Romantic Fiction, Reality Shaping and The Work

Lys

Jedi
I finished the "Devil's riders" series with Luke's story which I've totally been absorbed by.
A very funny one again, with two characters with a strong personality !

I'd been a bit sad for Isabella first as she's hard on herself, finding herself not pretty especially as Luke is described as a true beauty.
That is for sure a superficial 3D being part of mine that hurt at that time. I've been certain for quite a long time that beauty played a big part in success in life, this was - among other things - why I'd had a complex relationship with my body for years.

So, this book has acted like a healer for me as Luke's sight of Isabella is more profound than simply finding her pretty.
I noticed that in some other books, but I don't know why, this particular one helped a lot.

And, as a relationship is supposed to reveal your true nature (IMO), the bad side as much as the good, I believe that love helps a lot to find oneself beautiful through the eyes of one's partner. And I think that's one of the magical part of love.

Well, I look forward to reading Anne Gracie's books again ! I'll miss the Devil's riders.
 

seek10

The Living Force
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There are two books that continue the Huxley series (Elisa Braden) which are excellent and have a real, diabolical, psychopathic villain. Recall, the Huxley series:
...

Then, continuing though a different series:

The Making of a Highlander
The Taming of a Highlander

The last one was utterly heartbreaking and totally engaging. If ever anybody deserved a happy ending, that guy did!
I finished 2 books in this series. I listened to the audio version of the The Making of Highlander. It took me some time to understand the Scottish accent, but it was fun. I read the second one (The Taming of a Highlander), which is typical Huxley girl doing what they want making their loved one damn nervous, but strengthens the bond in the end( like in Ever yours, Annabelle). Second one was more violent and made me to look for the history of 'Honor violence' of old Scottish clans. the author seems to have one more book in the series with title 'The Temptation of a Highlander', but the date is not yet announced.
On Netflix there is series titled The Bridgerton, which is based on Jill Quinn books. I have finished whole season together with my wife :) She even cried couple of times (I tried to not :))I think, it's made quite good ;)

Unfortunately, there are some "today's world" adds, which I think, were not present in original books (I haven't read yet). Maybe someone who read that, also watched the series and can comment more on this?
I watched the first 2 episodes of Netflix's Bridgerton. It was not as bad as I expected. Sure, it has some historically incorrect stuff like blacks as duke's and Queen looks more Woke etc. The costumes, scenes, colors are very good. When we read the descriptions of places, dresses, we end up imagining the scenes according to our experience. But watching the actual scenes, it doesn't feel that glorious. Materialistically, what is not affordable to common man in those days is affordable to middle class now a days(Thanks Chinese cheap labor). What misses in the Video version is internal dialog and time to contemplate.
 

genero81

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I watched the first 2 episodes of Netflix's Bridgerton. It was not as bad as I expected. Sure, it has some historically incorrect stuff like blacks as duke's and Queen looks more Woke etc. The costumes, scenes, colors are very good. When we read the descriptions of places, dresses, we end up imagining the scenes according to our experience. But watching the actual scenes, it doesn't feel that glorious. Materialistically, what is not affordable to common man in those days is affordable to middle class now a days(Thanks Chinese cheap labor). What misses in the Video version is internal dialog and time to contemplate.

I watched the whole series. I would say that is a good assessment. It's cute, but not as good as most of the books I've read. If you're looking for something to watch, it's pretty good.
 

Alana

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I watched the first 2 episodes of Netflix's Bridgerton. It was not as bad as I expected. Sure, it has some historically incorrect stuff like blacks as duke's and Queen looks more Woke etc. The costumes, scenes, colors are very good.

What misses in the Video version is internal dialog and time to contemplate.
I watched the whole series. I would say that is a good assessment. It's cute, but not as good as most of the books I've read. If you're looking for something to watch, it's pretty good.

Agree with both. I actually got to enjoy it from the beginning, although internally judging the "wokeness" elements thrown in it for no good reason. It is however much better than a lot of other stuff that passes for entertainment today, a lot of humor and drama is packed into those 8 episodes! but yes, it will never be as good as our romance novels.

I haven't read this series in book format yet, so I am curious if any of you watched the series AND read the books, and what your impressions were in regards to the story and its presentation.

From what I understand, there will be another season coming out, some of it continuing with the Penelope and Colin story.
 

