Page to Screen Series: Episode 1-Atonement

Hi Guys I’m starting a new series here on Paint and Butterflies Books a page to screen adaptations series and as I have very recently watched Atonement I thought it would be a great place to start.

One of my favourite things about reading apart from the actual reading of course is when beloved books get adapted for the big or small screen. I have reviewed some great and… some not so great adaptations but one of my favourite films I have never spoken about – Atonement. The book by Ian McEwan and the film starring Kierra Knightly and James Mcavoy, Dir by Joe Wright (Pride and Prejudice)

 

 

I came to the film before the book when it was released in (2007) and have been really fond of it ever since. The book I read about three of four years ago and it only deepened my love for the story, while reading it I realised just how loyal the film version had been to the original material.

Firstly if you haven’t seen Atonement go see it right now, I’m about to spoil everything. The story is set the ‘golden’ summer before World War One, both the novel and the movie are set in three parts the first part being hot summers day at our main character Briony’s parents country home in England it is important to note that Briony is thirteen years old. Briony is the youngest of three children,  her sister Cecilia is a Cambridge graduate and is home enjoying the summer and their elder brother Leon is coming home for a visit bringing his friend Paul Marshall a chocolate millionaire with him for the weekend and Briony is elated to see her brother. But also a little confused, her universe is shifting and for the first time in a long while she’s not the center of it. She is a young writer and plans to write him and perform him a play to celebrate his return- The Trials of Arabella by Briony Taliss.

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The young family invite Robbie the housekeepers son to dinner after seeing him on the approach their fine country house. This wasn’t just a random act of kindness Robbie is like a member the family, Cecilia, Leon and Briony’s father had taken kindly to his House Keepers son and he had paid for his schooling and later his Cambridge education in which he attended at the same time as Cecelia although they weren’t friends they never spoke.

Everything that occurs for the rest of the novel and the rest of these characters lives is decided on this one sunny afternoon. Briony sees something she doesn’t understand-her sister and Robbie having an argument fueled with sexual tension by a fountain in the garden. Briony sees this through a window, with no context  but instead of asking questions she starts to doubt Robbie’s moral character and being the kind of character Briony is she creates her own fantasy scenario with hero and villains and her own version of right and wrong unable it seems to distinguish from what is truth or fact and what’s in the reality going on around her.

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Later that evening Briony catches Robbie and Ceclia having sex in the library, they have just confessed their  love for each-other. But in Briony’s mind Robbie is further the villain who was hurting her big sister, the fantasy continues. Now a fantasy is fine in it’s self when no harm is caused.

Briony’s cousins Lola, Jackson and Pierro are staying with them while their parents are divorcing and surrounded by scandal and the troublesome twins Jackson and Pierro go missing at dinner. While everyone is looking for them in the darkness Lola their elder sister is raped and is discovered by Briony. Briony did see the perpetrator but could never be sure who it was. She convinces herself it was Robbie and tells the Police she is knows it was him and this certainty puts him in prison until the start of the war. The question is how accountable is Briony for her actions? I think from a very young age we know the basics of right and wrong and when it’s play time and when’s it’s not. Briony is forever in a state of play, she doesn’t learn or progress the same way other children do she doesn’t care about the world outside her own childhood bubble and thinks if she tells her story to herself or others that makes it so. She said Robbie was evil so it was so it’s the whole writer is God complex, she is dark and terrifying.

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The rest of the book follows Robbie and Cecelia’s separate lives and reunion, and of course the repercussion the war, and what it had on them and Briony. For Robbie that was prison and having to join the army as a private thanks to Briony’s actions always keeping him closer to the danger. Eventually his on journey would lead him to Dunkirk. When Robbie and Cecilia do finally get to see each other again for half an hour in a coffee shop Cecilia has to leave to go back to the hospital where she is nurse. You can still feel that love between the two characters but also the distance because they have never really been given a chance to be together.

 

 

 

Cecilia mentions how Leon stands outside her flat and tries to see her and another implication of what Briony has done to so many people hits again, this lie had destroyed a family, two families. The family have lost Cecilia, Cecilia has lost her family, Robbie’s mother left alone and had to watch her only child be dragged off to prison and probably lost her job because how can she keep working for the family now? And Briony really has come off unscathed, yes she nursed in a hospital for a bit but really she’s the centre of the universe like she always wanted.

Atonement

There is a section in the book where Robbie and Cecilia are living in a white house by the sea it’s something they talk about a lot in the book and in the film, they are together and they are happy. In this scene Briony apologies to Cecilia and Robbie tells them she wants to help clear Robbie’s Name. She also tells them that Paul Marshall the chocolate millionaire really raped Lola but she is also now his wife.

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We later find that this conversation was fiction and all happened in the context of Briony’s Novel she has released in the present day, and never could of happened because Robbie died at Dunkirk on the last day of the evacuation, Cecelia also died because of a bombing and burst water main and were never reunited. Briony sees this book as her Atonement, cleansing herself of her crime. I have mulled Briony over and over in my mind and I personally think she is vindictive, nasty little madam who was old enough to know better. She lived in her own head more than was normal and as much as writers and creatives do live in their own head a little (or a lot) Briony blurred the lines of reality and fantasy until she couldn’t see which was which.

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I found a quote from James Mcavoy who played Robbie saying she was ‘nuts…and she can rot in hell…’ I’m inclined to agree.

 

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January Reading and TBR

It’s January which means it’s a new year and we are all getting that new start feeling, by now of course some resolutions are starting to fall by the wayside and some of us are slipping back in to our old ways.

But not me, this year I have lots of plans and that includes reading, my reading slowed a little bit last year and as I was having a good (and overdue) sort out of my bookshelves I noticed how many books I’d started but not actually finished. While assessing my 2017 reading year I realised there had been so many times when books just hadn’t grabbed me. One of my favourite things about reading is being taken in to that world, captivated and not being let go to the very last page like some sort of literary prisoner.

Some how, maybe it was me or perhaps I made some bad reading choices but that didn’t happening for me very often in 2017 so I am trying to start this year off on a high.

January TBR

I’m currently reading the Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night by Jen Cambell, Jen is a YouTuber and Vlogger who I have watched for awhile. She has lots say on the subject of fairy tales a subject which I actually wrote my dissertation on so I am always keen to hear her perspective and was equally keen to read her short story collection which from what I have read so for is dealing with the darker side of fairy tales and going back to their more gruesome roots.

I am also planning on reading Ali Smith’s Autumn, The White Queen by Philippa Gregory, Howards End by E.M Forster and Little Women, all of which have adaptions apart from Autumn so I am keen to get my teeth into those as well.

In 2018 I also I have plans to pick up on previous reading challenges that I have started and never completed three in particular created for this blog. One was The Shakespeare Challenge, two The Austen Challenge and thirdly and mostly importantly I started re-reading The Chronicles of Narnia for The Problem with Susan, always a Queen of Narnia? to find out more click the link above.

I think it is important to finish the things I’ve started and plan on getting back on track with with this blog. So just wanted to say hi again, happy new year and let the games begin.

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North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell – Review

 Spoiler Free

As a reader picking a classic to read is hard, they feel and read differently from modern novels and if you’re not used to reading them or have just read something contemporary a classic can be a lot to jump into.

north and south review

I have a had a few classics on my TBR for a while, but North and South has always been one my eye as been drawn to again and again. The idea of a young woman pulled away from her home in the South of England and moving across the country against her will to northern England in the mist of the Industrial Revolution was an appealing concept.

North and South follows Margaret Hale, a strong-willed young woman who hasn’t lived amongst high society but is has hardly struggled either- her father is a parson and she has grown up amongst the luscious but slow English Country side with her cousin Edith and friend Henry.

