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Jean-Jeannie

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The Guardians
The Guardians
by Andrew Pyper
Edition: Hardcover
24 used & new from CDN$ 0.57

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and shallow, March 21 2011
This review is from: The Guardians (Hardcover)
I became an instant fan of Andrew Pyper after reading Lost Girls, so I could not wait to read the Guardians soon after its release. The story line sounded intriguing and I'm a sucker for a good plot with supernatural overtones. I could not have been more disappointed. This latest novel has none of the magic, depth and subtle spookiness of Lost Girls. The supernatural element is blatent and unbelievable. The characters are never fully developed so it is difficult to get inside their heads. The writing style is for the most part undistinguished and ordinary. I found that the crucial events of the novel happened too suddenly with insufficient build-up. I can only think that the author was in a hurry to pump this novel out without bothering to weave a story and draw the reader in. I know that Mr Pyper has talent but it was rarely apparent to me in the Guardians. I felt like I was reading a trashy second-rate novel written for mass consumption. On the positive side, he did an adequate job in painting a picture of small town life from the viewpoint of adolescent boys and later middle aged adults returning home and in creating 1980s nostalgia. He also has a hip sometimes quirky sense of humour, which helped add levity to a rather absurd story. Maybe it will make a better film than it does a novel.

Bonnie Prince Charlie
Bonnie Prince Charlie
by Frank McLynn
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 42.36
11 used & new from CDN$ 22.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Impeccably researched and psychologically probing, Feb. 21 2011
This review is from: Bonnie Prince Charlie (Paperback)
Despite the almost 600 pages of narrative, there is never a dull moment in the life of one of history's most remarkable, complex and tragic characters. Charles Edward Stuart was born into a life full of hope and promise but ultimately destoyed by a combination of bad luck, betrayal and his own folly. McGlynn's portrayal avoids romanticizing Charles Edward's life in the manner of some previous biographies but attempts to analyze the psychological reasons behind the man's behavior. His view of Charles Edward is balanced - at times critical and at times supportive but always empathetic. The historical background and the facts have been impeccably researched including a wealth of correspondance between Charles and his father James as as well as many of the other characters that feature in Charles' life. The events of Charles' life are in themselves amazing from his difficult relationship with an unyielding and strict father and forced separation from his mother and her untimely self-destruction. Charles Edward's struggle to regain his sovereignty leading up to the horrific battle of Colloden and Charles Edward's subsequent 5 month flight through the Scottish highlands pursued by the Hanoverian guards to the insult of his arrest and imprisonment in a French jail. McGlynn brings this life to us in technicolor always interpreting events within their historical context, allowing the reader to understand their importance. Never does the history become dull. If the turn of events had been just a little bit different at critical points, had Charles Edward received just a little more support when he needed it, and had he not been his own worst enemy when support was offered, the course of history might have been very different. McGlynn carries the reader through Charles' glory days and his later descent into self-destructive debauchery and alcoholism while probing the weaknesses in Charles' psyche as well as the key events leading to his decline. While McGlynn's analysis of most of Charles' relationships was deep and thorough, I found it lacking in regards to Clementina Walkinshaw, Charles' long-time mistress during some of his darkest years. I felt that Clementina was sold short and we never really understood the relationship nor her character and the role she played in his life. Other than this one shortcoming, I loved this biography and would recommend it to anyone. You don't need to be a history buff to enjoy it as the character of Charles Edward Stuart is always at centre stage and both his character and his life events are undeniably fascinating.

Oster 5966-33 1.7 Litre Kettle, Stainless Steel
Oster 5966-33 1.7 Litre Kettle, Stainless Steel
Price: CDN$ 41.98

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid, reliable and good value, Feb. 21 2011
As I have owned the kettle for less than two months I can't speak to its longevity but by all indications it is solid and reliable. It is quick to boil and very quiet. I like the feature of being able to wrap the excess cord under the base where it is hidden. The design is somewhat clunky and it resembles an oversized camp coffee pot in appearance, but for functionality and value in a stainless steel kettle, I don't believe there is a better choice on the market.

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