Jim Crainie

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Jim Crainie

Jim Crainie’s book reviews

This is a classic Gothic and Victorian love novel . I have seen several film adaptations of Jayne Eyre but had never read the book. What struck me immediately about the novel is that it is written in the first-person. This enables Charlotte Bronte to enter the mind of Jayne, a governess in the employment of Edward Rochester. We see that Jayne is a reserved but passionate girl. Jayne, although plain-looking, is industrious, clever and honest. She is a true heroine who bravely faces adversity when it arises. The book does has moral and religious undertones but I did not find these intrusive. The prose is beautiful written especially the descriptions of Nature. Downsides? Adèle Varens, the little French girl who is the ward of Edward Rochester, can speak English but will insist in speaking French at every opportunity! I don't speak French. What Adèle was saying in French, therefore, was a complete mystery to me. Also the discussions between Jayne and some of the characters do go on a bit. Should you bother to read this book? Undoubtedly! I would go further and say this is a book everyone should read before they die!
A murder who-done-it Gothic mystery where the author takes verbosity to a new
dimension. I continually found myself saying to the author "get on with it!" and
"get to the point!" Reading this book was like walking through treacle
.....SLOW! I plodded my way to the end, however, but it was not a rewarding

The plot I found highly improbable like some of the characters. The author kept
making assumptions that the reader had understood certain pertinent facts
regarding the plot, but these totally escaped me, mainly due, I guess, to the
author's verbiage. I recommend this book only to people who have difficulty
sleeping at night!
A humorous book by Wilkie Collins? Surely not! The story was written in a very happy time in the author's life and in his own words was written in "a tone of almost boisterous gayety ..."

I was surprised at the wit and humor displayed by the author. I expected a "Tom Jones" rollicking romp of a story but this was not to be. The book progressed from an humorous story to a love story (the beautiful Alicia) to a mystery (what is Dr Dulcifer up to?) and finally to an adventure (the escape).

I enjoyed this book immensely. It is well-paced, has an unusual plot and a satisfying ending. What more can one ask for?
A wonderful collection of short stories by one of my favourite authors.
The stories involve the deeds and misdeeds of the inhabitants of five contiguous towns - Turnhill, Bursley, Hanbridge, Knype, and Longshaw, based on real villages in the Potteries, Staffordshire, England, around the turn of the twentieth century. The stories dwell on relatively minor events in the lives of the inhabitants but the author manages to maintain the momentum and interest in each story. The characters are all nice, warm, cuddly individuals, people that you would not mind spending an evening with. The author's gentle humour I find very amusing, particularly the exchange of dialogue between the characters. You will find yourself unconsciously smiling whilst reading the stories, and I don't think it will be a grim smile!

I love Arnold Bennett's prose style. Reading his books is like luxuriating in a nice hot bath - you feel warm, relaxed and good all over! I cannot recommend this author highly enough.
This book was a big disappointment. With such an innovative story I expected to be entertained by seeing how Brewster disposes of a large sum of money within a strict time period. However, I was simply bored. The main character, along with his cohorts, was one-dimensional. The humour was almost anonymous. The book was far too long and too far-fetched. I stayed with the story right to the end. The book redeemed itself a little with a nice ending. Pity one had to endure hours of complete boredom before reaching it. Recommended for insomniacs only.
The book narrates the life-history of two sisters Constance and Sophia born to a draper and his wife in mid-nineteenth century England. Sounds dull? Don't you believe it! This is a wonderfully poignant and heart-warming story recording the hopes and aspirations of the sisters as they travel through life. The characters of Constance and Sophia are beautifully drawn. The sisters exude warmth and charm and you want to keep on reading to find out what happens to them next. A long book, it starts at a cracking pace, dips a little in the middle but ends with a fine flourish. Why have I not heard more of this excellent author? This book will remain in my memory for a long time and I can highly recommend it.
This book, by one of my favourite authors, was a HUGE disappointment. The title promises excitement, suspense and adventure but only delivers extreme boredom. The characters are one dimensional with a plot that is almost non-existent. Definitely one to miss for fans of Wilkie Collins.
A brilliant novel by one of my favourite authors. After a ponderous start the novel bursts into life. The characters are wonderfully drawn by Hardy. Discover why one of them says the Lord's Prayer backwards! A great read.
An excellent adventure yarn. Plenty of twists and turns in the story to keep you hooked. Highly recommended.