Re-read Charles de Lint's Jack the Giant Killer and Drink Down the Moon. I hadn't read these since they first came out in paper. De Lint is one of my favourite authors for his ability to make things really feel magic, and he has this ability even in these slim novels. The first is about two young women who find themselves unwittingly caught up in a battle between the Seelie and Unseelie courts of faeries, in a world sidewise to the contemporary world. In the second they and other mortals and many of the seelie and wild faeries are under attack by a rogue magician. I enjoyed both of these very much, though I do find that his current more expansive novels give his characters more room to breathe.
Georgette Heyer's Regency novel Frederica was an utter delight. This is the story of a bored man about town in Regency London who decides to help a distant relative make her sister's way in society--mostly to spite his sister, who has annoyed him. As he gets to know other members of the family he finds himself more and more charmed by them, and by the eldest sister, whom he has promised to help. Charming!
Tad Williams' doorstop stand-alone fantasy The War of the Flowers started rather slowly and could have been much more powerful with some judicious trimming. I almost bailed on it once or twice; however I still ended up liking it. This is the story of a talented but unsuccessful rock singer whose life begins to fall apart--his girlfriend miscarries and then leaves him, his mother dies painfully of cancer--when suddenly he is kidnapped and taken into faerie, guided by a smart-mouthed Tinkerbelle-like sprite and pursued by a horrible dark spirit that can't be thrown off the chase. He can't figure out why. In the end I liked this but really think it could have been much better.
Norah Lofts' historic children's novel, The Maude Reed Tale, is delightful. It's set just before the War of the Roses, when a young girl is sent off from that family and place she loves to a noble household. She hates it there and wants to go back home and run her family's wool business. But gradually she finds herself learning many things about the world and other people. SO when she runs away to go home she's in a position to learn even more. Great fun.
Also read another Georgette Heyer which I'm pretty sure I'd read as a teenager, False Colours. This is the story of a twin who is forced to pretend to be his absent elder twin for an evening to meet his twin's prospective fiancée's family. Unfortunately, his twin doesn't reappear, and the deception has to continue. For some reason this one wasn't as fun as the previous ones. Mildly amusing.
Retrospective: old journal
February 1991: Trip to England with Jim and Christina
Monday, February 18th, 12:30 am
Began by seeing the Monument to the Great Fire, admiring it and the inscription. Then walked to St. Paul's again admiring the outside, and because there was a service in progress--lovely sung mattins, but crowds and we couldn't see much--not the dome.
|Christina, the Emperor, and me.|
Went up to Tower Bridge to see the outside of Traitor's Gate. Admired (at Tower) Tudor bits and a room overhanging.
Afterwards we went to All-Hallow's-by-the-Tower with its Norman arch and some wonderful plaques on the walls. A man who thought he was in charge was rude to us.
Took a long journey (tube & bus because part of the tube was under repair) to Hampstead Heath--lovely houses, buildings. Went to Waterstone's and I found two kids' books and we found four poetry books worth buying--wonderful stuff. Then we raced up and down Rossland Hill (went in Rossland Church c. 1698s; it was lovely but a wonderful pianist stopped playing to tell us it was closed).
Arrived Keats' house shortly before closing, saw where Keats' seat must have been. Lovely house. We saw all kinds of memorabilia and walked around as much as we could before they closed. Lots of Fanny Burney's things--a lyre she never got with the strings made of Keats' hair and her engagement ring, that apparently she wore until her death, though she married someone else.
Went to Kentish Town (Kentarctica). Had more rats & cats & worms at a place called Happy House. Then to see Fairport convention. It was wonderful.
|Ticket to the show.|
Crowd a little strange back where we were sitting, but towards the end Christina and I moved forward and heard "Matty Groves" and a couple of jigs. The crowd there listening and dancing.
Back home, shower, write this, bed.