Skip to main content

Review: The Blackstone Key, by Rose Melikan


Mary Finch, a schoolteacher, receives a letter from her uncle, inviting her to visit him. On her way there, she encounters a Mr. Tracey, injured from a carriage accident, lying in a ditch at the side of the road. In his possession is a watch belonging to Mary’s uncle. Her arrival at her uncle’s house leads to a mystery and adventure involving everything from smugglers to European politics. Along the way, Mary is assisted by Captain Holland, but she can’t help finding herself attracted to Mr. Paul Deprez, a handsome gentleman from the West Indies.

The author is a scholar of late-18th and early-19th century political history, and she does a wonderful job of explaining the politics of the period, without dumbing things down. The coded messages were an added plus to this well-crafted book. Where the author is less knowledgeable is in the area of social history; there were certain things that a few of the characters did that made me think, “that would never have happened back then” (I read quite a lot of history and historical fiction). The characters in and of themselves are well-drawn, though I thought the elderly Mrs. Tipton was a bit of a caricature (she’s an elderly, eccentric termagent with a tongue sharper than a knife).

Other than that, this is an entertaining, lighthearted, and fun read. The author doesn’t turn 1795 England into a trip to Disneyworld the way that Lauren Willig does in her Secret History of the Pink Carnation series. I’m looking forward to reading further books in Melikan’s series. I’d love to find out what happens next.

Also reviewed by: Becky's Book Reviews

Comments

Amanda said…
O good review! Sounds like a book I'd like.
Michele said…
Looks like I'll be adding this one to my pile...thanks alot. ;) Nicely written review!
Ladytink_534 said…
Ooh, sounds really cool.
Bookfool said…
Jenclair wrote a great review of this one, too. It's already on my wish list. I love that comment about the author not turning 1795 England into a Disney World the way Willig does. I read The Secret History of the Pink , but I thought I was alone in that thought.

Popular posts from this blog

2015 Reading

January
1. The Vanishing Witch, by Karen Maitland
2. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
3. Texts From Jane Eyre, by Mallory Ortberg
4. Brighton Rock, by Graham Green
5. Brat Farrar, by Josephine Tey
6. Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
7. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
8. A Movable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway
9. A Room of One's Own, by Virginia Woolf
10. Other Voices, Other Rooms, by Truman Capote
11. Maggie-Now, by Betty Smith

February
1. Middlemarch, by George Eliot
2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
3. Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate, by Cynthia Lee
4. Music For Chameleons, by Truman Capote
5. Peyton Place, by Grace Metalious
6. Unrequited, by Lisa Phillips
7. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
8. A Lost Lady, by Willa Cather

March
1. Persuasion, by Jane Austen
2. Love With a Chance of Drowning, by Torre DeRoche
3. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
4. Miss Buncle's Book, by DE Stevenson
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garc…

2016 Reading

January:
1. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
2. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum
3. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
4. Liar: A Memoir, by Rob Roberge

February:
1. The Forsyte Saga, by John Galsworthy
2. Girl in the Woods, by Aspen Matis
3. She Left Me the Gun, by Emma Brockes
4. Because of the Lockwoods, by Dorothy Whipple
5. The Chronology of Water, by Lidia Yuknavitch
6. To Show and to Tell, by Philip Lopate

March:
1. Fierce Attachments, by Vivian Gornick
2. Too Brief a Treat, by Truman Capote
3. On the Move: a Life, by Oliver Sacks
4. The Go-Between, by LP Hartley
5. The Art of Memoir, by Mary Karr
6. Giving Up the Ghost, by Hilary Mantel
7. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
8. The Great American Bus Ride, by Irma Kurtz
9. An Unquiet Mind, by Kay Radfield Jamison
10. A Widow's Story, by Joyce Carol Oates
11. So Sad Today, by Melissa Broder
12. The Liar's Club, by Mary Karr
13. An American Childhood, by Annie Dillard
14. So Sad Today, by Melissa Broder

Review: Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor

Pages: 972Originally published: 1944My edition: 2000 (Chicago Review Press)How I acquired my copy: Amazon.com, 2004

Forever Amber takes place in the 1660s, immediately follwing Charles II's ("the Merry Monarch") return of the Stuarts to the English throne. The book features Amber St. Claire, a young woman who starts out as a sixteen-year-old country girl, naieve to the workings of the world. She immediately meets Bruce Carlton, a dashing young Cavalier, with whom she has a passionate love affair in choppy intervals throughout the book. They have two children together, but Bruce won't marry her for the reason he tells his friend Lord Almsbury: that Amber just isn't the kind of woman one marries.

Upon following Bruce to London, he goes to Virginia, leaving her to fend for herself. What follows is a series of affairs and four marriages, with Bruce coming back from America now and then. Amber's marriages are imprudent: her first husband is a gambler, her second is…