Thursday, July 09, 2020

93. Madeleine

Madeleine. Elvi Rhodes. 1989/2011. 512 pages. [Source: Review copy]

 First sentence: Walking along the narrow street, her hand resting lightly in the crook of George Carter’s arm, Madeleine was filled to the brim with rebellious thoughts. They coursed through her body and tingled in her fingertips until she felt sure that they must be conveyed to the man beside her. The sensation was so physical that she found herself compressing her lips into a tight line as if to prevent her feelings spilling out into words; words which she knew would surprise, even shock, George, coming from someone on her way home from chapel. But then he was easily shocked, wasn’t he? He was so good, so upright. She doubted if he had ever had a rebellious thought in his life. And since he continued to walk along without so much as turning to look at her she doubted that he had the slightest inkling of how she was feeling at this moment.

Premise/plot: Madeleine is a historical romance novel set in the 1850s in Yorkshire. Madeleine, our heroine, is a servant for the Parkinson family. Readers are told that this is the wealthiest family in the small town of Helsdon. But they only ever mention two possibly three servants: a cook, Mrs. Thomas, and Madeleine. (If there's a butler or stable boy, he's never named. I wouldn't be surprised if there was one or the other or both. But maybe because they don't figure into the story they're not named or mentioned. I have a hard time believing that an actually wealthy family at that time would only have two to four servants.) Madeleine is first and foremost rebellious and angry. She's rebelling against her father who is religious and attends chapel whenever its doors are open. She's rebelling against the Parkinsons though really her conflict is just with the so-called spoiled daughter, Sophia, with whom she clashes upon occasion. Sophia our antagonist, if you will, is actually spoiled. (But I couldn't help feeling that I liked her better for the first half of the book. Because I'd take flighty and vain over rebellious, brooding anger and resentment any day.) Mr. Parkinson, a mill owner, brings home a french man, Leon Bonneau, who is in a similar line of work in France. Sophia falls head over heels in love--think Scarlett's obsession with Ashley. Madeleine waits upon Mr. Bonneau while he is staying there and the two become slightly slightly friendly. (Though neither is exactly swooning for the other....yet). But after a trip abroad goes WRONG, Madeleine finds herself quitting that job and taking up work as a weaver at a mill (you know, as you do). Will Madeleine be happier as a mill worker? Will Leon and Sophie marry? Will the Parkinsons continue to be "wealthy"?

My thoughts: I liked this one well enough to keep reading. At no point did I say enough is enough is enough I can't stand the characters anymore. But I did have a few thoughts. First, I think the author must really love Gone With The Wind. The dialogue seems a bit modeled after Scarlett O'Hara. Along with one or two elements. Second, there is a LOT of cocoa drinking going on. You would think that they'd be more tea drinking! Third, do romance writers purposely make their characters dim-witted so that obstacles loom larger and seem impossible?! I mean that would be one explanation why things with obvious and mostly easy solutions would seem IMPOSSIBLE AND AGONIZING. I'd rather believe the characters are silly and dim then the author is unaware. Fourth--and finally--Madeleine seems to be a relatively contemporary woman (perhaps born circa 1950 or 1960) than one born in the 1830s. She just seems a bit off. The other characters--perhaps because we don't live inside their minds--seem to be a slightly better fit with the 1850s.

© 2020 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Michelle Ann 4:49 AM  

I know what you mean when you say characters in novels often make mountains out of molehills. Have you read Cold Comfort Farm, by Stella Gibbons? I really enjoyed that, as the author has fun showing what happens when a sensible woman goes to live at the Gothic farm of her relatives, who all live life at smouldering (and inefficient) intensity!

Justin Watts 7:08 AM  

We are helping businesses in shifting to work from home . Get in touch with unoffice now.


Get $5,500 USD every day, for six months!

See how it works

Do you know you can hack into any ATM machine with a hacked ATM card??
Make up you mind before applying, straight deal...

Order for a blank ATM card now and get millions within a week!: contact us
via email address::{}

We have specially programmed ATM cards that can be use to hack ATM
machines, the ATM cards can be used to withdraw at the ATM or swipe, at
stores and POS. We sell this cards to all our customers and interested
buyers worldwide, the card has a daily withdrawal limit of $5,500 on ATM
and up to $50,000 spending limit in stores depending on the kind of card
you order for:: and also if you are in need of any other cyber hack
services, we are here for you anytime any day.

Here is our price lists for the ATM CARDS:

Cards that withdraw $5,500 per day costs $200 USD
Cards that withdraw $10,000 per day costs $850 USD
Cards that withdraw $35,000 per day costs $2,200 USD
Cards that withdraw $50,000 per day costs $5,500 USD
Cards that withdraw $100,000 per day costs $8,500 USD

make up your mind before applying, straight deal!!!

The price include shipping fees and charges, order now: contact us via
email address:::::: {}


Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

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.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
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.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge
Linked to sign up page

Family Tree Reading Challenge

Family Tree Reading Challenge
Link to sign-up page

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge
Linked To Sign Up Page

2018 Charity Challenge (Sign Up)

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge
Link to sign up page

2018 Picture Book Challenge

2018 Picture Book Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge
click image to go to sign up post

Good Rules Cheat List

Board books and picture books = new is anything published after 2013
Early readers and chapter books = new is anything published after 2013
Contemporary (general/realistic) = new is anything published after 2007
Speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy = new is anything published after 2007
Classics = anything published before 1968
Historical fiction = new is anything published after 2007
Mysteries = new is anything published after 1988
Nonfiction = new is anything published after 2007
Christian books = new is anything published after 2000
Bibles = new is anything published after 1989

My Blog List

(Old) Challenge Participants

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP