Monday, June 29, 2009

Summer of Hitchcock: Rear Window


Rear Window is not only one of my favorite Hitchcock films, it’s one of my favorite films, period. It’s also the third film up for discussion in My Friend Amy’s Summer of Hitchcock. A bit about the story…

James Stewart plays magazine photographer L.B. “Jeff” Jeffries, sidelined to a wheelchair for several long, boring, HOT weeks thanks to a broken leg. Out of sheer boredom, he takes to “observing” his neighbors, getting to know them through the glimpses of their lives afforded through their apartment windows. His high society girlfriend Lisa (Grace Kelly), best friend police detective Thomas Doyle (Wendell Corey), and nurse/physical therapist Stella (Thelma Ritter) are all exasperated with his voyeuristic pastime. All that changes when Jeff discovers that the nagging, invalid wife of a salesman living across the way has suddenly disappeared. The more Jeff sees, the more he becomes convinced that he’s discovered a murder – but how can he possibly prove it from the solitary, limited vantage point of his living room window?

I have a very distinct memory of the first time I watched Rear Window – AMC aired the film 2 or 3 times after it was remastered several years ago (perhaps around 2000?). I was sitting on my parents’ sofa and I watched the film all the way through twice in a row. I was thoroughly absorbed by the story and fascinated by the sheer amount of storytelling and information that Hitchcock crammed into each frame of film. The first time I watched the movie, you focus on Jeff, Lisa, and the murder. The second time, though, I allowed myself to focus on each of the “mini movies” playing out in the apartment windows within Jeff’s view. Those little “slice of life” vignettes are one of my favorite aspects of the film. I especially love how “Ms. Lonelyhearts” goes through some wrenching experiences but eventually finds happiness with the Songwriter. It’s the romantic in me, I know. :)

I love, love, love James Stewart and Grace Kelly in this film. Their chemistry is – surprisingly – off the charts. Their banter as they work through their relationship issues, over Jeff’s penchant for traveling and dangerous jobs, her image as a “fragile” high society flower, is both hilarious and tons of fun to watch. Stewart is absolutely fantastic in this picture. He’s a lot edgier than what you get in his sweeter (I need a better word, only one I can come up with at the moment), more “wholesome,” all-American roles (think Harvey or Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation). Grace Kelly is absolutely terrific as Stewart’s foil. Her looks and poise make it abundantly clear that she was born to privilege, but she balances that out with a ton of humor and outright spunk. I love how she refuses to give up on Jeff and she’s more than game for the challenge of catching the bad guy, and so much the better if she gets it through Jeff’s thick head that she’s more than just fancy society window-dressing.

The supporting cast is tremendous, particularly Thelma Ritter as Stella. She’s funny, sarcastic, and completely fearless when it comes to speaking her mind. I also enjoy seeing Wendell Corey make an appearance as Jeff’s friend Thomas – he is always a solid character actor, and he gets extra points for appearing in another one of my favorite films, Holiday Affair. Perhaps the biggest casting shock is Raymond Burr as the villain, Lars Thorwald. It’s quite jarring to realize that the man playing this cold-blooded, creepy killer is best known as the paragon of justice & virtue that is Perry Mason. Underrated actor, no?

I’m so glad for the excuse to view Rear Window again and blog about it. Grace Kelly embodies all the wit, charm, and sophistication you could wish for – with backbone to boot! – and James Stewart is funny, humorous, and endearing as our scruffy voyeur. I do wonder, though, what Hitchcock would think of society today. Rear Window still provides food for thought on society’s penchant for voyeurism, how far is too far, etc. With the explosion of the 24-hour news cycle, growing penchant for a “cult of celebrity,” and social networking on the internet, voyeurism has come a long way since 1954. Or is it more accurate to say that the more things change, the more things stay the same – people and their motives haven’t changed, just the voyeuristic methods? All that aside, the one thing Rear Window guarantees is a thoroughly absorbing, fascinating viewing experience. It's a movie I never get tired of watching. The movie is available in single disc and double disc DVD editions (I recommend the latter, the 2nd disc is loaded with tons of special features).

Love's Pursuit by Siri Mitchell

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Love's Pursuit

Bethany House (June 1, 2009)


Siri Mitchell


Siri Mitchell graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she has lived all over the world, including in Paris and Tokyo. Siri enjoys observing and learning from different cultures. She is fluent in French and loves sushi.

But she is also a member of a strange breed of people called novelists. When they’re listening to a sermon and taking notes, chances are, they’ve just had a great idea for a plot or a dialogue. If they nod in response to a really profound statement, they’re probably thinking, “Yes. Right. That’s exactly what my character needs to hear.” When they edit their manuscripts, they laugh at the funny parts. And cry at the sad parts. Sometimes they even talk to their characters.

Siri wrote 4 books and accumulated 153 rejections before signing with a publisher. In the process, she saw the bottoms of more pints of Ben & Jerry’s than she cares to admit. At various times she has vowed never to write another word again. Ever. She has gone on writing strikes and even stooped to threatening her manuscripts with the shredder.

A Constant Heart was her sixth novel. Two of her novels, Chateau of Echoes and The Cubicle Next Door were Christy Award finalists. She has been called one of the clearest, most original voices in the CBA.


In the small Puritan community of Stoneybrooke, Massachusetts, Susannah Phillips stands out both for her character and beauty. She wants only a simple life but soon finds herself pursued by the town's wealthiest bachelor and by a roguish military captain sent to protect them. One is not what he seems and one is more than he seems.

In trying to discover true love's path, Susannah is helped by the most unlikely of allies, a wounded woman who lives invisible and ignored in their town. As the depth, passion, and sacrifice of love is revealed to Susannah, she begins to question the rules and regulations of her childhood faith. In a community where grace is unknown, what price will she pay for embracing love?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Love's Pursuit, go HERE

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Summer of Hitchcock: North by Northwest


North by Northwest was the first film up for viewing as part of My Friend Amy's Summer of Hitchcock. I have no idea what I was thinking in yesterday's post on Dial M for Murder, when I stated that film was in my top five Hitchcock favorites - top ten, certainly, but not top five. That honor belongs to the likes of North by Northwest. It's one of those films that feels very nearly perfect to me - perfect cast, perfect direction, perfect script. Hitchcock caught lightning in a bottle back in 1959 with this jewel of a film that's held up remarkably well in the ensuing decades.

A bit about the story...

Cary Grant plays successful advertising executive Roger Thornhill in this his fourth and final Hitchcock film (following Suspicion, Notorious, and To Catch a Thief). He's plunged into the world of international espionage when foreign agents mistake him for government agent George Kaplan. Soon he's being kidnapped, framed for murder, chased, crop-dusted, and forced on the run, taking on a job he never sought out trying to outwit and outlast the bad guys.

Cary Grant is at his most debonair as the embattled Roger Thornhill. Grant just oozes class, even when his life is on the line. I love it when he first meets Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint), the undercover spy "forced" to seduce him when they meet on the train to Chicago. Their exchange about his "nice face" - like Grant's looks are anything but extraordinary, LOL - makes me smile every time I watch the scene. And yes, the seduction/kissing scene is unbelievably long - but you've got to give Hitchcock credit for the rather inventive ways he implies passion in his films rather than showing a lot of skin (which he couldn't have done due to the production code, anyway). A while back I read somewhere that Grace Kelly was one of Hitchcock's favorite leading ladies, and if she hadn't married Prince Rainer of Monaco in 1956 I have no doubt she would've been a strong contender, if not the 1st choice, to play the Eve Kendall role.

James Mason and Martin Landau both turn in excellent performances as the villains of the piece - Mason as the coldly calculating mastermind Philip Vandamm (sounds like a James Bond villian IMO) and Landau as his stooge in Leonard. I've never had a problem buying Mason as a creepy bad guy, but Landau's performance is always a bit jarring for me to view. I tend to view him as a kindly grandfather-type, like his turn in The Majestic. I also love Jessie Royce Landis's performance as Cary Grant's mother - though in real life she was too young to play Grant's mother, the two play off each other so well their scenes never fail to crack me up. And though he's only in one scene, I love the fact that Edward Platt as a small role as Grant's lawyer. There's a Get Smart episode, if memory serves, that echoes how Roger Thornhill gets sucked into the world of espionage. It's a tenuous connection, I know, but hey that's how my mind works - randomly! ;-)

For me North by Northwest is the perfect balance of suspense, action, humor, and romance. There's something incredibly scary about the idea of being lost in a life-threatening plot where your whole identity means absolutely nothing because everyone else is convinced you're someone you're not. Roger Thornhill's journey is an interesting one. As an advertising exec he's the king of fakes and sleight-of-hand, and he is sent on this journey quite unwillingly where he must shed self-absorption and put his life on the line for others. A far cry from the posh executive's life he's been used to leading!

Three other points - one, this movie sort of makes me wish train travel was still the norm, and two, I wish the Mt. Rushmore set piece didn't look so horribly fake. Oh well, can't have everything, can we? *sigh* Which leads me to point three - I think the crop-duster scene totally makes up for the cheesiness of Mt. Rushmore being all styro-foamy. ;-)

Currently North by Northwest is only available as part of the Alfred Hitchcock Signature Collection. However, if you can track down a DVD copy it's so worth adding to your collection IMO! One of the special features is a featurette hosted by Eva Marie Saint entitled "The Making of North by Northwest" which is a nice, informative look at the making of the film.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Summer of Hitchcock: Dial M for Murder


I’m two weeks late to joining My Friend Amy’s Summer of Hitchcock blogging extravaganza, but I am finally getting the chance to catch up. I’ve needed a good excuse to re-watch some of my favorite Hitchcock films. Last week’s move was Dial M for Murder, starring Grace Kelly, Ray Milland, and Robert Cummings. Dial M has always been one of my favorite Hitchcock films – off hand I’d say it’s solidly in my personal top five. It’s been several years since I’ve watched this movie, so while I remembered the basic storyline the presentation and details all felt very “fresh” to me.

First off, a bit about the story…

Margot (Grace Kelly) is married to washed-up former tennis player Tony Wendice (Ray Milland), and has been having an on-again, off-again affair with crime novelist Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings). She’s burned all of Mark’s letters but one, and that one was stolen several months back. There were blackmail threats, but the promised threat of revealing her indiscretion to her husband never materialized. Little does she realize that Tony is the blackmailer, and he’s been plotting the perfect murder to get his hands on her money. Let the game of cat-and-mouse begin…

This movie is based on a play by a Frederick Knott, and it shows – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Yes, the movie feels staged, but the performances are terrific across the board and action is so tightly plotted that the “stagey” aspect of the movie works really well. There’s an absorbing amount of drama going on at the Wendice apartment. I would love to see this story on stage! I also have to comment on how I love the use of color in this movie. Between the richness of the color and the smartly paced action, the movie feels reminiscent of the drawing room style mysteries Agatha Christie plotted so well.

I’d forgotten that this movie was originally filmed in 3-D. Generally speaking I’m not a fan of watching movies in 3-D, watching programs in 3-D always seem to give me a headache. However, since I was reminded of the 3-D technology used when filming the movie, I was very conscious of how each frame of film was presented. Hitchcock was very deliberate about filming in “layers,” so to speak. There are certain moments – especially when Tony’s stooge, Swann (Anthony Dawson) is trying to kill Margot and her hand just reaches out in desperation from the screen to grab something, anything in an attempt to defend herself – and finds a handy pair of scissors. (Death by scissors is surprisingly neat…just sayin’…) Thankfully this movie is filmed so well that you aren’t distracted by the 3-D formatting, or lack thereof when watching it in “flatscreen.”

Since there are really only three players in this drama (four if you count Inspector Hubbard played by John Williams), the movie wouldn’t work nearly as well as it does if any one of their performances faltered. In my opinion Grace Kelly did some of her best work in the three Hitchcock films she appeared in, Dial M being the first (followed by Rear Window and To Catch a Thief). Her opening scene sets the stage – wearing white she’s a dutiful, affectionate wife greeting her husband at breakfast, and moments later she’s a passionate cheater looking drop-dead gorgeous in a flaming red gown. She’s a great balance of fire and surprising innocence in this movie - an arresting screen presence that would only grow more powerful in her next two pictures with Hitchcock. On to the husband – it always gives me a start seeing Ray Milland playing this despicable, smarmy role. My first image of Milland was formed by watching his performance in The Major and the Minor, and because that movie is such an old favorite, and he plays such a sweetheart in it, seeing him play a coldly calculating blackmailer feels like a sort of betrayal. LOL! When it comes down to it, I think my strong reaction to this performance is a mark of the quality of Milland’s acting in this film. Of the three leads I have the hardest time taking Robert Cummings seriously – he’s so boyish when compared to Milland that I don’t quite buy him as the third party in an extramarital affair. However, he gains some good guy points when he starts to figure out Tony’s plot. And since Tony was obviously going to kill Margot anyway for her money, Mark proves to be a much better, more sensitive and supportive romantic interest for Margot who goes from being an adulteress to a wrong wife (nice done to satisfy the cultural mores of 1954 BTW). I also have to comment on how much I love John Williams’ performance as the Inspector. He was such a classy actor, and here he manages to imbue the Inspector with just the right balance of smarts, saavy intuition, and humor.

I’m so glad I got a chance to revisit this classic. You can purchase the DVD of Dial M for Murder here. It comes with two short, but interesting featurettes: “Hitchcock and Dial M” and “3D: A Brief History.”

Primeval 3.7


Tonight's episode of Primeval was, quite honestly, a bit of a let down for me after last week's episode with it's scene after scene of sheer, hilarious, awesomeness. This episode was a bizarre mash-up of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Beowulf, and the movie Timeline. That's not to say the episode was a total wash. I forgot to mention Rex last week, when Abby's (Hannah Spearritt) stupid little brother loses him in a poker game. Connor (Andrew Lee Potts) got several nice moments to show his "sensitive" side, when he discovers what's happened to Rex but decides to try and fix the problem himself instead of telling Abby what her brother has done. And then when he rushes to Abby's side to help her save the dragonlike creature he was positively oozing sweetness & concern. Classy Connor, very classy. He's *gasp* maturing!! :)

I really liked the whole idea of someone from the past stumbling through an anomaly - it's a natural extension of the idea that anomalies have been messing with peoples heads for years by making all sorts of weirdness happen throughout history. Danny (Jason Flemyng) and Connor shared several nice comic moments when they were chasing the knight through London (I thought it was hilarious when Danny wanted to separate and widen the search and Connor was all "haven't you ever seen horror films?!"). Danny's big knock-down, drag-out fight with the knight was also fun, especially because Flemyng looked like he was relishing every moment of it.

Sarah (Laila Rouass) finally got to do something that seriously impacted the operation, when she went all rogue and decided to go through the anomaly to research the knight. So, so much potential with this scenario, but somewhere along the way the ball was dropped on the storytelling and it left me a little flat. The extended scene where she keeps trying on different medieval costumes felt extra stupid, especially in the middle of this huge crisis where (supposedly) time is of the essence. And then when she goes through the anomaly, we only get a brief scene where she succumbs to the old cliche of bribing kids with chocolate?! I realize that you can't possibly fit everything you'd ideally want into a show that's less than an hour long when you take out the commercials, but still... (I'll TRY to stop whining...LOL!)

Considering Abby never finds out what her brother did with Rex, she seemed so out of sorts this episode. It was annoying. I REALLY got ticked when she was threatening to shoot Becker (Ben Mansfield) with the tranquilizer gun just because was freaked that he was going to shoot the dragon while TRYING TO PROTECT HER, YEESH! However, that whole exchange did lead to one of the highlights of the episode - after diving through a crate of strawberries, Becker doesn't even bother to get up before he starts to snacking after the dragon collapses. His deadpan delivery was hilarious!

The best moment of the episode, though, was Connor's. When he goes to retrieve Rex, the whole scene turns into some sort of western style standoff. In another movie guns would be a blazin', LOL! Plus, it's a nice change when someone throws the line "you and whose army" at a character, and the cliche receivee can step aside and actually reveal their own personal army. It's especially nice when said back-up is led by the likes of the yummy Becker. LOL!

With only three episodes left, Primeval will be back in two weeks. Hopefully Lester will see more screentime. ;)

Doctor Who alert!

Just a reminder to any obsessed Doctor Who fans out there like myself, tonight BBC America is airing the 1st of David Tennant's last specials as the tenth Doctor (*SOB*). This special, The Next Doctor, aired in the UK last Christmas. I actually watched it on YouTube, but I'm really looking forward to FINALLY seeing it properly on a real television. ;) As I recall I enjoyed it...we'll see if memory proves me correct!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Primeval 3.6


I finally got around to watching episode 6 of Primeval today. Allow me to just take a moment to say I'm incredibly grateful for vacation days, and I'm also wildly hopeful that maybe, just maybe, the craziness of the last few weeks is winding down.

I absolutely loved this episode. The "terror birds" bore more than a passing resemblance to giant, over-grown ostriches. Despite their ridiculousness, they were surprisingly a bit scary. I mean who'd of thought giant ostriches could be such killing machines? LOL! There were so many moments that I absolutely loved in this's the rundown:

Danny (Jason Flemyng) giving a mean James Bond impression while working with Becker (Ben Mansfield) to test the facility's security. The humorous rapport that had going on was fun to watch. I LOVED the brief moment when Danny shot Becker's confidence that security was perfect by making an off-hand reference to a camera in an air duct. He's fast proving to be an adept team leader.

Lester (Ben Miller) giving Connor (Andrew Lee Potts) a ride to work but determined to hide the fact that they are now "flat mates" (see episode 5 for Lester's uncharacteristic moment of compassion, ha!). The whole "I'm senior managment and you're...whatever you are" comment cracked me up!

After Christine (Belinda Stuart Wilson) takes over the ARC, Danny, Connor, Abby (Hannah Spearritt, and Sarah (Laila Rouass) flee to the woods (random I know) and come across some sort of an abandoned lab station. I really, really liked how the setting was "frozen" in time. When Sarah begins to read some of the abandoned journals and finds mysterious references to "something" coming, you of course know that the "something" has to refer to a creature from an anomaly. The set up sort of reminded me of Danny's introduction to the team in episode 2 - as I said in my review of that episode, if anomalies have been appearing throughout time, other people had to have encountered them. Now whether or not they knew what to make of them is another story entirely. And in the "oh my gosh that's so sweet" category, I absolutely LOVED when everyone dressed up in 1930s clothes and Connor and Abby pulled a Fred and Ginger and started dancing. (Danny doesn't look half bad in a tux either, just sayin'...)

