Sunday, May 31

Book Review: Indiscretion by Hannah Fielding

Author: Hannah Fielding
Title: Indiscretion
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: ebook
First Published: April 2015
Where I Got It: My shelf (Given to me by the author/publisher for my honest and unbiased opinion)

A young woman's journey of discovery takes her to a world of forbidden passion, savage beauty, and revenge.

Spring, 1950. Alexandra de Falla, a half-English, half-Spanish young writer abandons her privileged but suffocating life in London and travels to Spain to be reunited with her long-estranged family.

Instead of providing the sense of belonging she yearns for, the de Fallas are driven by seething emotions, and in the grip of the wild customs and traditions of Andalucia, all of which are alien to Alexandra.

Among the strange characters and sultry heat of this country, she meets the man who awakens emotions she hardly knew existed. But their path is strewn with obstacles: dangerous rivals, unpredictable events, and inevitable indiscretions. What does Alexandra's destiny hold for her in this flamboyant land of drama and all-consuming passions, where blood is ritually poured on to the sands of sun-drenched bullfighting arenas, mysterious gypsies are embroiled in magic and revenge, and beautiful dark-eyed dancers hide their secrets behind elegant lacy fans?

"Indiscretion"is a story of love and identity, and the clash of ideals in the pursuit of happiness. But can love survive in a world where scandal and danger are never far away?

Where to even begin?

This was a lovely story. It was so beautifully written! It helped that the location was beautiful as well, but I felt like I was there. At some points I was more curious about the details and location then the actual story. Spain has always been an area that I wished more stories where set in, because it is a lovely area. It certainly added to the drama of the story!

At some points the book did get intense! I think setting made it feel more intense, but I enjoyed every moment of the unnecessary drama. Yes, unnecessary but entertaining nonetheless. This would make for a great movie! Just so much drama and beauty going around.

I was not a fan of Salvador. Yes, he was good looking, but he annoyed me. I would have kicked him to the curb if I was Alexandra. However, I do not care for complexity in my relationships. Not my thing, but not everyone is like me, so I was trying to understand her. I tried to understand and like her. I grew to like her as the story went on, but I just don't get WHY she stayed and WHY she was so in love. Everyone was so MEAN! It just seemed too much for me. I know when I am not wanted and I will not stay. However....that is me....Alexandra, I felt, needed to be loved by them. Poor girl.

Again...this was a lovely written book with some intense drama going on! I am curious to see what else the author is going to bring to the table! I want to read more. :) My only issue was Salvador himself. I grew to understand and like Alexandra, but it was still sad to see such a nice girl get treated like crap for a while. I highly recommend this to those that like historical fiction or what a book set in Spain. I will say it ONE last time....LOVELY! Out of five stars, I stamp this with 4. 

Favorite Character(s): The gypsies (couldn't help it)

Not-so Favorite Character(s): Salvador and the grandmother

Saturday, May 30

Interview with Hannah Fieldings

Today, we have a special guest on the blog! May we have a nice warm applause fr Hannah Fielding, the author of the new book 'Indiscretion'! She was so sweet to have an interview with me.

Tell us about yourself

I was born in Alexandria, Egypt, a city founded in the year 332 BC by order of Alexander the Great, a Greek king of Macedonia. The rambling house in which I grew up was built on a hill facing the Mediterranean, commanding the most breathtaking views of the ever-changing sea, with its glowing sunsets and romantic moonlit nights.

I went to a convent school, and after I graduated with a BA in French literature, my international nomadic years started. I lived mainly in Switzerland, France and England, and holidayed in other Mediterranean countries like Italy, Greece and Spain. After falling in love with my husband, we settled in a Georgian house in Kent where I brought up our two children, while looking after horses and dogs and running my own business renovating rundown cottages.

My children have now flown the nest, and my husband and I spend half our time in our Georgian rectory in Kent and the rest in our home in the South of France, where I write novels overlooking spectacular views of the Mediterranean.

Tell me about your new book, Indiscretion

Indiscretion is the story of a young woman’s journey of discovery that takes her to a world of forbidden passion, savage beauty and danger.

