Jul 31, 2011

The Sunday Salon: My Family's Loss

Hello and Happy Sunday to you.  Today's post will be a short one - not a book related post but more of an explanation of why I've been so out of touch in recent months. As some may know, my dad has been battling cancer for several years now and in the last two or three months his health began to decline rapidly and he was in pain much of the time. Sadly, this past Wednesday, my dad lost his battle with this terrible disease.  They gave him about 7-10 days on Monday but he lasted only two days. Although there is a big whole in our lives now without him, we are comforted knowing that he is not suffering any longer. My mom was an angel to my dad in his final days and took care of him at home until his last breath. I am grateful that I was able to spend a day with him a few weeks ago when he was still relatively himself.  We even shared a meal together and had some good conversation. That was his last somewhat normal day. I will always be thankful for that day.

I'd like to thank those of you who have left me supportive comments these last months whenever I've mentioned my dad in my posts.  My blogging friends are always so sweet and supportive and it means more to me than I can say. Thank you so much for your support and your prayers.

I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of things and blogging more. I have been so preoccupied and have neglected the blogs for awhile but I'm anxious to get back to reading them regularly. Please accept my apologies for not being present and keeping up with all of you. I have been able to get through a few books though, but I still need to  write my reviews. I'm hoping to get to them later this week.

Again, thank you for your support and I hope to get back in the loop of what everyone is reading very soon. I've really missed the interaction with my fellow book lovers.  I will see you on the blogs real soon.

Jul 14, 2011

Review: The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (Kindle Version)

I love books about houses, especially old houses that seem to have a life and mind of their own. THE LITTLE STRANGER by Sarah Waters is about that and much more. This Gothic story takes place in the countryside of England back in the 1930's, and the house, known as Hundreds Hall, has been in the Ayres' family for many generations.  The hardships of the war have left its toll on the family and Hundreds.  Many of the rooms in the old grand house have long since been closed off and are unused.  Though the family is still looked at with much respect from the community, it is obvious that Hundreds Hall does not show the same grandeur it once did. The Ayres' only employee two servants - one full time to assist the remaining three family members. Here's a synopsis from Goodreads:

The Little Stranger follows the strange adventures of Dr. Faraday, the son of a maid who has built a life of quiet respectability as a country doctor. One dusty postwar summer in his home of rural Warwickshire, he is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for more than two centuries, the Georgian house, once grand and handsome, is now in decline-its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, the clock in its stable yard permanently fixed at twenty to nine. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more ominous than a dying way of life? Little does Dr. Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become entwined with his.

My Thoughts:

I became engrossed in this book moments after I began reading. I loved the setting and the time period of the 30's.  Dr. Faraday does a terrific job of telling this story of what happened in his life during the years he was the primary physician to the Ayres family. He paints a vivid, yet haunting picture of Hundreds Hall and the family living within.  He is very detailed in his account and some might say too detailed.  It does make for a long story, but in my opinion, it was worth the time. Through Dr. Faraday I was able to get an in depth knowledge of life at Hundreds Hall.  

The characters Ms. Waters created were so unique and perfectly crafted and developed all the way down to the young maid, Betty, who worked in the Hall. The supporting characters were equally as believable and interesting as the main characters and added to the twists and turns of the story. 

The Gothic tone of the book along with its paranormal effects reminded me of one of my favorite books, THE THIRTEENTH TALE, which I loved. THE LITTLE STRANGER constantly left me guessing and wondering what could possibly happen next.  The strange occurrences were just enough to give off that haunting feel without going too over the top.  The relationship between Caroline Ayres and Dr. Faraday developed so slowly and naturally that nearing the end I was surprised how much I really wanted to see the two of them together. The author cleverly left me hopeful that something may happen between them at any moment. That anticipation added to the mystique, in my opinion. 

This was my first foray into Sarah Waters' work and I was completely satisfied with it. It is a bit wordy, but  honestly, that really didn't bother me because I was enjoying the story. I would recommend THE LITTLE STRANGER to readers who enjoy a book that develops slowly while leading you on a mysterious journey. 

Author: Sarah Waters
Publisher: Penguin Publishing
Published: April 30, 2009
Length/Pages: 716 KB/480 printed pages 
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars