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By Singing Light

Pretty much everything here originally appeared at my actual blog: By Singing Light. I particularly focus on upper middle-grade and young adult books. I also enjoy adult genre books, especially speculative fiction.

Currently reading

Robert Macfarlane
The Lost Tools of Learning and the Mind of the Maker
Dorothy L. Sayers
Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens Lost Stars
Claudia Gray, Phil Noto
Fiona Wood
The Seventh Bride
Hope in the Dark
Rebecca Solnit
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street
Natasha Pulley
The Secret of a Heart Note
Stacey Covington-Lee
Outrun the Moon
Stacey Lee
S. Jae-Jones

Belle Epoque

Belle Epoque - Elizabeth  Ross

All right, my wordiness is decreasing as the number of books I have yet to review increases. So, bullet points!


The Good:

  • This was a fascinating glimpse into a different side of Belle Epoque life, and I think it works well as a counter-balance to the kind of glamorized image that one usually sees


  • Maude was an engaging main character, and I liked her journey to discovering who she is and where she fits in the world
  • The central theme of beauty versus worth was nicely done, I thought, and seemed good without being preachy--a hard balance to pull off
  • I also think that the story would appeal to both historical fiction fans, and people who aren't normally that interested in historical fiction


The Not-quite-as-good:


  • The sentence level writing was occasionally iffy--the use of 'whom' was distracting, annoying, and didn't always seem to be correct


  • Although I liked this one a lot, it never flat-out amazed me, and I really wanted it to


  • I wanted more about the friendship between Isabelle and Maude, which seemed to me to be at once the heart of the book, and the most under-developed aspect


All in all, this is one I would recommend to any number of people, though not necessarily in a super-gushy way.


Book source: public library
Book information: Delacorte (Random House), 2013; YA, historical fiction


I read this book for the 2013 Cybils. You’ll be able to see all of my Cybils reviews by clicking here.


Cover talk: I really have problems with the cover, which seems to contradict so much of what the book says about beauty. I know that covers are meant to sell books, but surely there’s a way to do that which doesn’t undermine the story inside? The overall packaging is gorgeous–all those lovely swirly lines–but I don’t believe that the girl on the cover is Maude, and that’s a problem.

Source: http://bysinginglight.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/belle-epoque-by-elizabeth-ross