Pearl in the Mist (Landry #2) by V.C. Andrews

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Fate whisked Ruby from a simple life in the Louisiana Bayou. But her new riches bring more treachery than happiness…

Even after a year as a Dumas, Ruby still wonders at the splendour of the family’s New Orleans mansion, and rejoices in the love of the father she had never known. But true happiness in her new home is as elusive as d swamp mist. Ruby must carefully avoid a venomous enemy: her stepmother, Daphne, who cringes and sneers at her backwater upbringing. And Ruby’s every effort to befriend her twin sister, Gisselle — especially since Gisselle’s crippling accident — is answered with bitterness and vicious backstabbing.

So idyllic Greenwood — the exclusive girls’ boarding school that her father has chosen for his daughters’ senior year — seems to promise some peace from the conniving Daphne, and maybe even a fresh start with Gisselle. But Ruby’s kind isn’t welcome at Greenwood, and the legendarily strict headmistress, Mrs. Ironwood, plots with her stepmother to make her life miserable. Meanwhile, Gisselle is on a mission to break every school rule, leaving Ruby to suffer the humiliating punishments. But Ruby doesn’t lose hope — until a terrible tragedy leaves her alone in a world that never really wanted her. Ruby will have to summon every last ounce of her Cajun strength to reclaim her home, her future, and the happiness she once knew….

Pearl in the Mist (Landry #2) by V.C. Andrews

So – my revisiting of melodramatic books from my teen years continues with this second book in the Landry series.

These books are big, Southern US sagas with characters who are more stereotypes than real people, almost like they’re in a pantomime for adults. You know exactly who is good and who is evil, and the characters never deviate from those roles. The books are set many decades ago and totally dated, but that’s part of the charm.

I swear, I remembered the twins in this book as fair-haired, but apparently that was just me projecting my teenaged self onto them.

I was all over these as an adolescent, and remember this series particularly appealed to me because our heroine, Ruby, is an identical twin. Twin drama! Swapped identities! Stolen identities! One is an angel and one is the devil incarnate (and boy does she never stop complaining!).

Then we have the EVIL stepmother character who seems to spend her entire life plotting to ruin Ruby’s – for no particular reason.

Of course, despite her angelic qualities, nobody will ever listen to Ruby, and so she is constantly being blamed for her sister’s behaviour – that is, when people aren’t trying to lock her up in various institutions. She is the ultimate Mary Sue, and exactly the reason teen girls went crazy over these stories.

Honestly, the reason I kept reading was because I want to get to the next book, where the characters are finally out of school and living adult lives. I’d forgotten how bloody young they all were in the early books.

Virginia Andrews and – after her death – her ghost writer V.C. Andrews… Well, I hate people applying the word “trashy” to books, but I cannot think of anything more appropriate in this case.

The Week: 9th -15th January

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The only surviving flowers around here, after our heatwave. It was a gorgeous, sunny week.

What a ridiculously hot few days! Every day went into the mid-30s to 40 degrees (104 Fahrenheit), and it always feels so much hotter here inland, where it’s still and you don’t get a sea breeze – or much in the way of rain.

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2003 stamp for Ukrainian New Year

Happy Old New Year (14th January). Saturday was the day for New Year until the new calendar was brought in, and Ukrainians still recognise it.

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Speaking of Europe, 40 of the 65 people killed in Europe’s extreme winter weather are Ukrainian. And yet I’ve not heard the word “Ukraine” mentioned once on any news story here…

It’s like Europe’s biggest country doesn’t even exist…

Here is the baby magpie I call “Sticks” (because he is still tiny and skinny after months!). This week, and like his other family members, he was so hot he couldn’t close his beak. I fill up bowls of water, front and back, for them every day.

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It’s going to be a big shock in a few weeks, when we go to Europe, where there’s record snow… EVERYWHERE.

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Driving home from Ukrainian New Year drinks (I wasn’t driving!) on Friday afternoon, just before the freak storm hit. You can see how weird the sky already was.

Following the worst of the heat, we were hit by a brief, freak windstorm that brought down trees all over the city, including at Australian Parliament. We’d only just arrived home when it happened – thank goodness we weren’t on the road. This news story about it shows a trampoline go flying through a suburb, and someone’s roof blown off!

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That’s Federal Parliament in the background!

In other news, I found this story pretty shocking this week:

Pennsylvania school set maths homework on sex abuse of girl.

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I’m not even going to start on Trump’s latest acts of stupidity (because, UGH – gross), or the latest nonsense the Kremlin has been on about…

My review of Ruby (Landry #1) by V.C. Andrews

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My review of Slow Dance with the Best Man by Sophie Pembroke

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My review of One Grand Season (A Willowbrook Manor Romance Book 2) by Sarita Leone

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If you want your book reviewed…

Old book bindings at the Merton College library.Old_book_bindings BOOKS

The Golden Globes

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The Week: 2nd – 8th January

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Cooking hundreds of varenyky (Ukrainian dumplings) – just one of our trays – for Ukrainian Christmas.

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Summer Flowers on New Year’s Day.

So, it was another week, another Christmas for us. Now I have a few days to sort out birthdays for both my parents (and me!), have Ukrainian New Year, and then we’re off to Italy and London. It will be Easter straight after that – and we have two of those, too!

It has been very hot here, and it is going to get hotter in the next few days. I need to exercise because I have long-term knee problems related to my years as a ballet dancer (I have a talent for dislocating my right knee every few months!), but who can exercise when the temperatures are up around 40°C (104°F)?!

Speaking of ballet, I found an old photo of me backstage during a season of Giselle (Andrew, if you ever see this, I hope you don’t mind me posting your picture!). It was 1999, and – obviously – my night off from performances.

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First sunset of 2017

According to the lovely pussy-grabber, only stupid people oppose Russia. I’m guessing that means “stupid people” like my family and other friends in Ukraine, who are in the process of being invaded and slaughtered.

I was hacked by Russian trolls again on Saturday evening.

America: I know Russia rigged your election, but many millions of you still voted for this. It is unforgivable, and deeply upsetting for me on a personal level.

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Pro-Trump and Putin propaganda appearing in Montenegro. Serbia and Montenegro are almost totally anti-Ukrainian and pro-Putin. This is Hitler and Stalin take #2, and nobody seems to care.

Some of my favourite authors? I can no longer read their books. Anybody who supports Trump… It’s shocking we live in a world with people who think like that. This isn’t a difference of political opinion; it’s literally supporting mass murder.

I don’t even want to know what is going to happen to the world in the next four years.

Revisiting Old Books

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My review of The Workhouse Children by Lindsey Hutchinson

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Coming Up for Madeline Hunter

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Cover Love

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Revisiting Old Books

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I really need to catch up with my review books (did ANYBODY get anything done over Christmas? I sure didn’t!).

However, instead of catching up with new reads I’ve been heading back to books I read more than twenty years ago.

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Who didn’t go through a Virginia Andrews phase? Most people I know hit that period somewhere around year seven, when reading things like Flowers in the Attic was considered adult and edgy (and really bloody incestuous!). I have a mountain of largely second-hand paperbacks by Andrews and the ghost writer who took over after her death – all family melodramas worthy of soap operas.

No idea why, but I’m rereading a few of these truly trashy books at the moment (spoiler: they’re nowhere near as good as I thought they were back in the 1990s!).

I think sometimes revisiting old books isn’t the best idea.