Posts Tagged ‘fictional islands’

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The Amazing Inheritance

August 14, 2012

So, yesterday I was trying to explain how, while I think of myself as loving fluffy, ridiculous romances, two out of three that I read don’t really do much for me. And how last week I happened to read two that I didn’t like so much and one that I did. Book number two was Frances R. Sterrett’s The Amazing Inheritance, and apologies to Cathlin, who suggested it, but I really didn’t like it. It starts out pretty charming, with a young lawyer finding a salesgirl in the basement of a department store and notifying her that her uncle, lost at sea twenty years before, has left her a chain of tropical islands. Which is, you know, cool, but a few chapters later there are three different love interests and the one with a brain isn’t favored, Tessie Gilfooly — our heroine — is frankly stupid, and it’s become clear that nobody is ever actually going to get to the islands in question. Then there’s the enormous pearl Tessie must have to be accepted as the islands’ ruler, guaranteeing an overhanging sense of doom for most of the rest of the book. And the island’s population embodies every negative stereotype connected with the word “savage.” Read the rest of this entry ?

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The Unspeakable Perk

October 1, 2011

I was totally fine with The Island Mystery until I read The Unspeakable Perk. Now I wish George A. Birmingham and Samuel Hopkins Adams had traded books. That way The Island Mystery would have been charming as it needed to be and The Unspeakable Perk would have been as cynical as it ought to have been. For the record, I am only comparing the two because they’re novels about American millionaires’ daughters on fictional islands. If you add in Romance Island, this starts looking dangerously like a trope.

That said, I like The Unspeakable Perk a lot better than The Island Mystery. If there is one thing Samuel Hopkins Adams is super consistent about, it’s his charm, and that’s one of the few things that will win me over to an otherwise unsatisfying book. Read the rest of this entry ?

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The Island Mystery

March 26, 2011

Mark recommended The Island Mystery, by George A. Birmingham, as a silly, fun book. And to be honest, that kind of made me nervous. I feel like I haven’t had a great track record with silly, fun books lately. I’ve been finding them silly, but not all that fun.

The Island Mystery was a little different. I wasn’t wildly enthusiastic about it or anything, but I liked it a lot better at the beginning than I did at the end, and I don’t think there’s anything about it that I’d want to change, except maybe the title, which is kind of lame and would work much better on a different book. Possible one featuring the Boxcar Children.

You know all those Ruritanian romances where the author makes up a small monarchy and plunks it down somewhere in the middle of Europe so that the hero can go have adventures there? The Island Mystery is a tiny bit like that, but really it’s about what would happen if you did plunk an imaginary country down in the middle of Europe. Because, if you think about it, the surrounding nations might be a bit upset by that, not to mention confused. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Romance Island

March 20, 2007

I imagine that Zona Gale had fun writing Romance Island. Unfortunately, Gale’s idea of fun consists mainly of long winded descriptions of indefinable feelings and repeated assertions that love is cooler than an island full of fabulous food and clothing where people can vanish into the fifth dimension at will. I’ve never been in love, so I guess I can’t really judge, but I would venture to disagree. Which would you rather be, the princess of a secret island with submarines and airships (in 1906) living in a nifty castle on a mountain with rooms full of treasure and a crypt, or the wife of a reporter living in an apartment in New York? To be fair, the reporter is independently wealthy, and has a yacht and a manservant named Rollo who speaks in aphorisms, but still.

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