Despite the sheer ridiculousness of the ostrich-like creatures, I thought this episode gave a good view of how well the new team was coalescing. Danny has a lot of potential as the new team leader - he seems more devil-may-care, more energetic, dare I say it - more fun? - than what has previously been seen on the show. And hallelujah thank you for finally letting Sarah see some serious action instead of just sitting in the ARC cleaning off artificats. LOL!

And now to the best my post on episode 4 I mentioned being a little worried about Becker's loyalties - is he truly loyal to the ARC team, or is he a soldier 1st and foremost, potentially at risk of being corrupted by Christine? In another hallelujah moment, I was oh so happy to see that Becker kicks butt in more ways than one - the fact that he's not above a little espionage in order to sabotage Christine's hostile takeover of the ARC was, in a word, awesome. The way he played Christine and she never even saw it coming - well there's just not words for how fantastic that moment was. If that had been the only great moment in the show that would've been enough, I was so freaking happy about it. LOL!

Which brings me to an even better moment, the crown jewel moment of all the hilariously wonderful bits in this episode, the moment where Lester gets his very own SLOW CLAP!! That was bloody brilliant to quote Ron Weasley. Absolutely fantastically bloody brilliant. The look on Lester's face was priceless. It just reinforced my love for his character a hundred times over.

And just because I can, and because he was so fantastic in this episode, here's a completely gratuitous shot of Becker. :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Easy Virtue


I just got back from seeing Easy Virtue with Lori. During the credits I was trying to think of a brief way to sum up the movie and the phrase delightfully subersive came to mind. We've been wating for a month now for it to come to a theater in our area (it opened in limited release on May 22nd - I will not bore you with my rant about how much I hate limited release dates). It's a fun little film and I thought it was SO worth the wait! The movie is based on a play by Noel Coward, which I must own to not being familiar with in the least. If the summary of the play on Wikipedia is accurate, the screenplay closely follows the original story in many respects, while tweaking Larita's backstory a bit and making the Colonel much more interesting IMO.

So a bit about the story...

Young and extremely immature John Whittaker (Ben Barnes, a.k.a. Prince Caspian) falls hard for Larita (Jessica Biel), a glamorous, free-thinking American woman - who just happens to be a racecar driver - and after a whirlwind affair they marry. When they descend on John's family, worlds collide when the straight-laced Whittaker family meets John's rather, *ahem*, unconventional bride. Larita tries her best to win over the family, but Mrs. Whittaker (Kristin Scott Thomas) isn't going to have any of that, and she's determined to save John from his folly and see him take up his responsibilities as heir of the estate. John's sisters, Hilda (Kimberley Nixon, also played Sophy Hutton in Cranford) and Marion (Katherine Parkinson), waffle between being intrigued by Larita and aiding and abetting their mother in her attempts to drive a wedge between the newlyweds. (You couldn't ask for a better wicked stepmother and stepsisters on film IMO!) When John's affections start to waver, Larita determines to fight back, and soon she must decide whether to sacrifice her individuality or make a break for freedom.

Easy Virtue, for the most part, is a light, fluffy, drawing-room comedy but it touches on some serious issues like the aftermath of war on survivors and lots and lots of marital discord. I was really reminded of the film A Good Woman, which I haven't watched in FAR too long. I thought the pacing was excellent (never a dull moment in this flick!) and the settings and costumes were gorgeous - absolutely top-notch! There was almost too much to absorb in just one viewing.

Jessica Biel really impressed me here - her turn as Larita probably ranks equal with my other favorite role of hers as Sophie in The Illusionist. She's gradually convincing me that she can take on period roles and do them credit. Here she wears the elegant 1920s-era costumes and the time period fits her like a glove. I was also quite impressed with the depth Biel gives Larita's character as the film progresses. When you're first introduced to her you really have no idea of the baggage she has in her past - she conceals it well, so it's all the more heart-breaking as it's revealed. And I had no idea this girl can SING! You can listen to a clip of her singing "Mad About the Boy" on Amazon.

Speaking of surprising singers, Ben Barnes's voice completely blew me away. (I'm also blown away by the fact that this is apparently the 1st time I've looked at his IMDB page, since I never connected the dots and realized he played the young Dunstan in Stardust.) His singing initially made me really like the character of John (his voice and presence fits the arrangments and setting of the film well) - however, eventually you realize the voice is the best thing about John as he's an annoyingly wishy-washy fellow. Seriously the guy needs grow some and take charge of his life, yeesh. Barnes is 28 this year, but he's got a bit of a ways to go before he can sell me on the idea that he's capable of playing a mature role. Between John Whittaker and Caspian, he's perpetually stuck in my head as a 20-year-old or thereabouts.

Oh, before I forget I must note Charlotte Riley's turn as Sarah Hurst, John's childhood friend and one-time hopeful sweetheart. I first saw Riley as Cathy in the latest version of Wuthering Heights - and the difference in the roles of Cathy and Sarah have both left me quite impressed with her skill. You really can't help but admire and like Sarah - John throws her over with very little thought, yet she manages to rise above the hurt and become Larita's friend and occasional advocate. Given how John's mother so obviously longs for Sarah as a daughter-in-law, it's pretty unbelievable - but nice - that Sarah takes the Larita turn of events so maturely. And speaking of Mrs. Whittaker, WHAT is the appeal of Kristin Scott Thomas as an actress? I have such a hard time watching her for some reason - but that actually worked in my favor because my natural annoyance fit with the character.

Colin Firth's turn as Mr. Whittaker, John's father and a survivor of the Great War, is really interesting to me. Firth is sort of playing against type - well known as the heroic, romantic leading type thanks to, primarily, his breakout role as Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, it's a bit weird to see him play someone who's so burned out with his life that he just doesn't care at all. In fact it just hit me, but Mr. Whittaker is a bit like Mr. Bennet in P&P - both are long-suffering, henpecked husbands, but Whittaker's character is more of a loose cannon. Whittaker's a bit of a rake and a scruffy one to boot, but he carries so much guilt about being the only man of his generation to survive the war that he's put up with being completely controlled by the manipulations of his wife. He and Larita are kindred spirits and each completely understands the other's baggage - neither can fit into the prescribed roles society demands of them, so in the end it's basically a choice of curling up and dying or making a break for it.

The turning point scene where Whittaker and Larita tango is TO DIE FOR PEOPLE, SERIOUSLY. Yowzers!! :)

I'm going to have to track down a copy of Easy Virtue online or at the library to read it through - if the film is an accurate indication, Coward's got some very interesting and pointed things to say about hypocrisy, and as far as Larita's efforts go, a rather refreshing and respectful view of marriage (i.e., it takes work and no matter what the end outcome it's worth fighting for). Larita works her tail off to keep her husband, but he doesn't even meet her halfway by the end of the movie (can we say stupid & mind-bogglingly immature?!).

This movie was just the breath of fresh air I needed in my day. It delivered some great escapism and some unexpected moments of emotional depth. I'll definitely be adding it to my collection - it'll make a great double-feature with A Good Woman - and enjoying the soundtrack on repeat. Composer Marius de Vries's work on this film was just genius. His arrangements perfectly capture the effervescent feel of the time period, and the way he manages to incorporate contemporary songs like "Sexbomb" and "When the Going Gets Tough" and makes them work CONVINCINGLY in the score blows the mind. Looking forward to seeing this film "confection" again when it comes out on DVD (which will hopefully be soon!).

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Masterpiece Mystery returns!

After a brief hiatus earlier this month, Masterpiece Mystery returns tonight with the first of two new (new to the U.S., at any rate) mysteries starring David Suchet as Agatha Christie's incomparable detective, Hercule Poirot.

From the Masterpiece website:

With his signature walking stick and gloves, Belgian super sleuth Hercule Poirot (David Suchet) is back exercising his "little grey cells" in two new cases.

Episodes of Hercule Poirot: Series IX

June 21, 2009
Cat Among the Pigeons
Something is amiss at Meadowbank School for Girls, where hidden rubies, kidnapping, and murder disrupt the term.

June 28, 2009
Mrs. McGinty's Dead
A man is about to hang for a brutal murder. But did he do it? After learning about 30-year-old homicides, Poirot concludes a ghost from the past has returned.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I hate you ITV...

So in case you haven't heard, ITV has decided to break my heart and cancel Primeval. Apparently this news broke yesterday and I just discovered it this afternoon (and am rather depressed about it, lemme tell you!). The way things stand now, once the final five episodes of series 3 finish their run on BBC America, that'll be it. Supposedly there's some talk that the SciFi Channel could ride to the rescue, but personally I'm not holding out much hope. If the feature film (sure to be Americanized) actually ends up being made, and ESPECIALLY if the networks over here decide to do their own version of the show, I'm afraid that this version of the show is dead. :-( What really makes this tragic IMO is that the show is far from hitting its creative peak - I've been really pleased with a lot of the writing this season, and the cast members that are sticking around are more comfortable in their "skin" by the episode.

I need to try and remember that I've always said I'd rather a show bow out early than stick around too long and get really bad, but dang it the way things stand now Primeval isn't going to get an even halfway decent series finale. Grr!!! Yet another great television tragedy to add to my log of inexplicable things networks do to hack me off. *sigh*

Primeval 3.5


I really, really liked last Saturday's episode of Primeval. So the funky mutant fungus/mold men were among the less believable creatures in the show's history (the walrus-like thingys from series 2...can't remember which ep...are the absolute dumbest IMO!!)? The pace of the episode really worked for me, and it was packed top to bottom with tons of humor. Lester (Ben Miller) was on fire this episode. It starts right at the beginning with when he asks Becker (Ben Mansfield) to pistol-whip Danny (Jason Flemyng) for being a smart-aleck after they catch him breaking into the ARC all the way through to his long-suffering tolerance of Connor (Andrew Lee Potts) crashing at work. I couldn't believe it when he actually offered Connor the keys to his downtown flat - that moment was priceless! Could Lester have a heart?! ;-) His flash of generosity was only topped by his smug pleasure in one-upping Christine's (Belinda Stuart Wilson) attempts to maneuver one of her team members into the ARC as Cutter's replacement. Undercutting that power grab by appointing Danny was well played indeed.

Speaking of Danny, I thought this was his best episode yet. Flemyng really seemed to be relishing the campy adventure factor and just having a rollicking good time in front of the camera. Sure, Danny's a bit pushy, but I like his devil-may-care bravado and willingness to do, well, whatever it takes in order to get involved with the ARC team. He's a more active version of the Cutter we saw in the 1st three episodes of this series run. As to his qualifications - well, when it comes down to it, Dr. Page (Laila Rouass) is the only one remotely qualified academically speaking, and while she had a decent presence in this episode she has yet to be given enough screen time to really justify her role on the show IMO. Apparently all it takes to be a member of the ARC team is sheer grit and fearlessness, which Danny seems to have in spades. So Connor and Abby (Hannah Spearritt) are way too easily accepting of his involvment - I really didn't care. Maybe they sense a kindred spirit (i.e., we don't know what we're doing, just making this up as we go along, etc.).

This brings me to the Danny-Jenny (Lucy Brown) factor. Danny appears very willing to replace Cutter in Jenny's life, which is played rather sweetly in my view. However, Jenny's having NONE of that - which I kind of respect her for - and after barely surviving death by mold we get our second departure of the series. Shockingly enough, this one nearly brought a tear to my eye. I really liked the fact that Jenny left the ARC on her own terms. And while her last look around the office was the stuff all great departure cliches are made of, I ate up every second. All that was missing was having her walk out of the building to a flipping slow clap from the rest of the team. THAT would've been priceless!!

In summation, I am really quite pleased with this episode and with the direction of the third series thus far. The departures have been rather wrenching, but I like how they've brought some additional emotional depth to the team members' relationships.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Primeval 3.4

Yes, I know, still haven't caught up on the Primeval blogging. *sigh* ;-)


Episode 4 marks the first episode without Cutter (Douglas Henshall) *SOB*, and somewhat to my surprise I really liked it. This show (so far, anyway) has done a very good job handling the impact of characters' deaths on those who remain behind. It's acknowledged, it actually appears to matter, but they don't dwell on the point at the expense of moving forward with the story. This episode brought us two great examples in Connor (Andrew Lee Potts) and Jenny's (Lucy Brown) respective reactions to Cutter's death. Connor really appears to feel the weight of Cutter's last words ("it's on you now") and really wants to do good work. Now being Connor he is still going to screw up, but he's so dang cute one can't help pulling for him. LOL!

