Tag Archives: romance

Far from the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

Far from the Madding Crowd is one of those novels that many people say ‘One day, I will read it, it’s a classic.’ I’ll be the first to admit I was one of those people, and the intention to read it was always there, but it wasn’t until my sister bought me the book for my Birthday that I got one step closer to actually reading it. Fast forward another year and I still hadn’t picked it up.

Truth be told when someone tells you a novel is a classic it becomes more daunting a prospect to read. The term classic brings so many pre-existing notions with it. But hey…never a judge a book by its cover right?

At first it took me quite a while to really sink my teeth into this story. Hardy offers some beautiful and extravagant descriptions of the scenery which is the backdrop to our heroine and protagonist Bathsheba’s whirlwind life.Far from the Madding Crowd

At times Hardy really takes his time to reach the next juncture in the plot. Depending on your mood as a reader, this can sometimes feel too pro-longed and unnecessary. Other times I could revel in the minute details of the moment.

Whilst I wouldn’t say that Far from the Madding Crowd is instantly ‘un-put-downable’, it was very easy to pick up and quickly get back into the groove of the novel. Overall I did enjoy the book. It wasn’t until I had read over half way through, that the plot took some truly exciting and unexpected twists.

It’s easy to see that Hardy takes his time with his leading characters, and without overcrowding (excuse the pun!) the story, the reader is offered a plethora of minor characters who help push the timeline along, as well as supplying the reader with some welcome relief to the swirling serious and highly strung emotions.

As is often the case when my generation of reader attempts a 19th Century novel, I did find some of the language odd, vague and at times a little ‘flouncy’ in Hardy’s flourishes. But I didn’t find these clashes of language off-putting, rather as a modern reader it only made it a much starker reality, that many of the trials and tribulations of young love and tragic circumstances have not changed much over the centuries.

Hardy’s ending to this tale of love and betrayal was both subtle and extreme at the same time. Far from the Madding Crowd is well worth the read, but also well worth taking your time with. It’s not a quick read and perhaps not the one for a summer vacation, but with Winter approaching (the urge to quote Game of Thrones is agonising), it is certainly one to curl up on the sofa under a blanket with some hot chocolate.

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Filed under 19th Century Fiction, classic, Historical fiction, Romance

Wedding Night- Sophie Kinsella

Recently I’ve had a break from reading, throwing myself into other enjoyable creative outlets. But I’ve found my way back to the wonder of the written word and am thoroughly enjoying it.

I chose the novel Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella simply because, it’s written by one of my favourite authors. It’s a method of choosing a book which has been tried and tested and I’m rarely disappointed.

wedding night

I found Wedding Night a refreshing take on the romantic ‘chick lit’ novel. Without giving too much of the premise of the book away, I enjoyed the sisterly dynamic between the two female protagonists. It’s more common for ‘chick-lit’ to feature best-friends in this dynamic rather than sisters. Being an elder sister to two siblings, it’s a relationship I can easily identify with which made the novel even more engrossing. I found myself wondering ‘Would I have said that?’, or getting excited when I thought ‘I would definitely have done that’!

After a somewhat slow start, by chapter 10 the events have spiralled and the pace becomes much more frantic and exciting. In some places I felt the novel focused too much on the sexual element, but it does undeniably have its place in the plot of the novel. With a fast paced the plot thickens rapidly. There is a wide variety of characters, a good mix of antagonists and protagonists and in general there’s an interesting mix of encounters; that many readers will find lively and will easily identify with.

Despite the pace of events, character development in Wedding Night is steady. Some may feel it’s a little slow but I find that it’s a common trait in novels which shift perspectives regularly throughout. Kinsella skilfully builds relationships, bridges the two perspectives where events require it and reveals character traits through interesting and often amusing events and circumstances. The result is believable characters, you know who you like and who you don’t. As a reader I quickly discovered characters who infuriated me and those who brought out the romantic side of me. It is a testament to the author who can induce such an emotional response.

Wedding Night is a whirlwind of emotion, the pace once it gets going it doesn’t let up- I couldn’t put it down. Whilst some of the events I imagine will only ever happen in novels and films, there was enough real character, real emotion and realistic dialogue to carry those more theatrical plot twists. The flow of the novel is steady, it keeps up with the pace of events and there were enough plot twists to make every chapter interesting.

Whether you are familiar with Kinsella’s work or not I strongly recommend you give Wedding Night a go. It’s the perfect novel for fans of romance and ‘chick-lit’ fiction but it would also suit readers who generally prefer more light-hearted reading and happy endings.

© Gemma Feltham 22 April 2015

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Filed under Chick Lit