Archive | March 2021

Mouse, episodes 7&8: Kdrama review

So we’re at it with Kdrama standard plot devices: Jung Ba Reum (Lee Seung Gi) has amnesia. Understandable with his head injury, but it’s been done so many times in these shows, my eyes are hurting from rolling so much. One year after the injury, he’s forgotten his love, Oh Bong Yi (Park Ju Hyun), and also Officer Go Mu Chi (Lee Hee Jun). Episode 7 I spent a lot of time wondering if Ba Reum was faking or not. Always waiting for that twist or the penny to drop, and the twist did come in the next episode.

Although Detective Go is on leave for awhile due to shooting Dr. Sung, who we think was the psycho-killer, he’s soon back working his skills running the evidence room. Before too l long, he’s back doing full on detective work. Go encounters Ba Reum in almost the same way he first did, by almost running him over with his car. It takes awhile for Ba Reum to get his memory back, but when he does, he goes full on genius, helping the detective connect a couple of different cases from the Headhunter killer’s time. He could be a genius only, but he clearly is now thinking like a psychopathic killer, which is how he’s able to make the correct observations and assumptions. Perhaps he’s a Dexter of sorts, a serial hunter who will now be hunting serial killers?

PD Choi (Kyung Soo Jin) has more of her past revealed. Now in short hair, she is far more reserved than she used to be, not surprising as she probably still feels trauma from aborting Dr. Sung’s baby. She was worried the baby, too, would become a killer, not unrealistic in this show, where every other person appears to be one. It’s also indicated that she herself may be the son of a serial killer, and worked closely with her father helping him abduct people–and probably even worse. With the jam packed events and characters in this show, I nearly forgot there was a second killer operating at the time of the Headhunter murders, and one who had a girl helping him. Not sure if they ever said it outright (really these two episodes need second viewings, but I don’t have time right now), that the PD is the daughter, but she’s there in his room in the hospital after Ba Reum beats him to a pulp.

Yes, let’s back up a second. So, Ba Reum eventually does remember Oh Bong Yi, and she’s living in a shady neighborhood that either is her original neighborhood or a different one where she was raped when she was younger. Not sure. As he’s knocking at her gate, getting no answer, we get to see her inside held captive by an assailant! As if this girl hasn’t gone through enough. On top of that, her original attacker is set to be released from prison, and at the end of episode 8 he goes after her. I mean, seriously, the writers have something against her. If characters could leap out of their stories and accost their authors, Bong Yi would totally do it, and without remorse. Fortunately, with her fighting spirit, Bong Yi is able to fend off the killer, who ends up running away and getting beat up by Ba Reum. This killer is then revealed to be an officer/detective working with Detective Park (Ahn Nat Sang), who was investigating the Headhunter. This guy killed Park’s daughter, not the Headhunter. But then, turns out he really didn’t, but Park’s wife thinks he did and kills him, and then Detective Go takes the fall for her. My head is still spinning.

Back to Ba Reum. He is now clearly marked as “mouse” or the kid in the yellow coat at the beginning who brought the mouse into the snake’s cage. Ba Reum has a couple of encounters with the Headhunter (Han Seo Joon, played by a magnificent Ahn Jae Wook) as he questions him in prison. The first time, Ba Reum beginning to have flashbacks–memories of being this kid and dealing with the mouse. The connection between our, hopefully, hero and the child is uncertain as another twist is thrown in.

I must have missed it in the first couple of episodes, but although it was clear that the Headhunter was some kind of doctor, totally didn’t know he was a neurosurgeon. He always helpfully has a bunch of loyal followers, who, it seems, ferry him in and out of prison on occasion, one of those times being a year ago when both his son, Dr. Sung, and Ba Reum are in the hospital and being operated on for their respective injuries. Turns out when Bong Yi was attempting to suffocate Dr. Sung, so he really would be dead, she inadvertently saw the face of Ba Reum’s fantastic brain surgeon. When she can’t ID anyone on the official roster, Ba Reum has a thought and shows her a pic of Han Seo Joon. Yup. Yup, yup, yup.