The setting is spring, 1950. Alexandra de Falla, a young half-English, half-Spanish writer, abandons her privileged but suffocating life in London and travels to Spain to reunite with her long-estranged family.

Instead of providing the sense of belonging she yearns for, the de Fallas are riven with seething emotions, and in the grip of the wild customs and traditions of Andalucia, all of which are alien to Alexandra.

Among the strange characters and in the sultry heat of this country, she meets a man who awakens emotions she hardly knew existed. But their path is strewn with obstacles: dangerous rivals, unpredictable events and inevitable indiscretions. What does Alexandra’s destiny hold for her in this flamboyant land of drama and all-consuming passions, where blood is ritually poured on to the sands of sun-drenched bullfighting arenas, mysterious gypsies are embroiled in magic and revenge, and beautiful dark-eyed señoritas hide their secrets behind elegant lacy fans?

Indiscretion is a story of love and identity, and the clash of ideals in the pursuit of happiness. Can love survive in a world where scandal and danger are never far away?

Who is Alexandra de Falla?

Alexandra de Falla is a spirited half-English, half-Spanish woman. She is intelligent, sensitive and curious, but most of all a romantic – in fact, she has made a career of writing romance novels. To escape the stifling background of post-war England in the fifties, but mostly to find her roots, she embarks on a journey to Andalucia, where she meets her estranged Spanish family. At El Pavόn she comes up against the bigotry of 1950s Spain – the hero, his family and the wider society all adhere to ways she does not understand, and indeed condemns because to her they belong in the dark ages. Proud and a staunch individualist, Alexandra recklessly follows her own naïve star, and, in view of the times and the places, almost ruins her life. Still, she definitely has an emotional freshness which comes through immediately, a quality that Salvador, being a conservative Spanish male, finds highly attractive. Her unworldliness might land her in trouble, but nevertheless, her innocence is not without charm.

Alexandra is therefore a heroine caught in an inner battle between being ‘modern’ and being ‘old fashioned’ in terms of how she reacts to family responsibilities and to the men she meets.

Out of all places in the world, why Spain?

I am an incorrigible romantic, and Spain is a land of flamboyance and drama. Where else do men flirt with death every afternoon for entertainment? The people are intense; their culture, their music, their traditions personify passion and fire. Even their national dish paella is a rainbow of vivid colours, with a flavour to match. Life is lived to the full. The Spanish seem to be totally in tune with James Dean’s immortal words, ‘Live as if you’ll die today.’

For me Andalucia, in southern Spain, where the action of Indiscretion takes place, is overflowing with bygone charm. All year azure skies, dazzling sunshine and sweetly fragranced gardens… colour, romance, emotion and the flamboyant figure of a flamenco dancer or the torero in the arena, sword and cape in hand, beneath the scorching sun.

The fiestas and ferias are charged with music and dance, conjuring an image of open air, moonlit skies, and all the aromas that a warm summer’s night has to offer. Women in bright-coloured dresses and silk shawls carrying rainbow-painted fans in brilliant designs, the ladies’ secret language of love. Courting couples on horseback or dancing the most evocative sevillanas. The crowded little terraces underneath the orange trees that dot the pavements and the maze of winding, narrow streets that provide shade from the hot sun. The dazzling, quaint pueblos blancos, white-washed villages hanging on steep cliffs, their houses huddled around a ruined Moorish castle, piercing the deep-blue sky. The peasants working in the fields, with their sparkling black eyes and their faces weathered like the bark of the native olive trees in the breathtakingly dramatic landscapes. The wide avenues lined with spectacular purple Jacaranda trees. The splendour of the magnificent buildings and monuments.

These are some of my sources of inspiration which portray the vibrant world and fruitful diversity of the culture of Spain; but they are only the tip of the iceberg. Wherever you turn, romance is present… what else could I do but fall in love with this magical country?

What is one thing you want people to take away from this book?

My romance novel Indiscretion poses a question: Can love survive in a world where scandal and danger are never far away? Alexandra feels torn between her two heritages, her two families, and two ways of life. Her attempt to reconcile these within herself is one of the main themes of my novel.

No one falls in love by choice, it’s by chance. So what are the ingredients for true love? Some people say that true love is when you don’t need to compromise. In my opinion, that is a rather simplistic answer. If that were the case, Salvador and Alexandra would never reach their happy ever after. Love takes work and compromise. When you compromise, you are not diminishing yourself: it doesn’t mean you’re wrong and the other person is right; it means that you value your relationship more than your ego.

Salvador, this Spanish man with unshakeable traditions and values, is mature enough to understand that. And because his love for Alexandra is so strong and deep, he knows when it is time to put his pride to one side and grab what life and love are offering him. For her part, Alexandra realises she should put things in perspective; the future might not be paved with roses, but she loves Salvador and he loves her, and nothing else in the world should count.

But that is not the only message I would like Indiscretion to convey to my readers. Family is very important to me. I was brought up in a rambling house in Alexandria which was pretty much like El Pavόn, surrounded by an equally sprawling family clan whose lives were all intertwined with each other. For lunch my grandmother sat at the head of a table of fifteen members of her family, which included her children and their spouses and her grandchildren. We were a clan. There were parameters within which everyone had a role. If a stranger came into our midst, the clan immediately drew together as if threatened by the outsider. A close family life can be stifling sometimes, but it also gives you strength and a sense of belonging.

I enjoyed imagining Alexandra’s experience of entering this sort of environment. Similarly, this happened to me when I married my English husband. I thought I knew England well, but despite my very international education and my numerous travels to England and other parts of the world, visiting and living in a place are very different things: different weather, different culture, and different prejudices! My English life is now my own and I am very comfortable with it, but it is a very different world to the one in which I grew up, and writing Indiscretion was not only an exercise in writing a romance story set in a place about which I love to dream, but also an interesting adventure of exploration for me.

What are you currently working on now if you don't mind my asking?
My next book, to be published mid-summer 2015, is Masquerade, the sequel to Indiscretion and Book #2 in The Andalucian Nights Trilogy. It is set in the second half of the seventies and is the story of Luz, Alexandra’s daughter, living in the New Spain that has opened its borders to outsiders and is preparing to enter the European Union.
Set in a very different era to that into which Alexandra was thrown, but one that nevertheless has its problems, Masquerade is a story of forbidden love, truth and trust in a world of secrets, revenge and mystery. Are appearances always deceptive?
In 2016, my readers can look forward to Book #3, Legacy.

Greece and Egypt, two captivating countries with huge historical and cultural heritages, are also on the map for settings in new Hannah Fielding romantic novels.

I still have many books in me. For me, being a writer is not about publishing. It is simply about writing – writing from the heart the books that I most want to read. As the great American writer Toni Morrison said, ‘If there’s a book you want to read and it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.

Again, thanks Hannah for the interview! :) 
Social links
Purchase links

This challenge is organized by Geeky Blogger's Book Blog & That’s What I’m Talking About

Saturday: Nada 
Sunday:  30 mins Zumba, 1 mile walk, & 60 crunches (30 regular & 30 Pilate ones)
Monday:  **HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!** 2 mile walk
Tuesday: 1 mile bike, 1.5 mile walk/jog, & 5 mins weights
Wednesday: 40 crunches & 15 mins yoga
Thursday: 50 crunches (25 pilate & 25 regular)
Friday: Nada
Conclusion: Hmmmm, two not awesome weeks. Boo. Oh well. 

Friday, May 29

Book Reviews: Becoming Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey

Author: Juliet Grey
Title: Becoming Marie Antoinette (Marie Antoinette #1)
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 418
First Published: Janurary 2011
Where I Got It: My shelf (Amazon)

Why must it be me? I wondered. When I am so clearly inadequate to my destiny?

Raised alongside her numerous brothers and sisters by the formidable empress of Austria, ten-year-old Maria Antonia knew that her idyllic existence would one day be sacrificed to her mother’s political ambitions. What she never anticipated was that the day in question would come so soon.

