The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean was one of those wonderful books that taught me something new about a favorite time period and also kept the pages turning, so I really was looking forward to reading The Mirrored World by the same author, even though the time period is completely different.
Xenia is one of the Patron Saints of St. Petersburg. The story of how she went from a adventurous child to happily married woman to crazy widow giving away all her worldly goods and finally a pauper living in the streets is told from the point of view of a cousin whose family took her family in after a fire.
I'd never heard of Xenia and I always choose not to read the cover blurb at the time I pick up a book because cover blurbs often contain spoilers and have ruined plenty of reads, over the years. Unfortunately, I had a great deal of difficulty figuring out what was going on in The Mirrored World. Initially, I felt that the story of Xenia was lacking in a concrete sense of time and place -- and kind of weird, to boot.
My refusal to read cover blurbs when I settle down to read was, for once, a very big problem. I probably overlooked the location, St. Petersburg, because I was so baffled by the royalty. Eventually, I gave up and read the cover blurb because I still wasn't feeling it and the sensation was, "I. Am. Lost." Reading the cover blurb helped, although I will say that The Mirrored World was never a book that grabbed me and would not let go.
Debra Dean's writing is pretty, if a bit overwrought, although judging from her acknowledgements, that's just her personal style. The sense of time and place improved marginally as the book progressed and I did learn something new, but as I'm sitting here with the book at my side, my overwhelming sensation is, "Meh." Not a book I'd highly recommend. Not a total waste of time, but I'm glad it was fairly short.
3.5/5 - Above average but not great.
And, now . . . a Fiona Friday pic that actually shows Fiona! It's not a very exciting photo, a shot of Fiona looking out the back door on the day we got snow. But, lately, that seems to be about as good as it gets. Fi has been running from the camera.
The good news is that she's been every bit as hilarious and fun to be around, whether or not she's willing to pose. Last night, Isabel was marching through the kitchen with her favorite hoodie string in her mouth and Fiona grabbed the other end. After a brief tug-of-war, Isabel won that battle. It was particularly funny when Izzy realized there was something holding back her string and turned around with a "What the heck?" look on her face.
Another great moment occurred on Sunday when Husband and I were watching Downton Abbey. When we moved into our house, the cats couldn't open the cabinet doors at all. Not so, anymore. We were sitting on the sofa, cats happily playing chase in the background, when Fiona burst into the living room, opened one of the entertainment center doors with a single swipe of her paw and dived in. What a riot!
In other news:
I'm taking an online photography course and loving it. But, boy, does it eat a lot of my time. I'm not a technical person, by nature, so I have to read very slowly and stop to let things sink in. Read a little, practice a little, read a little more. Difficult as I'm finding it, I am absolutely having a blast. What's up in your world?