Episode 8 ends with Ba Reum confronting the Headhunter in prison, and we can now see very clearly that the mouse Han Seo Joon is holding has had some kind of brain surgery done to it. It seems that the mouse Ba Reum picked up as a child and took to the snake’s cage also had surgery done to it, which is why it was so vicious and killed the snake instead of getting eaten. “Did you put that killer’s brain in my head?” Is what Ba Reum asks. Waiting on episode 9 to see that confirmed, but I have to wonder if Ba Reum is the human equivalent of the mouse from the beginning, what does that mean? For it seems the mouse may have been altered to go after something that would prey on itself. And, we’re back to the Dexter possibility. It’s also interesting that Detective Go, too, wore a yellow jacket as a child.

Riveting episodes yet again, and I’m getting attached to the characters. Really hoping that Detective Go, Bong Yi, and PD Choi all end up happy at the end. As Ba Reum is either a serial killer who now has the brain of a serial killer, a killer who now has the brain of a genius, or a genius who now has the brain of a killer, I’m thinking he doesn’t have a happy future ahead of him. Perhaps, though, with the genius ability, he may be able to satisfactorily help the others. Is the kid in the yellow jacket really Ba Reum, and is he actually the Headhunter’s son, not Dr. Sung? Or is he the child born to the other woman, the one who also took part in the study? How much does the Headhunter know?

As much as I don’t like the amnesia and brain-swapping devices, admittedly, they do make sense in this particular story, which is certainly a horror one. Curious to see how this will all play in to hating God, especially as the Headhunter is clearly bent on playing God, but to what purpose? It can’t be merely to save his son in some form, for he’s done this with the mice before. Psychopathy indeed, but there must be a reason. Perhaps he’s trying to prove his old friend, Dr. Daniel Lee, wrong. Perhaps he’s after a bigger fish…er, snake? Is the snake himself or someone else?

One thing more: My attention is also on Na Chi Kook, Ba Reum’s officer friend who was attacked at the prison and still in a coma. Just think there’s more to be revealed either by him or about him. In fact, both of Ba Reum’s officer friends could be suspect as being the child yet to be revealed, as they are all the same age or around the same age.

Oh, this story makes my head hurt! Until next time.

Mouse, episodes 5&6: Kdrama review

Spoilers ahead.

Mouse is really delivering as a show, and I’m excited to tell you my theories on what’s going on, but first, let me deal specifically with episode 5.

Had to watch the episode twice, because there’s a spot of writing in there that doesn’t make sense. A second viewing didn’t clear it up for me, and neither did watching episode 6. Our detective hero, Go Mu Chi, played by the wonderful actor, Lee Hee Jun has teamed up with PD Choi Hong Ju (Kyung Son Jin), and a couple of police officers, one of which is Lee Seung Gi’s character, Jung Ba Reum. LSG is easily the most famous drama actor in the show, thus his character is suspected by the audience from the start as being the real serial killer. It was an interesting casting choice, and I think the writer is using LSG’s fame to their advantage. It’s interesting to contemplate what the show would be like with a lesser name playing Jung Ba Reum. But I digress. They all team up to throw a Sherlock show together for the killer, all in the hopes of saving a little boy from becoming the next victim. We, as the audience, are largely watching the show along with the citizens on the drama, though we are given behind-the-scenes snippets they are not.

Ultimately what happens in episode 5 is the expected: The serial killer, who’s yet to have a media name like his father, who was the Headhunter, checkmates them all, especially detective Go, whose sorrow at the end is truly heart wrenching. The spot of writing that’s troubling is the Sherlock show has fifteen minutes left and the boss decides to shut it down. PD Choi and detective Go circumvent him, however, hoping to still save the boy and beat the killer. With five minutes left, the show gets stopped forcefully by the boss. The next scene, however, is ten minutes before the show ends, and it’s as if nothing has even happened with the boss. Doesn’t look like the Sherlock show was even put on pause. Probably, I missed something, but it was never clarified what exactly happened, and episode 6 doesn’t deal at all with the Sherlock show. It appears to be a writing, script, or production mistake, but such a large error would be truly unusual. I am not sure what to make of it, and not sure what I missed. Perhaps this discrepancy will be brought to attention in future episodes, but it seems unlikely.

The most important thing to notice after the ending tease of episode 4, is that although it does appear to clarify that Jung Ba Reum is not the killer, as he’s shown working with the team to come up with a plan that involved him pretending to be the killer, his character is still kept, purposefully, in the background. Ba Reum, having a leg injury, hobbles all around the city, doing the legwork that detective Go and PD Choi can’t while they are filming the show. He appears to be helping, but there is a lot of his time not accounted for. A lot. And, I have to note, filming a fake video of a child actor, was his idea, so if he is the killer, that quickly explains how the real killer also sent a video. He knew of his own video in advance and suggested that idea purposefully. No wiretapping needed.

In episode 6, the main focus of the show continues: Who is the real killer? We are shown a ton of suspicious circumstances and outright acts by Dr. Sung Yo Han, who is supposedly the son of the Headhunter. He does very much appear to be, if not the killer, a killer, though where he finds the time in a busy doctor’s schedule, I don’t know. All that aside, the audience is not satisfied with the doctor, at least not as we’ve seen him. His personality doesn’t match up with the very arrogant, very emotional serial killer, whose every breath is full of wrath. Dr. Sung is cold and clinical, and appears to be a sociopath, or someone with antisocial personality disorder. He is emotionless in the extreme.

As the episode progresses, we see happy Ba Reum helping the detective through his grief and into sobriety, and the doctor acting suspiciously. It is possible, however, that Ba Reum is a bit too helpful. He’s clearly very smart, at least as smart at the detective and the doctor, and ends up visiting the doctor’s home at the end. Finding the secret basement room, we suppose he will come across all the pictures of all of the other murders that granny saw on the wall. Not so, not so! What we see is a collage on the wall, but they are all pictures of Ba Reum! And we have a scene with the doctor confronting his mom–who we know definitely to be the mother of the Headhunter’s son–saying, doesn’t she know that her son is a killer? She collapses at that, but it’s careful, odd wording. Your son is a killer, not I am a killer.

The episode ends with the doctor coming to Oh Bong Yi’s house. Bong Yi is the romantic interest for Ba Reum, despite being only nineteen. For some time he has befriended and protected her and her granny, until granny was killed, presumably by the doctor. Ba Reum is there to save her, and just as detective Go shows up at the scene, the doctor and Ba Reum clearly have it out. Go and Bong Yi see the doctor attempting to murder Ba Reum with a hammer. Go shoots the doctor before he can finish up.

The last scene is clearer than the previous tease: Ba Reum is recovering from a head injury in the hospital. His beloved bird in a cage is there with him the room. Ba Reum wakes, takes the bird out of the cage, and wrings its neck. He throws the bird out the window and relaxes back on the bed, happy that it’s quiet now. Clearly, the policeman is not all that he appears, he too, clearly, has antisocial personality disorder. But is this something he’s always had, or is it due to the head trauma? Is he our wrathful killer or something else? Certainly, his character has been kept carefully in the background for some time. He has also been in the right position to carry out most, if not, all of the murders–definitely granny’s and definitely the attack on his friend at the prison. He found the doctor’s house awfully fast and seemed to gain instant insight as to why the doctor had his pictures on the wall.

Here’s my theory: The two moms who participated in Dr. Daniel Lee’s psychopathy study both decided to chance it with their babies and let them live. One son is a serial killer, the other a genius. There is also a possibility that both are psychopaths and killers. Somehow, the children got switched, and although she calls him her son, it could be that Dr. Sung is in fact the other child, and that it is actually Ba Reum who is the Headhunter’s son and who has inherited his psychopathic tendencies. The scene that detective Go sees at the end could very well be the doctor attempting to put an end to a very, very bad person. Instead, it is the doctor who dies–or not, we know he was also taken to the hospital, but not shown his fate.

