Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d – Alan Bradley (2016, Doubleday Canada)
The eighth book in the Flavia de Luce mystery series packs a right-between-the-eyes knockout punch – and no, I won’t spoil it for you, other than to say this is an even bigger deal than her temporary “exile” in Canada, where she attended a private boarding school, solved a weird murder involving a body stuffed up a chimney, and learned more about her family’s connection to a secret organization which I shouldn’t discuss further. (Go get book seven, As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust, and read it right now. It’s a ragged and uneven go, but it serves as a decent set up for the new book). In Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d, Flavia returns home to her beloved Buckshaw just before Christmas, to find that her father is ill and the household is unsettled and cold. The accidental finding of the body of a wood carver while running an errand cheers Flavia up immensely, as she goes to great lengths and concocts elaborate lies to uncover the murderer. Despite remaining endearingly irrepressible, Flavia is definitely taking on a more mature, experienced voice (if that can even be possible) as the series develops and she approaches her teenage years.
A few years ago, I set out all eager and full of abundant ideas and started oh about five blogs on WordPress, nearly all of which have, over time, become encapsulated within Flowery Prose. I’ve hung onto The Door is Ajar, which, for those of you who haven’t subscribed to it, is an ongoing list of books I’ve been reading and a super brief commentary about them – not usually what I would consider entire reviews, because that requires more time than I have. At any rate, I have finally made the decision to amalgamate the two blogs here. After all, books and writing and reading are a big part of Flowery Prose…and while I’m a bit afraid that some of you may be put off by my eclectic reading tastes, who knows? – this might just go over nicely in the end. I just really feel the need to streamline the whole blogging process and get everything (bad pun alert) on one page. I won’t completely shutter the site of The Door is Ajar, but I won’t make any new entries for the foreseeable future – click here if you want to pop over and see what I was doing.
(The good stuff).
Yes – Rosemary Griebel (2011 Frontenac House Ltd., Calgary)
I’m not sure how many of these poems from Rosemary Griebel are autobiographical but her incredibly powerful portraits of parents, lovers, and friends, the prairie landscape of childhood, and journeys to Europe and other regions of Canada (as well as some interesting and bold reimaginings of history) feel so personal and intimate I don’t want to believe otherwise. I first selected this collection because Griebel is from Calgary, and although many of the poems were attractive to me due to that shared geography, I became far more emotionally engaged than I had anticipated – these are lines and stanzas that will bring tears to your eyes and make your stomach twist over, more than once. Unexpected and absolutely beautiful work.