Friday, July 17, 2009

A Sudden, Fearful Death

As some of you may have noticed, I seem to be on an Anne Perry kick. My good friend and one time co-worker Katherine got me started on them. Perry writes a series of Victorian mystery novels that I am really quite enjoying. I haven't written a book review on them because well, they're kind of like candy for the brain... not so sure there's really any value to them but I sure do enjoy it.

The stories are set in the 1850s in London. There are two main protagonists along with a few other repeat players to keep it interesting. Monk is a police officer/detective and Hester is a nurse who is forced to fend for herself having neither family wealth to provide for her or a husband. I find the dynamic between the two fascinating. They almost cannot stand each other to the point of loathing due to Hester's strong opinions and willingness to share them, and Monks abrasive manner. Yet at the same time, they find a strange comfort in the very things they hate about each other.

You can actually learn something from these books though. Perry gives a very accurate description of the thought processes in the time period. The idea of women sitting around becoming "accomplished" through embroidery, painting, music, etc. and overall making a solid effort at appearing in all ways unintelligent but beautiful. Nowadays I'm afraid I have a difficult time separating beauty from intelligence. There are definitely beautiful women in this world, but a lack of intelligence detracts from that in my opinion. What are looks if conversation is superficial with no real substance?

On a side note, have any of you seen "Kate and Leopold"? I think the story is really quite cute and semi-romantic if I could get over the fact that Kate (played by Meg Ryan) would never be satisfied in Victorian society even though Leopold was played by the oh-so-dreamy Hugh Jackman. She came from a high powered position where people listened to her and stepped back in time to where women were ornaments in society to be seen and not heard. Seriously, after a while wouldn't you go crazy? Pretty dresses only go so far... besides you had to wear a corset to make them work. Blechk!

David says that's why I like these books so much. He thinks I am a Hester. She has passion to reform medicine and a drive to make it happen. She can thrown propriety to the wind and not think twice if it is in the interest of justice and improvement to the social condition. And she's not afraid to speak her mind to Monk whether insulting or not so long as it gets her point across. Maybe I'm more like her than I thought. Hmm.

All in all, really enjoying the books and highly suggest them for brain candy and a heightened sense of justice and gratitude that we as women today have a voice. The first in the series is "The Face of a Stranger".

1 comment:

  1. Oh, how I wanted Leopold to stay in the modern world instead of Kate going back in time. So. Very. Much.