The Living Force
Thanks for highlighting these parts that I had forgotten about. Worthwhile to read your recap.Hi guys,
After the RFK book, I dove back in to the Simply Quarted, I must say I was truly looking forward to see how that series ended, and I wasn't disappointed. First off, I will say that being a big fan of the Bedwyns, it was truly rewarding to see them being an active part of these stories. Freyja Bedwyn is somewhat central to the series, and she was always one of my favorite characters, and seeing it all go around was a treat. A few thoughts on the spoiler section.
As a quick recap, the Simply Quartet follows the story of a few teachers in Mrs. Martin's school for girls, Mrs. Claudia Martin was Freyja Bedwyn's governess at some point, until she walked out on them because of how imposible Freyja was to educate, giving them all a lesson in character and humility. This plays an important role later on her story.
The story follows Claudia and Joseph, her story is somewhat well known, but one of her key features is that because of her experience with the Bedwyns she despised the aristocracy, and specially dukes, this is to a degree part of her arch, to let go of the past so that she could move into the future. It's a whole theme with her, at some point her first love shows up in the story to stir up some trouble, but at the same time it gives her closure, and recognition of where her own grudges come from and how much she had allowed them to rule her and define her.
In her interaction with her first love, Charlie, an interesting concept is explored I think, the idea of forgiving but not forgetting. And as he apologized for having abandoned her, and asks her to marry him, she through allowing her hurt to go, her would to heal, was capable of making a more conscious decision, which was to refuse his offer, but it wasn't out of resentment, it was out of her recognition of who she was and who he was. And It struck me that old grudges work like that in practical terms, it prevents us from seeing ourselves and a situation clearly. Grudges and old resentment comes with an established set of rules that we adhere to, but sometimes for the sake of that adhesion, we forego our ability to choose.
In some other stories the idea of guilt being self centered was explored, in this one the reasons why were made visible. If you place yourself at the center of someone else's life, or if you make them the center of yours, that creates a dynamic that you won't allow you to make a conscious choice. I thought that was marvelous.
Joseph, is the heir to a dukedom, so without Claudia working through her issues, she would have never been able to recognize him, as a human being and not simply as a category of human being. He has an illegitimate blind daughter, that he loves, but... and once again the idea of following rules not of one's choosing shows up... because of society, he hides her from everyone. But his love for her send him seeking Claudia for an education for her.
This little triangle is lovely and so very tender, their scenes were always very moving, his daughter, Lizzie, was the embodiment of innocence, and what brought Claudia and Joseph together, it was what gave them a chance to fight for themselves individually and for one another. And it gave them the bases for what their future life together would bring, as after their marriage they sought to open up a school for disabled children.
But, it was another way to show the betrayal of something pure and innocent, or rather, something authentic. Lizzie, could be understood too perhaps, as the light trapped by our obstinate adherence to rules not of our making. Be it pride, guilt, resentment or whatever other programs. Not only do we close ourselves to ourselves, but to the love/knowledge that may come from that relationship. if that makes sense.
In the end, Lizzie was enough for Joseph to escape a marriage to a truly coldhearted creature.
Claudia was such an endearing character, strong and mature, and I truly love stories about older characters, there's a maturity that is very enjoyable. She is thoughtful and careful with her words and very wise. Her entire character was build upon the idea of going for our goals/dreams with faith in life or the universe.
At some point she says something along the lines of: Life is a collection of dreams, and the trick is to know when to let some of them go, without growing bitter at life’s disappointments, and when to stop chasing them, so as to actually live life. Life is generous once one has decided to take a positive course, and will continue to open new doors in that direction, provided one is brave enough to keep on walking through them instead of choosing to remain on familiar wrong side of a door. Life will continue to provide opportunities for us should we have the will to carry on a positive path
That was brilliant, put another way, once you choose a direction in life that you know in your heart and mind to be positive, life will continue to open doors for you, and it's up to you to walk through them, despite how scary and how certain disappointment is, and our progress is truly limited by our choices and our capacity to continue to accept the path drawn before us by the choices we've made thus far.
Another interesting idea, was on one occasion when Claudia and Joseph were walking in silence, she said something along the lines of: We're afraid of silence, of our potential. There’s a lot of things surrounded by silence and darkness, truly our fears and the things we wish we never had to look at, however, our potential also lies in that place... and that is more difficult to behold. What we don’t wish to admit is simply scary and painful, though sometimes enough to freeze us from action and send us seeking busy oblivion, as if that were possible. But our bright and beautiful parts, hidden in the silence, those are truly terrifying, because it’s a reflection of who we could be but choose not to be.
And that's true, sometimes we seek oblivion of busywork because we don't wish to hurt, but sometimes this hurt isn't from a wound, sometimes is from unexplored potential. And she discussed this several times during the book, the need to take a leap of faith into the unknown, not as a reckless and immature way to not settle down, but as a way to continue to become who you choose to be.
But, this caused in her a bit, if not a lot, of pride. Her defining feature in life was how proud she was of her independence, and she lived her life as a defiant act against the aristocracy, she became identified with it. But as she discovered that it was Freyja Bedwyn, who had been the benefactor of her school (unbeknownst to Claudia), which allowed her to become independent, that she realized that there's really no way to live disconnected from other human beings, we need each other.
Though she had done enough work on herself, through helping her girls, that she handled the realization of Freyja's involvement in her life with grace and maturity. Closing the cycle initiated in Slightly Scandalous in a very rewarding manner.
The book also explores moments, and how every moment represents a choice in our lives, but there are forks in the road that are crucial. Also of love and parenting, Claudia decided to sacrifice her early wishes for a family by becoming a teacher, pouring that love onto her girls. Interestingly enough, if she hadn't chosen to do so, she would not have become who she was all along, and as such her life would have been entirely different. Several aspects of her character would not be there, compassion, understanding and patience, humility and a certain level of pride, things she gave her students and that formed her into someone capable of navigating a reinventing of herself once again after meeting and marrying Joseph.
Doing what it doesn't like works much the same way, but Claudia did not do it in an self adversarial way, she did it in a self daring manner. And she found herself in the process.
In the end, Joseph and Claudia found love in one another by recognizing the brilliant parts of the other. By encouraging each other to strive for more conscious self awareness, but... it was never imposing or rash, their relationship grew quite nicely, their story was very well paced. They always respected the other's destiny, until they found a way to make their lives align and work.
Overall, it was a great story and an end tot he quartet, I truly enjoyed getting through it.
Thanks for reading, the series as a whole was very nice, the last one was particularly moving for me. This series takes place After Bedwyn and before Survivor's.
Now, I wish to finish the Westcott series with the book that just came out, Someone Perfect :) I'll report back.
(Breton) Anybody else have...? Well, only one that I have was kind of the wrap-up question if that's okay. Do the C's have any message for the Finnish group, or something that we haven't asked about that maybe we should know?
A: If you have a strong bond, and one of you comes to this locator, it will ensure that the others have a magnetic connection. Tomiro, there is someone for you, but she cannot free herself from the tangles of her life if you cannot and thereby transmit the strength to her.
The series really is a great one, and it's also good to have part of this book happening during one of the Survivors' meeting, so we get to 'see' them all again and learn a bit more about each of them and how they interact with each other, giving feedback in a loving way and supporting each other without actually doing for the other what needs to be done by each member of the club in his/her own life.
The following idea, "she cannot free herself from the tangles of her life if you cannot and thereby transmit the strength to her" can perhaps be found in the plots of some romance novels. If not, the book needs to be written.
If I offered you something that enriched your sex life, deepened your connection with your partner, and made you more emotionally literate, you would, I assume, think you'd stumbled onto a questionable supplements website. Well, I'm not selling pills, I'm talking about romance novels. For guys. Which is not as strange as it might sound.
According to the nonprofit Romance Writers of America, 18 percent of romance fiction readers are men. Fully one-third of erotic audiobooks are downloaded by guys, another report says. In a billion-dollar industry comprising 23 percent of the adult fiction market, that’s a lot of dudes. Overall, romance is the second-most-popular genre in American fiction, below only thrillers, yet there’s still archaic stigma about romance novels and the people who read them, rooted in sexism and snobbery. I’m here to tell you that romance novels are for guys—in fact, they’re for anyone who wants to live a more emotionally rich life.