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When Margaret’s father gives up his parsonage following a crisis of faith he moves his whole family to Milton- a city many believed to be based on the real life Manchester. Milton is not like Helston where Margret has grown up it is not green or slow but a busy vibrant city filled with smoke and industry but also there are many poor people. This is something which Margret has been sheltered from in her former life. The people and culture are so different and Margret is referred to as a foreigner more than once, these are two separate worlds that lie next to each other within the same country.

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Margret’s father begins teaching a much lower paid job than his former profession reducing their circumstances considerably but this is how she meets Mr. Thornton her father’s first pupil. Mr. Thornton is a master at a prosperous cotton mill and he and Margret see the world very differently, particularly this new world that she is inhabiting and its people. I don’t think I can continue without spoiling the book all I can say is go and read it now.

Spoilers

I have read a lot of Jane Austen so I suppose with North and South that’s what I thought I was getting a simple love story but North and South is so much more than that. It takes a strong young woman and places her in a world amongst people she doesn’t understand and watches how she negotiates them which I find fascinating. Margret isn’t the kind of character who is interested in making social connections she someone who is interested and passionate about social justice. She can see the awful situation the poor are in and their choices are so limited strike or die, die or strike and that’s why in my favourite scene in the book when the strikers come to Thornton’s mill she begs Mr. Thornton to talk to them, reason with them even through their actions are driven by starvation and desperation. She has hope that all men can just be spoken to and no matter how bad things get they can be resolved.

Best Bits 

Other than Margaret who I’m obviously quite a fan of particularly from a feminist perspective, Mr Thorton is such a well-written character. Thornton is a brilliant business man and a man of incredible morality, and most of all he loves Margaret, amongst all the political angst in this book it was a really great love story to watch unfurl.

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Thornton is a brilliant businessman and a man of incredible morality, and most of all he loves Margaret, amongst all the political angst in this book it was a really great love story to watch unfurl.

Overall I would give this 5/5 stars and it has to be one of my all-time favourite classics, I look forward to reviewing the tv adaptation (which can be found on Netflix) very soon.

I hope you enjoyed my North and South review I’ll see you next time, goodbye!

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Let’s Talk About Grantchester! 

A Priest and Policeman walk into a bar… I know what you’re thinking this sounds like the beginning of a bad joke but that one line is basically the entire premise for this show… (sort of). Based on the Sidney Chambers novels by James Runcie Grantchester has now returned to ITV at 9.00 for its third series and it’s a welcome return in the shape of a typical British Sunday night drama.

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For those who don’t know the books or the show follows clergyman Sidney Chambers (played by James Norton) and his sleuthing adventures with best friend older Policeman Geordie (played by Robson Green). The two men are bound by friendship but also by their differences many of which are not just generational. Where, for instance, does young Sidney and Geordie who is twenty years his senior stand on subjects such as the death penalty? And in the most recent series infidelity? All are explored in a show that has morality, love and friendship at its very core.

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The series follow the men’s personal and professional lives and their many highs and lows Sidney and his long standing will they won’t they with his ‘friend’ Amanda is an on-going theme throughout the show. This is a detective series though with a weekly murder in this quaint English village that really shouldn’t have that many murders and more often than not it’s solved by the Priest, not the Detective, but that is all part of the charm of this programme.

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If Sidney and Geordie aren’t enough to reel you in and Sidney’s dramatic almost romance with Amanda still doesn’t have you convinced then watch it for Leonard the lovely shy Priest, who always provides comic relief. Oh yeah and Dickens, because who doesn’t love a black labrador puppy following James Norton round on a bike? That’s right, no one!

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I hope you enjoyed today’s post I’d love to hear your thoughts, see you next time!

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The Greek God Tag!

