Not Quite a Lady, by Loretta Chase

>> Monday, June 30, 2008

TITLE: Not Quite a Lady (excerpt)
AUTHOR: Loretta Chase

PAGES: 384

SETTING: 1820s England
TYPE: Romance
SERIES: It's at the same time part of the Carsington series and the first in a series of novels about Fallen Women: see this great interview with the author at The Book Smugglers. As I said in the comments there, I love the idea of giving these women happy endings, rather than the horrid ones that they often received in the novels of the period.

REASON FOR READING: Autobuy author


Darius Carsington is a spectacularly handsome rake with a rare intelligence and no heart, a man who divides his time between bedding loose-moraled women and writing scholarly papers. He finds society's “perfect darlings”....exceedingly boring. But there’s something intriguing, and not quite perfect, about faultless Lady Charlotte Hayward. He senses a crack under her polished surface, and finding it is a temptation he can’t resist.


Lady Charlotte is so beautiful, charming, and gracious that no one has noticed what an expert she is at Not Getting Married. Early on, she learned a painful lesson about trust....and temptation. In the years since, she’s devoted her life to all she ought to be--and she’s not about to let a man like Carsington entice her to do everything she shouldn’t.


But the laws of attraction can easily overpower the rules of manners and morals, and sometimes even the best -behaved girl has to follow her instincts, even if it means risking it all.
MY THOUGHTS: I remember reading quite a few lukewarm comments about Not Quite a Lady when it came out, which was probably the reason why I didn't pick it up before this. Stupid me, I ended up loving it.

The fallen woman in this first entry in the series is Lady Charlotte Hayward, and though she's not fallen publicly, she very much feels the effects of being so, inside. Ten years earlier, when she was only 16, Charlotte was seduced and made pregnant and with her stepmother's help, gave birth in secret and gave away her son. Since then, she's been successfully manouvering out of getting married, despite her father's best efforts. Partly it's because her early betrayal has left her leery of men and love, but it's also because not being a virgin, she sees no good way of getting into a marriage that would work, other than lying through her teeth.

But her avoidance comes to an end when Darius Carsington arrives to take over the estate next door to her family's. Darius is there as a challenge by his father, who's bothered by his son's coldblooded behaviour with women. Scientific genius Darius behaves just as scientifically in his liaisons, going through experienced women without caring in the slightest about any of them, and refusing to ever come in contact with anyone elegible. So his father dares him to either take over the almost-ruined estate next door to the Haywards' and make it profitable in a year, or be cut off and have to marry a heiress.

At the beginning of the book, Darius' attitude outraged me just as much as it did the Earl of Hargate. He doesn't dislike women (he's not like those disgusting mysoginistic "heroes" who think all women are whores), but when it comes to sex, he's a mix of the worst parts of animal (in the way sex is purely about physical reactions and impulses, with no feelings involved) and control (in the coolness and calculation with which he chooses his partners). I experienced a twinge of doubt about this guy as a potential hero, but that disappeared the minute he met Charlotte.

It was incredibly satisfying to see him fall, and fall hard. He immediately starts experiencing these uncomfortable, unfamiliar feelings... tenderness, protectiveness, pleasure in just being with this strange woman, and he's got no idea whatsoever what to do with them. He's confused and out of his depth, and doing things he would have condemned as irrational not a day earlier. Charlotte is out of bounds, according to all his rules, and yet he can't seem to stay away.

As for Charlotte, Darius inspires behaviour that is just as uncharacteristic. She's spent the past 10 years repressing every urge, avoiding any kind of involvement, but this irritating man just makes her forget her determination to be all quiet and circumspect. It's a fabulously romantic and spicy and funny relationship, and I loved every minute.

Chase's writing deserves a mention. She's got a certain witty, wry tone, a way of describing things and often poking gentle fun at her own characters that is very much her own. She's one of the few romance authors with voices distinct enough that I'd be able to recognise one of her books immediately. And it's not just voice, her writing is just plain good, with lots of showing instead of telling, and a knack for creating subtle, well rounded secondary characters. In other hands, Charlotte's stepmother or the neighbour who's determined to marry Charlotte would end up being stock characters, but here they are be fresh and original and believable.