If romance novels conjure images of drugstore paperbacks, the ones with Fabio's oiled-up abs on the cover and nothing but florid writing on love making, let me bring you up to speed. Today’s romance novels offer more than sex (though, don't worry, they do contain plenty of it). Unlike previous generations, these books dig deep into the emotional lives of characters. They center smart, strong, frequently stubborn men and women who are putting in the work to live authentic and meaningful lives. Want to read a story about people breaking free of tradition to find modern love? Figuring out their careers? Committing sexy espionage? There's a romance novel for that. The genre is packed with sports, spaceships, superheroes, and again, really fantastic sex.
The magic these novels can work on men is profound. Romance novels open doors to important conversations many men aren’t having about partnership, pleasure, and consent. In a culture that teaches men to conceal or suppress their emotions, romance novels model a more emotionally available form of masculinity—one where a willingness to be vulnerable is the key to intimacy with a partner. Take Jasmine Guillory's While We Were Dating for example, in which we see a man working out his baggage in therapy to become the best partner he can be.
Jason Rogers, a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of the Bromantics Book Club, a group of guys who read and discuss romance novels together, started reading the genre more than a year ago, and he’s not looking back.
“Romance novels gave me a more precise appreciation of intimacy,” Rogers said. “It helped me unpack what intimacy actually is. Obviously there’s a lot of sex in romance novels, but the books helped crystallize that sex is an antecedent to real intimacy. Sex is an expression of intimacy, but real emotional intimacy is so much more important.”
Transformative emotional intimacy can't be built in a day, so romance novel newcomers may want to start in the bedroom. Dr. Justin Lehmiller, a research fellow at the Kinsey Institute and host of the Sex and Psychology podcast, pitches romance novels as a tool for men to diversify their ideas about sex, fantasies, and what turns them on.
“Sometimes we don’t know what we like until we see it or read about it,” Lehmiller said. “Men have a lot of emotionality in their sexual fantasies. That’s an element often missing from pornography, but present in romance novels. Men can find these novels arousing and appealing in a different way, because they offer something different than mainstream porn.”
I like a lot that series too (Bedwyns). I also got attached to some of the characters but Freyja's was exceptional.After the RFK book, I dove back in to the Simply Quarted, I must say I was truly looking forward to see how that series ended, and I wasn't disappointed. First off, I will say that being a big fan of the Bedwyns, it was truly rewarding to see them being an active part of these stories. Freyja Bedwyn is somewhat central to the series, and she was always one of my favorite characters, and seeing it all go around was a treat. A few thoughts on the spoiler section.
...I enjoyed the story, tough it wasn't as good as some others I've read from her. I will share a few thoughts on the spoiler section.
Cornelia died early, when Caesar was only in his early 30ies and she in her late twenties, but Caesar honored Cornelia beyond what was the custom at the time.Suetonius reports that Caesar and Cornelia were married in the consulate occurring after Caesar lost his father, which occurred in his sixteenth year. In Suetonius' chronology, Caesar was born in 100 BC, placing the death of his father in 85 or 84. Thus, he probably married Cornelia in 83, when he was about seventeen years old, and she perhaps a little younger.[ii] Their daughter, Julia, was Caesar's only legitimate child, and the only one he acknowledged.[iii]
The young Caesar was one of those to whom Sulla turned his attention after returning to Rome. Although he had taken no part in the government of Marius and Cinna, and done nothing to oppose Sulla's return, Caesar's aunt, Julia, was the wife of Marius; his cousin was the younger Marius, who as consul in 82 was defeated by Sulla, and had taken his own life as the city fell. Marius and Cinna had appointed the young Caesar to an important priesthood, and by marrying Cinna's daughter, Caesar gained control of a substantial dowry. Sulla regarded Caesar as a potential rival, and commanded him to divorce Cornelia.
However, neither the deprivation of his priesthood, Cornelia's dowry, and his own inheritance, nor the threat of violence, would induce Caesar to forsake his wife. He was proscribed, and escaped Rome in disguise, evading capture by regularly changing his place of concealment, and on at least one occasion by bribing the commander of a patrol sent to search for Sulla's enemies. Eventually Sulla relented, following the intercession of Caesar's numerous friends and kinsmen, and Caesar returned home to Cornelia.
