Me and my kiddo

Me and my kiddo

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Loving Amelia

I started reading the Amelia Peabody series this summer,  due to the MOB (Mothers, Objectivists, Bloggers) reading group.   I have found them absolutely delightful!  First, I need to say that I've only "read" the first eight of the twenty novels and only via recorded books performed by Barbara Rosenblat.  I'm sure some of my enjoyment is based upon the engaging performance and distinctive voices that this reader shares, but certainly not all.

What I love most about this series are the endearing characters.  They're fun and adventuresome and spunky and I love spending time with them!  The heroine, Amelia Peabody, makes me smile again and again as she sallies forth to attack the challenges of being a lady archeologist in the Victorian era.  She is properly armed, with a parasol, and about as passionate about vigorously pursuing her values as you get!  She is not just a fiery lady without substance though, she has well thought out positions and uses her intelligence in solving the mysteries.  One of Amelia's top values is her husband Emmerson who is a truly captivating curmudgeon.  He is supremely talented and delightfully unashamed about his attraction and love for Amelia.  The other characters from their devoted helper Abdullah to their precocious child are excellent accents, but these two definitely steel the show.  They are a charming, efficacious pair as they work on archeological excavations in Egypt and somehow manage to solve engaging mysteries too.

I said "engaging mysteries", however I am notoriously bad at figuring out mysteries.  I don't think I've ever figured out a mystery beforehand though.  From Sherlock Holmes to the Dick Francis novels,
I'm always stumped, so you may figure them out.  I've loved the story lines, but again my favorite is these characters that make you want to join in the fun.

Finally, there are many humorous moments which are key to the enjoyment of these novels (see my friend Jenn's post with quotes at the end).  But, there are also some beautifully descriptive passages:
"The beauty of the night was unbelievable.  I have never seen stars so thickly clustered as those that bestrew the night sky of egypt; they blazed like a pharaoh's treasure against the dark.  The cool, sweet air was as refreshing as water after a long thirst, and the silence was infinitely soothing.  Even the distant howls of the jackals seemed fitting, a lonely cry that mourned the loss of past splendor."  That was just a little gem that caught my eye, but if you don't fall in love with Peabody I'd be shocked!  Here are some of my favorite quotes from her website:
"Abstinence, as I have often observed, has a deleterious effect on the disposition."
"Most men are reasonably useful in a crisis. The difficulty lies in convincing them that the situation has reached a critical point."
"I do not scruple to employ mendacity and a fictitious appearance of female incompetence when the occasion demands it."
"It is difficult to be angry with a gentleman who pays you compliments . . . especially impertinent compliments."
"High-minded individuals are more dangerous than criminals.  They can always find hypocritical excuses for committing acts of violence."
"One may be determined to embrace martyrdom gracefully, but a day of reprieve is not to be sneezed at."
"Though I had slept only a few hours, I felt quite fresh and full of ambition. Righteous indignation has that effect on my character."

So, I highly recommend this series for light reading that is lots of fun.  The first book sets the context, but I think my  favorite so far is The Lion in the Valley.  Enjoy the adventure!

After these books and much history studying, I think I'd enjoy visiting Egypt..

...much more than I did at this time...

...when I was about 7 and my sister was about 5. (I remember loving the camels.)

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