Thursday, January 28, 2016

What I Read in August 2015 Part II

What I Read in August 2015 Part II ...

Do Butlers Burgle Banks?Do Butlers Burgle Banks? by P.G. Wodehouse--Historical fiction

Horrace Appleby is the brains behind a criminal organization known as the Appleby Gang. They've eluded police on both sides of the Atlantic and are about to embark on their latest scheme. Thanks to a tip about a Worcestershire bank, Appleby installs himself as butler in Mallow Hall, home of Mike Bond, of Bond's Bank. Mike's uncle Hugo was a generous benefactor and Appleby is convinced the bank is ripe for picking. However, that's before he meets the lovely Ada, Mike's secretary and before Mike's aunt's nurse Jill discovers what is distracting Mike and keeping him from proposing marriage and before one of the gang backs out for the most unlikely reasons.

This isn't Wodehouse at his best. It took me a very long time to get into. Most of the book is the set up for the titular action. The dialogue is charming in spots and the plot cute in spots but not all together above par for Wodehouse. The plot moves too slowly and the falling action is wrapped up so quickly and unbelievably. The romances come out of nowhere and are not believable. The plot surprised me though because it was rather different from Wodehouse's usual love triangle plot.

The characters are flat and bland, except for Appleby. He's an interesting and complicated character. He is a very unusual butler, even for Wodehouse. I love the way he speaks and how he's the mastermind behind the gang. He's a thinker not a do-er. The rest of the gang and straight up parodies of gangster film characters. They make the story actually amusing, especially Basher. The women in this story are horrible. There's the tyrannical aunt laid up in bed; her nurse and confidant who has brains and uses them for her own advantage, and the sweet but not pretty secretary. Mike wasn't very fleshed out either. He appears only briefly here and there in the story.

If Wodehouse wasn't the master at comedy, I would probably rate this higher.

A Rather Lovely Inheritance (Penny Nichols, #1)A Rather Lovely Inheritance (Penny Nichols #1) by C.A. Belmond-- Contemporary Fiction/Romance

The unfortunately named Penny Nicholas slaves away at her job as a freelance historical researcher. She's currently working for a low-budget film company (under her ex-boyfriend) when she receives a call from her Mom stating that Penny needs to fly from the south of France to her mother's native England for the reading of great-aunt Penelope's will. Penny only has vague memories of a very old lady. She has stronger memories of her cousin Jeremy, now a high-powered lawyer handling Penny's inheritance. When the terms of the will are contested by her mom's cousin, Rollo, Jr. and his mother, Penny and Jeremy are determined to fight back. Family secrets are soon revealed and Penny finds herself criss-crossing Europe with Jeremy to untangle the threads of her family's past and stay one step ahead of Rollo and his slimy associates.

3.5 stars. I couldn't put this book down. I had to know how it turned out, yet I felt the plot relied too much on coincidences and many of them improbable. The coincidences are just too convenient for me. Also, a lot of the story is told in passing by Penny. It goes back and forth between action and telling. I felt there could have been more action, especially towards the end when the falling action is just told to us by Penny. The writing is decent. The descriptions of scenery and excellent and the author should have made this a travelogue. The romantic plot is also kind of too convenient. I figured it out right away and Jeremy's story was a plot device to remove the ick factor but it didn't entirely make me comfortable. They are, for all intents and purposes, cousins. The romance is clean and there's only a hint of more than kissing but nothing on page. I did NOT like the ending. There's a lot of strong language in this book, especially right in the beginning. I didn't care for it and it really jarred me.

I liked Penny a lot. She's a historical researcher, like me and she thinks the details matter. She's been forced to take a job with a film company that really could care less about accuracy but they keep her around so she can pay her bills. She's forward, which is apparently an American thing, and she doesn't have patience with English reserve. She marches in and says what she wants to and tries to make everything work out with the people she cares about. I liked how she was able to handle Jeremy and his issues. I especially enjoyed their witty banter an bickering. The chemistry is very apparent.

I had some issues with Jeremy. He drowns his sorrows, acts petulantly and childish when he is faced with surprising news. I liked his backstory and like Penny, I thought he handled it badly. He didn't even really want to know or do anything about it except pout and be angry at the world. However, he is a good friend to Penny and I liked them together. She brings out the best of him.

This is a nice alternative to "chick lit."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave comments and or suggestions for QNPoohBear, the modern bluestocking.