Showing posts with label period drama. Show all posts
Showing posts with label period drama. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Collection (A Series) Reviewed

An Intriguing Drama Series To Stream 

sewing machine for fashion
Sewing Machine image courtesy of
The Collection is a series of episodes that can be streamed through an Amazon Prime membership. My husband and I started viewing it this weekend and we are really caught up in the drama of the show. 

The story takes place in the late 1940s after WWII in Paris. It revolves around the fashion industry focusing on a small house of couture called Paul Sabine. 

In case you are not much of a history buff, during the war France was occupied by the Germans. As one can imagine the fashion industry of Paris suffered during this occupation. In fact, Hitler wanted to move the fashion houses and designers to Germany. 

The series hints at some collaboration with the Germans during the occupation and also shows how the industry is trying to make a comeback and restore its recognition of being the best place in the world for couture and new styles.

I am not one who really gets too caught up in fashion but I do love the premise of this series. The set designs are remarkable! I love seeing how the staff worked at making a design on paper come to life in the sewing room. The attention to detail in how that room would have looked is amazing. In one scene a girl is working on a dress on a mannequin and my husband said, "What does she have on her wrist?" It was a wonderful old fashioned pin cushion that a seamstress would have worn on her wrist for convenience.

One might think that most men would not enjoy this series much since it deals with Paris fashion houses. My husband is really enjoying it because there is more than just creating unique dresses involved. I mentioned the hints of collaboration with the Nazis. There is an American reporter who is trying to dig up some dirt on that front. There is also a conflict between the two Sabine brothers that is quite interesting. Paul, who is known as the owner and top designer of the House of Sabine doesn't really design the dresses. His brother Claude is the real talent behind their designs but the public doesn't know that. I don't think most of the staff realizes who the real genius is. The mother of the brothers is pretty interesting too! There is something from her past that makes her mysterious. Paul is holding something over her and she does not want Claude to find out. She is a real piece of work!

We are finding that there is enough going on that both genders, male and female, can enjoy this series found on Amazon. The story holds your attention and keeps you wondering what will happen next. It is currently rated 4.6 stars out of 5 so it would appear that most viewers are rating it highly.

 Currently the only way to view it is through your Prime membership. That might change in the future but for now only Prime members can watch it for free. 

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Monday, September 12, 2016

Writing Jane Austen Book Review

Writing Jane Austen Book Review

How Would You Feel About Writing Jane Austen?

Imagine if you were given a chapter of a seventh Jane Austen novel. A novel, that is, which she never finished. Then imagine being asked to finish the book for her and you will have a basic understanding of what this book is all about.

Georgina Jackson, a struggling but published American author living in England, is given Jane Austen's unfinished novel to finish and the only problem is that she has never read a single solitary Jane Austen novel. She knows nothing of Jane Austen's work or her time period.

"You don't understand! I've never read an Austen novel in my life. Not a single one. And what's more, I don't intend to start now..." cries Georgina early on in the book and it is a cry which I could have echoed at least before I read this book.

I've literally just put down Writing Jane Austen: A Novel and I must say that I truly enjoyed it. It is another light and entertaining book with some interesting Austen elements thrown in. You will learn a bit about the much loved author, her books and the setting of her books, all from a modern perspective.

And if, like me, you have never read a single of Austen's books, fair warning that reading WRITING JANE AUSTEN may have you at least momentarily interested in reading them but that's not a bad thing, is it?

Plot Summary

The story in Writing Jane Austen revolves around an acclaimed young author by the name of Georgina. However, Georgina is stuck on the first chapter of her second book and her agent is on her trail. It turns out the agent is offering her the job of finishing an unfinished manuscript by Austen that has only been recently discovered.

Georgina knows nothing about the author and is only stopped from going home to America by her roommate Henry and his teenage sister, who happens to be a serious Austen fan. Knowing that she has to pay the bills, Georgina signs the contract but finishing the book is another issue altogether.

Writing Jane Austen Quotation

More Reviews of Writing Jane Austen

Writing Jane Austen by Elizabeth Aston on  

Writing Jane Austen has 622 ratings and 182 reviews. Liralen said: "Hmm. I liked that this was not a sequel to an Austen book. That isn't a criticism..."

Writing Jane Austen, by Elizabeth Aston - A Review on Austenprose

"Readers will be entertained by the quirky humor of Georgina's dilemma, charmed and annoyed by the well-crafted supporting characters and surprised by the eventual outcome. However, if you are expecting a drawing room drama punctuated by romance..."

Reviews of Writing Jane Austen on Amazon include comments like those from bkc327 who says she'll need to re-read the book again to revisit the characters and I agree, I need to do so, too. This book will do that to you. TeensReadToo said that this is an entertaining book, which takes a humorous look at the difficulties of writing including those employed by Georgina in the book - the need for a lot of breaks, what methods to employ to avoid writing, how to hide out from unwanted visitors. Finally, a reviewer writing as Austen Lover said she enjoyed the new direction this book takes set, as it is, in modern times. She calls it a light and easy read and it is. Lovely.

Does Writing Jane Austen sound like a book you might enjoy? You can read more about it or order your copy on Amazon by clicking right here.

Happy Reading!
Treasures By Brenda

More Book Ideas:

Order Writing Jane Austen from Amazon.
Austenland Movie Review
Lost in (Jane) Austen Movie Review

Author's Note: Previously published in 2011.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Monday, July 11, 2016

Water For Elephants Book Review

Water For Elephants Book Review
Water For Elephants is a fictional novel by Sara Gruen that is set in the Depression. It follows the story of a young man whose circumstances are suddenly altered and who finds himself homeless and jobless. He jumps aboard a passing train and discovers he has landed on the train of a travelling circus. He is given a job with the animals because he has veterinary skills and falls in love with the star of the circus. Is it a bit cliched? Perhaps but it is still a good book.

Water For Elephants Fast Facts

AUTHOR: Sara Gruen
COVER ARTIST: Charles Mason
GENRE: Historical Romance PUBLISHER: Algonquin Books PUBLICATION DATE May 26, 2006

Is Water For Elephants A True Story?

Water For Elephants is a period drama and romance story based on real circus history. It is a work of fiction but does include factual information about the history of the circus based on accounts of circus life in the Depression years, a time when men were desperate for jobs. They were so desperate in fact that they would take and stay on at jobs where the work was extremely hard and unpleasant and where the pay was not necessarily delivered when it was supposed to be.

I found the author's note at the end of the book very helpful. In that section, Sara Gruen answered the numerous questions that I had when I was reading the book.

The note also tells how Gruen came to write a story based on the circus. She read a story in the Chicago Tribune about travelling circuses in the 1920s and 1930s and the accompanying photo took her fancy. She subsequently purchased two photographic circus-themed books: Step Right This Way by Edward J. Kelty and Wild, Weird and Wonderful: the American Circus by F.W. Glasier. This was the start of an obsession (my word, not hers) that eventually included a large collection of circus-themed books; visits to The Ringling Circus Museum, Circus World and the Kansas City Zoo; and, a large knowledge bank about conditions and life in the circus.

True Events Included In Water For Elephants

The circus has a rich and somewhat loose history. The line between fact and fiction is somewhat blurry. The following are three simple stories that author Sara Gruen uncovered in her research and incorporated into her book.
  • Legend has it that there was really a hippo pickled in formaldehyde.  
  • Legend has it that there was a 400-pound strong lady displayed in an elephant cage.
  • Circus lore also says that there was an elephant like Rosie who pulled up her stake in order steal lemonade.

Reviews of Water for Elephants

Reader Lisa on Amazon said that this book was unusual in that it was an enjoyable read and factual at the same time. I agree as it was a great story that also imparted the history of the circus.

The New York Times says, "With a showman's expert timing, she (Gruen) saves a terrific revelation for the final pages, transforming a glimpse of Americana into an enchanting escapist fairy tale."

If you are fascinated by historically based stories, I believe that you will enjoy this book. If you have always been interested in the history of the circus and you enjoy period pieces, you will not want to miss this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and yes, I recommend the movie, too. A copy of the book and the movie bundled together would make an interesting gift idea for any woman who is interested in circus history.

