In Depression-era Mississippi, Millie Reynolds longs to escape the madness that marks her world. With an abusive father and “nothing mama,” she struggles to find a place where she really belongs.
For answers, Millie turns to the gypsies who caravan through town each spring. The travelers lead Millie to a key that unlocks generations of shocking family secrets. When tragedy strikes, the mysterious contents of the box give Millie the tools she needs to break her family’s long-standing cycle of madness and abuse.
Through it all, Millie experiences the thrill of first love while fighting to trust the God she believes has abandoned her. With the power of forgiveness, can Millie finally make her way into the free?
There are four Sense and Sensibility adaptations that stick to the original story. There are also a few modern adaptations, such as Scents and Sensibility (2011) and From Prada to Nada (2011), which I have no interest in. I was not able to get my hands on the 1971 BBC miniseries, but I will be reviewing the 1981, 1995, and 2008 versions.
I’m a little obsessed with art in a completely uneducated, unsophisticated way. This may have something to do with the fact that I couldn’t draw a decent stick figure to save my life. I love illustrated editions of classic books, but sometimes I think the illustrators don’t do justice to the story. So I started thinking about which famous artists I would pick to illustrate some classic works of literature. Here are a few I came up with:
The Old Man and the Sea - Winslow Homer (1836-1910)
Winslow Homer is my favorite landscape painter, in no small part because he was born in Boston and died in Maine—two places very close to my heart. The sea often inspired Homer and this particular work was painted on the coast of Cape Ann, Massachusetts. It captures the air of danger and struggle that permeates The Old Man and the Sea.
Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor’s warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile, Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love–and it’s threatened loss–the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love.
I mentioned in a previous post that I balked at the idea of reading Austen for many years based on my experience with film adaptations of her works, which, at the time, I found to be too romanticized for my taste. I finally decided to give it a go and as it turns out my previous notions about Austen were entirely misguided. Years ago when I watched some of the film adaptations, I was not able to pick up on the subtle irony that makes her work so enjoyable. I will be re-watching and reviewing all available adaptations soon, so I will wait to comment on them further until then.
In Grace McCleen’s debut novel, she introduces ten-year-old Judith McPherson, a young believer who sees the world with the clear Eyes of Faith. Persecuted at school for her beliefs and struggling with her distant, devout father at home, young Judith finds solace and connection in a model in miniature of the Promised Land that she has constructed in her room from collected discarded scraps—the Land of Decoration. Where others might see rubbish, Judith sees possibility and divinity in even the strangest traces left behind. As ominous forces disrupt the peace in her and Father’s modest lives—a strike threatens her father’s factory job, and the taunting at school slips into dangerous territory—Judith makes a miracle in the Land of Decoration that solidifies her blossoming convictions. She is God’s chosen instrument. But the heady consequences of her newfound power are difficult to control and may threaten the very foundations of her world.
One Amazon reviewer said, “I think readers are either going to love or hate McCleen’s book, much like Emma Donoghue’s Room.” (Luanne Ollivier) I must not be most readers, because I have mixed feelings about both of the aforementioned books.
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