Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thank God It's No Longer a Man's World!

The Woman in White ~ Laura has agreed on a date for her marriage to Sir Percival Glyde, but the family lawyer has his concerns about the settlement details.  Part of Laura’s inheritance includes a substantial sum of twenty thousand pounds, which Sir Percival’s lawyer wants settled on the Baronet in the event of Laura’s death (rather than going to her relatives and beloved half sister).  On investigation into the Baronet’s affairs it appears that he is desperately in need of some ready cash.  Alarms bells ring and the family's lawyer contacts Laura’s uncle/guardian – who is a very selfish man, and takes the easy option in all he does.  Her guardian cannot see that that this could pave the way for a wrong doing against Laura and dismisses the Lawyer’s concerns as Laura is so young and with the Baronet being a good 25 years older it is evident, in his eyes, that he will pass away long before Laura.
I find the laws and rights of women back in this period (1850’s) rather alarming.  It was most certainly a man’s world back then.  Another good example of this is shown in Uncle Silas by Sheridan Le Fanu, where an evil uncle conspires to murder his niece for her inheritance.
I’m not too keen on the change of narrative voice in this novel though – we started with Walter Hartright, then Mr Gilmour (the Lawyer) now we’re privy to Marian Halcombe’s diaries.  I prefer one voice throughout, otherwise the story is being told over and over by the different characters.  I’ve only enjoyed this device twice before – Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and Peter Carey’s Theft.  Collins used this device in The Moonstone to detrimental effect as I didn’t like some of the characters.  Apart from this I am really enjoying it, and the audio narrator is very good. 
I’m halfway through The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  I like the two stories being told in tandem, and obviously they will merge down the track.  We are following Mikael Blomkvist a disgraced editor/journalist of the Millenium magazine and Lisbeth Salander – a rather disturbed young woman who is under a guardianship law.  The theme of this novel seems to be sexual abuse against women, and the sections are headed by sexual abuse statistics in Sweden.  This should not put you off from reading this; it is a well written mystery and I’m very intrigued to know the outcome of the investigation into the disappearance of Harriet Vanger.
The Book of the Dead is travelling along very nicely.  The lover of Carrington’s wife has been arrested for his murder, but Maltravers believes the law have got the wrong man.  The premise is good, though the writing isn’t any great shakes.  But, it’s okay for a light read during my lunch break.
I’ll sign off for now as Laura Fairlie is due back from her honeymoon in Europe, and Marian has moved into the Baronet’s property to prepare for their return.  We need to know if the new Lady Glyde is happy in her marriage, and to find out more about her estranged aunt’s husband Count Fosco (who is also Percival Glyde’s best friend) whom she caught up with whilst travelling.  Aren’t they just great names? 

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