Now for what generated most doubts among readers: the resolution of Charlotte's old, scandalous secret. Yes, there are some instances of quite amazingly unlikely coincidence and yes, the solution they arrived at strained credibility a bit. But see, I wanted to believe it very badly, so it worked for me anyway. And there was some very powerful stuff there. When Charlotte confesses the truth to her father, his reaction brought tears to my eyes. An amazing, amazing scene, and so was the one soon thereafter (don't want to spoil things, but I mean what happens when Charlotte's father goes out of the house and meets a certain someone). Just wonderful.

MY GRADE: I was going with a B+, but thinking about the many things I loved about the book and just how much I loved them has made me change my mind. This deserves an A-.


Reader and Raelynx, by Sharon Shinn

>> Tuesday, June 17, 2008

TITLE: Reader and Raelynx
AUTHOR: Sharon Shinn

PAGES: 432

SETTING: Gillengaria
TYPE: Fantasy Romance
SERIES: 4th in the Twelve Houses series.

REASON FOR READING: I love Shinn's writing and this series has been fantastic.

In this novel of secret sorceries and forbidden desires, the mystic Cammon must put aside his personal feelings for Princess Amalie while he reads the souls of her suitors for any potential threats. But Cammon is unable to read Amalie, and he begins to suspect that she herself possesses magic powers-a revelation which would put her life in danger, and throw the kingdom into chaos.
MY THOUGHTS: Even though there's going to be a 5th book in the Twelve Houses series, Reader and Raelynx is in every respect the book where all the overarching plot lines which had been developed in the first three books reach a climax.

The threat to the kingdom and mystics represented by Halchon Giseltess and his sister Coralinda has grown to the point where they're finally ready to openly challenge the crown. Meanwhile, King Baryn has decided it's time to contract a marriage for Princess Amalie, and Reader Cammon is entrusted with the task of helping vet the candidates (having someone who can know their innermost thoughts proves to be very useful!). But of course, two attractive young people spending a lot of time in close proximity can lead to feelings that could be potentially disastrous for the kingdom.

As in the rest of the series, although the outside plot is gripping and fascinating, what makes this book a joy to read are the characters. I've always had a soft spot for Cammon, liking the contrast between his sweet, trusting nature and the dark, scarily powerful potential of his mystic abilities. It was nice to see the unwanted, previously unloved child find romance in this book, but I was more interested in his relationship with the other five members of his makeshift family, the protagonists of the previous books, who play a huge role in this story as well (especially Senneth, who keeps stealing all the scenes she's in).

In fact, I did like the romance, but I'm afraid I didn't love it. For all that Cammon and Amalie's relationship isn't at all chaste, it still had a bit of a YA vibe to it. I can't really pin-point why, but it didn't feel completely grown up. Plus, I was a bit annoyed by Amalie, maybe because in this book she seems very inconsiderate and insensitive about the consequences of her actions, of her getting what she wants, on Cammon. She's getting him in trouble with everyone -with the courtiers, with Queen Valri, even with his own friends- by singling him out so obviously and insisting on a closeness she knows will make him face a lot of disapproval, but she doesn't seem to particularly care.

And then there was also the issue that the conflict created by the forbidden nature of their relationship kind of fizzled out. This is the forbidden romance to end all forbidden romances, but this element ends up being totally overpowered by the momentous nature of the events going on. It makes sense, really. If everything's in danger and no one knows if they'll be able to survive, having the Princess be a bit too close to a low-born nobody is not the biggest worry in anyone's mind!

The outside plot about the final, all-out confrontation between the royal forces and the hateful rebels was fantastic. Shinn succeeded in making me feel the high stakes they were fighting for, and therefore care very much about the outcome. I especially liked the final battle scenes. They reminded me a bit of those in Valley of Silence, in that they were very, very well done, with a sense of enormity that reflected the huge consequences they would have, and yet with enough human detail to make sure we readers didn't feel distant.



A Presumption of Death, by Jill Paton Walsh and Dorothy L. Sayers

>> Sunday, June 15, 2008

TITLE: A Presumption of Death
AUTHOR: Jill Paton Walsh and Dorothy L. Sayers

PAGES: 378
PUBLISHER: Hodder & Stoughton in the UK

SETTING: England, early days of 2nd World War
TYPE: Mystery
SERIES: A Presumption of Death is Jill Paton Walsh's continuation of Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey series. Unlike Thrones, Dominations, which had already been partly written by Sayers and which Paton Walsh completed, APOD was wholly written by the latter, basing herself on The Wimsey Papers (a collection of letters between members of the Wimsey family published in newspapers during the war).

