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Spray on the Windows

July 20, 2018

The thing about Spray on the Windows (by J.E. Buckrose) is that I’ve only just admitted to myself, a month and a half after finishing it, that I don’t like it. I feel guilty about that, because it’s not bad. It’s just that Buckrose’s thesis is that no matter how much life sucks, it’s going to be okay if you’re with the person you love, and to prove that thesis, she has to make life suck pretty bad. For most of the book, this are sort of okay, but you know where it’s going, and “how unhappy is everyone going to be?” is my least favorite kind of suspense.

Our protagonist is Ann Middleton, who has just moved to the seaside town of Wodenscar to work for the wealthy and eccentric Mrs. Barrington. Mrs. Barrington has a nephew who Ann would like to marry, and he likes her, too — but not necessarily enough to offer her marriage. Then there’s Ann’s neighbor Stephen Finlay, poor and disgraced and possibly a bit of an obstacle to Ann marrying for money.

You get to stress through her romantic decisions, stress through her married life, and stress through some possibly supernatural deaths and near-deaths. It’s…not that much fun. But I suspect that if I was a little less prone to anxiety, I would have liked it a lot more.

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5 comments

  1. Ooh, ouch. Maybe not ideal reading for my current mental state (i.e. “anxious af”). I’ll probably avoid it for the time being.


    • Yeah. I’m in a similar place, so I’m just rereading Busman’s Honeymoon.


  2. I don’t have a problem with authors torturing their characters as long as it makes sense


    • It does make sense here, and I don’t think I’d even call it torture. It’s really about the level of tension for the reader.


  3. A semi-recommendation for a somewhat bland book about a previously-rich family of orphans trying to make their living instead of going to live with an overbearing aunt: A Successful Venture, by Ellen Douglas Deland. (I read it on Hathitrust, having run across it in the advertising materials for one of the Six Girls and Bob books.) The title sort of gives away whether they more or less succeed, rather than failing dismally, but I would have liked a lot (a *lot* more details) about their endeavors and the challenges and successes involved. Also, I just remembered that the dog dies after he saves his master, so that might be a no-go for you particularly. But otherwise it’s an “easy” book, which is sometimes nice when the world is a bit too much.



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