This ep had some excellent Connor/Abby (Hannah Spearritt) angst as well. It's a very solid indication that maybe, just maybe, their relationship will get somewhere...someday...for two seconds (I'm getting desperate, people!). Connor's reaction to the phone call from Abby's little brother (question - is it weird that he didn't know she had a little brother apparently?) about giving her a night out was priceless!!

Jenny's reaction is a bit wrenching. She's clearly living with "what might have been's" and deeply regrets never telling Cutter how she felt about him. The question is, can she handle working at a Cutter-less ARC? She's professional and driven as always but clearly it's a struggle. You know she's not quite herself when she can't keep Danny Quinn (Jason Flemyng) in line. Speaking of Danny - I really liked his character in this ep. Now that he's come to terms with the fact that something from an anomaly killed his brother, he's fully embraced the idea of working with the ARC - whether they like it or not. His rather laid-back, devil-may-care attitude is a refreshing change to throw into the established dynamic of the team. I think he's going to bring a breath of fresh air to the show (and annoy Lester, which will really make my day). ;-) How can you not love a guy who'll commandeer a helicopter after only two "unbelievably fantastic" flying lessons to fight off a dinosaur? Seriously!! Plus he's really hot when he's wearing black and riding a motorcycle. Just sayin'... ;-)

Lester (Ben Miller) is quickly becoming my favorite character of the season. His scenes never fail to crack me up. He's got the extreme "stiff upper lip" thing going on, so it's absolutely freaking hilarious watching him attempt to keep his frustrations under control. I LUV how Christine-the-witch's character (Belinda Stuart Wilson) brings out this sort of protective team player side of his personality. It's perfectly okay for him to throw around sarcastic remarks about the ARC crew, but if an outsider does it, well that's crossing THE LINE, people. LOL! I'm getting VERY curious about how Christine got her own anomaly set up and what exactly it is she's trying to accomplish. Speaking of Christine, I'm a little worried about Becker (Ben Mansfield) since he apparently one of her military team members was an instructor of his at Sandhurst. Note to Becker: Learn from Stephen's example and don't let yourself be emotionally blackmailed!! I'm getting too much of a kick out of the Connor-Becker team dynamic to want Becker gone anytime soon (the nerd versus the G.I. Joe type is too funny).

The G-Rex in this episode is a really prime example of how good the CGI-effects can be on this show. It works best when they're recreating a dinosaur instead of a futuristic creature IMO. I love seeing the G-Rex rampage around the airplane hangar and in relation to the 747...very nicely done IMO. I'm not going to even COMMENT on the stupid reporters because they just get on my last nerve (note to reporter dude, GET A FREAKING HAIRCUT!). I almost forgot, though, the Crocodile Hunter-type filmmaker the annoying reporter people brought to the anomaly - that guy had the animal show-host type nailed. Quite funny when prehistoric creatures are involved, ya know?

I guess that about covers my thoughts on this episode of the show. Of course it will take a few more episodes for the fallout of Cutter's absence to really be felt, but I have high hopes for the show's future. I'm still mulling over just a bit why Cutter's death hasn't had a greater impact on my view of Primeval...but that is subject to change at any moment, I suppose! The showrunners need to keep in mind, however, that Lester's character is my line in the sand...kill off Lester and I will be crushed, do you hear me, CRUSHED!! ;-) Hopefully I'll get my thoughts on episode 5 up this week...we'll see. LOL!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Review: The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer

The Case of the Missing Marquess (Enola Holmes Mysteries #1)
By: Nancy Springer
Publisher: Sleuth Puffin
ISBN: 978-0-14-240933-6

About the book:

When Enola Holmes, sister to the detective Sherlock Holmes, discovers her mother has disappeared, she quickly sets off to find her. Disguising herself as a widow, Enola embarks on a journey to London, but nothing can prepare her for what awaits. For when she arrives, she finds herself involved in the kidnapping of a young marquess, and must flee murderous villains and try to elude her shrewd older brothers – all while attempting to piece together clues to her mother’s strange disappearance. Among all the mayhem, will Enola be able to discover the necessary clues and find her mother?


Women have always upset Sherlock Holmes’s equilibrium (see Irene Adler from the original short stories or Mary Russell from Laurie R. King’s fantastic mystery series). Holmes’s family background is one aspect of his life that has received scant, if any, attention in the various Holmes pastiches that have appeared over the years. In the first Enola Holmes mystery, Nancy Springer dares to imagine a most unconventional mother and much-younger sister for the famed detective, both highly unconventional women well capable of throwing his order-loving world slightly off-kilter.

Fourteen-year-old Enola has never known her considerably older brothers. She’s lived a relatively secluded life with her mother on the family estate, convinced her brothers want nothing to do with her because of the gossip surrounding the fact that she was an “unexpected” addition to the family. However, all of Enola’s assumptions about her life and family change when her birthday arrives and her mother vanishes. When Sherlock and Mycroft descend on the estate in search of their wayward parent, Enola discovers the family dynamic is far more complicated than she’d ever surmised. And while she craves a relationship with her brothers, Enola quickly realizes that she has little desire to acquiesce to their plans for her future – and if their mother is to be found, she must be the one to do the finding. Armed with her mother’s last gift – a cryptic book of ciphers – Enola sets out to make her way in the world and finds herself in more danger than she could’ve possibly imagined, needing all her untapped skill as a member of the Holmes clan in order to survive.

The character of Enola is an absolute gem. She’s got spunk and gumption, and as a woman has a special set of skills and insight that her famous brother lacks, thanks to his rather dim view of the “fairer” sex (my favorite Sherlock quote is when he refers to Enola’s “limited cranial capacity” – ouch!). Springer includes lots of interesting info about ciphers and the language of flowers, the knowledge of which helps set Enola apart from her family and make up her own special skill set. The Missing Marquess is an all-too quick, but thoroughly absorbing read. Springer packs a lot of atmosphere and detail into each chapter, resulting in one of the best YA reads I’ve come across. I cannot wait to discover the further adventures of the one and only Enola Holmes!

Anyone watching Royal Pains?

