Mary Catherine

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Mary Catherine

Mary Catherine’s book reviews

The Garden of Allah is the story of Domini, a wealthy and unmarried woman from an unhappy family. She journeys to Algeria and meets Boris, a mysterious man with a dark secret. They fall in love, get married, but is the ending happy? You have to read it to find out.

Robert Smythe Hichens' greatest gift is the way he describes atmosphere. His writing almost puts the reader at the scene. However, I had difficulty with this book as I didn't really like or empathize with either Domini or Boris, and it was hard to care what happened to them. The Garden of Allah didn't have the suspense element that Bella Donna had, so it was not as absorbing a read.




04/05/2009
What stands out about this book is the atmosphere -- Egypt in the late 19th to early 20th century is practically a character in itself. Ruby ("Bella Donna") is a scheming woman who wants to do away with her well-to-do, if rather fatuous husband to be with her Egyptian lover. The reader can practically feel the heat of the desert and the wind off the Nile while reading this book.

Robert Smythe Hichens was an immensely popular author of his time who is largely forgotten now. It's time for a Hichens revival! I am reading "The Garden of Allah" next.
03/29/2009
The story of the ruination of Anthony and Gloria Patch, a privileged, attractive young couple who squander their money playing and partying while waiting for Anthony's wealthy grandfather to die and leave them his fortune.

There is little to like about Anthony or Gloria, but Fitzgerald's prose is so well-written and his pen brings the characters to life. Their downward spiral is compulsively readable and heartbreaking at the same time.

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote this book when he was only 26 years old; his shrewd insight into the world in which he lived is breathtaking.
03/29/2009
I have always loved early 20th century girls' fiction, but just discovered the Patty Fairfield series. What a delight! Patty is midway between classics like Little Women and girls' series books such as the Stratemeyers; accessible yet with Carolyn Wells' trademark witty touch.

Recommended for anyone who loves classic children's stories filled with laughter and fun.
02/16/2009
I was in the mood to read a mystery this weekend, and the title of this book intrigued me. It turned out not to be a mystery, but a delightful comedy! What a fun, light weekend read!

Miss Barbara "Bab" Archibald is a strong-willed, feisty teenager who gets into a series of scrapes in this novel; which isn't so much of a straight narrative as a series of five novellas. The fifth chapter, or story, is the funniest one and ties the loose ends of the previous stories together.

Even though this book was written about 90 years ago, the themes of independence, young love and sibling rivalry still resonate today. If you were a teenager once, or if you have teenagers in your life, you will love this book!
05/11/2008
A sprawling multigenerational epic of a wealthy (nouveau riche) London family, from the 1880s until the 1920s. The sins of the earlier generations are visited on the younger generation in a tragic and explosive way. If you enjoy huge family sagas (a la Susan Howatch) or if you loved the "Forsyte Saga" miniseries, you must read this book.
09/20/2007
An interesting tale -- more of a suspense story than a true mystery. A young doctor interns with the sole physician in a country community and becomes entangled in the elder doctor's unusual family and their secrets. The book started out well, became a bit tedious in the middle, but picked up steam toward the end.

This is the first Mary Wilkins Freeman I have read, and will definitely read more of her work.
09/09/2007
I first read this book when I was seven, which was over forty years ago. I loved it then (how I wished for a pink parasol like Rebecca's!) but I think I enjoyed it even more as an adult. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm recalls a sweeter, more innocent and trusting time in our history.

Definitely a must-read for fans of LM Montgomery's "Anne" series.
09/06/2007
Alexander Skikos - An Engaging Journey Through a Grim but Interesting Future
FEATURED AUTHOR - While studying political science and communications at Santa Clara University, Alex Skikos became fascinated with Americans’ different points of view from the far left to the extreme right, and the polarization of our society as the result. Creating a novel based on how he perceives the schism of such widespread and opposing divisions will one day play out, All Roads Lead to Nowhere points to a terrible future for not just the United States, but the entire planet. Most people see the world in a… Read more