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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

The Lost Tools of Learning and the Mind of the Maker
Dorothy L. Sayers
The Seventh Bride
T. Kingfisher
Hope in the Dark
Rebecca Solnit
Outrun the Moon
Stacey Lee
Midnight Thief
Livia Blackburne
The White Hart
Nancy Springer
The Great Wall Of Lucy Wu
Wendy Wan-Long Shang
Jim C. Hines
Elizabeth & Leicester: Power, Passion, Politics
Sarah Gristwood

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