REASON FOR READING: I can't get enough of Lord Peter and Harriet.

While Lord Peter is abroad on a secret mission, Harriet Vane, now Lady Peter Wimsey, takes their children to safety in the country. But there's no escape from war: rumors of spies abound, glamorous RAF pilots and flirtatious land-girls scandalize the villagers, and the blackout makes rural lanes as sinister as London's alleys. And when a practice air-raid ends with a young woman's death, it's almost a shock to hear that the cause is not enemy action, but murder. Or is it? With Peter away, Harriet sets out to find out whodunit...and the chilling reason why.
MY THOUGHTS: When reading this book and evaluating my enjoyment of it, the first thing I considered was how well it succeeded at being about my old friends Peter and Harriet. Unfortunately the answer was "not very". I didn't really recognise the P & H here as the P & H from Sayers novels. Paton Walsh tried, including by having Harriet reminisce often about events in the previous novels, but it felt a bit awkward... a kind of "hey, hey, I'm that Harriet!" kind of thing that shouldn't have been necessary.

So I decided early on that I'd be better off just reading it as a wartime murder mystery starring characters who were quite nice and interesting and whom I'd never met before. As such, it was all right. The basic plot is that during an air raid drill a young woman is murdered on the streets of the village. The police are busy with other stuff, so the detective in charge needs help. Since her famous detective husband is away, he asks Harriet. Strains credibility, but all right. And thus starts an investigation which will take off in some unexpected directions.

The mystery itself wasn't particularly good. The basic plot about the young woman's death was quite obvious, and Paton Walsh laid the clues rather thickly and unsubtly. I challenged myself by writing down what I thought had happened pretty early in the book, and it turned out to be the exact solution. But then there is another death, and that one has the opposite problem. The solution is one that would be impossible to guess by a reader.

What's best about the book is the setting, in a small English village during the early years of World War II. It's a setting that's written with a great deal of ex-post clarity about the significance of the events going on (all the world events that the characters find their attention caught by are events that turn out to be significant if the grand scheme of things, which is often not the case in real life), but it was very enjoyable to read. It added a lot of poignancy to the story, as well as some humorous moments.

MY GRADE: I'll go with a B-. Not great, but worth reading.


Krugman on e-books

>> Friday, June 06, 2008

I <3 Paul Krugman and have been reading his columns in the NY Times for years. Today's is on e-books:

Now, e-books have been the coming, but somehow not yet arrived, thing for a very long time. (There’s an old Brazilian joke: “Brazil is the country of the future — and always will be.” E-books have been like that.) But we may finally have reached the point at which e-books are about to become a widely used alternative to paper and ink.

That’s certainly my impression after a couple of months’ experience with the device feeding the buzz, the Amazon Kindle.
Read the whole thing here (registration required, I think).

He doesn't really say anything we haven't talked about extensively, but I'm finding it interesting that he considered the issue relevant enough for a column.


2007's been over for five months

>> Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Shocking, but it has, and I still have some books I read in that year that I have posted nothing about. The problem with these has been that they're great books, so I wanted to do better by them than a quick summary post. Yeah, yeah, I had the best intentions, but I really should be realistic here. I'll forget all about them before long, and until October / November if I'm lucky, I'm not going to get much more free time. So here we go, I wish I could have written long, in-depth posts about each of these, but c'est la vie!

TITLE: The Serpent Prince (excerpt)
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Hoyt

Oh, my, how I adored this book. By far the best Hoyt has written yet, and keep in mind that I loved the first two.

Lucy Craddock-Hayes is a young woman living in a sleepy village where nothing much happens. But that all changes when she finds a naked man half-dead in a ditch as she's walking home. With much doubt, Lucy drags him home with her.

The naked man is actually a viscount, Simon Iddesleigh, and his near-death experience was the result of his determination to avenge the death of his brother. This is something that has been all-consuming for him lately, but as he gets to know Lucy and they fall in love, he will need to decide what's most important to him.

Simon and Lucy were just amazing together. This was one of those rare books where you can actually feel the love between the main characters and understand why they're willing to go to whatever lengths for each other. I liked that though it was acknowledged quite early that they were in love, this didn't mean that there was no conflict any more. On the contrary, the conflict stemming from Simon need for revenge and his need for Lucy's love was an excellent, wrenching one.

