this post) and I kept on renewing it and renewing it... and *finally* I started reading it.
I was reading it mostly on the train, as I do these days, and I was finding it surprisingly engrossing. After the first rather gross chapter, which described ferret-aided poaching activities in great detail, Mr. Allbones turned into a surprisingly likeable man, considering that he was a completely uneducated nineteenth century English villager (right time, right place, wrong class :)) He takes care of his family, he knows what's what, and he's good at what he does, which is basically ferret keeping. And the other characters too were well formed... I guess I really do like England, because they were somewhat Dickensian stereotypes, I think (can you say pretension? :) (I'm referring to me here, not the author)). And the story... well it wasn't that much of a story, but it moved along well, and I had great hopes that everything would turn out well for our friend Allbones.
The slightly disturbing feature of the narrative turned out to be the promised love story. Now it was bad enough that the romance was between Allbones and his employer's daughter, who differ by at least two degrees of class (she being a gentleman's granddaughter, the bourgeois at least intervening between the them) but really that wasn't even as bad as the fact that I can't imagine what he saw her in her. Actually I don't have to imagine it - it's very clear that he admires her more as a porcelain doll than as anything else. Or if he appreciates her inner beauty (and there is some of it in her love of nature and desire to educate combined with a certain innocence and a near complete ignorance of class boundaries) we don't hear all too much about it. Just about her clear skin and flax blonde hair, etc. And even though Allbones is a poor villager, he's a good poor villager and I don't like him falling for nothing but a pretty face. It doesn't mesh with what I think of him, that's all.
But with that said, the book was flowing along well, and I was willing to give it a chance when... I took it out of my bag and forgot to put it back in before I left the house... which means I didn't have it to read on the train... but since it was Friday, I also didn't have it to read over Shabbos, when I most certainly would have finished it. And I was quite upset actually - mostly because I wanted to finish it, but really, I was enjoying the book and I thought it would ruin it if I stopped in the middle... but there was nothing for it, and I put off finishing it till the next week (which was last week, I've just been lazy about writing a review). So anyway, I picked up reading it the next week on the train, and it continued along fine, going along to what I hoped would be some amiable conclusion. There was a little too much gory detail about this or that, which I guess the author feels makes it more villager like or whatever, but that was okay. The romance continued to be annoying and implausible, and actually got worse as the relationship grew... but okay, I was still going to finish the book and it wasn't hard to get through or anything.
So yeah, they're all on the ship to New Zealand (yay, New Zealand :)) and the book is almost finished when... I don't know, I guess it's a spoiler, and I don't feel like saying it, but trust me it's weird. Gross and weird. And pointless. I mean what a way to end it. I really didn't see it coming, it was really not necessary, and I don't see what it added... but whatever at least it was at the end of the book, so I didn't have too much more to get through after the bomb was dropped... oh well, it was good while it lasted :)
Food: something utterly disappointing in the end... like with a terrible aftertaste... like mexican food... well not all mexican food but definitely some of the mexican food i've tasted that uses that weird spice... it's like almost going to be good, if different, but then that spice (whatever it is) just ruins it...