Ba Reum being the killer makes a lot of sense. Ba Reum is indeed very nice and very sociable to everyone, however, it seems almost too much, and it could be that he’s putting on an act. In the midwest we have something called passive aggressiveness. This is often manifested in spiteful acts from people who are otherwise and outwardly very nice and personable. Like a person wishing you well and purposefully tripping you down the stairs. The hidden rage is positively pathological. Ba Reum is also everywhere–everywhere! He has inserted himself in nearly every aspect of detective Go’s case, though Go doesn’t yet realize it, and this is often a hallmark of a very arrogant killer who is sure that he won’t get caught and also desires to be in the spotlight. Playing nice officer Ba Reum puts the killer doubly in the spotlight. It even fits for him to have taken Bong Yi under his wing. She’s a fighter, and he, the killer, likes that, for it’s “no fun” if they don’t fight back. Bong Yi has also been through a past trauma, and she’s not the sort of person to forgive and forget, but may be out for revenge against her tormentor. This, too, is appealing to our killer, who despises anything full of God’s love and forgiveness.

The real issue for the killer is that he cannot forgive himself and in fact does not think he should be forgiven. He despises God for the simple fact that with repentance God would forgive him, even though he’s done truly awful things. As to whether or not he truly cannot stop being a killer, that remains to be seen. He thinks he cannot stop, but that’s not the same as actually not being able to stop or able to will himself to stop. It is possible that any sin, any addiction can be overcome with willpower, but not human will alone. With God, all things are possible. He can do what man cannot. We often think God has failed us, but it really we who have too quickly given up on God. God’s ways are not our ways, and he often doesn’t work in the way we expect. As a child, our killer thought his killing tendencies would instantly disappear with a prayer, but it’s not that simple. The child has anger, a lot of it, and continues letting it run unchecked. Someone who has true faith would recognize, maybe not at first, but eventually, that the anger itself must be dealt with, and by the person who has it. Ultimately, the anger must and should be healed. To heal from a deep wound physical, mental, or psychological is an extraordinary, life changing thing. Why would God rob someone he loves of that process? But the killer stubbornly refuses to let the process happen.

Detective Go, too, is full of anger and needs healing. Why is the killer picking on Go? Does it have something to do with the Headhunter, the sins of the killer’s father? Is the killer upset that the Headhunter sins, too, would be forgiven if he came to repentance?

Perhaps this is a redemption story. We were presented at the beginning with the idea of marking a child, even before it is born, with the label of psychopath. I have no doubt this theme will surface much in the remaining episodes. The foreshadowing is how Dr. Sung was almost beaten to death for supposedly being the son of the Headhunter, and saved, interestingly and ironically, by Ba Reum and his friends. The love and forgiveness of Christianity is often difficult to comprehend when it comes to certain acts like murder. In society, certain things are deemed “unforgivable,” and with good reason. A killer who genuinely cannot stop himself should be kept away from society in prison, and his life should be forfeit if he has no remorse. Letting multiple people like this roam free would mean that society would shortly end. But what is impossible for humans, is possible for God. He can and does forgive every sin. But he also calls for repentance and a contrite heart, a heart captive to God. For some it is a bridge too far that even a repentant psychopathic killer can and is forgiven. But as humans we so easily forget that any sin, no matter how slight we see it, is an abomination to God. There may be degrees of sins, but all sin damns us to hell, even the theft of a stick of gum. We can no more measure up to God’s standard of holiness than can a killer like Jeffrey Dahmer. We both God’s forgiveness, paid for by the life and death of Jesus Christ, to enter into heaven.

Still, maybe Ba Reum is not the killer, or at least, not the one we’re looking for. Could he have a split personality, and one be nice and the other psychotic? Could he be a psychopath, but not a killer? At least, not a killer of humans? Unlikely to both, but we’ll see how it plays out. And then there’s the title of the series, Mouse, and the whole scene at the beginning with the little boy bringing the mouse into the snake’s den, a mouse who attacks the snake back. Who is the snake? The Headhunter, perhaps? He’s still alive and in prison, and clearly plotting something or at the very least working something out about his son. And who is the mouse? The son? And why is he considered a mouse? Because he’s no killer?