Before she can journey from sunlit picnics with her sisters in Vienna to the glitter, glamour, and gossip of Versailles, Antonia must change everything about herself in order to be accepted as dauphine of France and the wife of the awkward teenage boy who will one day be Louis XVI. Yet nothing can prepare her for the ingenuity and influence it will take to become queen.

Ooooh! What a bittersweet book. It was so hopeful and happy and left me with smile. However, 'tis a bitter smile because I know what is going to happen in the next two books. This book just takes place during her early life. Before marriage and a couple years into her marriage. So this is the point when everyone loves her and France is in an "okay" state. Peasants are still, well, peasants and poor. However, there is hope and things are okay and happy! 

My favorite of all her portaits

My second favorite

DARN YOU JULIET GRAY!!!!!! I wish I didn't know what was going to happen next. 

But yes, this was a lovely story and it was nice to see her time in Austria when she was young and innocent before having to deal with the shitty court. Yes, I call it "shitty", because the people are vicious and mean and just ignorant jerks. Yes, all the royalty back then had issues and a certain disconnect with the peasants, but the late 18th century court of France was the worse. I blame the Sun King. Not a bad king, but his influence trickled down and made the court stagnant and VERY disconnected with the people.

My only issue with this book is that some spots seemed to drag and seemed not worth mentioning at all. These scenes would be vividly described, while other important moments quickly mentioned and moved on. It was annoying, because I wanted some scenes to be better explained!

OOOH holy foreshadows! It marked every other page it seemed. Even someone who had no idea what was to be her doom could sense something bad was upon the horizon. I am not complaining, but it made the book even more bittersweet, because she was so innocent, but she seemed to feel something was going to happen.

Gah. The whole time I wanted to smack her mother, the Empress, because it was so obvious the Fates were trying to stop this marriage. EVERYTHING THAT COULD GO WRONG DID GO WRONG! Hell, Marie had to wear braces (which is true), change her hairline, and pray that her period would come (but of course it took its sweet time). Just so many things, that I would have stopped the process and changed the plans. Maybe that is just me. However, the Empress gets what she wants.

In the end, I really enjoyed this book. It has been one of the best novels about Marie Antoinette in a while. I would really like to find a book set in Louis Auguste's POV. That is one POV I have NOT read yet. There were some slow spots, but the rest held my full attention. I totally recommend this to those that like history or just a good people book. Out of five stars, I stamp this with 4 stars. 

Favorite Character(s): Marie, Charlotte, Lambelle, & Mercy
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Du Barry (I have a love-hate relationship with her, I still want to be her for a Halloween) & the Aunts (Meh)

Thursday, May 28

Movie Review: The Starving Games (2014)

Length: 1 hr & 31 mins
Released: Janurary 2014
Genre: Comedy
Rating: PG-13
Where I Got It: Watched on Netflix


The Starving Games stars Maiara Walsh as Kantmiss Evershot, the eagle-eyed archer whose bravery and skills inspire the masses along with trending topics on Twitter; Cody Allen Christian as Peter Malarkey, the geeky young man who volunteers alongside Kantmiss; Brant Daugherty as Dale, Kantmiss's beau who's left behind to watch - and simmer; Ross Wyngaarden as Marco, a ruthless player handy with a blade; Dean West as Seleca, the game's controller and Diedrich Bader as President Snowballs, the malevolent, but ratings-conscious ruler.


Well. Ummm....yeah...I blame Boyfriend for making us watch this. Okay, I allowed it to happen because I have enjoyed some of the other parody movies in the past. They have never been the best ever, but they were decent and made me laugh.

This one....not so much.

Sure I giggled from time to time, but the jokes where OVERLY cheesy and the acting was lacking. Some of the actors should not do comedy. There are a couple who have done "serious" things that I have seen them in and they were alright, but comedy is NOT their genre.

Some scenes and delivers were cringe-worthy or made me roll my It could have been nice and funny like the others movie parody movies in the past.

