Blood Red, Snow White
Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Published: July 1, 2007
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
There never was a story that was happy through and through.
When writer Arthur Ransome leaves his unhappy marriage in England and moves to Russia to work as a journalist, he has little idea of the violent revolution about to erupt. Unwittingly, he finds himself at its center, tapped by the British to report back on the Bolsheviks even as he becomes dangerously, romantically entangled with Trotsky’s personal secretary.
Both sides seek to use Arthur to gather and relay information for their own purposes . . . and both grow to suspect him of being a double agent. Arthur wants only to elope far from conflict with his beloved, but her Russian ties make leaving the country nearly impossible. And the more Arthur resists becoming a pawn, the more entrenched in the game he seems to become.
Blood Red Snow White, a Soviet-era thriller from renowned author Marcus Sedgwick, is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats.
This was another random find from Ollie’s! It’s about Russia, did you really expect me to pass it up? The problem is that I wished I liked it better. It gave good perspective on the Russian Revolution, which I liked! It’s hard to remember that the players in history were just people too and Sedgwick did a great job of reminding me of that. Trotsky was an idealist and he was willing to chase those ideals no matter where it took him. I also enjoyed the espionage that other countries employed throughout the whole affair. The twists and turns of the spies were interesting and engaging.
What’s sad is that I wasn’t all that fond of the main character, Arthur Ransome. I didn’t like his personal traits and he seemed far too reluctant and innocent of the world to take any part in espionage at all. He left his wife and child for selfish reasons and continued that selfishness throughout the whole book. I just didn’t like him. And the main thing that brought this book down for me was the blurred line between fairytale and history. Some authors can weave storytelling through history and do it successfully. Sedgwick didn’t do that. It felt like such a naive way of viewing history! If fairytales are used to educate the young, then these failed because I believed they confused the issues. But perhaps that’s simply because I’m a historian!
I’m glad I read it, but I doubt I’ll ever read it again. I would recommend this to very specific readers and really only out of curiosity than anything. It’s the kind of book I’d rather sit and discuss that read in its entirety.
We are starting something different: Kim has a lot more time with this quarantine going on, and is doing more video reviews. So as long as we have video reviews we will have Friant’s Video Fridays. Today’s video review will be Olivia Twist.
Author: Lorie Langdon
Published: March 6, 2018
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Olivia Brownlow is no damsel in distress. Born in a workhouse and raised as a boy among thieving London street gangs, she is as tough and cunning as they come. When she is taken in by her uncle after a caper gone wrong, her life goes from fighting and stealing on the streets to lavish dinners and soirees as a debutante in high society. But she can’t seem to escape her past … or forget the teeming slums where children just like her still scrabble to survive.
Jack MacCarron rose from his place in London’s East End to become the adopted “nephew” of a society matron. Little does society know that MacCarron is a false name for a boy once known among London gangs as the Artful Dodger, and that he and his “aunt” are robbing them blind every chance they get. When Jack encounters Olivia Brownlow in places he least expects, his curiosity is piqued. Why is a society girl helping a bunch of homeless orphan thieves? Even more intriguing, why does she remind him so much of someone he once knew? Jack finds himself wondering if going legit and risking it all might be worth it for love.
Olivia Twist is an innovative reimagining of Charles Dickens’ classic tale Oliver Twist, in which Olivia was forced to live as a boy for her own safety until she was rescued from the streets. Now eighteen, Olivia finds herself at a crossroads: revealed secrets threaten to destroy the “proper” life she has built for her herself, while newfound feelings for an arrogant young man she shouldn’t like could derail her carefully laid plans for the future.
Kim’s Video Review:
House of Salt and Sorrows
Author: Erin A. Craig
Published: August 6, 2019
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.
Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.
Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?
When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.
This book had me from the first time I saw the cover. Then I picked it up and read the description and I just knew. This is easily one of my favorite books this year: the story is unique, and twisty, and gorgeous. I hadn’t read anything like it before. I would very much like to visit the Salann Islands and to study the People of the Salt. I want to know every festival, every tradition, every bit of their culture. Each setting was imaginative and spun descriptively and completely. The gods of this world are obviously based on other gods from cultures around the real world, but I still completely believed every one of them.
I was so emotionally involved in Annaleigh’s family story. I cared about them. The sisters were unique and the curse was terrifying. Each ghost sighting gave me goosebumps. If you’re looking for a read that is creepy, but not scary, this is the perfect book. The mystery was complicated and kept me guessing. Overall, this is an awesome book that I would recommend to pretty much anybody.