Mari

The Living Force
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I won´t start Bridgerton show for many reasons (interest, time, etc.), but also - let´s be real: black dukes in England Regency period!!!! :rolleyes: Should be listed on IMDB as "Fantasy" not "Drama, Romance". :-D
Like watching a black actress playing Anne Frank or Anna Karenina!!! ...and that would probably be a hit movie! :rolleyes:

But god forbid white actress/actor playing i.e. a black slave in America - it would bring a revolution!!!! BLM would get 1000000 fit of the vapors, to say it mildly...

So yeah, I´m kind of annoyed by the concept of the series, going hand in hand with everything around this BLM and "racial injustice" that is going on, so I won´t watch that in near future (or at all...).

My 2ct....
 

Woodsman

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Well, Leo Tolstoy can go blow. I feel betrayed!

(Though, really, I just didn't properly research what I was in for. I didn't want to 'spoil' the book. -This will be the last time I make that mistake.)

Anna Karenina, widely considered one of the great romance novels of the ages, turns out to be a tragedy.

Spoilers ahead, (though I don't know how the book could be further spoiled):

-A vibrant, wonder of a women in a boring marriage falls in love with a dashing young officer, tries her level best to push away his advances, gives in, and over the next two years, her life turns to shite, her mind sinks into madness and she ends it all by throwing herself under a train. The End.

What a collosal waste of time. (To be fair, Tolstoy's writing style is fantastic, the translation is very readable, and it might almost be worth finishing the book simply because of how much fascinating information about the state of Russian socio-politics and economics in the mid 1800's is jammed into the novel. I was half way through when I realized it wasn't going to end happily and tossed it into a corner with disgust).

What a total downer! I don't want this! I'm getting off this train, -before it runs over a wonderful person!

I feel genuinely annoyed and disappointed! What the hell, Leo? What's the matter with you? Why would you focus on such a light-dimming, horrible spectacle? It's like writing in detail about a car crash. Are you stupid? Are you a nihilist? Is this supposed to be helpful in some way? I can read horrible things any time I want! There's an abundance of horrible things on my bookshelf. It's called "Research". -You're supposed to do that research so that you know how to properly guide the characters under your care.

Huff.

Okay. I'm going to page one of this thread to find something worthy of my time.
 

genero81

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What a total downer! I don't want this! I'm getting off this train, -before it runs over a wonderful person!

I feel genuinely annoyed and disappointed! What the hell, Leo? What's the matter with you? Why would you focus on such a light-dimming, horrible spectacle? It's like writing in detail about a car crash. Are you stupid? Are you a nihilist?

:lol: It's Tolstoy, what did you expect?
 

Woodsman

The Living Force
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:lol: It's Tolstoy, what did you expect?
War & Peace, but with less Napoleon!

I mean, the same narrative patterns did unfold; in War & Peace, the dashing young officer ended up lonely, (though not in tragedy), and the starlet of the story, (Natasha Rostov) ended up happy with Pierre, a genuinely decent guy, big-hearted who Karma rewarded handsomely, while the snakey villains met suitably miserable ends. All with basically Star Wars on horseback going on in the background. The whole thing was completely awesome!

By contrast, in Anna Karenina, the genuinely decent guy archetype was actually tiresome and kind of annoying, hard to sympathize with, and the Natasha clone ('Kitty') was wishy washy and unimpressive. They were a good match for each other, (the Moral of the Story pairing), but one whose wedding you'd definitely prefer not to get an invite to.
 

Redrock12

The Living Force
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It seems you read the series out of order? As you read Web of Love before Gilded Web (?), which is the first of the series.
Anyways, I've completed the series myself, and am now reading A Temporary Wife / Promise of Spring.