In the end....just no. The acting was sad and desperate. The script needed a edit and the comedy was not that funny. Yes, I had a couple of chuckles here and there, but....yeah. This was a hot mess. I do not recommend this anyone. Maybe a 12 year old teenager? Meh. Out of five stars, I stamp this 1 star.


Favorite Character(s): No one
Not-so Favorite Character(s): No one
Re-watch?: Oh God no. 

Monday, May 25

Blodeuedd Reviews: Wedding Bells in Christmas by Debbie Mason


Wedding bells are ringing in the charming town of Christmas, but not for Vivian Westfield. She's just had her heart trampled under the cowboy boots of Chance McBride and lost her dream job at a big­city newspaper. But when she returns for a wedding, she stumbles on a story that could resurrect her career. First, though, she'll have to deal with the handsome man standing in her way... and a still­burning flame that's too hot to ignore. Chance recognizes trouble when he sees it. He just didn't expect to find it in the first­class cabin on the flight home for his father's wedding. Yet there she is, as gorgeous as ever. Vivi dared Chance to want things he knew he could never have. It's why he left her. But Christmas's meddling matchmakers have them firmly in their sights. So if they want to survive the next week, they'll have to play the part of an adoring couple—an irresistible charade that may give them a second chance at the real thing... 

My thoughts:

It was book 4, and sure there was talk about other couples, but I did not feel like I had missed out.

It worked well as a stand alone. And that next book seems promising.

Viv is a hot­head. It's good to be curious, but curiosity killed the cat. She was reckless.

Chance lost his wife and child 5 years ago and will never love again. It's good to mourn, but life goes on and you can love again. And you obviously like Viv since you are protecting #stalking# her.

They had a fling, he left cos he can't love again. She is angry (oh and there is this other thing, not cool man.) Sparks fly, cos they can't stay away from each other.

To their help in this small town they have Aunt Nell. More about her! Not enough, not near enough of her. Ya know, the meddling older relative who likes to play matchmaker.

But, with all those good things I felt kind of..meh. I did not like Viv, there is a line she crossed of recklessness. And Chance was particularly stalking her even though he sigh, could not love again. I did not feel like they worked together. I did not feel the chemistry and I did not like them...

But the suspense was good. Still, a meh book.

Kindle Edition, 400

**** Note from Carole: Happy Memorial Day! Especially to my family and friends who have, are, and will fight for our country! ****

Sunday, May 24

Joint Book Review: The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

This month Blodeuedd and I will be reading 'The Snow Child' by Eowyn Ivey! :D 

Author: Eowyn Ivey
Title: The Snow Child
Genre: Historical Fiction, Magical Realism, & fantasy
Pages: 386
First Published: Janurary 2011
Where I Got It: Borrowed from library

Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart—he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season’s first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone—but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.

This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place, things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.

B: Ok, how should we start today?

C: Mmmmm, first I want to ask the question: do you believe the girl was the snow maiden or just a regular girl?

B: I liked how the book felt like magical realism, and I did wonder in the beginning. But then after the dad was found, it still felt like magical realism, and I loved it. But no, I did not think she was the snow maiden. She was a regular girl.

C: Agreed. Like Mabel I wanted her to be the snow maiden. However, I like how the author leaves it up to reader. There sure is evidence that she IS and that she ISN’T.

B: Yes, she did that well. Magical realism, and still no magical realism cos there is no magic. Ohhh, I like. But then I adore books like this. Where magic can be felt and they just feel so special. I had high hopes for this book and it turned out to be awesome :D

C: It was nice! I was worried that it was going to be too fantastical, but the Magical realism was nice. I was also worried that I failed and picked a stinker, because the first 25 pages were super slow. I could barely keep going, but once I hit page 26 I was good and I read it within 24 hours! :D That is rare for me ;)

B: Really? I am glad you read on. I knew from page 1 that I loved it :) I can like slow if the words are just sweet poetry to me. Ok so not poetry. But it flowed, steady and nice. I felt the story, the sadness, yes it is pretty obvious that I liked this one. Not only for the story, but for the excellent writing.