Seriously loving this show. A lot of food for thought and phenomenal acting by Lee Hee Jun as Detective Go. Presumably phenomenal acting to be forthcoming from LSG, as well, but we’ll see. Until next time!

Stay tuned: Mouse

So, I really wanted to review Kdrama Mouse after watching it today, but it confused me, so I need to watch it again, and then episode 6, before doing a review. Riveting show, though. Definitely has me hooked. Loving detective Go Mu-Chi. From this episode, it’s clear they writers and producers are going to play the audience until the end, so I fully expect many twists and probably a surprise ending as well.

Kdrama Mouse, episodes 1-4 review

Spoilers ahead.

With one of the most fascinating opening scenes I have ever watched, Mouse starring Lee Seung Gi has me hooked. Murder mysteries are favorite genre of mine, and as a subset, hunt-for-serial-killer stories are too. These kinds of stories have a lot to offer, from smart detectives, to puzzle box plots, to universal themes surrounding life and death, sin and redemption. The downside is that these stories often glorify murders and serial killers, making them appear much more important than they really are. But, it’s like a magic trick, the trick seems awesome until it’s explained, and then often it seems quite dumb. So it can be with the detective figuring out the criminal, once he or she has figured them out, the prowess of the killer automatically shrinks. So it’s a downside that often has an upside in the end.

Like other Kdramas such as Hello Monster and Flower of Evil, Mouse presents a South Korea awash in serial killers and psychopaths. We get what is often a staple in this genre, an intellectual or professor who studies serial killers. In this tale it is Dr. Daniel Lee (Jo Jae Yun), a doctor and researcher who comes back to Korea from overseas. We soon find he’s really not that smart, as it’s revealed his longtime friend is a serial killer who actually killed his sister and pretended it was robbers. Unsurprisingly, the good doctor only makes it a few episodes. The most important thing about Dr. Lee is that he has isolated a psychopath gene and can predict if one’s baby in the womb has it. However, despite its 99% accuracy, the remaining one percent is a big factor, the kid could actually just be a genius. We are shown a couple of mothers who are debating aborting their children due to getting this test done, and of course they decide to let the kids live, because that’s what any good mother should do.

As with Hello Monster and Flower of Evil, Mouse plays heavily with the concept of psychopathy versus genius and the extent to which a true psychopath who is also a murderer can be redeemed in some way. The main killer in the show appears deeply troubled by his sin that he apparently has no control over. He has to go out and kill people and blames God, the Christian God, for this. His problem with God is very emotional, which is interesting on the face of it, and doesn’t seem to fit with an emotionless psychopath. The opening scene with the mouse and the snake is frightening and awesome, and we are led to believe that this little kid who puts the mouse into the snake’s cage is the killer the detectives will be hunting for.

The writing in this drama will either turn out to be amazing or a let down. It all depends how events and characters play themselves out. These beginning episodes are a knot of stories, characters and plots that will be unwound over time. Misdirection is used heavily. Our main hero is Detective Go Mu Chi (Lee Hee Jun), who is immediately likable and also infuriating. He’s his own best friend and enemy. We are introduced to the detective as a child, where his family comes up against the murderous father of our current serial killer and gets slaughtered and/or permanently maimed. As each family member protects the youngest, Mu Chi is the one who survives physically unscathed, but certainly not otherwise. He is the typical detective, bad past and and suffering from alcoholism, brash and brilliant, and not one to follow the rules. He’s the kind of person who goes around promising the victims’ families that he will someday kill the murderer with his own two hands, because official justice is too slow, if it comes at all.

These first few episodes the audience has been mainly figuring out what’s going and trying to figure out what will happen next, and especially how the star, Lee Seung Gi will fit in into all of this. Lee’s character is Jung Ba Reum, and he’s a neighborhood beat policemen with a heart of gold, but a person who also seems a bit slow on the uptake, certainly not as smart as Detective Go. That’s what we’re led to believe, anyway. We are presented with two babies who have the psychopath gene who are now grown up men in their twenties. It is implied that one of them is the serial killer and true psychopath, and one of them is the one percent, the genius. Dr. Sung Yo Han (Kwon Hwa Woon) is the son of the original serial killer from 25 years ago and he fits the psychopath bill almost entirely, showing little to no emotion. We are actually shown him killing people, but again, it’s a bit muddled with misdirection. The other child surely must be Jung Ba Reum, and he must be something more, because the heart-of-gold thing is just too difficult to believe in a series such as this. At the end of episode 4, we are shown that Ba Reum may actually be the serial killer or another killer. He is holding a child hostage and we’ve already learned the killer is trying to manipulate Detective Go using same child.

