Saturday, March 31, 2018

Keep It Short #13

This week I read two L.M. Montgomery short stories.

The Garden of Spices
First sentence: Jims tried the door of the blue room. Yes, it was locked. He had hoped Aunt Augusta might have forgotten to lock it; but when did Aunt Augusta forget anything?

Premise/plot: Jims (James Brander Churchill) is being raised by his Uncle Walter and his Half-Aunt Augusta. (Augusta is Walter's half-sister). He's having a rough time of it. Aunt Augusta doesn't understand little boys and their ways. Uncle Walter is too busy doctoring to notice that Jims isn't happy. He's punished by being locked in the blue room. But one day, tempted by a Very Handsome Cat, Jims trys the window and escapes. He makes a friend--the cat and its owner, Miss Avery. Jims loves, loves, loves his new friends--though they remain a secret for a while. Will he get his happily ever after ending?

My thoughts: WHAT A GREAT STORY. I enjoyed it very much.
  • Whole aunts probably had more convenient memories.
  • Jims hated being shut up alone—especially in the blue room. Its bigness and dimness and silence filled his sensitive little soul with vague horror. Sometimes he became almost sick with fear in it. To do Aunt Augusta justice, she never suspected this. If she had she would not have decreed this particular punishment, because she knew Jims was delicate and must not be subjected to any great physical or mental strain. That was why she shut him up instead of whipping him. But how was she to know it? Aunt Augusta was one of those people who never know anything unless it is told them in plain language and then hammered into their heads.
  • Jims did not feel quite so frightened as usual because he was very angry. As he put it, he was very mad at Aunt Augusta. He hadn't meant to spill his pudding over the floor and the tablecloth and his clothes; and how such a little bit of pudding—Aunt Augusta was mean with desserts—could ever have spread itself over so much territory Jims could not understand.
  • The cat, having lured Jims to where he wanted him, sat down and began to lick his paws. He was quite willing to be caught now; but Jims had no longer any idea of catching him. He stood very still, looking at the lady. She did not see him then and Jims could only see her profile, which he thought very beautiful. She had wonderful ropes of blue-black hair wound around her head. She looked so sweet that Jims' heart beat.
  • "I like cats," explained Jims, "and I have nothing but a gobbler. This is such a Very Handsome Cat. What is his name, please?" "Black Prince. He loves me," said the lady. "He always comes to my bed in the morning and wakes me by patting my face with his paw. He doesn't mind my being ugly."
  • "But you are not ugly," he said. "Oh, I am ugly—I am ugly," she cried. "Just look at me—right at me. Doesn't it hurt you to look at me?" Jims looked at her gravely and dispassionately. "No, it doesn't," he said. "Not a bit," he added, after some further exploration of his consciousness.
  • "We'll just be chums, Jims," she said. "That's really better than being relations, after all. Come and have tea."
  • There was such a lot of good things on the table and nobody to say "You have had enough, James." James ate until he thought he had enough.
  • Jims, two hours ago I didn't know there was such a person in the world as you—and now I love you—I love you."
  • Jims' heart filled with a great warm gush of gladness. He had always wanted to be loved. And no living creature, he felt sure, loved him, except his gobbler—and a gobbler's love is not very satisfying, though it is better than nothing. 
  • How they loved each other, those two! And how they understood each other!
  • To love is easy, and therefore common; but to understand—how rare that is!
 The Girl and the Photograph
First sentence: When I heard that Peter Austin was in Vancouver I hunted him up. I had met Peter ten years before when I had gone east to visit my father's people and had spent a few weeks with an uncle in Croyden.

Premise/plot: A young man falls in love in this L.M. Montgomery story. Readers learn about his early visit and how he met a mystery woman in the woods. He fell in LOVE with her at first sight. But he never spoke with her, never learned her name. It's like she's a figment of his imagination. It's been years later--perhaps a decade--and now he's back visiting. Can he find her again? Does he want to? Or is there perhaps someone else for him to fall in love with. Perhaps the girl in the photograph that is in his friend's room?

My thoughts:  The man takes a photograph, tries to find out who the girl is, obtains permission to write her, and after a long correspondence decides to propose. But who IS the girl in the photograph?

This story is VERY silly. But it's pleasant enough.

© 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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