Hi guys,  I am here today bringing you The Greek Gods Tag originally created by Zuky @ Bookbum! I am currently reading The Secret History by Donna Tart and thought this is a great time to talk about all things, Greek Gods (and Goddess!).

the secret history

Rules:

  • Pingback to Zuky @ Bookbum (so she could see your post) 
  • You could use Zuky’s graphics, but you don’t have too. 
  • Tag as many people as you want, but please, share the love 

ZEUS: KING OF THE GODS – YOUR FAVORITE BOOK

How can any reader have just one favourite book? I have so many but at the moment with the release of the third Court of Thorne and Roses book coming this May I’ll say A Court of Mist and Fury. Sarah J. Maas provides drama dramatic ships and A Beauty and the Beast re-telling like no other.

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 HERA: QUEEN OF THE GODS – A BADASS FEMALE CHARACTER

Claire Fraser- Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

If you haven’t read Outlander then seriously, what are you doing? Go, read it now! (Then go watch the show) Outlander is Historical fiction and time travel fiction at its very best. Claire is a strong, independent woman who is from the 1940’s and still head strong when it comes to embracing her career. ‘Jesus H.Rosevelt Christ’ she takes nonsense from no one!

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Outlander- Review

JANUS: GOD OF BEGINNINGS – YOUR FAVORITE DEBUT(S) 

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The Girls by Emma Cline- I read an arc of The Girls just over a year ago now; if you haven’t read The Girls it is the debut from Emma Cline loosely based on the Manson Murders in 1969. When I read the book my knowledge of the murders was extremely limited, I was aware that the book was fictionalised but it did lead me to research the real events and find out what happened. A Very interesting thought-provoking debut.

The Girls- Review

ATHENA: GODDESS OF WISDOM – YOUR FAVORITE NON-FICTION BOOK

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan is short stories and essays published posthumously from the young writer’s teachers, friends and family after she died in a car accident. Beautifully written but with a tragic undertone.

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APHRODITE: GODDESS OF LOVE – A BOOK YOU ADORE AND RECOMMEND EVERYONE READ (OTHER THAN YOUR FAVORITE BOOK!)

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Me Before You by Jo Jo Moyes – I love this book so, so much it’s one of those books that came along right at the right time for me so I’ll always remember it for that. I know this book has been talked about and has been surrounded by controversy since the movie came out. But I loved reading Lou and Will’s story along with its sequel After You and I look forward to the third book which should be coming sometime next year.

Me Before You- Review

After You- Review

HADES: GOD OF THE UNDERWORLD – AN EVIL BOOK YOU WISH DIDN’T EXIST

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Look, I think evil’s a bit strong, quite while ago I read Tyringham Park by Rosemary McLoughlin and I really didn’t get on with it. The ‘protagonist’ IF you can call her that is so unlikeable but at the same time I have remembered this book and would love more people to read it so I can hear their opinions and see if they are anything like my own.

Tyringham Park- Review

POSEIDON: GOD OF THE SEA & EARTHQUAKES – A BEAUTIFUL & GROUND-BREAKING BOOK

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On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves– When you hear a book about a teacher and a student falling in love, it does have the serious ick factor to it. But all I have to say is read this book and do it with an open mind (oh yeah and bring some tissues!)

APOLLO: GOD OF THE ARTS – A BEAUTIFUL BOOK COVER 

Splintered by A.G Howard, Shatter Me by  Tahereh Mafi, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Lanini Taylor all have awesome covers.

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Splintered- Review

HYPNOS: GOD OF SLEEP – A BOOK SO BORING YOU ALMOST FELL ASLEEP

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How I live Now by Meg Rosoff – The premise of this book intrigued me that’s why I picked it up in the first place but the writing style just seemed to slow the book down somehow. What can I say this one was just not for me and it just felt like just another Dystopian YA novel.

HERMES: MESSENGER OF THE GODS – A BOOK YOU SPED THROUGH

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Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare- Any regular reader of my blog knows I am a huge Cassandra Clare fan and always look forward to her new books being released *cough cough* Lord of Shadows. When Lady Midnight was released I swear I almost swallowed it whole!

I hope you enjoyed today’s Greek Gods Tag! All my nominations are below- see you next time!

Nominees 

Book Addicted Reader

YA and Wine

Reads and Reels

The Bookish Wanderer

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Before the Rains by Dinah Jefferies- Review

 

Before the Rains has been on my radar for quite some time after spotting a copy at my local Waterstones. The blurb seemed to really jump off the page and offer the reader everything you could want in a historical fiction.

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Before the Rains is set in 1930’s India, an India still being ruled by the British and surrounded with political unrest and India’s desire to be independent. The story follows Eliza, a recently widowed young woman coming out of an unhappy marriage and has come to India to find a career for herself as a photographer. In the 1930s when this book is set women had far fewer options than they do to today and Eliza knows how limited her options could be. So when the opportunity arrises for her to follow her dreams and head back to her childhood home of India Eliza grabs it with both hands and does not let go.

India holds many secrets for Eliza even though she doesn’t know it. She’s commissioned to take photographs of the Royal Family including the Maharaja and his awkward wife Priya and it is while at the palace that she meets the Maharaja’s younger brother the handsome and charismatic Prince Jay.

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What did I think? ( Slight Spoilers Ahead)

I haven’t felt this conflicted about a book in quite some time, I loved the majority things about Before the Rains particularly how feminist the book is. Eliza is a strong young woman who comes from a difficult family situation and although the era she is brought up in and the fact she is a woman isn’t in her favour she wants a career she knows from her previous marriage that she doesn’t just want to be someone’s wife and to live on the sidelines that won’t be enough for her, she wants more and she gets it and becomes a photographer not just in England but in India.

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The book is filled with some great, strong female characters all different and diverse with an important role in the story. Because the story is set in a British-run India the fact that Eliza is English is hugely significant when she arrives she thinks she knows who she is but after spending time with Jay in India her political views surrounding Britain’s presence in India start to change and the deeper Eliza gets with Prince Jay the more she forgets who she is and what she is doing, Jay is set to rule if his brother Anish were unfit or were to die. Oh yeah did I mention interracial romance? Well, I’m mentioning now and it’s pretty swoon-worthy too.

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Rating

Overall I would give this book 3/5 stars I could have rated higher as I enjoyed reading about India and the political situation during that time period and really loved the characters of Eliza and Jay. But I felt the writing style was quite undeveloped and unsculpted and I found the ending a little unbelievable, I would love to hear thoughts from anyone else who read this book.

I hope you enjoyed my review of Before the Rains I’ll see you next time!

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The Author/Reader Relationship and What Happens When they ‘don’t’ deliver?

Hi guys, I want to chat today a bit about expectations. Expectations, specifically a reader’s expectation when they buy a book from an author they THINK they should like- maybe they’ve heard a lot about them through bloggers or vloggers and heard nothing but positive reviews or just loved the premise of every book they have written. I have had this experience loving the concept if a book but when the book is in my hands and I’m actually reading what I thought I was going to read and what I actually read were two very different things.

the ocean at the end of the lane american gods

I hate DNF-ing a book (don’t we all?) The topic for this blog post was inspired by my own author/reader relationship with Neil Gaiman, I have read three books of his now and although I have persisted hard with each one they all have ended with a DNF most recently The Ocean at the End of the Lane and American Gods and I can’t help thinking is my bad reading experience my own fault?

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When I read the premise for American Gods which I read in book form and on Audible this year, I thought, brilliant, Gods, Goddesses, names like Shadow and Mr. Wednesday a dead wife that returns from the dead what’s not to love? And looking at it from a subjective point of view Gaiman is clearly a fantastic author with an endless imagination but he didn’t write what I wanted or expected him to write which is partially my problem.

What I’m saying is that when you spend your money on a book and it doesn’t meet your expectations for whatever reason whose problem is it anyway? The readers? The authors? Or is that just the way it goes sometimes… you can’t win them all as they say.

On the upside, I can’t wait to see American Gods be adapted to the small screen from the trailers it looks pretty darn good, new format, new way to take in and experience the story, awesome!

Hope you enjoyed today’s book chat, see you next time!

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