Have you read Water For Elephants? What did you think? If you are interested in the movie, you can read my movie review here.

Happy Reading!


Buy your copy of Water for Elephants on Amazon.
The Top Five Circus Movies.
The Big Apple Circus Review.

RSS Feed Widget

Author's Note: This page was originally written elsewhere in 2011.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Monday, February 8, 2016

Austenland Book Review

Austenland book cover featuring a castle

Visit Jane Austen's world via Austenland the book by Shannon Hale

As a huge fan of Jane Austen movies and books, my antennae perked up when I heard of the movie, Austenland. When I discovered that the movie is based on a book written in 2007 by Shannon Hale, I decided to check out the book before taking in the movie. This became doubly important when I saw a crushing review for the movie, which I had really been looking forward to.

The book was a pleasure to read. All right, it was a light and fluffy read but sometimes that is exactly what you want. Reading, along with movies and okay, I'll admit it, food, are two of my escapes and I bet they are for you, too.

Within the covers, Jane Hayes escapes the ordinary world in which she has been unsuccessful in finding a man and travels to an English resort where she trades her modern conveniences and clothing for period items and enters the world of Jane Austen. She is hoping to rid herself of her obsessions with the world of Pride and Prejudice and, in particular, the handsome Mr. Darcy as played by Colin Firth whose image has kept her from finding her own Mr. Right.

From the back cover of the book:

"Enter our doors as a house guest come to stay three weeks, enjoying the country manners and hospitality - a tea visit, a dance or two, a turn in the park, an unexpected meeting with a certain gentleman, all culminating with a ball and perhaps something more..."

If you have enjoyed previous contemporary books and movies from Jane Austen, you will enjoy the charming and funny story found within the covers.  I read the hardcover edition as shown here and, given the choices, I think this is the version I would pick if I were buying one as a gift for a "Janeite." However, the book is also available in trade paperback, as a movie tie-in and for your Kindle or other eReader. You can find your copy in whatever format you prefer on Amazon by clicking right here. The book features 197 pages of what can only be called pure escapism.

If you are curious about the movie version, be sure to visit my Austenland movie review.

Will you read Austenland?

Happy Reading!

More Jane Austen and Period Drama Reading:

Which Is The Best Emma Movie?
Are you taken in by every Jane Austen movie? Have you seen all of the versions of Emma? Which one is the best? Do you know or would you like to find out?

Writing Jane Austen Book Review
Imagine if you were given a chapter of a seventh Jane Austen novel. A novel, that is, which she never finished. Then imagine being asked to finish the book for her and you will have a basic understanding of what this book is all about. Georgina...

Downton Abbey on Pinterest
I discovered Downton Abbey seasons 1, 2 and 3 after the fact. That meant I watched each one almost without pause...

Grantchester: A New Period Drama Mini-Series
A minister and murder. An unlikely mix, perhaps but I'm really enjoying Grantchester.

Author's Note: Originally published on another website in 2014.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Most Recent Reviews on Review This Reviews

Search for Reviews by Subject, Author or Title

The Review This Reviews Contributors

SylvestermouseSylvestermouseDawn Rae BDawn Rae BMbgPhotoMbgPhotoBrite-IdeasBrite-IdeasWednesday ElfWednesday ElfOlivia MorrisOlivia MorrisTreasures by BrendaTreasures by BrendaThe Savvy AgeThe Savvy AgeMargaret SchindelMargaret SchindelRaintree AnnieRaintree AnnieLou16Lou16Sam MonacoSam MonacoTracey BoyerTracey BoyerRenaissance WomanRenaissance WomanBarbRadBarbRadBev OwensBev OwensBuckHawkBuckHawkDecorating for EventsDecorating for EventsHeather426Heather426Coletta TeskeColetta TeskeMissMerFaeryMissMerFaeryMickie_GMickie_G


Review This Reviews is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor

Susan DeppnerSusan Deppner

We may be apart, but
You Are Not Forgotten

“As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and or Etsy (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from purchases.” Disclosure Statement