After about thirteen years of marriage, Cornelia died early in her husband's quaestorship, which occurred in BC 69 or 68.[iv] Caesar was due to depart for Spain, and had already pronounced the funeral oration of his aunt, Julia, from the rostra, as was customary for elderly Roman matrons. He then gave an oration in honour of Cornelia, which was extraordinary in the case of a young woman, although it later became commonplace. Historically, Cornelia is often stated to have died in childbirth, but this is not confirmed.
Regarding the mentioned refusal of Mary to marry Lord Clanbrassil, one reads in his Wiki:Mary Rich, Countess of Warwick (8 November 1625 – 12 April 1678) was the seventh daughter of Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork, and his second wife, Catherine Fenton, only daughter of Sir Geoffrey Fenton, Principal Secretary of State for Ireland, and Alice Weston.
Mary was noted from childhood onwards for her exceptional stubbornness and independence. Her father, who was probably the most formidable figure in Irish politics at the time, called her "my unruly daughter" and was unable to control her. He arranged a marriage for her with Lord Clanbrassil but Mary, who was only 13, refused to marry Clanbrassil on grounds of an "incurable aversion" to him, and no threat or argument would change her mind. Her father cut off her allowance, leaving her without any money to buy new clothes, but to no avail. Two years later, having been banished from her father's house to another abode near Hampton Court, she made a secret love marriage with Charles Rich, 4th Earl of Warwick, who was then a penniless younger son with no financial prospects, who had frequently visited her when she was recovering from an attack of measles.
Her father, who was clearly fond of her despite their differences, relented sufficiently to provide quite a generous dowry. Though Mary may have been known as Richard Boyle's "unruly daughter", she expressed in her writings great respect and gratitude for him.
The marriage between Mary Boyle and Charles Rich was not always easy. Both his and her Wiki mention that in different words, but his ends with:In 1638 he was betrothed to Lady Mary Boyle, the 13-year-old daughter of The 1st Earl of Cork. The marriage, however, never took place, as Mary, despite intense pressure from her formidable father, absolutely refused to marry him, on the unflattering ground that she found him physically repulsive. This defiance of a father's wishes, particularly in such a young girl, was almost unprecedented. Mary, however, was noted from an early age for her extraordinary strength of character. Even her father ruefully admitted that he was unable to control "my unruly daughter", and since he was genuinely fond of her he let the betrothal lapse.
Mary Rich had a sister, Katherine Jones, Viscountess Ranelagh. While Mary had a difficult but deep marriage, her sister Katherine, married at 15, ended up being estranged from her husband, and brought up their four children alone. Katherine was skillful in medicine, open-minded, diplomatic and looked for peace when there was political tension and trouble, of which there was a lot in her lifetime. She had a scientific mind, supported her brother's experiments, and was always ready to help her many friends and contacts if she could.Despite their quarrels, he left all his property to his widow for her life, an unusual step at the time. The love of his life died five years later.
I´ve just finished the other day Caroline Linden´s "The Wagers of Sin" series.
Well, after finishing that second book from Burrowes - this was quite an awesome read!
The main plot of the series deals with the characters we meet in the notorious gambling Vega Club.
The characters are so interesting and out of time, especially the lady in the first novel, and each lady has her own strengths.
The men are discovering that they are more than they thought and the plot of each book is a real page-turner.
I highly recommend the series
Beautifully said!I agree, and there are some great examples of noble behavior. It's been a while since I've read the series, but I think that in the second book, the heroine has to deal with her husband's cold family members, and she handles the situation by placing the responsibility of improving relations with them fully on her self. She was externally considerate and she didn't whine or moan about her situation, but did what she had to do. Being thoughtful, kind and respectful. That's an approach taken straight out of Stoic philosophy.
In terms of basic life lessons, I think the series showcase how lies, cowardice, hiding and so on just lead to more problems in the end, we always end up paying the price. Then there's leaping to conclusions about people, and even ourselves, which seems to be a common theme of these novels.