So I'm curious, is anyone watching Royal Pains Thursday nights on USA? I thought I'd give it a shot since all of my regularly scheduled scripted programs are on hiatus until the fall. Plus, it follows Burn Notice (talk about a KILLER lead-in). In case you're not familiar with the premise of the show, it follows Dr. Hank Lawson (played by Mark Feuerstein) when he falls into the plum job of becoming a concierge doctor to the wealthy at the Hamptons, after being fired from his job as an ER doctor when a hospital patron died on his watch. Basically, he's a mix of MacGyver and Michael Westen from Burn Notice, only blander. Feuerstein comes across as likable enough, but I am just not connecting with the whole premise of the show. Perhaps this is because it's been called Burn Notice, M.D., one too many times - and in my opinion, falls FAR short by comparison. So, any Royal Pains fans out there that are connecting with this show better than I am? I realize only two episodes have aired, but if this show is working for you, let me know what I'm missing. ;-) (I should mention that the presence of Campbell Scott in the pilot and Andrew McCarthy in last night's episode are marks in the show's favor...small marks, but marks nonetheless!)

The Literary ABCs

I got this literary-themed meme from my friend Kaye.

List your favorite...

Austen (Jane) novel: Pride and Prejudice

Brontë sister’s novel: Jane Eyre

Clancy or Crichton novel and/or movie: Though I've heard it's nothing like the book, I really like the movie Timeline.

Dickens novel and/or film: This is a tough's going to probably be a tie between the recent miniseries versions of Bleak House and Little Dorrit.

English class you took: Tragedies of Shakespeare (thank you, Dean McDaniel!)

Frequently read author: Georgette Heyer

Grisham novel and/or movie: Not really a fan...

Historical novel or era*: World War II era, hands down. Harder to choose a favorite book...I'll go with Vienna Prelude by Brock & Bodie Thoene to represent all of their WWII era novels.

Iconic fictional character: Sherlock Holmes

James Joyce or Henry James? Henry James

King in literature (i.e., a character who’s a king, real or fictional): King David

Lord of the Rings character: Aragorn, with Faramir a distant 2nd. ;-)

Movie made from classic literature: This is a tough category...for something different, I'll go with the modern version of Much Ado About Nothing from the ShakespeaRe-Told film series.

Newberry Medal–winning book: The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley (1985)

Oldest book you own (not necessarily “favorite,” just oldest): That honor goes to a book called Familiar Quotations given to me by my grandmother (mom's side), from 1883.

Pirate in literature: Captain Blood (from the novel of the same name by Rafael Sabatini)

Quiet place to read: In bed

Robin Hood version (which film/TV series?): The first version I ever saw of this story is far and away still my #1 favorite - the Errol Flynn film The Adventures of Robin Hood. The BBC television series would be #2, with the Disney film a distant 3rd.

Shakespeare play or poem: Much Ado About Nothing or Twelfth Night or The Tempest or King Lear or The Merchant of Venice or I could go on and on but I guess I'll stop now... ;-)

Twain (Mark) novel/story/essay: "The Invalid's Story" (short story)

USA Today Bestseller: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling

Villain: Oh what the heck, I'll go with Voldemort.

Walt Whitman or William Wordsworth? Going to go with Wordsworth here because I H-A-T-E Whitman (except that poem he wrote in honor of Lincoln...that one is nice).

Xanthippe (an ill-tempered woman, a shrew): Katharina from Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew

Yawn-inducing bedtime read: Most recently, The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

Zealously protected book you’ll never part with: This is another tough choice. I'll go with my first edition copy of A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers. I LOVE the cover on the first edition and for sentimental reasons I just can't bear to part with it, even though I have copies of the newer editions (this is one of my FAVORITE novels, in case you couldn't tell!). ;-)

If you complete this meme, be sure to come back and leave a link to your post in the comments section!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Review: Beastly by Alex Flinn

By: Alex Flinn
Publisher: Harper Teen
ISBN: 978-0-06-087418-6

About the book:

I am a beast.

A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright – a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I’m talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It’s no deformity, no disease. And I’ll stay this way forever – ruined – unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly…beastly.


On my friend Natalie’s recommendation (and because I’m a sucker for retold fairy tales) I picked up Beastly by Alex Flinn, a modern retelling of – you guessed it – the Beauty and the Beast story. Seeing as it’s a contemporary version, and from the teenage Beast’s perspective, no less, I wasn’t really sure how much I’d like the book’s premise. Thankfully any reservations I had were completely unfounded as I thoroughly enjoyed Flinn’s take on this classic story (the tone reminded me somewhat of the film 10 Things I Hate About You). The book’s appeal lies in how Flinn manages to retain key elements of the classic tale (Beast living in isolation who prizes roses, father giving up daughter for his freedom, girl living as the Beast’s captive) and makes them work in a modern setting. If you’ve seen the Disney film, or read either the fairy tale or Robin McKinley’s fantastic retellings (Beauty and Rose Daughter), you know the gist of the story. What sets Beastly apart is its modern setting and male point of view. Flinn sets quite a challenge for herself with her beast-to-be – Kyle, the “prince” of his exclusive prep school, is a royal jerk. Just a head’s up, there’s a little bit of language and teenage promiscuity is alluded to in Beastly, but it’s definitely in keeping with Kyle’s character and there’s nothing explicit. Sure, he’s only a high school freshman, but he’s so self-absorbed and mean-spirited, it seems impossible to think you’ll ever like, never mind actually cheer, for his character. However, Kyle’s transformation into Adrian, the more likable, sympathetic person that emerges during his time as a beast, is actually quite believably done, with only fleeting instances where the POV wasn’t quite convincingly male. A fun touch illustrating Kyle’s growth is transcripts from the “Unexpected Changes” online support group. There Kyle meets characters like the Frog Prince and the Little Mermaid, and it’s a lot of fun to see how he goes from being completely self-absorbed and belligerent to a supportive friend towards others suffering from unwanted transformations. I absolutely LOVED Flinn’s characterization of the witch, and how she has this prickly relationship with Kyle/Adrian, and is his advocate well before he won over this reader. The character of Lindy is a refreshing romantic interest for the beast. She’s an atypical “beauty” in desperate need of happiness and affirmation, and her strengths and weaknesses complement the Kyle/Adrian’s growth arc quite well. In a culture where tremendous importance is placed on looks, there’s a sweet and much-needed message embedded in Beastly’s pages about the source of true beauty and the joy of being known and loved for one’s inner self.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Primeval 3.3

...or, OMG I still can't believe they did that!

Serious spoilers ahead, do not cross line here...

I know I'm really late in blogging about last Saturday's episode of Primeval, but what can I say, I'm still emotionally scarred. And I KNEW what was coming (thank you, Lori!). I never met a spoiler I couldn't stay away from, what can I say?

Let's just get right to the point, shall we? I know that British shows don't hold back and when it comes to casting changes, nothing is sacred. They are always willing to change things up, to do the unexpected...but I really didn't expect them to knock off Cutter (Douglas Henshall) in the series' overall 16th episode! I'm just not sure the man was given his due, especially since the main antagonist is his own ex-wife, Helen (Juliet Aubrey).

Rest in peace, Cutter...SOB!!

There was a lot that I liked about this episode...the creatures that came through the anomaly at the hospital were too freaking adorable, and I'm awfully glad two of them will be rooming with Connor (Andrew Lee Potts) and Abby (Hannah Spearritt). The first half of the episode was a nice showcase for Potts's, and even Henshall's, comedic talents. The way Connor interacts with Becker (Ben Mansfield) is really funny, especially when he can't even remember the new guy's name! And having Cutter and Abby assist a woman who's been freaked out by the mole-like dinos was really fun - especially because Cutter is so out of his element. *wink*

The reporter guy from the 2nd series "mammoth on the freeway" episode is back, and he annoys me so much I'm not going to even bother to look up his name. Seriously, does the guy have a mop on his head or something?! And he is so freaking WHINY, I just want to smack him. I'm really hoping his stint on the show will be of short duration.

Helen is back, and in a big way obviously. She's such a fantastic villian...definitely in my top 5 most hated villains of all time. Maybe top 3...I seriously loathe that woman. But I want her hair! (Sorry for the A.D.D. moment there...)

Anyways, it annoys me just a bit that Helen ALWAYS got the drop on Cutter, so to speak. I know they hadn't been a couple in quite sometime, but still, she could read him way too easily, always staying several steps ahead. Cutter was always too reactive where she was concerned for my liking...poor guy! *SOB* So this episode gave us Cutter and Cutter Clone (a bit like Spock and Spock Prime, HA!!), and Helen spinning some yarn about how the work Cutter's doing at the ARC is the reason humanity will go to hell on a freight train, so she has to stop him and that's why she's raided the ARC, blah blah blah. If this show has taught me anything, it's that you should never EVER believe a word that comes from Helen's mouth. Personally I think her whole story was because she knew it was the type of thing to get to Cutter, because Helen doesn't have an altruistic bone in her body. That and the fact that Helen is a class A kook and a SERIOUS stalker...she doesn't like rejection and so I think she's driven to destroy men who don't fall in line with her plans (i.e. stupid Stephen!!).

Now, the whole thing about who did Helen actually shoot, Cutter or Cutter Clone, is vague enough that it's POSSIBLE Douglas Henshall might come back at some point - however, I will tell you thanks to my inability to avoid spoilers, Henshall's not coming back this season. It's an open door, though. Especially if Helen's cloning technology is better than she thinks, and Cutter Clone survives and develops consciousness and freewill, etc.

I think Connor, Lester (Ben Miller), and Jenny (Lucy Brown) had some of their best moments in this episode. When Cutter gives Connor charge of the anomaly artifact (anomaly maker?) and tells him that it's on him now, it was a nice little "passing the torch" moment. Connor showed a lot of growth and maturity in this episode, first when he runs inside the burning ARC to retrieve Cutter's body (who the heck could've guessed he was that strong - LOL!), and two when he accepts Cutter's charge...he'll always be a bit goofy, but I think losing Cutter amounts to losing a big brother or father figure, and it's going to hit Connor's life in a big way. Lester and Cutter have ALWAYS been at odds, and while Lester would rather boil in oil than show emotion and shows appreciation or praise only under EXTREME duress, you just knew he was gobsmacked by Cutter's death in the way he was standing around screaming for an ambulance. Poor Lester...note to ITV, if you ever kill off Lester I might have to quit watching this show. Thanks. And last but certainly not least, poor Jenny. The whole Claudia/Jenny thing has been quite a roller coaster ride, but dangit Claudia/Jenny and Cutter were MEANT to be together!! It just broke my heart when Jenny started going on about how there was something she had meant to tell Cutter, and now she never would be able to (there's a lesson here, folks!). So very, very sad. Cutter and Claudia/Jenny will go down as one of the great television romance tragedies of all time in my book...they were so good together, only to have stupid Helen wreck it all! *sigh*

So while the door is open to Cutter's possible return, whether or not I actually care about him returning depends on how the new assortment of cast members "gel" over the rest of this season. Dr. Page (Laila Rouass) got to do some nifty sound editing work in this episode, but I think Becker's character is being better developed, with a tad more screentime, and he says less so that's saying something. They've got to figure out more for Rouass to do in an episode. And I will never, ever complain about more Becker screentime, unless he just gets really stupid all of a sudden. :-)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Breathe by Lisa T. Bergren

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


(David C. Cook; New edition June 1, 2009)


Lisa T. Bergren


Lisa T. Bergren is the best-selling, award winning author of over thirty books, with more than 1.5 million copies sold. A former publishing executive, she now splits her time between writing and freelance editing and parenting her three young children with her husband Tim. She lives in Colorado Springs.


To make a new life, she'll have to learn how to breathe again...

By the time Dominic and Moira St. Clair get their ailing sister, Odessa, to Colorado Springs in the winter of 1883, she is nearly dead. Odessa has been seriously aling for the past year from consumption, an illness that claimed the lives of four of her younger brothers, prompting her father, to send his only surviving children west to chase the cure.

Moira is beautiful and dangerously headstrong; and pugnacious Dominic is charged with establishing a new arm of the family business--a business he doesn't want.
Several days after her arrival, Odessa witnesses what she fears is the murder of miner Sam O’Toole, friend and neighbor to the charming Bryce McAllan.

What’s more, Sam leaves her a poem containing clues that seem to direct her to his mine, which is purported to carry a fantastic vein of silver. But if she is ever to rise from her bed again, she must first concentrate on conquering the giant that threatens her─consumption. Indeed, she must learn to breathe again─daring to embrace her life, her future, and hope in her God.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Breathe, go HERE