Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Thursday News: The Authors Guild’s appeal, Underrated movies, below-stairs stories, Alice...

“In a statement following the decision, Authors Guild executive director Paul Aiken told PW that Chin’s decision represented “a fundamental challenge to copyright that merits review by a higher court.” Aiken claims that Google’s unauthorized mass digitization and exploitation far exceeds the bounds of the fair use defense.”” Publishers Weekly

“Sayles gives his actors nuanced characters to play — Bernice goes from ball-busting parole officer to heartbroken mother — and he coaxes flinty performances out of his three marvelous leads. The script is laced with humor, and contains savvy observations about being careful when doing favors for people, and how one’s choices in life inform who someone is. As each character takes risks, crossing personal boundaries as well as legal borders — both literal and figurative — viewers will become invested as to what will pay off for whom.”Salon

“Woolf wasn’t the only one to “blue-pencil” out the servants. While literature is filled with famous governesses—Brontë’s Jane Eyre, Thackeray’s Becky Sharp, and the unnamed narrator in James’s “The Turn of the Screw,” to name a few—the same isn’t true for housemaids.”The New Yorker

“It is a beautiful and sensitive presentation of Carroll’s book featuring the art of twelve post-Tenniel illustrators.  The ebook can be enjoyed as a conventional read (on a tablet, that is), you can peruse the art alone, listen to it, but best of all are the animations which combine art and story fabulously.” Huffington Post

isn't sure if she's an average Romance reader, or even an average reader, but a reader she is, enjoying everything from literary fiction to philosophy to history to poetry. Historical Romance was her first love within the genre, but she's fickle and easily seduced by the promise of a good read. She approaches every book with the same hope: that she will be filled from the inside out with something awesome that she didnʼt know, didnʼt think about, or didnʼt feel until that moment. And she's always looking for the next mind-blowing read, so feel free to share any suggestions!


  1. Isobel Carr
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 10:36:45

    While literature is filled with famous governesses…the same isn’t true for housemaids.

    It sounds like the author doesn’t quite grasp that governesses weren’t servants in the same way maids were. Their social standing was entirely different. There are reasons that they make great protagonists in ways that maids don’t (mostly to do with the fluidity of their social position, being both lady and employee; same reason “companions” do as well).

  2. Robin/Janet
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 16:15:22

    @Isobel Carr: Actually, she does talk about all that and more, which is one of the things that made the piece interesting and worthy of note to me.

  3. Evangeline H
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 19:07:29

    The proliferation of books about life downstairs is a very English phenomenon. It’s rare to find popular/mainstream fiction with indentured servants, slaves, and black and immigrant domestic servants told through the “Downton Abbey” lens. The closest is probably Kathryn Stockett’s The Help–and oodles upon oodles of articles are out there examining the troubling elements of this book and its existence in the mainstream. I can’t say why British audiences enjoy books and TV shows of this ilk, but in America, the upstairs/downstairs dynamic seems to exist as both a frothy faraway fantasy and as a form of distancing ourselves from that same dynamic in the US (“I would have been a housemaid, but I love [insert high society British period drama]” is a statement I’ve come across quite often since Downton Abbey became a runaway hit).

    The preoccupation with British settings in historical fiction and historical romance, even as we–general we–insert Americanisms like the cult of the individual, the Horatio Alger myth, or the American concept romantic love/marital love matches, seems another instance of American myth-making–rebuild the past to shape our present. It also allows Americans to feel superior to the Brits, even as this upstairs/downstairs image is not a genuine portrait of Brits in the 21st century (and erases their everyday dealings with class, accent, race/ethnicity, etc).

  4. Robin/Janet
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 19:35:17

    @Evangeline H: Maybe it’s partly because the English have always been much more class conscious and class-focused than Americans? We tend to be more fixed on race (which makes The Help an especially great example), even though that focus hasn’t managed to overcome racial divides.

  5. Butlering. Butteling? Historical and otherwise. | Carolyne Chand
    Jan 03, 2014 @ 06:43:56

    […] the current wave of interest in the “below-stairs” part of upstairs-downstairs stories here and here, with a little bit of discussion in the comments on the American intersection with British […]

  6. Evangeline H
    Jan 03, 2014 @ 15:44:23

    @Robin/Janet: Perhaps! But America is class conscious as well, though it is entwined with race/ethnicity. Hmm….now I have a plot bunny.

  7. Stumbling Over Chaos :: Linkity for a bitterly cold new year
    Jan 03, 2014 @ 16:30:11

    […] Book and publishing news from Dear Author. […]

  8. Justin Elvins
    Jan 29, 2014 @ 17:46:35

    I loved’s list of underrated movies. Blue Caprice is such an underrated movie. It deserves so much more attention.

%d bloggers like this: