Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Liebster Award

I have won the Liebster Award! Twice! Once from Collar City Brownstone and a second time from Whimsey Keith. You must answer the 11 questions they give you, give the award to five other blogs, and make up your own 11 questions. This is my second time doing this because dear Blogger decided to delete my first one! :'(

1).  To date, what has been the best time of your life and why?
When we moved to our new house I'd say, about two years ago. I'm now at a wonderful school with wonderful friends! :)

2).   Describe your dream life.
My dream life has my dream house (which I described here) with a job I love with flexible hours. If you want me to be more specific, I would love to go into something with writing/literature. I see a Gilbert/Mr. Knightley out there, and we'd have three kids (one boy, two girls I think). I'd live in a cottage by the sea in the Carolina's; a summer house in P.E.I. I'd have a little book shop and tea shop. That'd be lovely. That's my dream life. 

3).  What book do you treasure most and would never loan out to anyone?  Why?
Anne of Green Gables. It's what got me started on classics and old fashioned things.... which is kind of my life now. I have a worn and well loved copy that I'd never lend to anyone. It's too dear.

4).  When you were a little girl, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I still consider myself a little girl, but when I was a little little girl I had a couple things: doctor, waitress, teacher, movie star, singer, Lucy Ricardo (that was a silly one), and then I wanted to be a vet. Being allergic to cats is a problem though. I have no idea what I want to be now. 

5).  Want country would you most want to relocate to?
England! It's Jane Austen territory. And Dickens and Agatha Christie, etc. It's absolutely stunning, I believe. And the accents are adorable ;)

6).  Are you a city gal, country gal or must be near a beach?
Must be near a beach! The sound of the waves, the lighthouse, the feel of the sand beneath my toes.... ahh. The sea in all its moods is mesmerizing.

7).  What is special about you?
What is special about me..... hmmm. There must be something. I am a Betsy-Tacy lover who has gone to a convention in Minnesota for it. That's something not everyone can say. I can quote old books and period drama movies. I like old shows like I Love Lucy, the Donna Reed Sow, the Dick Van Dyke Show, Mary Tyler Moore, etc. I'm also growing to love Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. (Thanks Hamlette!)

8).  What is your all time favorite movie?
Anne of Green Gables. The first and second. Amazing adaptations of my favorite book! :)

9).  What is your favorite song?
It changes all the time. Currently, it's "Crazy" by Patsy Cline.

10).  Do you prefer Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy?
Neither is the PERFECT Mr. Darcy, you know. I like them both, but if I had to choose, Colin Firth. I wish they would both smile more, though!

11).  Would a trip to see the ancient city of Petra interest you or do you find touring boring?
I just looked it up, and I think it looks cool. I'd love touring it! I'll be one of those tourists with a guidebook and camera, oohing and ahhing.

And now for Whimsey Keith's questions:
1. What, to you, is the definition of joy? Even a brief second of happiness, without worry or care, when there's nothing but that wonderful moment.
2. If you were like Helen Keller, both blind and deaf, and I offered you three days to see and hear, what would you do? Employ your imaginations! I would see the seven wonders of the world, travel to P.E.I, actually watch a movie, take a walk through nature, and see all my family and friends.

3. If I offered you coffee, hot chocolate, or tea, which would you take? Tea!  I am a big tea drinker. Earl Grey, Darjeeling, Mayor's cup, regular....
4. Would you rather take a three day vacation to Disneyland or a three week vacation touring the vast majority of America's historical sights? Three week to the cast majority of America's historical sights; I'm funny like that ;)
5. If you were offered a cabin in the woods, a cottage on the beach, or an apartment in the city, which would you choose?  A cottage on the beach. Didn't know I'd choose that, did you? ;)
6. If you had the opportunity to go para sailing, would you go? I hope I would. It's a wonderful opportunity  Sometimes I scare myself and talk myself out of opportunities. Very bad of me, really...
7. You have suddenly become a millionaire. What are you going to do with your money? Wow, um.... I have no idea. Strangely enough, I really haven't fantasized about myself being a millionaire.  I suppose I'd use it to make my dream life come true,, then donate some to charities. Sounds kind of boring, huh? I suppose I'd probably do one rather silly thing and travel all around the world.
8. Guess what! You have happened upon a time machine!!! Which historical figure are you going to spend the day with? L.M. Montgomery! I love her books. (as you all know) I have actually fantasized about this very thing, lots of times. I always swear I was born in the wrong time period.

9. Out of all the heroines in historical fiction, who do you admire the most? Surprise surprise.... Emily Webster, actually. She didn't do anything supremely wonderful, but she went through some hardships and pulled through. She is a lot like me, and I relate to her and look up to her.
10. Out of all the heroes in historical fiction, who do you most admire? Gilbert! He's a normal guy, not really the "hero"type. He is kind, considerate, funny, and down to earth. He's a real person, you know?
11. And lastly, if you were offered a pet baby mule or a pet baby goat, which would you adopt? Pet baby goat, I guess. I've never had the inclination to have either one, but you know.... if I was offered one, that would be what I'd choose.

