Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Book 27: The Wilder Shores of Love.

The Wilder Shores of Love by Lesley Blanch was a look into the lives of Isabel Burton, Jane Digby, Aimee Dubucq de Rivery, and Isabelle Eberhardt. This book didn’t live up to my expectations in many ways.

I was drawn to this book for a couple reasons. First the idea of showing how four women in the turn of the century turned away from European lives to live in the Orient and trade it for something more torrid. Second, this book has been in print since the 1950s, so I figured it had to be good to maintain circulation but at the same time I thought I would be able a good way to see how another generation thought of love and exotic travels.

The first profile was just painful for me to read. I found it dry and more importantly, I just couldn’t connect to Isabel Burton in general. She just gave up everything for a man who didn’t seem to really care for her.

The other profiles got progressively better. But after reading a 100pages of trying to get through the first part of the book, I was just about ready to give up. But each profile got better and better. I could connect to the different women more and more or at least interested in them.

One of the things I wasn’t expecting was to be unfamiliar with places as well as the names. Things seemed to have changed so much that the places became more abstract then it should have. I have my guesses about places and general vicinity but I wish I still had the one Atlas book my dad gave me. Then I could really know the places that were being mentioned.

One of my favorite things was seeing a horoscope casted for Isabelle Eberhardt at the very end of the book. This was cool for a few different things. First it was a blind reading where the astrologist was given very little information about her life (date of birth, place of birth, Mrs. E). Then came out a horoscope that really seemed to line up with high points of her life.

I will have to say it was interesting how the book seemed to profile different kinds of women in general. The kind of woman who will give up everything to chase after a man, the one who tried to find love and kept trying, the one who will manipulate the situation to her advantage, and the one who doesn’t care about convention. That was interesting to see how you could seem similar ideas a hundred years later although it felt like their characters were more isolated then they are today.

Compared to what I’ve been reading, this wasn’t an easy read. I’m glad I read it but at the same time, I was glad to take a brief pause to read the new Carrie Vaughn book.

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