Posted in book reviews, books, reviews, TBR

Book Review: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

Oh this book is just something else! Words just do not do it justice, but I can honestly say that this is my new favourite book. That’s how good it is.

How can I best describe it? It’s like childhood summertime in the English countryside. It reminds me of growing up in my home town and I find it a goddamn shame that I only just discovered it now because this is something that younger me would have really needed.

It’s a coming of age tale about two sister Cassandra and Rose. However, the books perspective is from Cassandra and it is her journals that we are reading from. They are very much the thoughts of a seventeen year old. She lives with her quirky family including the vivacious and extravagant Topaz (her model stepmother) and her father whose been suffering with severe writers block for several years. They live in an old tumble down castle in the Sussex countryside and endure an interesting but poor life. That is until two American chaps come to town and sweep the girls off their feet.

There are a myriad of other characters involved in the framework as you travel through Cassandra’s first experience of the real world and adulthood (other than what she’s read in Jane Austen novels). You go through it all with her and get wrapped up in love triangles and late night swimming.

Like I said I cannot do this novel justice enough so I shall leave you with a couple of quotes, snippets of my favourite lines from the novel.

The thought came to me that perhaps it is the loving that counts, not the being loved in return- that perhaps true loving can never know anything but happiness.

-Page 267 : Realisations about the nature of love.

And I knew she was gone forever… she makes me think of the corpse of a dressmakers doll.

-Page 294 : In reference to losing imaginary friends from childhood, when reality ensues.

It is part of a follow-my-leader game of second best we have all been playing… It isn’t a very good game; the people you play with are apt to get hurt.

 

It isn’t enough to give. Not for the giver

– Both from Page 406 : Cassandra understands the cruel nature of unrequited love and how each of us falls victim to it at some point or another.

As you can see it is a very thoughtful novel which manages to be both witty, wise and real with the theme of love. I am in awe of Smith’s writing and intend to read more of her book, especially her autobiographies.

This would also be a good novel for anyone doing Love Through the Ages at A-Level for your coursework or even to use as a comparison in the exam for unrequited or lost love.

5 stars all round!

-E

 

Posted in film reviews

Movie Review:Austenland

So I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t really read much Austen… or any to be fair. I attempted Emma and hated the character so much darcythat it put me off of her other works. Which are currently still sitting on my bookshelf collecting dust.

But after watching the film Austenland for the second time in a row, I have to admit that I think I’m ready to take on Mr Darcy.

So the story revolves around an Austen mad girl that’s never been lucky in love because she’s dealing with 21st century men. Her way of solving this issue is spending all her savings on going on holiday to England, to Austenland. Yep, you’ve guessed it the guests live out a regency style fantasy with actors that they fall in love with. But as with all things, reality and fantasy gets intertwined and confused and Jane is stuck in the middle wandering what it is she really wants.

tally-hoSo there’s a whole load of strapping young men and one Jane, even though she got the crappy copper package at Austenland, I bet you can already predict that there’s going to be a lot of men to choose from…

I have to admit one of my favourite parts was Mrs. Charming, the fellow American women who turns up there. She’s absolutely hilarious, albeit quite vague minded.

I won’t spoil anything more for you there, but the cast is full of cooky and brilliant characters and honestly this is one of my favourite feel-good movies. funny-austen

I give it a 5/5 review if you like rom-coms, cheesy characters and lots of giggles. And oh yeah, Jane Austen obviously hehe. I feel like the gifs reflect how great this movie is in my
eyes. So head up onto netflix and get watching- oooh and let me know in the comments about what you thought.

Merry Christmas! Or tally- ho in Mrs. Charmings case haha!

-E

xxx

Posted in fiction

Short Story: Nostalgic Love

1

The wind blew her long red tresses behind her back as she walked the ever so familiar trail around her old stomping ground.

The nostalgia hit her like a truck, and she was taken back to her university days and the evenings they had spent out getting wasted at the nearby pub.

So many fun nights and adventures. Everything was easier when your friends had been just a stones throw away.

