The Frozen Deep by Wilkie Collins

frozen deep

I read this short novella for Wilkie in Winter. It was a bit fluffy and melodramatic so I was not surprised to learn from Helen at She Reads Novels that it was a novelization of a play written by Collins and Charles Dickens.

The story centers on Clara Burnham, a young woman with Second Sight who has reluctantly committed to marry an explorer named Richard Wardour. When the story begins Wardour has been gone quite a while and Clara, in the meantime, has fallen in love with Frank Aldersley. Just as Frank is about to undertake a voyage to the Arctic, Wardour returns, is rejected by Clara and promises to seek revenge on the man who stole her from him. When he learns that Frank is the man and that he is leaving the next day, Wardour manages to get himself hired on the same voyage and Clara’s worrying and terrible visions begin.

This was so short and lacking in plot and character development that it failed to hit that reading sweet spot for me. It’s a pleasant way to spend a few hours, but doesn’t come close to the brilliance of The Moonstone (which I read last year). I would probably only recommend this if you are a Collins die-hard or if you are looking for a short Victorian novel.

Now, on to The Woman in White!

Other thoughts on this book:

Fleur in Her World


She Reads Novels

Sunday Bulletin 1/5

silver plant

Hello and welcome to my first Sunday post of the year. I hope 2014 is treating you well so far.

I want to take some time to share my goals and plans for reading and blogging this year so that I can refer back to them when I lose my way (which I somehow always seem to do). 2013 felt like a year of readjusting for me: to my cousin moving out and away to Colorado, to living on my own again, to beloved co-workers leaving the library due to retirement and promotion and to new job duties in my role as adult services librarian. I think I am finally used to all of the changes, but I hope that 2014 is just as challenging because I have learned that change is beneficial and can bring about much needed reflection and adaptation.

One thing that I’d like to see stay stable and consistent, though, is this blog. I had some lapses last year and many times when I thought I would quit altogether, but I just couldn’t because I knew that blogging is one of my joys and it would be unwise to scrap something that is so fulfilling. After much thought, I’ve devised a plan to keep myself interested and on top of reviews. I’ve realized that I like writing about three books at a time. I don’t know why, but it helps keep my thoughts flowing. So, I’ll share book thoughts after every third book I read. Since it can take me a long time to read three books, however, I’ll also share a post every Sunday, even if it’s just a photo and a quick hello. I’ll occasionally post thoughts about one book by itself (like I will for The Frozen Deep and The Woman in White for the Wilkie in Winter challenge) and I’ll continue to post a monthly Cover Collection. I love assembling those covers!

I’m going to participate in three challenges in 2014: Wilkie in Winter, The Great War theme read and the A Century of Books project started by Simon at Stuck in a Book. I’m a little nervous about ACOB, but I’ve committed to finishing in two years and will do my best to meet the goal.

Other reading goals for 2014:

  • Read more Elizabeth Taylor novels
  • Read at least two Anthony Trollope novels
  • Read the two Sarah Waters books (Tipping the Velvet & The Night Watch) I haven’t read before her new novel comes out in the fall
  • Read all of the Persephone novels I own (around 18 or so)

These goals are really ambitious for me, especially as I’ve decided to become a knitter as well, but I know I can make progress if I just TURN OFF the TV. I watch far too much TV these days and would like to decrease my viewing time so I’ll have more time for other pursuits.

I wish you all the best with your own reading and blogging goals, if you made them.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful Sunday!

Fall Spin


Another season, another Classics Club Spin. I’ve really enjoyed the two books that were chosen for me in the spring and summer (Revolutionary Road and Mrs. Dalloway) so I am going to take a chance again. I’ve revamped my list, but I am still too much of a coward to include any of the big daddy books like Bleak House. So, below is my list of twenty titles – I’m secretly crossing my fingers for no. 9, no. 15 or no. 16.

  1. The Professor’s House by Willa Cather
  2. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  3. The Group by Mary McCarthy
  4. Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  5. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
  6. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  7. The Fox in the Attic by Richard Hughes
  8. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  9. The Soul of Kindness by Elizabeth Taylor
  10. Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
  11. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
  12. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
  13. Loving and Giving by Molly Keane
  14. A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter
  15. One of Ours by Willa Cather
  16. Brook Evans by Susan Glaspell
  17. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
  18. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
  19. The World According to Garp by John Irving
  20. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Are you participating in the spin this time around? What titles from my list have you read and loved? Any you’ve abhorred?

It looks like I am back to blogging, which I didn’t expect, but I am glad I am here.

Oh – a new youth librarian was hired and starts on Monday. I can already feel the stress rolling off of me.

Trying the Classics Club Spin

little red can

The Classics Club is organizing another spin read and this time I’ve chosen to give it a go. The first spin was during a busy time for me so I didn’t feel up to letting fate choose my next book, but this time I am feeling adventurous and can’t wait to see what book is chosen for me. I’ve been a bit cowardly and have put only books that I feel I can finish by July on my list – nothing super chunky or incredibly hard to read. Most of these are books that I very enthusiastically bought and planned to read immediately, but then let linger. They’ve slowly moved from my bedside table to my upstairs bookcase and are now being neglected in my downstairs bookcase.

  1. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
  2. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  3. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  4. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  5. South Riding by Winifred Holtby
  6. Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
  7. The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
  8. Nana by Emile Zola
  9. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
  10. Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves
  11. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
  12. Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  13. Brook Evans by Susan Glaspell
  14. Saratoga Trunk by Edna Ferber
  15. Harriet by Elizabeth Jenkins
  16. Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster
  17. The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford
  18. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
  19. The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty
  20. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

Are you taking the spin? Do we have any books in common?

