Monday, March 26, 2007


I meant to add some more items to the Florida Seacoast Railway trip, but I started - and then had to finish - The Thirteenth Tale - and our internet wasn't working last evening or this morning. I am now at work and able to post.

First - The Thirteenth Tale. I hadn't read the proverbial Gothic Horror/Romance in many, many years. When I was a teen I devoured those type of books, and back then, there were some excellent writers of the genre.....Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, Daphne DuMaurier and Georgette Heyer. The Thirteenth Tale is a kind of return to that type of story (and the excellent writing and plots of those days also) except that the plot concerns an author and her childhood - and therein lies the gothic flavor of this novel. There is a dark, totally dysfunctional semi-aristocratic English family, the requisite governess and various weird house and grounds servants. I'll leave the plot description at that. The thing I found most interesting is that you take for granted this story takes place in the now - i.e., modern times; however, the heroine never uses a computer, the internet, Google, genealogy databases, or any number of other methods of research when she needs to look up information. She also never uses a computer or even a typewriter to write. She uses 12 red pencils, a pencil sharpener and reams of paper. Period. When she needs to research something, she writes letters. No email. Just "snail" mail - the old fashioned way. I think this is deliberate on the part of the writer, to give the story the flavor of the classic gothic romances of 40-60 years ago. While this was a very well written novel and it certainly was a page turner I couldn't put down until I finished it, I was disturbed by the characters to a degree and found it unpleasant to read about some of their actions and behavior. For an entertaining - and disruptive (you'll not be able to put the book down for any length of time) read, I recommend it highly. I will look out for subsequent work by the author of The Thirteenth Tale.

Tonight I will - if the internet is back up and working at home - be able to post more on the 1935 trip to Florida.

No comments: