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Dec 19

The Chocolate Kiss-Off by Heather Haven

Posted on Saturday, December 19, 2015 in Historic, Mystery/Cop

I just finished The Chocolate Kiss-Off by Heather Haven. Just like the two earlier books in the series, I found this one interesting and well written.

As usual, someone has been found murdered under slightly ‘odd’ circumstances, in this case drowned in a big pot for making chocolate – what a waste ;). The murder victim was the owner of the chocolate factory or shop. Apparently, she sold both wholesale and directly in her shop.

In this book New York has been hit by a blizzard and is very cold and it’s a bit hard to get around. Percy (the main character) is on her own, because her father, and only colleague in the private investigating business is away on a war-related case – trying to find a group of spies. She already has two cases when a really good friend of hers, who makes chocolate, is accused of murdering his boss. So she hires another friend, or in this case the father of her son’s friend, to take over the older cases.

I won’t mention more about the actual case, but in this book, her eight-year-old son wants to know more about his father, who Percy thinks of as Leo the Louse (which tells you something about him). She’s forced to take time out of her busy schedule to find out where he is and what he’s doing. Again, I won’t go into what she learns, but anything to do with her ex a sensitive topic for her.

I have probably said this before about this series, but if so I’ll say it again – I like that it’s historic. The dialect or jargon reminds me of old movies I’ve seen and that’s fun.

Maybe I should add a few things I don’t like quite as much. To begin with, as many of my followers know, I’m a vegan and Percy is exceptionally fond of meat in all forms. She basically hates anything else. I know this is part of the historic context, that people ate a lot more meat, so I’m trying to ignore it. The other thing is that Percy is a little bit full of herself. She feels superior to her mother and sister, for instance and tends to make snap decisions about people she meets and if they fail her high standards, she will think less of them.

To some extent, I can understand that, but I do feel she’s a little unfair to her mother. Of course it is a bit weird to cook such odd mixtures of candy and potatoes or fruit and vegetables. Some people like that sort of thing, so I suppose it’s not completely unheard of. I’d find it odd, but since Percy’s not about to start cooking for the whole family, maybe she should give her mom a break. Also, her sister Sera is only just 20. Percy is about 35. Of course she find Sera immature and tiresome at times. That doesn’t have to mean that Sera is a bad person. I think Percy should give her sister a break too, but that’s just me.

Finally, the cover art is a bit amateurish, I’m sorry to say, but maybe I pay more attention because I’m in the business, no matter how modestly.

None of this is enough to spoil my enjoyment of the series as a whole. If you enjoy historic mysteries that aren’t too scary or gory, then I think you’d like this series too. I love this old-fashioned world where people are nice to each other most of the time, despite all the meat eating and smoking and so on.

Aug 18

Poldark (2015)

Posted on Tuesday, August 18, 2015 in Historic, Reviews, TV series

Poldark (2015) is based on a series of novels by Winston Graham. There was also another tv series made in 1975.

The first episode starts out with a man – Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner) – coming back to his home in Cornwall from the American Revolutionary War. Defeated and wounded, he expects a different welcome than the one he gets. He finds his father dead, his home in the hands of lazy, neglectful servants and – worst of all – his beloved fiancee about to be married to his cousin. No one except his other cousin Verity, an old maid at 25, who is being used as an unpaid housekeeper by her family, is happy to see him. Believing him dead, his uncle and cousin had expected not only to have the fiancee but also Ross’ father’s mine and land. After repeated efforts by the uncle to buy him out Ross decides to stay on, mostly to support his tenant farmers, who are struggling to make ends meet. He tries to start up the mine again, in a time when the competition from the Welsh mines are keenly felt. To do that he needs capital, which means he needs to convince others to invest in his venture. Cornwall is going through a difficult time. Fishing is failing as well as the mines and people are risking starvation. Even the ‘wealthy’ classes aren’t doing as well as in the past.

To me, Ross Poldark is very much the star of the show. He’s dark, handsome and brooding and exactly the sort of man I like to see in a tv series. None of the other characters come across as real or as developed as he is. Out of the others, his cousin Verity is the only one you really seem to get to know, at least to begin with. After a while, Ross finds and rescues a young girl (dressed as a boy) and takes her in. For several episodes, Ross is still obsessed with his former fiancee and doesn’t have much time for his new young housekeeper, but eventually they begin to get to know each other and Demelza (Cornish name?) learns new skills and turns out to be very intelligent and prepared to take on new responsibilities.

At times it seems Ross’ own family are his worst enemies, but the Warleggans (moneylenders who have done well for themselves and managed to join the gentry) work against him for reasons not quite clear. I get a vague feeling there’s been some enmity between Ross and the younger Warleggan in the past, but you don’t find out much about that in the series, at least not so far.

I have just finished watching the first season and I’m glad to see that there will be a second one. If I will ever write fan fiction again, this is one of the series that has definitely inspired me to several different (mainly angsty, but also slashy) ideas. Naturally, that’s because of Aidan Turner. He’s one of the few actors these days that can totally captivate, beguile and bewitch me and for that I’m grateful.

Apr 4

Somewhere in Sweden (‘My soldier’)

Posted on Friday, April 4, 2014 in My life, Other

This one doesn’t have anything to do with my situation, but since I was on YouTube and found this sad song, I’ll post it here anyway. And just because I’m interested in history.


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