Also, I can’t read this Danish book blog (unless I use Google Translate, which is not ideal), but I love looking at the photos. This blogger’s pictures are beautiful!

Have a gorgeous weekend!

Vintage Children’s Literature Reading Challenge



I didn’t think I’d be joining any challenges this year, but the Vintage Children’s Literature Reading Challenge caught my eye. Hosted by Arabella at The Genteel Arsenal, it has a very easy set of rules. I will be going for ‘Alice’ status and plan to read six vintage children’s novels by the end of the year. I wasn’t a huge reader as a child so I feel that I missed out on reading many of the classics that lots of kids read and love. This is a great opportunity for me to familiarize myself with some of the beloved books of childhood. Here are the books I plan to read for the challenge:

Black Beauty

The Secret Garden

The Wind in the Willows

Little House in the Big Woods

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Alice in Wonderland

What is your favorite children’s classic?

Classics Challenge {July}

I’ve been very naughty this month and haven’t read my current Classics Challenge book, A Voyage Out, for even one minute. So I was really happy to see that for this month’s challenge I can talk about any of the books I’ve completed for the challenge this year! Which is only two, but still!  Here is the prompt for the challenge:

“What is a moment, quote, or character that you feel will stay with you? Years from now, when some of the details have faded, that lasting impression the book has left you with… what is it? –or why did it fail to leave an impression?”

Great Expectations is a book that will always stay with me because it was the first Dickens that I’d read in many years and it was thoroughly entertaining  and surprisingly moving. I love the character of Joe Gargery – his simple trust, kind heart and enduring patience with and concern for Pip are truly admirable. I love the scene when Pip awakens from his illness and finds Joe at his bedside ready to forgive and forget the neglect and ingratitude that Pip has heaped upon him.

And who can ever forget an encounter with Miss Havisham? She is possibly one of the most fascinating characters in all of fiction.  The crumbling, moldy, decaying Satis House where Miss Havisham reigns over Estella and plays so thoughtlessly with Pip’s emotions will forever be imprinted on my mind.

I am mostly failing at my challenges this year, but I am, nonetheless,  so very grateful for the Classics Challenge if only because it spurred me to finally read Great Expectations.

Have you read a classic this year that will stay with you forever?


Looking for a healthy version of the traditional chicken salad? I want to try this one soon.

And these tips for having a more positive body image have really helped me lately.

Classics Challenge {June}

Here I am leaving my Classics Challenge post ’til the end of the month again. I left it late because I was hoping I’d have more material to work with for this month’s prompt the further I read in The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf. But the majority of the book takes place on a boat and Woolf is not much for describing the sea, so I’ve taken a few passages from the beginning of the novel to illustrate her writing.

First, here is the prompt: “Select a quote from the Classic you’re currently reading and create, what I call a visual tour.”

“The Embankment juts out in angles here and there, like pulpits; instead of preachers, however, small boys occupy them, dangling string, dropping pebbles or launching wads of paper for a cruise.”

“After watching the traffic on the Embankment for a minute or two with a stoical gaze she twitched her husband’s sleeve, and they crossed between the swift discharge of motor cars. When they were safe on the further side, she gently withdrew her arm from his , allowing her mouth at the same time to relax, to tremble; then tears rolled down, and leaning her elbows on the balustrade, she shielded her face from the curious.”

“Some one is always looking into the river near Waterloo Bridge; a couple will stand there talking for half an hour on a fine afternoon; most people, walking for pleasure, contemplate for three minutes; when, having compared the occasion with other occasions, or made some sentence, they pass on.”

These scenes take place at the very beginning of The Voyage Out as Mr. and Mrs. Ambrose are on their way to board a ship that will take them to South America. This was Woolf’s first published novel and I am enjoying it to this point. Her writing is a bit ponderous, but she is funny and it helps to lighten her prose. Have you read Woolf? What is your favorite Woolf novel?

*click on images to see credits.

Classics Challenge {May}

I’m sneaking my Classics Challenge post in right at the end of the month. And this time I am not going to subject you to another post about Anna Karenina, fascinating as that tome may be, because I started another of my choices this month when I realized that AK probably is going to take me the entire year to read. The next book on my list for the challenge was Howards End and I eagerly found my copy and began reading. I have read Howards End before, probably 15 years ago, and remember liking it, but I haven’t retained much more than that. However,  E.M. Forster wrote one of my favorite novels, A Room With a View, so I have a strong fondness for his writing and know I will probably enjoy Howards End also.

The question this month asks “What literary movement is the prose or poetry you’re reading from? What are the values or ideals of the movement? Name other writers of the movement.”


E.M. Forster, which I never realized, was part of the Bloomsbury group. I’m sure you are all familiar with this group of artists and writers who were active in the first half of the 20th Century. The more esteemed members of the set included Virginia Woolf, Leonard Woolf, Vanessa Bell, Clive Bell, Duncan Grant and Lytton Strachey. Forster was a borderline member of the group as it seems he traveled quite a bit during their highly active years, when he took long trips to Europe and India.

The ideals of the Bloomsbury group, as Forster himself proclaimed, included “the decay of smartness and fashion as factors, and the growth of the idea of enjoyment”. I can definitely see these principles at work in A Room With a View and have a feeling that they will crop up in Howards End, as well.

Have you read Forster? Do you have a favorite Forster novel?