6.23.14 Classic Walks in Western Europe / The Reluctant Widow

Classic Walks in Western Europe by Gillian Souter and John Souter

first read / library book : 160/160

I picked this up to do landscape research for a story I am writing. Normally I do not read cover-to-cover walking guides, but this one is succinctly stuffed with evocative (though not purple) descriptions of terrain and architecture, brief lessons in history, and hints to weather, crops, wildlife, what to do with your luggage, and when you ought to pack your lunch ahead of time. The walks are laid out one day at a time, with a distance and a time suggested for each, with good directions for the roads and trails and advice on their difficulty. I’m mad that this is research and that the next phase of research is not going on all the walks. I would have very strong legs and I would have seen approximately one million cool things that I’m now able to be really mad about not seeing. Choice photos make you even more mad, and word to the wise: tumblr searching all the locations that aren’t pictured is enough to make you bite down on your lip and sob-scowl as you bitterly scroll through endless untouchable vistas thousands of miles out of your reach.

Great book, would peruse again.

The Reluctant Widow by Georgette Heyer


first read : 306/306

GOOD OLD GEORGETTE HEYER. I didn’t read her for years and then after a hundred recommendations I finally did, and ISN’T SHE A SPORT? I’ve had this one for about three years and somehow haven’t read it before, but now I have, and I think it’s right up next to The Grand Sophy favorite Heyers. In this story, as nothing on the jacket informed me (probably that’s what makes it the 6 shilling “Cheap Edition”), a down on her luck 26-year-old gentlewoman is going to take a post as a governess when mishaps occur and she is roped into marrying a horrible young man so that his cousin won’t be forced to inherit his crumbling estate (when he inevitably dies young). The young death occurs even more immediately than anyone expects, because halfway through convincing the heroine that marrying this Eustace fellow is a good idea, Ned’s little brother shows up to say he’s accidentally stabbed the Eustace fellow, and the Eustace fellow is now in the process of dying.

Long story short, Elinor marries the wretch, he dies, and then everyone discovers there’s a plot to sneak intelligence to BONAPARTE through Elinor’s new horrible house. Many exciting things happen! There is a minimum of one murder. My only real complaint is that the push-and-pull between Elinor and Ned is not quite credible as romance, and is only palatable as romance if Ned really changes the way he goes about things, as he says he will. I’d rather imagine she waits a few years and marries little brother Nicky, causing a GREAT SCANDAL, but by then Nicky will have calmed down a bit and they’ll be very good together. That’s my ending.




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