Charlotte Brontë, 1850.
Charlotte Brontë, 1850.
Mid-autumn in Canberra, and it’s still summer dress weather. And I saw on the news that it is snowing on the other side of the country! What is going on?
A random ibis at the cemetery in Queanbeyan on Wednesday afternoon. Actually, there were quite a lot of them around – but no kangaroos for once!
Poor Notre Dame…
Happy Easter! I also have Ukrainian Easter next week.
I wrote a full thousand words about E.L. Fifty Shades James’ new book (which came out this week), a book that turns the sex trafficking of Southern and Eastern European women – and the women themselves – into a fetish, but I’m thinking it’s something I’ll regret putting out there publicly.
So, instead I’ll simply say this: this book is racist. On so many levels. I’m offended on behalf of my Ukrainian family. And I’m sickened that the publisher only saw dollar signs and couldn’t care less about decency.
And now I will direct you to this review:
Alessia Demachi is an Albanian immigrant, working illegally in England after escaping from would-be sex traffickers. Here are Alessia’s defining characteristics: She is a piano prodigy, chess master, and although she attended university in Albania to become an English teacher, she’s still befuddled by new words and speaks in the “charming” broken English of a helpless nubile sex-doll to be.
This contradictory depiction of Alessia is unbalanced and fundamentally inaccurate, reinforcing infantilising clichés about Eastern European women. As for the Albanian men in the novel: They’re all Neanderthalic thugs who are either kidnapping Alessia (something that happens multiple times) or selling her off in marriage to another kidnapper.
And this one:
Some people are not equipped to write stories of social realism that delve into topics like domestic abuse and sex trafficking. E.L. James is to these topics what Hannibal Lecter is to vegan cookery. The Mister features a heroine who was smuggled by traffickers from Albania to London to escape her abusive fiancé but escaped before she could be sold into sex slavery, and these matters are treated with the same care and focus by James as she affords to scenes where Maxim details his favourite music or the lavish meals they eat together.
Lisa Kleypas’ Victorian romances are books I go back to time and again. I recently reread Devil in Spring, the third instalment in the 1870s-set Ravenels series. I reviewed it HERE, and I love it because – like the others in the series – it has unique situations in a fascinating decade of the era.
The UK/Australian cover is below. The weird, prom queen US one is at the bottom of the post!
An eccentric wallflower
Most debutantes dream of finding husbands. Lady Pandora Ravenel has different plans. The ambitious young beauty would much rather stay at home and plot out her new board game business than take part in the London Season. But one night at a glittering society ball, she’s ensnared in a scandal with a wickedly handsome stranger.
A cynical rake
After years of evading marital traps with ease, Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent, has finally been caught by a rebellious girl who couldn’t be less suitable. In fact she wants nothing to do with him. But Gabriel finds the high-spirited Pandora irresistible. He’ll do whatever it takes to possess her, even if their marriage of convenience turns out to be the devil’s own bargain.
A perilous plot
After succumbing to Gabriel’s skilled and sensuous persuasion, Pandora agrees to become his bride. But soon she discovers that her entrepreneurial endeavors have accidentally involved her in a dangerous conspiracy – and only her husband can keep her safe. As Gabriel protects her from their unknown adversaries, they realise their devil’s bargain may just turn out to be a match made in heaven.
I’m sure everyone has seen the footage of Notre Dame in Paris on fire.
I have spent a lot of time in Paris – much of that time on my own. I used to walk to Notre Dame on many days, and simply sit in the cathedral for a while, occasionally attending a service, even though I’m not religious.
I thought it was terrible when far-right “activists” would go in there and shoot themselves at the altar to protest abortion or whatever. I thought that was as bad as it would get.
There was scaffolding on the part of the building that caught fire. Restoration work is so, so dangerous for historic buildings. Something very similar happened in Belfast when I was there last year.
This street art in Utrecht in the Netherlands has been doing the rounds of social media.