January Book Club: Picnic at Hanging Rock

791345As I said in last month’s book club post, I don’t find myself reaching for historical fiction very often (unless it’s to sit down with a book that has become historical fiction, ie Jane Austen). It’s not that I don’t enjoy reading about a different time, it’s that I typically find myself drawn to books that take place in the future or in a different land. That aside, I’m so glad I read this book before watching the series on Prime.

For starters, the book does an excellent job of keeping you reading. A few lines in, I was hooked and found myself struggling to locate good pausing points within the book so I could do things like take my dog out or go to bed. I found myself looking for more time in the day to curl up and become absorbed in the mystery surrounding hanging rock. How do four people disappear without a trace? How does one resurface over a week later with clean feet and tattered clothing? Irma’s sudden appearance left me with more questions than answers (where did her corset go?).

I wish the connection between Albert and Sara lead to a reunion. It would have been nice if he had known she was there and was able to visit from time to time, then again, perhaps it would have been too convenient if they had bumped into each other. It leaves the reader wondering what would have happened at the picnic if Sara had been allowed to attend. Would the girls have gone missing? Would the reunion have altered the chain of events that lead to their disappearance? One can really only surmise.

Having finished the book and discovered that Lindsay removed the final chapter from the book, I did a little digging and found that it was published upon her death. The chapter was published in a book that spends time discussing the various events of hanging rock and offering potential expectations. While I’m open to discussions of how a story was meant to be interpreted, I did not read anything beyond the unpublished chapter. Honestly, it neither adds nor detracts from the story, leaving many to wonder whether or not Lindsay actually wrote it. Essentially, the four women fell into a wormhole of sorts, and Irma was worthy enough to stay in. The argument against Lindsay writing it is that there is no evidence within the text that allows the chapter to fit within the current narrative. To this, I would argue that there is an importance behind Miranda being called an Angel by Mademoiselle and something magical assumed about the rock. Also, Irma’s clean feet, absent corset and missing memory fits into the idea that they were removed from time for a period. All in all, I prefer the chapter removed from the book and agree that in order for the chapter to fit the other parts of the book that were removed would need to be read as well.

Finally, some thoughts on BBC’s mini-series — I loved it. It felt as though time was taken to flesh characters and their stories out. True, this means that the story is not completely true to the book, but what movie adaptation really is? If anything, it made Sara’s plight more heartbreaking.

It was very hard to pick a book for February, possibly because a handful of series that I’m reading just released the next book and I don’t think having a book club read book four before reading book one is a good move. After a lot of book review reading, I’ve decided on The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella, in honor of anyone who is using the new year as an excuse to make changes (big or small) in their lives.

33722._SY475_Workaholic attorney Samantha Sweeting has just done the unthinkable. She’s made a mistake so huge, it’ll wreck any chance of a partnership.

Going into utter meltdown, she walks out of her London office, gets on a train, and ends up in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she’s mistaken for an interviewee and finds herself being offered a job as housekeeper. Her employers have no idea they’ve hired a lawyer–and Samantha has no idea how to work the oven. She can’t sew on a button, bake a potato, or get the #@%# ironing board to open. How she takes a deep breath and begins to cope–and finds love–is a story as delicious as the bread she learns to bake.

But will her old life ever catch up with her? And if it does…will she want it back?

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