Reviews by Leah A. Zeldes

The Bramleighs of Bishop's Folly

by Charles James Lever

Though not quite so weighty, Lever's amusing comedy of manners has elements of the humor and societal commentary that characterize Austen, Trollope and Wharton, with a touch of the puckishness of Dickens. The Bramleighs, a wealthy family of social-climbing "Cits," as high society would have called them, fall on hard times when their right to their estates is challenged. Each member of the family reacts differently from the extravagant second wife to the practical young daughter, as ruin and scandal faces them. There's nothing too deep here, but it's a fun read, with a mystery thrown in for good measure.

Reviewed on 2014.06.16

Many Kingdoms

by Elizabeth Jordan

Very charming short stories, most with a psychological bent, but all quite different. I wish there were contemporary publications showcasing stories like these. It seems as if -- except for genre fiction -- short-story writing has become a lost art. I'm going to look for more of Jordan's work.

Reviewed on 2014.04.19

The Diary of a Nobody

by George and Weedon Grossmith


"Why should I not publish my diary? I have often seen reminiscences of people I have never even heard of, and I fail to see--because I do not happen to be a 'Somebody'--why my diary should not be interesting. My only regret is that I did not commence it when I was a youth.

"

So Charles Pooter of The Laurels, Brickfield Terrace Holloway, commences his journal. A somewhat stuffy but very human senior clerk in an undescribed business, Pooter likes nothing better than to putter around his suburban home -- perhaps because of his ability to make high drama of trivial circumstances, and get himself into humiliating (and often very humorous) situations in front of other people.

I suspect this comic novel told in diary format will seem tame and rather dry to some modern readers, but to me it holds just much interest as the daily updates from some of my Facebook friends. Recommended.

Reviewed on 2014.03.31

One Basket

by Edna Ferber

Very moving and powerful short stories from the World War I era. Edna Ferber is one of the greatest, most underrated writers of the 20th century. Unfortunately, only seven of the 31 stories originally included in this anthology are present in this collection; what's here is definitely worth reading, however.

Reviewed on 2014.03.26

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