C: I loved her writing style! It was beautiful. However, it was the story at first I was worried about and Mabel. I did not care for Mabel at first (in those 25 pages), but then I understood her more as the story went along and I liked her. What did you think of Mabel and Jack?

B: I understood how she wanted to be out there all alone, no people. No one asking about them and all that. A fresh start. But you need people, and I liked how she slowly understood that. Jack, oh he was working himself to death wasn’t he? It just made me sad for them. They need something in their life, and they received that.

C: Poor Jack. He was working himself to death and get why he didn’t want Mabel to help, but honestly….she should have just went out and started doing stuff. But yes, they certainly received that something!

B: Yes, she should have helped more, baking pies to sell is not all she could do. But then he should have asked. She did ask  him, but he was all I am a man. I can do this stuff. And yes it was a hard life, but there is always something to do.

C: Of course he is going to say that! He is a 20th century man. lol. That is why she should have just put on some pants and went out there. So….the ending….what did you think?

B: Ok, the ending, how not to spoil things. It fit. It made me sad. It made me hopeful. It made me believe. It made me question things. It was sadly a great ending. I could not have seen another ending.

C: Yes. It was the perfect ending for Fania and the whole story. It was sad and it made me mad for a hair, but then I realized that it was meant to happen. The author threw in so many foreshadows throughout the book. Especially with the one part with Fania’s dad…...I wish I could say, but yeah.

B: But there is always hope, and yes I admit, I held on to that hope you know. If you catch my meaning ;) No spoilers.

C: I get the hope and I see it! However, I am a negative person, so I am assuming the worse ;).

B: No, no negativity! Hope is alive. Nothing was found. Everyone lived happily ever after :) Sort of.

C: Poor Garrett...even though he knew what he was in for. hahaha Okay….okay….I will pretend that everything was happy and full of rainbows ;)

B: Rainbows :D And lots of potatoes, moose and strawberries to eat for them.

C: Hahaha and blueberries. you think you’ll read more by this author? I know I am curious to see what else she has up her sleeve!

B: I checked at once and saw that she only has this short story :/ That made me really sad. I loved her style, and I would love to read more by her. She must write more!!!!! I would love for her to mix in another fairytale too.

C: WHAT?! Now I AM UPSET! Maybe she is working on something while we are speaking????? SHE MUST! I would love another fairytale!

B: Reading her blog at the moment. In December she talked about her manuscript being ready so there is hope, there is always hope!!!

C: HOPE!!!!!!
Do you have anything else to add? Any questions?

B: Not really. I only want to add that everyone EVERYONE must read this book. It was fantastic, fantastical. Great writing, great story. A must read for every fiction lover

C: I totally agree! I may pick this book for my book club when it is my choice of book! :D It’s really good.

B: I found a name, Shadows on the wolverine. We should totally review it when it is in 2016 *sigh*

C: Ooooooooo. I am game! I am even willing to pay for it...maybe….haha.

B: LOL. I did get this one from the library. Thank you library for being awesome!

C: Same here! Thank you library! It is beaten up and has been loved a lot it seems. :)

B: Let’s call this the end then, and your turn to pick a book right?

C: Ok! Good job buddy! I picked this one remember? LOL YOUR TURN! Mwuahahahahahahahahahaha *munches on carrot*

B: But I gave you a list of books my library has ;)

C: LOL and I happen to have wanted to read this book for a wee bit. ;) FINE…..I will pick again! WAH!

B: or shall I give you a few my library has suggestions? *jumps up and down*

C: I will take your list and contemplate...haha….
So...the end?

B: The end :)


In conclusion, I really liked this book. It was a quick read and I got it done within 24 hours. As you know, that is rare for me. haha. I did love the characters even though Mabel annoyed me in the beginning, but I grew to understand her more. The ending was bittersweet and it was sad, but there was some hope. The only issue I had with the book was the beginning 25 pages....I was worried the story was going to be a let down, but it certainly got better! The writing style was simple beautiful! No other words can describe it! Out of five stars, I stamp this with 4 stars. 

Favorite Character(s): Jack, Ester, George, & Faina
Not-so Favorite Character(s): one in particular.

Saturday, May 23

Book Review: The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck

Author: Pearl S. Buck
Title: The Good Earth
Genre: Historical Fiction & Classic
Pages: 418
First Published: 1931
Where I Got It: My shelf (Given to me by my parents)

This tells the poignant tale of a Chinese farmer and his family in old agrarian China. The humble Wang Lung glories in the soil he works, nurturing the land as it nurtures him and his family. Nearby, the nobles of the House of Hwang consider themselves above the land and its workers; but they will soon meet their own downfall.

Hard times come upon Wang Lung and his family when flood and drought force them to seek work in the city. The working people riot, breaking into the homes of the rich and forcing them to flee. When Wang Lung shows mercy to one noble and is rewarded, he begins to rise in the world, even as the House of Hwang falls.

This has been on my list to read for quite some time now. I am glad I finally got myself to read it, even though it took a while to get through it. It's a classic novel, so its like strong wine and you have to take sips of it at a time. 

On the surface this book seems like a story about a man trying to make his way through life. He gets married, has some kids, bad things happen, he begins to get wealthy, his kids have kids, and then he dies. WHICH I must point out his two eldest sons are jerks, because they want to sell the land which MADE them all rich when Wang Lung dies. So sad. 

Looking deeper, though, the story has so much more to give. The oppression of people (mainly women), wealth can corrupt even the most amiable of men (like Wang Lung), and the cycle of life. 

Gah. I was angry with Wang Lung, because he wasn't a horrible guy, but then he got rich and became like the old man of the House of Hwang. Was it really his fault? Was it societies fault? Both, honestly. The moment he stopped working on the land, he became bored and became an a-typical rich guy. He starts sleeping around and even cuts his hair and buys expensive things. Ugh! I was so hurt for O-lan...Wang Lung was horrible to her because she was "ugly" and her feet were not bound as a child, so she has "big feet", which is unattractive. It was sad, because she was there through the bad times when he was a poor farmer boy. She could have left, but she was loyal. And how does Wang Lung treat his faithful and loving wife? Get a concubine. >_> I lost all respect for Wang Lung throughout the story. It made it hard to read, honestly. 

Again...wealth can corrupt anyone...even Wang Lung. The moment they moved from the land into town, the fate of land was sealed. The boys did not care or appreciate the land, so why would they want to continue the family tradition of being farmers? They have money now. Gah. 

What also bugged me was how Wang and the boys looked down at servants....WAIT? Dude, Wang you were JUST a peasant two minutes ago. I get it, but then I don' is simply the reality. 

Which kuddos to the author for keeping up with reality and making it seem real. She did not sugar-coat what would happen. All women were oppressed (even the rich ones). All poor people were considered "slaves"/peasants. And money can ruin any family and morals.

My only complaint was the lack of names for the majority of characters. Like non of the children or wives had names. There was the Eldest Son, Second Son, Third Son, First daughter, and so forth. For some reason it annoyed me. 'Tis silly, but I do like the characters named. It really slowed me down, especially when the cousin came about. Wang Lung called him, "My Uncle's Son". WHY NOT JUST SAY YOUR COUSIN? Gah.

Now, I did like the ending. It worked and seemed perfect. Sad, but realistic.

In the end, this was an interesting book. I am glad I read it, because it really begs the question: can an individual be soley at blame for their actions? Does the society aid in these actions? Humans are "sheep" and follow the crowd to "fit in". Also, it was a nice change of scenery for me. I wish I had read this while I was learning about China in one of my classes. That class really helped me understand the Chinese culture of today and especially of the past. I totally recommend this for someone who wants a book that will make them think as well as entertain them. Out of five stars, I stamp this with 3 stars.

Favorite Character(s): Wang Lung (at the beginning), O-lan, Ching, & Third Son
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Lotus & Old Wang Lung (*shakes my head*)