Saturday, September 18, 2010

Favorite Books

Rebecca is a novel of mystery and passion, a dark psychological tale of secrets and betrayal, dead loves and an estate called Manderley that is as much a presence as the humans who inhabit it: "when the leaves rustle, they sound very much like the stealthy movement of a woman in evening dress, and when they shiver suddenly and fall, and scatter away along the ground, they might be the pitter, patter of a woman's hurrying footsteps, and the mark in the gravel the imprint of a high-heeled satin shoe." Manderley is filled with memories of the elegant and flamboyant Rebecca, the first Mrs. DeWinter; with the obsessive love of her housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, who observes the young, timid second Mrs. DeWinter with sullen hostility; and with the oppressive silences of a secretive husband, Maxim. Rebecca may be physically dead, but she is a force to contend with, and the housekeeper's evil matches that of her former mistress as a purveyor of the emotional horror thrust on the innocent Mrs. DeWinter.
Review by Vicki Williams

Echoes from the Macabre is another favorite book of mine written by Daphne Du Maurier. In this book, you'll find a collection of creepy, unsettling stories that may keep you up at night. ;) I'm sure everyone is familiar with "The Birds," which was made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock. My favorite stories in this book are: "The Apple Tree," "The Old Man,""Don't Look Now" (also a movie), and "The Blue Lenses."

I wrote my final paper in one of my classes on Jubilee because I LOVE it!It is a masterpiece! The book is the tale of a girl named Vyry who is a biracial slave growing up on a plantation in south Georgia. The setting is the Civil War south and the author, Margret Walker, describes in vivid detail, the horrible things that slaves had to endure. Vyry experiences harsh treatment throughout her life just because she is half black and considered by whites to be nothing at all. Though Vyry goes through challenging trials and tribulations, she never loses her pride nor the hope of one day being free.

The Mist in the Mirror, written by Susan Hill, is a ghost story reminiscent in plot and style to nineteenth-century English fiction. James Monmouth returns to England from several years travelling abroad, he is looking for a sense of who he is and a place he can call home. But the pull of the past and the strangeness of the present draw him into a terrifying mystery of a ghost and of horror.

*Check out my other favorite ghost story by Susan Hill, Woman in Black, in GHOST section of my blog.

Mark Twain is definitely my second favorite author, after of course, Du Maurier. In Puddn'head Wilson, Roxana, a light-skinned mixed-race slave, switches her baby with her white owner's baby. Her natural son, Tom Driscoll, grows up in a privileged household to become a criminal who finances his gambling debts by selling her to a slave trader and who later murders his putative uncle. Meanwhile, Roxy raises Valet de Chambre as a slave. David ("Pudd'nhead") Wilson, an eccentric lawyer, determines the true identities of Tom and Valet. As a result Roxy is exposed, Wilson is elected mayor, Tom is sold into slavery, and Valet, unfitted for his newly won freedom, becomes an illiterate, uncouth landholder.

This Victorian novel, Lady Audley's Secret, follows Robert Audley through his detective-like work in trying to uncover what happened to his friend George Talboys, and who his uncle's wife, Lucy Audley, really is. During his search, Robert has to deal with lies, deceit, and even an attempt to kill him. Although the novel's content of bigamy and attempted murder was considered fairly immoral at the time of publication, it was extremely successful. This novel is one of mystery and suspense; I'm still surprise that such a novel was written so long ago. I guess that goes to show how extraordinary Mary Elizabetha Braddon was as a writer, and how beyond her times she was.

OK. Everyone always thinks I'm completely mad when I say that Frankenstein is one of my favorite novels! :) To those people, I only say that they don't know what they are missing. This book is full of suspense and excitement! When I first started reading it, I was thinking that it would be some stupid/fake novel about a monster-like man, but I was wrong! I couldn't put this book down, and ended up reading it in 2 days! I think our perception of Frankenstein has been distort, as the media portrays it as a book about a slimy green monster all sutured up in threads. It's NOTHING like that at all. Frankenstein isn't even the name of the monster!
The plot of Frankenstein is one that is very captivating and moving (I was near tears at the end), and if you're looking for an adventurous novel, I advise you to check out this one ASAP!

Comes the Blind Fury was one of the first books that I ever read by Saul. It is a classic ghost story that kept me reading each page, even though I was terrified of what the next one might hold...

A century ago, a gentle blind girl walked the cliffs of Paradise Point. Then the children came - taunting, teasing - until she lost her footing and fell, shrieking her rage to the drowning sea... Now Michelle has come from Boston to live in the big house on Paradise Point. She is excited about her new life, ready to make new friends...until a hand reaches out of the swirling mists - the hand of a blind child. She is asking for friendship...seeking revenge...whispering her name

The Unloved is another one of my favorite books by Saul.

On a lush island off the South Carolina coast stands the Devereaux mansion, a once-great plantation house now crumbling. Here, Marguerite Devereaux has cast off her dreams to care for her aged, demanding mother. Now, for the first time in twenty years, Kevin Devereaux has returned home to visit his mother - hated, frightening Mother. Suddenly, horribly, Mother dies inside the locked nursery. All the secrets of this once-proud southern family emerge like tortured spirits from the sinister past to wrap their evil around the unsuspecting children.

The Heretic's Daughter is a novel by Kathleen Kent that tells the story of the Salem, MA witch trials. Sarah Carrier and her family are falsely accused of practicing witchcraft, publically shamed, and thrown into Salem jail. The story tells of the harsh treatment received by those who were wrongly convicted. It's a very heart-rendering story about the strength of one family who struggles for freedom in a time when those who stood up for their rights and freedoms were scorned by religious tyrants. I give this book an A+ for the story, the historic account, and the excellent writing by Kathleen Kent.

The Graveyard Book is an excellent read. My sister told me that one of her students was reading this book and that he said it was good. I decided to read it, not expecting much out of it, but I was pleasantly surprised after a few chapters. Neil Gaiman, author of Coraline is an excellent writer!

When he was a baby, Bod's family was murdered by Jack. Fortunately, Bod escapes murder and hides in the graveyard where he is taken in by ghosts who raise him as their own son. This book sounds silly, but it's full of suspense and imagination. Gaiman does an excellent job in bringing the characters alive. The book is worth a read and I'm sure you'll enjoy it as much as I did! I can't wait until the movie. :)

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