Mouse, the title comes from the opening scene with the snake and the mouse but also from the genre. Serial killer hunts are often described as “cat and mouse games,” usually with the serial killer as the cat and the detective as the mouse or vice versa. This story will clearly be a bit different as it is the mouse that is ultimately going to be the hunter, and it’s implied that the snake or cat won’t have a chance in the end. The mouse is likely only one person: The child with the genius gene. My theory is that it is Jung Be Reum, and although he will first seem like either the or a serial killer, his real goal is to entrap the real killer. Even with all the brutal killings, his genius will probably, even if he saves the populace in the end, come across as anathema, simply because he could so easily use his genius for evil. That’s my take on the story so far. Hoping Detective Go really shows his smarts and turns out to be the true hero of the story, but we’ll see. He could very well be the mouse, too, an ordinary human triumphing over the too-brilliant psychopaths. There are also several other young men who could all be the killer or killers. Again, the misdirection is heavy, but the specifics of it will only become clear after more episodes come out. More reviews to come on this fascinating show.

Reading/watching updates

Since I haven’t yet finished any book or show, I don’t have a review this week.

Currently Reading: The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis and enjoying it immensely. Also reading On the Wings of a Falcon by Cynthia Voigt and unsettled by how violent it is. Maybe violence is more for the young, I don’t know. Not sure I will finish it, but I have read it a few times in the past and found it a great adventure story then. Stalling on The Wanderer by Fanny Burney, but that okay, it’s going to take me awhile to get through.

Currently Watching: All Kdramas. Rewatching Goblin with a group of friend. It’s slower than I remember, but I forgot how hilarious the bromance between Goblin and Reaper is. Watching Good-bye Mr. Black, which is a revenge story. Most of the first episodes are set in Thailand, which is kind of cool. Watching Mouse starring Lee Seung Gi, because he’s awesome, but it’s a pretty bleak and brutal story so far. Although I love serial killer hunt and cat-and-mouse thrillers, not sure I’m going to stick with it, but we’ll see. The opening scene with the snake and the mouse is one of the most memorable opening scenes I’ve ever watched. Definitely a lot of potential in the show, great themes, great set up, and much food for thought, even if it’s dismal thoughts.

Reviews: House of Salt and Sorrows/Christmas at Wickly

What fun it is in this modern era when there are so many wonderful retellings of the old fairy tales. These books are a treat to read, though sometimes they miss the mark. House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin Craig has so much going for it, and although I really enjoyed it, I’m not sure I recommend it. The story has a maritime setting on a series of islands, the salt, the sea, etc., but it didn’t really become nautical in the sense of being really firmly set in a world of ships and sailing. The twelve girls are all daughters of a wealthy landowner/governer of the island chain and have little to do with actual sailing trips, fishing, and the like. It could have gone much farther in the world of the sea, and also the quasi-Greek mythological religion the world follows. Still, what was there was adequate for the story. Our heroine is one of the 12 sisters. She’s in the middle and her name is Annaleigh.

Twelve main characters plus any additional ones are tough to keep track of, but in this tale, four of the sisters are already dead at the beginning of the story. Wisely the author groups the rest of the sisters, making them easier to remember. The story has a lot of stops and starts and never really flowed well, but the ghostly figures in the beginning didn’t prepare me for the end. Although the story ended happy, the incident in the lighthouse was just…icky, for lack of a better word. Icky, and for no apparent reason. There was just a lot of gore and grossness at the end, which ended up being too much for me. The actual adaptation of the Grimm tale was mostly in the latter half, and it was when their father finally made the wager that whoever figured out the mystery of how his daughters wore out their shoes every night would gain his estate, that I realized how uneven the story was.

Where it went wrong was the world building, something I, too, have trouble with. The stuff on their immediate region was good, but a full description of the world was lacking, or perhaps it was too blink-and-you’ll-miss-it. The ickiness related to one of the deities in another province who was not detailed nearly enough, and that’s why it just doesn’t fit at the end. Also, I expected fairies in the story, that is, I expected them to be the villains, and was disappointed in that.

All in all it’s an adequate retelling, but it could have been so much more. I did enjoy the use of Fisher, but I also didn’t think the character really got his due, either. The romantic hero was very appealing, but we didn’t get to know him that well. Fairy tales are hard to retell in some ways, because they are short and often have very blank characters. Sometime this bleeds into the longer adaptations. Also the dancing was severely lacking. I wanted more time at the balls and there just seemed to be a lot of Annaleigh thinking, which is of course what young women often do, but it doesn’t drive stories along very well.

Craig did a good job of portraying an estate constantly in mourning. The behaviors of many characters can be excused largely due to the tragedies they’ve experienced, so it’s not a wonder in that sense that it takes people a long time to realize something is amiss. The ultimate villain at the end…meh. I suppose the lesson is you never get what you want no matter how clever a deal you make, especially if it’s a deal with a devil. Not a bad story, but I wouldn’t recommend it, and I’ve read a better adaptation of the fairy tale at some point in my life and hopefully one of these days I’ll remember the title.

A Regency Romance Review

Continuing with the A Regency Holiday book of five Regency romances, story four was actually quite good. I wish it was a longer story. Judith Nelson is the writer, and was excited to find that one of her longer novels was in the surprise bag I bought last summer. Christmas at Wickly stars the Earl of Wickham, who is in his thirties, and a twenty-eight year old heroine who believes herself firmly on the shelf. She’s not wrong, in that day and age women often married in their late teens, but Miss Worthington lives fully up to her name and her humor and capableness convince the earl that she’s the one for him. All this is planned in advance by a wily grandma who wants to see their family’s inheritance continue and not go on to lesser family members. In her eyes, it is essential the earl marry and start having children as soon as possible. She’s not wrong, but I’m also glad that she wants him to truly be in love.

The romance is quiet, just two people spending a lot of time together and falling in love while doing it. Somehow the love surprises both sexes and Nelson makes it exciting to both of them, as well as sweet to read. They are both total dorks and also snobs after a fashion. It will be great to see what she does with a longer story. The story outlines four key points for a good match: Humor, companionship, similar perspectives and/or temperament, and time together to make the relationship happen. As Wickham dismisses the other, younger women one by one, I just think of Austen’s Mr. Knightley proclaiming that “men of sense don’t want silly wives.” In this story, that’s true, although our hero quite sillily makes a habit of stealing mistletoe so he’s not forced to kiss anyone under it. It’s hard to imagine societal rules so strict one couldn’t refuse a kiss, but I suppose if a gentleman is faced with having to refuse a lady, he would just rather avoid the situation altogether. And that’s rather gentlemanly of him, even if it also makes him silly.

It Is Thursday.

It is Thursday, and I totally forgot to do a review today and now there’s no time because I really have to work on TfD3, which is turning out quite fascinating and now I’m really looking forward to writing book 4…after a lot of necessary draft finishing and editing of book 3. Reviews coming this weekend of House of Salt and Sorrows, a retelling of the 12 Dancing Princesses, and RRR short story Christmas at Wickly. Have begun reading The Wanderer by Fanny Burney, which is a tome and a half in weight, The Wings of a Falcon by Cynthia Voigt, and The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis. Forgot how creepy the uncle is in that and that the main characters are Digory and Polly. Full review of the Chronicles of Narnia when I’m done with my reread. Speaking of Thursdays, Thursday Next, hero in The Eyre Affair, a fun, fun book, though the series itself flounders a bit. Good spring/summer reading. God be with you until we meet again. And it is great how we can meet through reading and writing. –Pixie