Books, Review

Book Review: Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier **

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again…

book review rebecca daphne du maurier

Working as a lady’s companion, the heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Her future looks bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Max de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to the ominous and brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding housekeeper, Mrs Danvers…

I’ll just say it like it is. I did not like this book.

While I was reading it, I kept hoping that it would get better, hoping that it would pick up, hoping for an amazing twist. Nothing came.

Let’s start at the beginning. The protagonist is a child and acts like a child. She falls madly in love with some man who’s much older than her. They marry, right there and then.

He takes her back to Manderley where he used to live with his wife, Rebecca, who has sadly passed away. Everyone loved her, everyone still loves her. This is repeated over and over again. Nothing has changed it the year since her death and our child is blown over and accepts all of it.

Then there’s a lot of whining and sighing on the protagonist’s part because she can’t get used to being the lady of the house. She hides from the staff and visitors. Seriously, couldn’t you have thought of that before you jumped into marriage? Oh, wait.. you didn’t think, you just married him on the spot.

Then, finally, the twist comes and what a disappointment it is. There is no way, at all, that you as the reader could have figured this out. The protagonist says that “suddenly all the pieces fit together”. NO! Everything is put into context, a completely different context that you could know nothing about because there was no build-up to that twist. None. It was just thrown at you.

I guess that’s what annoyed me most of all. I love a good twist. I love going back and seeing how it was done. How, if you paid really close attention, you could have known. But that’s not how it was done here and I hate it so much.

Then after everything you’ve learned. Nothing happens. Apparently, some things can just be forgiven? Just like that? Really? Oh right, because she loves him…

I actually don’t know how I managed to get through this book and I don’t understand why so many people love it.

If you love it, please explain to me why. Am I missing something?

I’m sorry for the rant. I did not mean to offend anyone. But why can’t I like the books everyone else seems to like??

Love

Ellen

words multilingual polyglot languages
Random

The Struggle of Being Multilingual

When I was little, 99% of our summer holiday travels took us to The Netherlands. I was that age where I made friends no matter where I went, but the fact that they all spoke Dutch made it even easier. We quickly moved passed my belgian accent and the differences in context for some words were hilarious. I even stayed in touch with some of them as penpals. I’m still friends with one girl, Madeleine, on Facebook.

keukenhof
Me at Keukenhof, The Netherlands

The few years where my dad felt a little more adventuruous took us to Germany (the year when Ruslana’s Wild Dances won the Eurovision Song Contest.. it’s the only thing I remember from that trip, just listening to that song for days on end) and Britain (Kent has some great gardens. My English-loving-heart was singing). One of our travels took us to France. It was the most miserable trip of my teenage years. Not just because I was in full teenage-turmoil, but because I hated French. (The language ofcourse, not the people)

You see, French is my second language. We have three official languages here in Belgium (Dutch, French and German) even though the country is only the size of a grain of rice on the worldmap. That’s why I started learning it aged eleven. We didn’t click. I was never any good at it. You have to understand that I love languages and not being able to get the basics right frustrated me immensly. The sentiment grew until I couldn’t bear the sound of it.

Back to our trip to France. I must have been fifteen or sixteen years old. We were visiting this medieval castle and my mother thought it would be a great way to practise my French if I went to buy the tickets on my own. I cheated. I ordered them in English.

good moaning allo allo
For me it was the other way around

Now, almost fifteen years later, I’ve gotten a little better at French. I understand just about anything if the person speaking isn’t going at a thousand miles per hour. I can read it too but I won’t go looking for French books. Most importantly, I can explain things now which is essential for my job. I still don’t like the language though, I don’t think I ever will. Speaking French is a necessity here. Even though our capital should be perfectly bilingual, most of the people living/working there only speaks French. They do, however, expect me to be bilingual. If you’re looking for a job, they’ll expect you to be bilingual. That means Dutch – French and unfortunately not Dutch – English.

Just because I can speak French, shouldn’t give other people the right to expect that from me, especially when they can’t speak Dutch. I mean, I can count to ten in five different languages (Dutch, French, German, Spanish and English). I didn’t mind trying to ask for the train schedule in Spanish when we went to Barcelona ten years ago. Then trying to think of all the things we lost at the police station after my dad got his backpack stolen. I can say hello in Greek, Italian and Russian. I love learning basic words whenever I travel to a country where I don’t speak the language. Words are my thing. I only wish I could decide when I want to adapt and not be forced into it.

Please excuse the rant. It’s just something I needed to get off my chest.

What languages do you speak? Can you teach me to say hello in yours?

Love

Ellen

favorite literary book quotes
Books

Favorite Book Quotes (9)

Quote Amy and Roger's Epic Detour Morgan Matson

Today I was watching a video by Katytastic where she recommends Road Trip Reads and almost immediately, this quote came to mind.

Here’s the thing. I don’t read a lot of contemporary fiction. It’s not that I don’t like it because when I do pick them up, I almost always adore them. It’s more that I don’t go looking for them. If they cross my path, I will take a look.. but that’s all.

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour was one of those contemporary books that I just sort of stumbled across. The story combined with playlists for every chapter made me feel like I was on a journey of my own. (You can find my review here )

As this post goes up, I am (hopefully) enjoying my holiday in the South of France (There should be a couple of pictures on my instagram) and I feel like this is the perfect quote for the moment. My husband and I love walking through little, quiet villages. We will have travelled for 12 hours to get where we are. That’s 12 hours with two little kids in the back of our car. I can only hope that present me has managed to hold on to her sanity… Because even though I love to travel, love to discover new things (new to me), travelling with little kids can be a bit much.

If you’re interested to know which books I’m taking with me. I wrote a little post about it on Sunday.

Are you travelling this summer (or winter depending where you’re from)? Where are you going?

See you soon!

Love

Ellen

Books, Review

Book Review: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe – Lauren James ****

book review the loneliest girl in the universe lauren james

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . . .

Sometimes, you read a book and it’s so well thought out that it puts a smile on your face.

I requested this book from the publisher (Walker YA) after seeing Grace Latter rave about it on twitter (and later on her blog). The story immediately spoke to me so I decided to just go for it. I couldn’t believe my luck when I got an e-mail from the lovely Sophia, saying she would send me a copy. (Thanks again! How gorgeous is this arc cover!)

the loneliest girl in the universe lauren james arc cover

By the time it arrived (it takes an annoyingly long time to get this to Belgium..) I decided to take it with me on a weekend we had planned with friends. The moment I got in the car, I started reading. (Don’t worry, my husband was driving.. I wasn’t doing anything dangerous) By the time we got to our destination, I was about 100 pages in and let me tell you, I was hooked.

It’s the kind of story where you only get one person’s perspective, so naturally you are missing details. Romy has been through a lot that she doesn’t want to talk about, so you are left in the dark. This meant that, even when I wasn’t reading, I was still thinking about the book, trying to figure everything out.

I finished the book the next day, sitting in a hammock in the shade because it was BOILING HOT. (Seriously, what’s been going on with the weather??) The story is such an adventure. It’s exciting and scary and believable (even though it’s set in space). That’s what made it a winner for me. Romy was believable. She suffers from panic attacks and the writer doesn’t hold back. I really appreciated that because I know that crippling fear of what might be moving in the dark.

This is not a romantic story. It’s about longing, loneliness and the idea of love.

I really, really liked it.

If you’re interested, it will be released on September 7th. I recommend you check it out.

The Goodreads page is filled with positive reviews, come on.. we can’t all be wrong 😉