And now she was back, five years since finishing her degree. She had been coming back home from an out of town work trip when she saw the exit on the motorway. Forgoing all rational thoughts she indicated left and turned off.

And now here she was.

She had a sudden flash back to their nights out clubbing, where they would all dance together and then he would grab her attention, standing out against all the masses of people. And it always ended up being just the two of them dancing at the end of the night.

She was thinking this as she walked into the old pub, her heeled black boots making the floor boards groan underfoot appearing to agree with her that yes, a lot of time had passed.

And yet it felt exactly the same.

What was she doing here though? She walked up to the bar and ordered a gin and tonic. She downed it all in one as she watched a young couple flirt and chat together in the corner. They twisted their hands together and as the music played they leaned in close to each other, whispering and laughing as they drank each other up.

Her life since then had been one of a divorcee, no children and with an empty void to fill. She wandered what it was like to feel that thrill of new love or even lust again…

2

“Aurora!” He yelled from across the bar. I wobbled over, feeling the alcohol having gone to my head. I was a light weight as per usual.

I tripped and fell into him, and grabbed his hand. I looked up into his deep hazel eyes and felt butterflies tumble around my stomach. His gaze was intense, and it felt like the most sober and dawning moment that either of us had ever experienced.

I brushed the event off and realised that I had been staring at the two teens for a little too long. The whole affair had been silly, he had lived in Scotland and I was down in Chelsea. And we had both been seeing different people, he had a long distance relationship going and I had gone to university with my childhood sweetheart.

The only time either of us had acted on the mutual feelings that we’d had for each other was at a club, alone and in a dark corner when with the adrenaline flowing through our bloodstreams mixing and mingling with the alcohol we had been consuming all night long, we leaned in and kissed.

I remembered the shadows dancing off of his pale and freckly face, as he smirked adoringly down at me. And in that instant everything had been perfect until a curt voice sliced through the silence and like a deafening screech drew our brief rendezvous to an end.

“Smile!” Off went a flash as one of the annoying club photographers snapped a picture. Our guilty faces were caught on camera, frozen in time.

3

“Can I get you another, lady?” I enquired from behind the bar as I wiped down the surfaces with a beer soaked cloth.

I only looked up when I heard a muffled gasp and had to stifle my own when I came face to face with the one girl I thought I would never see again after graduation.

“Raphael?” She asked hesitantly, her eyes were the same green they had been all those years ago. They were just as big and bright and although she had clearly matured, she was just as sultry and hopelessly tempting as before.

Her hair was still unruly and long, swishing around her hips like a fierce mane. And I felt myself transported to all the years we had spent together and the abrupt farewell that we had both felt obligated to have.

I realised that I still hadn’t replied and with a jolt I snapped back into the situation at hand.

“Hi! Long time no see!” I blurted out, and saw her eyebrows raise in surprise at my nervous manner. I had never been a shy guy but rather the opposite with a confident disposition and quite a loud mouth.

Oh shit, I thought to myself. Here I am behind a bar, still in the same city and town where we went university. I felt the need to explain myself rather than look as though I was hopelessly stuck in the past.

“So you’re a bartender now? I didn’t realise you worked here, I was just on the motor way and thought I’d drop by this place for old times sake,” She gulped down her second gin and tonic, and I too decided to pour myself one even if I was technically on the job.

There was an awkward silence, and then the unifying clink of our glasses as we set the down on the counter at the same time.

“Yeah, well it was more I went into becoming a lawyer and found it incredibly boring so came back here and bought this place. I’m my own boss now.” I replied and watched her eyes light up and that familiar half smile dance across her lips.

“I am so jealous of you, we had so many great memories here. I guess I really missed this place and just wanted to come back to it to be honest with you. Life’s been… tough…” She trailed off and fidgeted with her finger, where I noticed a tan line from where a wedding ring had obviously once been.

My heart jumped a little and all the things I had never said and done came flooding into my mind as her face blushed a deep red.

“Well, have a nice evening. I didn’t mean to bore you Raph I was just passing through. But I’m glad things are going well for you and that you’re all settled now.” She stood and walked towards the door. My mouth was fully agape and I got deja vu to the last time that she had walked out of my life.

Without thinking, I hopped over the counter and dashed out the door after her. She was standing in the street with shivering in the rain as she attempted to find her car.

I heard her grumbling under her breath.

“So… so stupid! You idiot! Of course he’s settled. Of course he’s doing well. I should have never walked in there.” She berated herself under her breath.

Silently, and in that joking way that I used to do to her at uni- I crept up behind her and wrapped my arms tight around her and shook as hard as I could.

She let out a little yelp, her body going rigid before relaxing into me. She giggled girlishly and twisting around they both melded into one.

4

It was like no time had passed, and as though the two most identifiable landmarks in their lives had merged into one perfect moment.

THE END.

Hi guys, it’s me here and I was just leaving this little note to apologise for being absent for so long but that hopefully I’ll be spitting out more short stories in the run up to Christmas. So far I have completed two! I hope everyone’s having a lovely Christmas and just wanted to remind everyone to jump on every opportunity they can! :)xxx – picture credit : found from Wikihow online. 

 

 

Posted in fiction

Short Story: Demons

Life had a habit of screwing her over.

She was stood in the middle of the battlefield surrounded by enemies. She held her duel silver katanas in her hands and felt their power flow through her and into her bloodstream.

The adrenaline rushed over her and like a snarling tiger she leapt high into the air. The world slowed down before her as she cut through the air towards her opponent.

The black mist shifted and attempted to envelope her. Spinning her swords she shredded it to pieces and landed, with soft black pieces falling behind her like rose petals. She shrugged off the cold, dark memories that the beast had attempted to invoke and strove towards her next victim.

This one was a trick of the eye, one might look upon the supposed monster and only see a beatific vision. A mirage of sorts, she took in the glowing blue eyes and floppy dark hair and focused all her attention on getting past the quirked grin to reveal the evil hidden underneath.

“Drop the swords, and come closer.”

The demons voice was husky and deep, recreating images of lost summer days and past wants and yearns.

It was lust and greed, offering her everything she had ever wanted from a child up to an adult. It was begging her to come near, she could see a whole new world in the eyes of the demon. One where responsibility wasn’t an issue. Where she could spend money without any limits, gorge herself on food and entertainment.

Those hypnotic ice blue eyes looked wantingly at her and she could feel herself weakening.

“I can give you everything, you wouldn’t need any shields or weapons if you came with me. And I can disband the rest of your demons with just a simple click of my fingers.”

The dank dark space gave way to a ballroom atmosphere. She looked down to see her leather clad gear change into a sky blue and silver embellished ball gown.

“What the-” She started to say before suddenly being surrounded by hundreds of people all clamouring for her attention.

They were all identical looking and wearing black masks, blending them all together until they became just a babbling mass. Their screeches made her want to scream and she reached down for her weapons to find them gone.

“Shit!” She yelled at the top of her voice and started wading through the crowds, kicking and hitting anyone who got too close.

But it was no use. She was surrounded.

And then she was falling, down, down, down. Like Alice she found the ground no where beneath her.

Then there was a hand reaching towards her and pulling her up towards the light.

Relief flooded through her as she smiled at her would be hero.

When she opened her eyes, shock flooded through her system as it was the same demon that had taunted her just seconds earlier. That’s when she knew she was in deep trouble.

They were now in a single room, everything was coated in red velvet with a King Size heart shaped bed dominating the centre.

“Ready for me.” He asked with those bewitching eyes, and she realised she was unable to move on her own.

Frozen by his stare she could feel him using his power to control her movements and thoughts. She was being brainwashed.

Maybe this is for the very best, she thought to herself. I do want this, I do need this. Life would be so much easier. If she could just do things for herself for once rather than thinking of everything and everyone else.

What could possibly go wrong?

She climbed onto the bed and inched towards him. His expression was smug, his eyes spellbinding. As she gave over to him completely.

Then she grinned, just a breath away from his face, she slid the pocket sized knife from out of her shoe and plunged it deep into his heart.

The visage fell away, the make believe world collapsed completely and left a chaos ridden battlefield.

“Next.” She called out, her high heeled boot crushing the ugly beast beneath her. The glamour now gone she was able to see it for what it was.

Another demon attempting to infest her brain and break her confidence.

“Not today satan,” She muttered as the remainder of her opponents fled the scene.

THE END.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in fiction

Story: Wrapped in Darkness.

She sat at home and looked at the screen. The cursor appeared and disappeared repeatedly as she sought something to write about.

Fiction appeared to come so easily to some people and she had a huge imagination but it was always left unfinished, wayward and never meeting her expectations. Still, today had been eventful. Her and her knight had decided to go on a walk.

She’d worn the crimson dress, the one that layers fell like perfectly formed petals around her form. And he of course turned up in black jeans and his favourite worn black polo top.

The trees leaned over them, swaying side to side the murmurs of their conversations floating through the air and being carried away by the light summer breeze.

She turned to look at him, her brown hair fanning around her face as he shoved his hand in his pockets and grinned at her easily.

She attempted to gracefully tiptoe through the mildewed grass but tripped and fell to the floor.

Her mind raced as she dug her hands into the dirt. It turned out that the ground wasn’t a glistening emerald sea as she had been tricked into believing but rather crawling with bugs and decomposing flesh as she saw a dead rabbit being attacked by flies feasting on the creatures innards.

Oh no, oh no, oh no! The world was full of death and decomposition. Each and every being a heartless monster ready to feed on the innocent. Glancing around, her eyes drank in the dark and dreary forest and the blank eyes that looked out at her. The trees now appeared intimidating as they towered above her. And the flowers were slumped over, lying like dead maidens whose youth this forest had drank away.

She was in a deep hole, the walls of which filled with worms and bugs that clicked and cackled at her as she attempted to climb the steep incline above her.

It was a nightmare. And worse than death. She was alone, she was terrified and could feel herself falling apart. Her mouth was dry and words seemed to fail her. She tried to cry out for anyone, anything to help her but the cruel wind robbed her of  her voice. Her arms no longer worked and her skin instead of dewey alabaster seemed to flake off like dry paint, her eyes were becoming cloudy and she felt her body croak and groan as she fell deeper and deeper.

She became wrapped in darkness.

Then suddenly a hand extended  itself to her. Stunned, she was thrown a ladder down the hole and slowly but surely with the help of the hand was able to escape the pit.

It was tedious and long, the panic still mounted from time to time but it wasn’t as all encompassing as before. Someone was there to guide her out of the hell she had created.

When she finally reached the top she met a familiar gawkish grin and blinked as the darkness was replaced with the light embrace of the knight. He was unafraid and strong -prepared to keep the darkness at bay. His brown hair was dishevelled and he coaxed her out of hiding the dark parts of her, looking all the while like a spooked doe eyed deer. He wasn’t disgusted by her insecurities and was prepared to fight the enemies that grew inside her mind, fending them off with humour and wit.

Occasionally, it made attempts to overpower her, twisting her reality and allowing the fear to seep through her defences. But he alongside a small gang of rebels were always there to fend it off.

 

Just a little short story about depression and escaping something that appears so big and all encompassing. We all need a little help and I was inspired to write this after going for a long hike today with my boyfriend, anything to escape my own thoughts. Hope someone enjoyed it. This is a way I think appropriately explains my panic attacks, as something so small can sometimes send me into a tizzy of fear and dread. 

Sincerely, 

E

xxx

 

Posted in poetry

Puzzle Piece

Dappled sunlight spilling over

Your hazel – gold eyes meet my own.

And you don’t know that in this moment

You’re slowly fixing me together

All the broken innards

And dusty remnants

The cogs and wheels

That were long left to rust.

I was convinced this was un-fixable

How is it that you act so invincible?

I’m just grateful I’ve not been left to

Collect dust.

 

My mind was broken long before you

I long to hide the cracks in my paint

The chip on my shoulder

That I cannot shake.

This conflict is deep rooted

And yet you say its undisputed

That you love me-

You are my missing puzzle piece.