Tag Archive: france


Remember when I said I was participating in a reading Challenge from ChickLit Plus?  The rules are that I have to read a book of Chick Lit once a month and review it on the blog.

I think I picked a good one this month.

Book Cover Image from barnesandnoble.com

I went for a historical fiction romance novel called The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig that I found in Paperback Reader in Kankakee. This is one of those stories that is a book within a book, a story within a story. The overlying story is about a history graduate student going to England to research a historical figure known as the Pink Carnation. This takes Eloise to London and the home of a grande dame as well as in the way of a handsome lord.

The second story is set in the Regency period during the semi-peaceful era between France and England, this book sets to tell the tale of the Purple Gentian and the Pink Carnation.

These are fictional spies in the manner of the Scarlet Pimpernel who foiled the French as they try to kill off their aristocracy. In this book, the Purple Gentian takes over for the Scarlet Pimpernel, rescuing English aristocracy accused of being spies.

That means we get cold-war type action, gothic Parisian houses and maidens looking for action. Not sexual but as spies. Our heroine, Amy, gets both but not before she before she brings in an entire family when a rescue is needed.

The hero of our story, Richard, is a complex character who is trying to remember all of his duties to God and country while his mother is trying to find him a wife. His work is as a scholar with the French government, placing him in Paris most of the time.

Amy is the daughter of an English woman and a French Duke who lost his life to Madame Guillotine. But now her brother is grown up and needs a ‘lady of the house.’ So Amy plans to find the Purple Gentian and join his group to save her beloved France from Napoleon.

While Amy can grow tiresome – I swear the girl has ADD or at least too much energy and enthusiasm – other characters spring into action to bring reason and a plan into action. That is what keeps the book interesting. The story with Eloise could be interesting but it is really a wrapper for the Purple Gentian. By not giving it enough depth, I found I was not really interested in Eloise and her battles with the lord who did not want her looking at family papers and solving the mystery.

I think I would read this book again and I am currently thinking about getting the sequel, The Masque of the Black Tulip, which I also saw at the Paperback Reader.

Do you have any Chick Lit suggestions for my challenge?

Most of the time, I write about movies that the whole family can see together. In fact, I can tell you exactly what our family watched this last week.

If you have not seen the 2003 version of Peter Pan, you really must. It is beautifully photographed and fully realized emotionally. Jason Isaacs as Captain Hook is a vision to behold and his acting is superb. Jeremy Sumpter makes a fine Peter.

But that is not the movie I am talking about this week. There are times that adults want to watch a movie that is meant for adults.

I am not talking about ‘X’ rated flicks but movies that have adult storylines, context, language and violence. This week, my inner adult wanted to watch Inglourious Basterds directed by Quentin Tarantino. The misspelling is all Tarantino’s work, who refuses to divulge why he did it.

This “R” rated flick is one I would consider a fantasy in which the bad guys get what we always wanted to do to them. The Nazis are perhaps the easiest villains to portray without offending anyone, their particular brand of malevolence being the most vile in all of history.

The story is set in Nazi-occupied France. We are first shown a French farmhouse where a family is interrogated about Jewish families in the area. The interrogator is Col. Hans Landa, the Jew hunter. He says he is doing a job for Hitler but like anyone else he wants to be the best at his work.

Then there are the Basterds, a group of Jewish-American soldiers led by Lt. Aldo Raine. His commission is to get rid of Nazis, anyway possible. Because Raine is of Apache heritage, he wants scalps of every German his unit takes out. His goal is 100 scalps. The unit becomes feared and well-known in a short manner of time.

Years pass and one young German soldier has attained fame for his record number of kills as a sharpshooter. Goebbals has filmed a movie about his exploits and plans a big Paris premiere. The Basterds are aware and make plans to take out the leaders of the Third Reich, including Hitler. What none of them know about is the owner of the cinema and her own plans.

This is not an easy movie to watch. There is disturbing violence, gun battles and swearing. Brad Pitts and Christopher Waltz put in brilliant performances. Both men have a cause, both men believe they are right. But it is a movie that rankles.

There is constant tension as people try to weigh what they say so that they do not rile anyone and lose their life in the process. It is the act of always being on a highwire.

That is life under occupation by the enemy, is it not?

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle. Let the world, or at least St. Anne, know your family’s recent selection by dropping a line to momgoestothemovies@sbcglobal.net. You can also ‘friend’ me on Facebook.