoon from the Ladies' Aid meeting at Mrs. Robinson's. They were talking earnestly; that is to say, Miss Bailey was talking earnestly and volubly, and Mrs. Falconer was listening. Mrs. Falconer had reduced the practice of listening to a fine art.

Premise/plot: Camilla Clark is in need of a home; Mrs. Falconer has a spare room--if she can stand the idea of someone using her Missy's room. She finally decides it's the right thing to do and in doing so makes way for her own happy ending.

My thoughts: I enjoyed this one. 

Ted's Afternoon Off
First sentence: Ted was up at five that morning, as usual. He always had to rise early to kindle the fire and go for the cows, but on this particular morning there was no "had to" about it. He had awakened at four o'clock and had sprung eagerly to the little garret window facing the east, to see what sort of a day was being born.

Premise/plot: Ted's day off is potentially spoiled when he has to sacrifice it to spend time with an invalid named Jimmy. But Ted entertains Jimmy with his fiddle, and his music is overheard--of course it is!--by a famous musician who wants to adopt Ted then and there and make him a somebody.

My thoughts: Montgomery knows how to write a good, old-fashioned predictable story. These types of stories aren't necessarily being written today. And for better or worse, readers today might be suspicious of a stranger appearing out of the blue and offering to take in children and young adults to give them a better life.
"Ted, would you like to come away with me—live with me—be my boy and have your gift for music thoroughly cultivated?" "What do you mean, sir?" said Ted tremblingly. "I mean that I want you—that I must have you, Ted. I've talked to Mr. Jackson, and he has consented to let you come. You shall be educated, you shall have the best masters in your art that the world affords, you shall have the career I once dreamed of. Will you come, Ted?" Ted drew a long breath. "Yes, sir," he said. "But it isn't so much because of the music—it's because I love you, Mr. Milford, and I'm so glad I'm to be always with you."
The Doctor's Sweetheart
First sentence: Just because I am an old woman outwardly it doesn't follow that I am one inwardly. Hearts don't grow old—or shouldn't. Mine hasn't, I am thankful to say. It bounded like a girl's with delight when I saw Doctor John and Marcella Barry drive past this afternoon.

Premise/plot: An old woman narrates this tale of young--or not so young--lovers. The lovers are Marcella and Doctor John Haven. There's a twenty-two year age difference between the two. He knew he loved loved her "as a woman" when she was fifteen. When he asked permission from her guardian, he was denied--and she was "whisked" away--far, far away. It's been five years, she's of age now, will she come back to him?!

My thoughts: I LOVE the narrator of this story.

The End of the Young Family Feud
First sentence: A week before Christmas, Aunt Jean wrote to Elizabeth, inviting her and Alberta and me to eat our Christmas dinner at Monkshead. We accepted with delight. Aunt Jean and Uncle Norman were delightful people, and we knew we should have a jolly time at their house.

Premise/plot: A family has feuded for decades, will a mix up at the train station lead to a reconciliation?! He directs the three young women to the WRONG house in town.

My thoughts: I definitely enjoyed this one. It's a fun holiday story.

The Genesis of the Doughnut Club
First sentence: When John Henry died there seemed to be nothing for me to do but pack up and go back east.

Premise/plot: Will Aunt Patty find a way to stay in the (Western) town she loves so much? Or will this old maid be forced to live with relatives who see her as a waste?

My thoughts: It's a good thing Patty is a GREAT cook.




© 2018 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.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
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4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
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