by Grace Livingston Hill
Okay, so, guilty confession time–sometimes I read Grace Livingston Hill! There are days when my brain just isn’t interested in reading something deep or thought-provoking, and (especially before I discovered Georgette Heyer, who, I confess, has replaced Hill), I frequently turn to Grace Livingston Hill to provide me with some nice fluff with a happy ending and weddings all around.
However, Head of the House was not a very good choice. Usually Hill’s books follow a pattern, wherein slightly-confused but yearning-to-be-noble young man coincidentally runs into gracious-and-beautiful-but-poor-Christian young lady. In this book, an almost-of-age young woman is shattered by the sudden death of her parents. She has several younger siblings, and overhears her selfish aunts and uncles planning to farm the family out amongst relatives and divvy up the money as well. Determined to keep the family together, the sister (whose name I really can’t remember) decides to run away for the three months between the funeral and her 21st birthday.
So, the book is basically them just sort of hiding out, and there really isn’t much of a story at all. The romantic part of the story occurs in about the last chapter. The majority of the book is a lot of theology, and while I don’t mind Christian books talking about God/having some teaching, I’m really not always in agreement with Hill’s theology to being with, much less when it constitutes about a third of book.
This book was a 2/5–pretty boring, even for Grace Livingston Hill.
by Lloyd Alexander
In this third installment of the Prydain Chronicles, the Princess is leaving Caer Dallben to stay on the Island of Mona, where she will receive some education as befits a princess. Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper, is, naturally, unhappy to see her leaving. However, he and his faithful friend Gurgi are granted permission to escort Princess Eilowy to Mona.
Once there, they meet up with many old friends (my personal favorite, Fflewddur Fflam, is there with his ever-present harp) and make some new ones. Before Taran and Gurgi can head for home, danger and intrigue strikes at the castle, and the Princess is kidnapped. The adventure that follows introduces one of my favorite characters, Llyan, a giant wildcat.
As always, I simply love these books. The stories are not as detailed or intense as some other epic fantasy series, but are still most definitely worth a read. The dialogue is so happy and the characters a lot of fun.
by Shannon Hale
So I read this book several years ago, and just checked it back out for a reread. I usually enjoy Hale’s books, and I hadn’t read this series since she wrote the fourth book (Forest Born). Also, The Goose Girl has always been a fairy tale that fascinated me, and I’m not sure why. Something weirdly creepy about the dead horse’s talking head, and the fact that the villain was killed by being dragged around naked in a barrel spiked with nails. The story is just so bizarre.
Hale does an excellent job in the retelling, making all of the weirdest parts make sense, and creating a very understandable and lovable heroine out of Isi. The friends that she makes are also wonderful and happy. Still, the story retains a little bit of that dark side of the original story, although I’m not sure I can lay a finger on exactly why or how. It’s an intense story that is woven together wonderfully.
Overall, a 4/5, and a recommended read for anyone who enjoys fairy tales.
by Jennifer Smith
So this book was another tumblr recommendation. However, I need to start using some kind of system when I write down books I see on tumblr, because I can’t remember on whose tumblr I saw it recommended. Ah well.
This was a fun book. The story was well-paced. I’m not a huge fan of present-tense stories, but it worked with this one to help clarify when the story was in present tense and when it was a flashback/background.
Basically, the book is about a girl, Hadley, who is flying to England for her dad’s wedding, and she’s quite unhappy about it because she’s still really upset that he left in the first place, much less that he is now (two years later) marrying the woman for whom he left Hadley’s mother. And to top off an already bad day, Hadley misses her flight and has to take the next one. While waiting for the second flight, she meets a young man, Oliver, who is from England but has been in the States going to college. They hit it off and begin to talk, and their seats are next to each other on the plane. The book documents a 24-hour period (well, sort of… it has plenty of stories from Hadley’s past, too), and the pacing is excellent.
For me, the most unbelievable thing is that Hadley truly hates her dad so much that she is only going to fly to London for ONE DAY and then turn around and fly home again?! I don’t care how much you hate your dad–you’re passing up seeing a different country just because you’re torqued off!?
Overall, this book was a high 3/5. I really enjoyed the story, but I disagreed with the “lessons” on marriage/relationships/affairs that one gleans from the book. More on that below; but there are some spoilers as well–