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Forever Amber by Kathleen Windsor

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Sat September 26th, 2009, 5:27 pm

I definitely want to try more of her books. The library has one other - Star Money I think but I'd have to pull up the catalog to be sure.
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

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Miss Moppet
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Location: North London
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Postby Miss Moppet » Sun September 27th, 2009, 3:17 am

Misfit, I love Star Money for two reasons - firstly it gives an insider's view of publishing in the 1940s and of how the 'big' book was marketed - and secondly I just love the heroine, although she behaves extremely badly indeed. There's plenty of sex although, as in FA, not explicit.

Elizabeth, I read Calais a few years ago and I liked it, although not as much as SM or FA. I couldn't work out though, why it was called Calais - did I miss something? The title seemed to have no relation to the book.

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Sun September 27th, 2009, 12:49 pm

"Miss Moppet" wrote:Misfit, I love Star Money for two reasons - firstly it gives an insider's view of publishing in the 1940s and of how the 'big' book was marketed - and secondly I just love the heroine, although she behaves extremely badly indeed. There's plenty of sex although, as in FA, not explicit.

Elizabeth, I read Calais a few years ago and I liked it, although not as much as SM or FA. I couldn't work out though, why it was called Calais - did I miss something? The title seemed to have no relation to the book.


You have to wonder if she's writing a bit about herself? From what I've gathered she lead a colorful life herself. You should see the glam shot on the back of Wanderers Easterward. Might have to get it back out from the library so I can scan it and share here. It's a treasure ;)

**Edit** library has Calais in the catalog, but I found HB of Star Money on Paperbackswap so I've ordered it. Not confirmed though.
Last edited by Misfit on Sun September 27th, 2009, 1:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
At home with a good book and the cat...

...is the only place I want to be

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Elizabeth
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Postby Elizabeth » Sun September 27th, 2009, 1:45 pm

"Miss Moppet" wrote:Elizabeth, I read Calais a few years ago and I liked it, although not as much as SM or FA. I couldn't work out though, why it was called Calais - did I miss something? The title seemed to have no relation to the book.


The only thing I can think of is that it's a reference to Mary Tudor, who supposedly said something to the effect that when she had died and they opened her body, they would find "Calais" written upon her heart. Thus "Calais" as a symbol for the thing that has meant the most in one's life. It's been a while since I last read the book and I can't remember if Mary Tudor is one of the roles Arlette plays. I'm probably groping here because it is a very strange title!
THE RED LILY CROWN: A Novel of Medici Florence.
THE FLOWER READER.
THE SECOND DUCHESS.

www.elizabethloupas.com

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Miss Moppet
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Postby Miss Moppet » Sun September 27th, 2009, 7:50 pm

"Elizabeth" wrote:The only thing I can think of is that it's a reference to Mary Tudor, who supposedly said something to the effect that when she had died and they opened her body, they would find "Calais" written upon her heart. Thus "Calais" as a symbol for the thing that has meant the most in one's life. It's been a while since I last read the book and I can't remember if Mary Tudor is one of the roles Arlette plays. I'm probably groping here because it is a very strange title!


Could be, Elizabeth! I have to read it again to find out. I've ordered a 2nd hand copy from Amazon Marketplace. There is a very sniffy review of Calais from Kirkus Reviews on UK Amazon, but I'm not going to post it cos it's full of spoilers.

Misfit, KW did indeed lead a colourful life as detailed by her obituary in the NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/28/arts/kathleen-winsor-83-wrote-forever-amber.html

My Life in Publishing, by Harold Latham, who edited both FA and GWTW for Macmillan, contains some Winsor anecdotes. He thought FA was too racy and Macmillan should leave it alone or risk tainting their brand (they published school textbooks, religious books etc) but they bought it anyway. He was very nice about KW herself however and praised her willingness to promote the book at cocktail parties (those were the days...) The funniest bit was how they got the title for FA. One of the Macmillan staff complained she thought the book was a bit monotonous. "It's forever Amber, forever Amber, forever Amber..." Latham overheard her and decided that should be the title.

As for the title for SM, I think it comes from a fairytale, but I'm not certain - there is certainly no reference to it in the book.

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Mon February 15th, 2010, 2:29 am

I just went for a re-read as it was a BOTM over at a GR group. Here goes my updated review,

"Never again, she had promised herself a dozen times will I be such a fool." Yeah right, like we all know that's never going to happen don't we?

Amber St. Clare never felt she belonged with the poor family who raised her, and when one day a troop of cavaliers ride into her village she's swept away by Lord Bruce Carlton. Well, actually its more like the other way around - Amber won't say no and begs Bruce to take her to London and against his better judgment he agrees - although lust for the beauteous Amber might have something to do with it. Bruce makes it perfectly clear he'll never marry her and when his privateering ships are ready to sail she's on her own in the big city. Amber accepts Bruce's terms and they're off to London as Charles II is crowned and his bawdy court and courtiers are in full swing. As he warned, Bruce soon has to leave and it doesn't take long for a pregnant Amber to get herself royally swindled (what a fool) out of every farthing Bruce left her and thrown into Newgate prison for debt. Not one to be down and out for long, Amber soon hooks up with a notorious highway man and he breaks them out and the game is on......

Until of course Black Jack Mallard is caught and hanged and finding herself in another pickle she goes for the stage - but she still needs to find man to keep her in the style in which she wants to become accustomed to - and handsome Captain Rex Morgan will fit the bill quite nicely. That is, as soon as she can take him away from his current mistress (no scruples for this heroine). Of course, once Bruce is back Amber manages to screw things up nicely (what a fool) and fresh out of likely prospects (young men with money) in London, Amber finds herself an older one to protect her from life's little problems. But then older men don't live forever and when their family doesn't like you well, then she's off on the hunt yet again....

Amber's story takes her through all walks of Restoration England, from prison to theater to the decadent, conniving court of Charles II (loved Castlemaine and Buckingham's antics), from the plague (A.W.E.S.O.M.E.) to the Great Fire and from man to man and bed to bed. Amber is most definitely one of fiction's most flawed heroines and despite the many lessons life dishes out do you think she ever learns from them? Don't you worry though, as busy as Amber is in the bed chamber and despite the fact that when published in the 40's this was so scandalous it was banned in Boston, the sex is pretty tame and left to the reader's imagination (how refreshing). Watching Amber is like watching a train wreck - you can't take your eyes away for fear of missing what's going to happen next. As for the ending? Kathleen Winsor dishes up the most delectable bit of Just Desserts at the end - I can't recall ever seeing better . A grand and glorious romp through the court of Charles II, don't miss it.
Last edited by Misfit on Mon February 15th, 2010, 2:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
At home with a good book and the cat...

...is the only place I want to be

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Miss Moppet
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Postby Miss Moppet » Mon February 15th, 2010, 3:28 am

"Misfit" wrote: Watching Amber is like watching a train wreck - you can't take your eyes away for fear of missing what's going to happen next.


Reading it as an adult I have the same reaction as you but when I first read it at 14 I couldn't believe things wouldn't work out for Amber, because she was so determined. The same way I couldn't believe Scarlett wouldn't end up with Ashley, because she'd set her heart on it.

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Vanessa
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Currently reading: The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce & The Poison Bed by E C Fremantle (Pigeonhole)
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favorite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Postby Vanessa » Mon February 15th, 2010, 8:51 am

One of my all time favourites, Misfit! :D
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Mon February 15th, 2010, 1:15 pm

"Miss Moppet" wrote:Reading it as an adult I have the same reaction as you but when I first read it at 14 I couldn't believe things wouldn't work out for Amber, because she was so determined. The same way I couldn't believe Scarlett wouldn't end up with Ashley, because she'd set her heart on it.


What's amazing is that I read this 2-3 years ago and remembered the main plot twists and still I couldn't put it down. But I sooooooo wanted to slap her one side of the head and then the other. Many times.
At home with a good book and the cat...

...is the only place I want to be

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Miss Moppet
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Location: North London
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Postby Miss Moppet » Fri November 5th, 2010, 12:29 am

Just found out about this...

Image

Going to see if the library will order it.

Review here.


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