Faro’s Daughter


by Georgette Heyer

Published 1941

Whoever it is that republished all of these books has no concept of matching covers with stories, just so you know.  The apparently just choose some random picture that has a Regency lady in it, and then throw it on the book.  Ah well.

I really enjoyed this Heyer tale.  Deb’s family has fallen on hard times, and she now helps her aunt run a genteel gaming house.  A young man, whose name I can’t remember, falls “in love” with Deb and is determined to marry her.  The young fellow’s cousin, Max, is equally determined to prevent him from making such a dreadful connection.  Max visits the gaming house to meet Deb for himself, and, completely misreading her character, offers to pay her off to prevent her from marrying the young cousin.  Deb, who is completely offended that anyone would think that she would take advantage of the cousin in such a way, immediately fires up, refuses Max’s  money, and tells the cousin that she will marry him, so long as he keeps their engagement a secret!

Throughout the course of the story, Deb and the cousin end up rescuing a damsel in distress (the cousin eventually marries her instead, making everyone very  happy), and many other adventures ensue.  Of course, Deb and Max fall in love (Heyer’s books are nothing if not predictable) and all ends well, as Max realizes Deb’s true worth.

The plot was happy and skipped merrily along with Heyer’s usual delightful dialogue and character development, making it an easy 4/5.

Forest Born


by Shannon Hale

Published 2009

In this fourth and final (so far anyway) book in the Bayern series, all of our favorite characters are back.  However, this story focuses on Razo’s youngest sister, Rin.

This is my favorite of the Bayern books, actually.  I love the way that Hale addresses the idea that Dumbledore famously presents to Harry–“It is our choices that show what we really are, not our abilities.”  In this book, Rin has abilities that could very easily be used for evil, but she chooses to work for the good.

Forest Born is a 5/5 for me, more details on that opinion below, complete with some spoilers–

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Hickory, Dickory, Death


by Agatha Christie

Published 1955

Also titled Hickory, Dickory, Dock

In this Poirot novel, the famous detective is called to the aid of the sister of his most efficient secretary, Miss Lemon.  Miss Lemon’s sister runs (but does not own) a boarding house/hostel that is usually the home to transient students and young foreigners.  Mrs. Hubbard, Miss Lemon’s sister, is concerned because certain random items have been disappearing from the boarding house.  Poirot, intrigued by the unusual list of stolen items, begins to investigate.

As seems to be typical of these later Poirot novels, there is just too much going on–kleptomania, murder, love triangles, drugs, alcohol, love affairs, smuggling–and consequently, the solution seems rather convoluted to me.  It’s not that hard to come up with a solution if we can choose any random crime to blame.  Many of Christie’s earlier novels are clever and intriguing because they are so possible.  The people involved are normal people; one gets the feeling that this murder could have happened in the house next door, and that is what gives them there personal creepy factor.  But these later novels are just over the top–I have no sense of connection with this story.  While it is entertaining, it doesn’t pack that more personal punch that many of the earlier stories do.

Still, a fun read with some interesting characters, 3/5.

The High King


by Lloyd Alexander

Published 1968

In this final installment of the Prydain books, Taran and his friends face an epic battle against the Annuvin, the Death Lord.  I don’t feel that I’m giving away any secrets to say that good prevails.  However, Alexander does place before his characters a difficult choice after the battle is won, and provides a satisfactory ending to this epic series.

I really love these books (in case you haven’t picked up on that) and strongly recommend them.  The characters are very real and funny, and everything comes together in the end beautifully.