Another outstanding thing about TSP was its tone. This is a book filled with humour, humour of the witty, intelligent and often bawdy kind, but this doesn't make it light. It doesn't diminish the angst factor in the least, and even makes us feel it all the more.

MY GRADE: An A-, beautiful.

NOTE: Follows The Raven Prince and The Leopard Prince, but can be read on its own without any trouble.

TITLE: Fairyville
AUTHOR: Emma Holly

As always, Holly takes the kind of story that would ordinarily have this reader who usually prefers vanilla running hard in the opposite direction, and makes it immensely enjoyable. Medium Zoe Clare has been lusting after her landlord, Magnus, for years, but Magnus seems ready to have sex with every woman in town but her. What she doesn't know is that Magnus is an escapee from the world of the fae. Magnus actually is crazy about Zoe, but all the catting around is just what is required for him to be allowed to stay in the human world.

Not knowing this, though, Zoe has all but given up on Magnus, and when her first lover, Alex, comes back to town with his new boyfriend, Bryan, she's ready to enjoy herself with them. But Alex's return will brings some surprising revelations about all of them and their relationships.

Fairyville perfectly showcases what makes Holly's erotic romance so amazing. I love the way sex is always a wonderful, joyful thing in her books, not something ugly, or something that should bring guilt. There's all kinds of explorations and combinations here, and all feel healthy and beautiful and the right thing for these particular people to be doing. The romances are perfectly believable and I loved the paranormal element, which felt fresh and new.


TITLE: A Chance Encounter
AUTHOR: Mary Balogh

This is one of Balogh's very old, very hard to find Trad Regencies. It features Elizabeth Rossiter, a young governess living a quiet life in the countryside, whose tranquillity is shattered when the new owner of the nearby big house decides to settle there. Oh, the new owner himself is a nice guy, who's very kind and attentive to Elizabeth, but his guest, Robert, the Marquess of Hetherington, is someone out of Elizabeth's past. We don't know what the story is there, but it's clear he bitterly resents her and is determined to make her pay for whatever it was she did.

I'm very glad I read it, because it's vintage Balogh: an intense, emotional story, with both protagonists clearly drawn to each other in spite of their wishes. As I said, the reader doesn't know for a long while what exactly happened between those two, and this works wonderfully. Balogh reveals the details slowly, and when the big revelation came, while it was not exactly a shock, it was definitely not what I was expecting.


TITLE: Count to Ten
AUTHOR: Karen Rose

Count to Ten has Det. Mia Mitchell (who Rose fans will recognise from previous books) teaming up with Reed Solliday, a Lieutenant from the Chicago Fire Department to investigate a series of arson/murders. Mia and Reed's partnership is difficult from day one, as she's still conflicted about the case which landed her partner, Abe Reagan (also well known to old-time readers of this author) in hospital. As the case becomes more complicated and the body count rockets up, they're going to have to work together to solve it before Mia becomes endangered herself.

Karen Rose has quickly become one of my favourite romantic suspense writers. She can do what very few rom. susp. authors can, and make both the romance and the suspense strong, interesting and convincing. Mia and Reed were fully realised characters, with their distinct issues and personalities, and the development of their romance was believable in spite of having to happen in the middle of an intense investigation.

As for the investigation itself, that was just fascinating. The crimes were a teeny bit too graphic for my taste (I actually found them more difficult to read than those in Die For Me, and that book had Inquisition-style torture in it!), but the investigation of them and the way the police had to piece together the whys and hows behind it all were amazing.


TITLE: The Curse of Chalion
AUTHOR: Lois McMaster Bujold

After spending years as a war prisoner, Cazaril manages to escape and go back home to Chalion, where he's hired as tutor to Iselle, sister of the heir to the throne. But it soon becomes clear that his duties won't be easy, as the throne is in danger and it ends up falling to him to save it. Lifting a powerful old curse on the royal family, making sure Iselle isn't forced into a disastrous marriage to the heir of the power-hungry family that has an unhealthy influence on the current ruler... the unprepossessing Cazaril manages the impossible.

I suppose Bujold is best known for her SF, but I love how she does fantasy as well. The Sharing Knife series is fantastic, and so is this one. Chalion is a rich, complex world, one with a well-developed history and traditions (did anyone else get a Medieval Spanish vibe from it?), and the best thought-out religion I've ever seen in fiction. It's a religion that plays an important role in the story, shaping the plot and the characters.

