Snowfall

snowfallI'm back! Montreal was good (erm mostly...but that's a story for a different day). I went bowling with Kit-Cat (she just calls me Monkey - actually she was the one that started that). I ate yummy, yummy food at a place in Vieux Montreal that had a real wood-burning fireplace! Since I got back I've been bussssyyy because I've changed roles at work and it's so very overwhelming and um, kinda scary.

But while I was in Montreal I did some reading. I finished The Thirteenth Tale but the words are coming out right for that at the moment. I hate it when my brain won't cooperate. So I bring you - Snowfall by Kathleen M. Payton.

I have not the first clue where I heard about this book. I have even less of a clue why it's in the teen section. Ok fine, most of the characters are in their late teens or early 20s but it's set in Victorian England and well, most of them were more or less of age or had already claimed their independence anyway. It just didn't *feel* like a teen book to me. It doesn't feel like an exceptionally "adult" book either. Meh, who knows?

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Charlotte is 16. She and her older brother were raised by her grandfather in his parsonage. Because her brother was a BOY he got to do fun things like go to Oxford and study interesting thigns and meet interesting people. Charlotte got to stay home with her grandfather and take tutors until there wasn't anything else for them to teach her and then she spent the rest of her day mindlessly. Charlotte blossomed into a beauty and her grandfather noticed and decided to marry her off to his curate. Her grandfather is getting old and he's worried that bad things could befall Charlotte if he were to die and leave her penniless. Charlotte is stricken by the news but luckily big brother Ben comes home at just the right time and whisks Charlotte away on a mountaineering trip in the Alps with him and his Oxford chums. Truth be told, Ben probably didn't *really* want to bring Charlotte along but he didn't want her to marry the curate either. Charlotte sees this as her Big Chance to get away, to find love, and to most of all make sure that she never had to come back and marry the curate.

I have to say that what results is one of the more unconventional portrayals of Victorian life that I've read. Ben's friends are in many ways not your typical Victorians and they decide not to live as them either. The keep appearances when need be but it's wasn't what I was expecting when I read "Victorian" in the description.

SPOILER WARNING (I'm not spoiling anything but the book cover did): Thankfully I didn't notice this before I read it because I just barely gave it a glance, but the back of the book, in the blurbs from notable people, someone gives away something MAJOR about the plot. In fact, after I finished the book and I read the back of it (ok, I'm backwards sometimes) I was positively astonished with what was there and even a little bit angry about it. If I had read the back of the book and that particular blurb before starting the book I'm convinced I wouldn't have enjoyed it one iota because it would have removed most of the suspense and therefore most of the fun. I've checked out the major booksellers online and I haven't found anything that gives things away there although I did find that most of the editorial reviews panned it. The readers seemed to like it well enough (although as usual the reader reviews tend to give spoilers). Is it believeable? Meh...maybe not. But it was entertaining in it's own way and it kept me turning the pages. I think the less one reads about this one before actually reading it the better.