Devil's Web: another very compelling read, and often excruciatingly painful (and very irritating) though for different reasons than Gilded Web (Web of Love was good, but I found it weaker than the other two - a bif far-fetched, too, in terms of the characters' behaviour and reactions). Like others have commented, I wanted to shout at Mad and James more than once: "stop that nonsense and just talk to each other, dammit!" They came sooo close to admitting their feelings and showing their true selves so many times, only for James (or Madeline, but more often James) to ruin everything at the last moment, and then you see the rift between them growing wider after each bickering and lack of communication and misunderstanding what the other said/meant. Balogh really played with the readers' nerves with this one!
And they came so close to not making it and separating forever. Imagine if Madeline hadn't been pregnant, or hadn't told him just as he was leaving the room, he'd have just left for good and they both would have been miserable for the rest of their lives.
James' false personality/nasty behaviour reminded me of an ex-bf. Right down to some of his hurtful comments about Mad being empty-headed, stupid and shallow. And he was morose, brooding and cold. Except the comparison ends here as there was nothing deeper in that guy (it was just an act, he was very manipulative), whereas James used it as a mask to protect himself, really did suffer from a harsh upbringing and was horribly abused and deceived in his youth which had dire consequences for him for years and which made him torture himself and wrongly believe that he was evil and incapable of love.
Well, not much, if anything, I can add to your analysis of The Devil's Web Adaryn. You've pretty well said what I was going to say
My only criticism is that the confrontational scenarios between Madeline and James were overdone, ie there were too many, particularly after J and M's wedding. Maybe Balogh was ordered by her publisher to extend it, for whatever reason, but I'm just speculating. The only two interjects that seemed to give it some meaning was Carl Beasley's poisonous intrusion into James and Madeline's lives and Jame's confrontation with him. The other was James' conversation with Dora and the subsequent revelation regarding her first pregnancy, and Madeline's misinterpretation of it.
It was a pretty good read, but, imo it could have been even better if MB had produced a more condensed narrative.
Then again, maybe it's just me. I think I need to take a break from reading romance novels.
 

Mari

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I‘ve finished A Christmas Bride by M.Balogh.

Wow what a trip!!!! The story was incredible, I couldn´t stop reading to see what will happen and to find out what´s Helena´s story - I had no clue whatsoever.

I didn’t get Helena.
I was thinking: What's the deal with this woman!?
I´ve figured out at the beginning how this might roll on (Helena getting pregnant) but still I couldn't figure out her. What was her problem? It was like reading about several personalities in one. She kind of reminded me of myself and my mood swings and arguings I had with my man, years ago when we started to live together, and it was fascinating to read it, so I couldn´t "judge" her too harshly, so I´ve just kept reading the book to see what happens - two dominating personas clash....
Also her cynical view of family - I felt actually sorry for her.

Edgar, on the other hand - I really liked and respected. His way of thinking and his honorable ways and his calmness. I also wondered how long will that cool last and what will she do to provoke him to lose his balance.

...
And then the final resolution; I didn’t see that coming. It was, yes, shocking but to me also very sad - how are people so lost and alone and grabbing to every little affection and call it love. Again, had a quite a flashback, nothing like in the book, but that feeling of grasping for affection and wanting to love and to be with someone....

I‘ve „fallen in love“ with Edgar; the guy was really great - a role model of sanity, stability and maturity.

Overall; this book was like nothing I‘ve read so far; Balog‘s writing stile was yet again very different than her other books; the mess in Helena‘s head was mind-blowing: talk about thinking one thing, saying second thing and doing third.
 

Laura

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I‘ve finished A Christmas Bride by M.Balogh.

Wow what a trip!!!! The story was incredible, I couldn´t stop reading to see what will happen and to find out what´s Helena´s story - I had no clue whatsoever.

I didn’t get Helena.
I was thinking: What's the deal with this woman!?
I´ve figured out at the beginning how this might roll on (Helena getting pregnant) but still I couldn't figure out her. What was her problem? It was like reading about several personalities in one. She kind of reminded me of myself and my mood swings and arguings I had with my man, years ago when we started to live together, and it was fascinating to read it, so I couldn´t "judge" her too harshly, so I´ve just kept reading the book to see what happens - two dominating personas clash....
Also her cynical view of family - I felt actually sorry for her.

Edgar, on the other hand - I really liked and respected. His way of thinking and his honorable ways and his calmness. I also wondered how long will that cool last and what will she do to provoke him to lose his balance.

...
And then the final resolution; I didn’t see that coming. It was, yes, shocking but to me also very sad - how are people so lost and alone and grabbing to every little affection and call it love. Again, had a quite a flashback, nothing like in the book, but that feeling of grasping for affection and wanting to love and to be with someone....

I‘ve „fallen in love“ with Edgar; the guy was really great - a role model of sanity, stability and maturity.

Overall; this book was like nothing I‘ve read so far; Balog‘s writing stile was yet again very different than her other books; the mess in Helena‘s head was mind-blowing: talk about thinking one thing, saying second thing and doing third.

Yeah. This was a book that demonstrated how a "soul in struggle" could act pretty much psychopathic. It was a very uncomfortable story with a pretty shocking revelation, but well worth it in lesson value.
 

Laura

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Well, not much, if anything, I can add to your analysis of The Devil's Web Adaryn. You've pretty well said what I was going to say
My only criticism is that the confrontational scenarios between Madeline and James were overdone, ie there were too many, particularly after J and M's wedding. Maybe Balogh was ordered by her publisher to extend it, for whatever reason, but I'm just speculating. The only two interjects that seemed to give it some meaning was Carl Beasley's poisonous intrusion into James and Madeline's lives and Jame's confrontation with him. The other was James' conversation with Dora and the subsequent revelation regarding her first pregnancy, and Madeline's misinterpretation of it.
It was a pretty good read, but, imo it could have been even better if MB had produced a more condensed narrative.
Then again, maybe it's just me. I think I need to take a break from reading romance novels.

I suspect that your discomfort may have something to tell you. And yes, a break now and then is needed with some of these stories. There are some that are really heavy and others that are light. What is amazing is how we are able to enter into the mental/emotional worlds of the characters and derive powerful lessons from their experiences. I can tell ya, it has already helped me a lot especially in reviewing my own life experiences and being better able to see where and how I made errors in judgment and mistakes in my choices. It may be that I followed the path that was necessary for me, but still, I am now able to see where and how I may have hurt others and why and how I should forgive those who hurt me. I can't DO anything about most of it, but knowing and sending out the thought that I'm sorry or I forgive may mean something.
 

Laura

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It seems you read the series out of order? As you read Web of Love before Gilded Web (?), which is the first of the series.
Anyways, I've completed the series myself, and am now reading A Temporary Wife / Promise of Spring.

Devil's Web: another very compelling read, and often excruciatingly painful (and very irritating) though for different reasons than Gilded Web (Web of Love was good, but I found it weaker than the other two - a bif far-fetched, too, in terms of the characters' behaviour and reactions). Like others have commented, I wanted to shout at Mad and James more than once: "stop that nonsense and just talk to each other, dammit!" They came sooo close to admitting their feelings and showing their true selves so many times, only for James (or Madeline, but more often James) to ruin everything at the last moment, and then you see the rift between them growing wider after each bickering and lack of communication and misunderstanding what the other said/meant. Balogh really played with the readers' nerves with this one!
And they came so close to not making it and separating forever. Imagine if Madeline hadn't been pregnant, or hadn't told him just as he was leaving the room, he'd have just left for good and they both would have been miserable for the rest of their lives.
James' false personality/nasty behaviour reminded me of an ex-bf. Right down to some of his hurtful comments about Mad being empty-headed, stupid and shallow. And he was morose, brooding and cold. Except the comparison ends here as there was nothing deeper in that guy (it was just an act, he was very manipulative), whereas James used it as a mask to protect himself, really did suffer from a harsh upbringing and was horribly abused and deceived in his youth which had dire consequences for him for years and which made him torture himself and wrongly believe that he was evil and incapable of love.

James was another character who was a "soul in struggle" whose behavior was a bit psychopathic externally. It makes it very clear why we must take time and care and thought before we decide that a person is one or the other.
 

Mililea

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I'm really tempted to take a little break from the Mac Kenzies (am currently on the 4th book) and switch to M. Balogh. The comments here really make me curious. :cool:

Things seem to be a bit more turbulent at the "A Christmas bride". What do you think?
 

Mari

The Living Force
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I'm really tempted to take a little break from the Mac Kenzies (am currently on the 4th book) and switch to M. Balogh. The comments here really make me curious. :cool:

Things seem to be a bit more turbulent at the "A Christmas bride". What do you think?
Well, I would say - patience and no hurry....
There are over 170 books on the list (currently) and each I´ve read brought me something to think about.
I cannot speed read + when I start series, I´m in it all the way, consumed with characters and their destinies.

I felt the same at one point, but then I thought - if I´ve moved to the next new book every time Laura suggested a new one, I´d have half of the series not finished! :lol:

+ Mekenzies are awesome! ;-)
 
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