And the characters and story told against this backdrop are just as amazing. Cazaril is a classic LMB hero, with that kind of non-showy heroism I find so attractive. I wasn't completely won over by the romance (I didn't really feel the chemistry with the woman he ends up with, and she seemed much too young for him), but I was completely in love with him.


TITLE: Paladin of Souls
AUTHOR: Lois McMaster Bujold

Paladin of Souls is the second book in the Chalion series, and is about Ista, the Dowager Royina, Iselle's mother. Long tormented by the gods and the curse on the royal family and thought to be mad, the lifting of the curse has given her some respite. However, she still finds her life in the fortress of Valenda oppressive, so she decides to go on a pilgrimage, not so much for religious reasons as to take a break from court life. While on it, a surprise attack on her party by a retreating party of raiders brings her to Porifors, the castle belonging to the dy Lutez family, one with which she shares a great deal of history. It turns out that it might not have been chance that brought her there, but further meddling from those troublesome gods. Because the dy Lutez family seems to have its own problems, involving the current governor, his wife and his brother, whose comatose state is not as straightforward as it seems.

While as rich and real as TCOC, and narrating events which are just as significant, POS has a quieter feel to it. It's not slow or at all boring, just... more leisurely, I'd say. As always, LMB's characters come alive and carry the plot. I wasn't really expecting much from Ista, but she turned out to be an amazing character. I loved the way she comes into her own during the story, becoming a very effective heroine and saving the day with her common sense and intelligence and willingness to see beyond the obvious and discover exactly what is going on with these people. There's a very lovely romance here as well, one that is as surprising as the situation in Porifors, and I liked it a bit better than the one in the first book.


TITLE: The Betrothal Ball (in Love's Legacy anthology)
AUTHOR: Mary Balogh

The next few are Christmas stories from Regency anthologies, all of which I read at Ana's, in Portugal, on the days coming up to Christmas.

With the first one, you can see why I decided to write this post now and get it over with. All I can remember about this book is what I noted down at the time. I wrote down the names of the characters: Laura Melford and Bram, Earl of Dearborne, that I'd rate this a B, and that I'd thought it was a bit too short at a mere 43 pages, but that Balogh did make it work. Period. I have absolutely no recollection of what it's about. *sigh* Anyone care to remind me of some details?

MY GRADE: A B, then.

NOTE: The reason why it's so short is that there are so many stories, 11 of them. This was a charity project of Leisure's, with the proceeds going to a literacy foundation.

TITLE: The Porcelain Madonna (in A Regency Christmas anthology)
AUTHOR: Mary Balogh

Now, this one I remember perfectly. I suppose it made much more of an impression, and no wonder, because it was a wonderful, heartwarming story. It's narrated solely from the point of view of Darcy Austin, Earl of Kevern, for whom Christmas isn't a joyful season but a reminder of his bereavement. He meets Julie Bevan when saving her from getting her pocket picked as she yearns for a porcelain madonna in a shop window, and after that, his cynism can't resist the onslaught of true Christmas feeling.

What made this story work was the hero's inner reactions to the perfect, sweet Christmas story happening around him. You see, he doesn't believe all that stuff for a second. On seeing Julie, he thinks that of course, she'll be the sweet and deserving impoverished gentlewoman, who wants the porcelain madonna for completely unselfish reason. And of course, he tells himself, the pickpocket will tell a hard-luck story about many brothers and sisters going hungry because he's either an orphan or his father has lost his job. And of course, she is and he does, so he's not surprised. But he's not as cynical as he thinks he is, and he clearly wants to believe it all. And sometimes, people are as good as a cynical person refuses to believe they can be.

Funny, sweet and lovely without being schmaltzy, this was the perfect Christmas story.


TITLE: The Best Christmas Ever (in A Regency Christmas III anthology)
AUTHOR: Mary Balogh

This one was a bit schmaltzy, but it still worked. Edwin Gwent's daughter, Anna, has been mute since the traumatic death of her mother. Visiting her grandparents at Christmas, she makes a secret wish for a new mother, and focuses her attention on Emma Milford. Emma and Edwin share a past, as he proposed to her years before and she rejected him, having decided to spend her life taking care of her parents. He still resents her for it, but at the same time, the attraction is still there.

Balogh is great at showing characters who tell themselves they should despise the other person and fail at it completely. Edwin is one such character, and I loved seeing him and Emma get a second chance at love. Emma's determination to martyr herself was a bit more problematic, but she's a very different person than she was all those years before, so I was able to enjoy the story anyway.


TITLE: A Handful of Gold (in Christmas Keepsakes anthology)
AUTHOR: Mary Balogh

Vicar's daughter Verity Ewing has become the sole support of her family after her father's death, and has had to resort to being a dancer to get funds. While performing as Blanche Heyward, she meets nobleman Julian Dare, who decides to make her his mistress. He invites her to spend Christmas with him and friends at a hunting lodge, in exchange for the "handful of gold" of the title, and she decides to take what she has decided is the unavoidable plunge and accept. But of course, once at the lodge, Julian realises that "Blanche" is not what he expected.

I liked most of this story, but I wasn't crazy about the device Balogh used to show Julian and his friends the error of their ways: the arrival of a clergyman and his family, stranded in the storm. I thought Julian and Verity's relationship was proceeding in a perfectly satisfactory manner even before that, and the other people were quite happy as they were. But eh, well, it was nice anyway. And I loved the ending!


TITLE: The Three Kings (in A Regency Christmas II anthology)
AUTHOR: Carla Kelly

Lady Sarah Comstock finds herself stranded in Spain during the Peninsular war, and needs to get to safety in Portugal, with some important papers. Spanish Colonel Luis Sotomayor agrees to escort her there. But the French troops are right behind them, and their journey is even more dangerous than they'd thought it would be.

This is probably not your typical Christmas story, as the tone is quite grim and somber, but I still liked it. I liked how it shows that even in the middle of the horrors of war, there can still be love and good feeling and people caring for one another. I wish we'd seen a bit more of Luis' point of view, as her male characters' inner monologues are one of my favourite things about CK's stories, but it was all good anyway. I especially liked the glimpse of a ceremony that's very similar to the "posada" I went to with my Mexican friends this Christmas. We've lost that tradition in Uruguay.


TITLE: The Undomestic Goddess
AUTHOR: Sophie Kinsella

Samantha Sweeting has the ultimate high-powered, high-stress career. She's been working herself to death at a London law firm since she got out of university, and her effort seems to be paying off. She's set to become the youngest partner ever, and if this is turning her into a dried-out husk who has no life outside of work, she tells herself she doesn't care. Until she makes a horrific, career-destroying mistake, and sees no choice but to run. Taking the first train out of London, she ends up in the middle of nowhere, knocking at the door of a big house to ask for a phone. And in a very Kinsella-esque turn of events, a case of mistaken identity ends up with her hired as the new housekeeper. Sam is completely clueless about anything to do with housework or cooking, but with the help of the hunky gardener, she gets her act together and realises she's enjoying herself much more than she was in her old life.

I enjoyed reading this, but in a way, it was a bit of a guilty pleasure. My feminist sensibilities had a lot of trouble with some things. Should this be read as saying that a woman can't stand the pressure of a high-powered job, that she's just better off keeping house? Or is this just about one particular woman for whom one choice is better than the other? I just closed my eyes tight and decided it was the latter. And having decided there wasn't a "message" in the book, I had no objection to Sam's decision that she was better off not pursuing that particular career. It was something I very much sympathised with, as someone who chose to give up a stressful, awful, demanding job that paid very well for one that was more satisfying, even though the money wasn't that good. It makes perfect sense to me to consider the effects on your whole life when deciding whether a a job is the right one for you.

However... here's the thing: what left a bad taste in my mouth was that Sam's choices were presented as so limited. It was all right throughout most of the book: she just happened to end up at this place and her job as a housekeeper was a bit of a refuge and an opportunity to heal. But the ending was the problem. While having Samantha have to choose between being a Carter Spinks partner and cleaning loos made a big effect, it was a completely false dichotomy. She could choose between being a Carter Spinks parner, cleaning loos, OR whatever else she wanted to do. With her reputation back and as high as ever, she could probably even get a job as a lawyer with whatever firm she wanted, maybe one with a much more relaxed attitude, or hey, maybe work as a lawyer in the countryside, advising people like Mr. Geiger. So the book ended in a bit of a low note, unfortunately.



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