Now, to offer awards to others! Unfortunately, my others have already gotten the award! I shall name them again, so they get some recognition, but I hope they do not feel they need to answer another set of questions if they don't want to:

3.     The Story Girl
5.     Whimsey Keith 
The questions are:
1.     If you could have any super power, what would it be?
2.     What is your favorite childhood memory?
3.     Who's your favorite actor/actress?
4.     Who do you admire/look up to?
5.     Are you more of a dog person or a cat person?
6.     If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?
7.     Quick: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, or Emma?
8.     What's your favorite "guilty pleasure?"
9.     Would you rather go on a cruise or climb a mountain?
10. Describe what you would choose if your personality was to be expressed in a piece of clothing.
11. Do you like mysteries, romances, fantasy, classics, non-fiction or sci-fi?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

My thoughts on "A Rose in Bloom"

A couple of weeks ago I stumbled across Louisa May Alcott's 'A Rose in Bloom' which is the sequel to 'Eight Cousins.' You do not have to read 'Eight Cousins' before you read a 'Rose in Bloom;' I didn't (and still haven't but I am planning on reading it soon.)

One thing I remember doing almost every time a finished reading this before bed was smiling. It is just one of those books that make you happy. Now, this is not to say it doesn't have its trials, hardships, deaths and disappointments. This is to say that through it all you saw a delightful view of life.

The story is centered around Rose. She is the only girl cousin and she is coming back from her trip to Europe. She is an heiress who is set to inherit a good fortune. She seems to have left at that crucial time when the girl is growing into a woman. She is disappointed by all the young men who seem interested in her only for her fortune. She has many hopes and plans to fulfill before she gets married, though.

A love interest starts quickly after this. The family is adamant about having her marry one of the cousins. This leads to some very tricky snarls indeed. Charlie, a.k.a Prince (short for Prince Charming as he is called by the girls) seems to be the one. He is not perfect, but Rose believes he is made of good stuff and that with a woman's proper guidance he could grow into a great man.

*SPOILER* To give him credit, he does try. However, Charlie is has been indulged too often, and when the temptation becomes too much he succumbs to his old habits. That is all I shall divulge.*END OF SPOILER*

Watching all of the characters grow into who they were to be was delightful. Seeing how their relationships, ideals, personalities, and opinions grew and developed was interesting to see. Alcott is one of those delightful  authors who could have no major climax, but see the interest and beauty in everyday life.

There were some wonderful couples. I never especially liked Charlie, thinking him a "dandy." He seemed shallow and superficial... and perhaps, at first, he was. As the story progressed, though I was delighted to witness a change in him, a real desire to become a better person. *Another SPOILER* I was truly sad when he had his accident and died. It was quite surprising, as he seemed to be improving so much! I can not blame him or be terribly mad for his little relapse. I was only disappointed in him. *END OF SPOILER*

Mac was my favorite (boy) cousin from the first. His bookish ways and shy but eager outlook on life drew me in from the beginning. I knew he and Rose didn't think of each other in "that way," but I thought it would be lovely if it could progress and turn into something by and by. *EVEN MORE SPOILERS* It did, and I was very happy indeed. Rose's reaction was surprising, but I understood. (I was disappointed, but I understood.) Mac is everything a lover should be. He is kind and true, putting his love's comforts in front of his own, not declaring himself because HE wishes it and does not care for Rose's thoughts or feelings on the subject. He takes it quite calmly on her first rejection. He is a gentleman and works to improve himself "to deserve her." He does not bring the subject up again, but you can see the love in his eyes, and feel his love for her when they are together. *END OF SPOILER*

Another couple I was pleased about were Archie and Phebe. Phebe is Rose's friend and companion. I believe she was a servant in the first book. She is pretty and talented, having practiced music abroad. She is kind and unassuming, and when Archie loved her from the first I was quite pleased. Archie was smart and well-to-do, with a good head on his shoulders. He truly loved Phebe. Phebe loved him too, though at first I thought she was rather cold. You find later though that she didn't want to make trouble in the family, as she was "beneath" him, and she thought he deserves better. My heart broke when she went away, but I understood why she thought she had to go. I, like Rose, completely understand her thinking. I also loved the scene where Phebe sings at the children's charity concert. You just have to read it.

Uncle Alec was the most amazing father figure for Rose! I love him so much! I hold the same views as Rose, when she says she hopes to find someone like Uncle Alec when she gets married. I couldn't agree more. He has a more modern view on women than the rest of the family, thank goodness. He believes exercise, wholesome food, and a full education are what a girl needs. He believes parties, balls, and gossip can ruin a girl and muddle her head, which seemed to be true.

The characters are all fascinating, good or bad, and the moral and feeling in the story is wonderful. I can't understand how this book is not more well known. It's at least as good as 'Little Women.' Actually, there are several books of hers that I believe deserve more recognition. *cough cough* 'An Old-Fashioned Girl.' I highly recommend it, and it's a lovely feel good story. It's also a fairly good sized tome, 336 pages. I hope you enjoyed the  review, and possibly some of you may feel the urge to read it? Because that's all I hope for. :) Until next time. -The Madd Rose (and this is a little random, but I was looking over this post and it doesn't have many pictures, but there's no movie for this book, so pictures are hard to find. next post will have a lot to make up for it.)