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#FurrowedMiddlebrowclub
blurb
Cathythoughts
Table Two | Marjorie Wilenski
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Look what‘s happened since I started hanging out with the #FurrowedMiddleBrowClub .... and there‘s more on the way. ❤️💫

squirrelbrain Lovely! ❤️ 5h
Ruthiella It‘s a byproduct of club membership! 😂 5h
Tamra Delightful! 5h
See All 8 Comments
Cathythoughts @Ruthiella It sure is 😂 5h
Cathythoughts @Tamra 💫💫💫 5h
elkeOriginal Lovely! 5h
Kimzey This looks like fun. I just looked up Dean Street Press. Are you reading your way through the list? 4h
44 likes8 comments
review
erzascarletbookgasm
Cecil | Elizabeth Eliot
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Pickpick

Such a perplexing read, yet it held my interest every time I picked it up, almost read like a thriller especially the 2nd half. This deceptively straightforward story about the strange mother-son-relationship is unsettling. As it‘s narrated by someone from afar, many things are told from the narrator‘s conjectures..rendering us not ever knowing what did really happen.
#FurrowedMiddleBrowClub

Ruthiella Great review! It really was a page turner, wasn‘t it? I felt afraid of the lengths Lady Guthrie might go to. 20h
CarolynM Lovely review. There's room for a quite a few interpretations of the goings on. 20h
TrishB Great review 👍🏻 20h
See All 8 Comments
elkeOriginal Well said! 18h
Cathythoughts Nice review 👍 It did read like a thriller at times ... I really liked that about it. (edited) 18h
batsy You've summed it up perfectly! Perplexing & odd; not easily forgotten. 17h
Tamra Yes, like a thriller! 👌🏾 13h
LeahBergen Great review! You‘re so right; I read this book in big gulps. 8h
62 likes8 comments
blurb
Ruthiella
Rhododendron Pie | Margery Sharp
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Hello #FurrowedMiddlebrowClub! It is up to me to make the March 2022 pick. Please help me decide between these two Margery Sharp options. I‘ll keep the voting open till Friday. Thanks!

BookNAround I don‘t have either of these Sharps but I promptly added both to my wishlist after reading about them so I‘d be happy with either. Helpful, aren‘t I? 😂 1d
catebutler I have both on my TBR, so I‘m perfectly okay with either being read. 💓 1d
LeahBergen Yay for Margery Sharp! 👏👏 I‘ll pick the one that‘s sitting on my shelves (Rhododendron Pie), but you KNOW I‘ll be buying Four Gardens, too. 1d
See All 25 Comments
Tamra I like the descriptions of both! Which do you prefer?! 😆 1d
elkeOriginal Four Gardens! (I already read Pie🤦🏼‍♀️) (edited) 1d
rubyslippersreads I‘ve read both, but it‘s been ages since I read Four Gardens, so I vote for that one. 1d
LeahBergen @elkeOriginal @rubyslippersreads Well, I see I should just go ahead and order Four Gardens right now. It only seems polite, right? 😉 1d
quietjenn Like @elkeOriginal, I‘m voting for Four Gardens because I‘ve already read Rhododendron Pie. Another reason to place that order. @LeahBergen 😆 1d
elkeOriginal Has the group read Sharp‘s Stone of Chastity? 1d
elkeOriginal Now I see Litsy has no description on Stone…SIGH. 1d
Ruthiella @elkeOriginal Not yet. We‘ll put you on the roster for July 2022 and you can pick after @batsy who has the May 2022 pick. 1d
batsy I've not read either one and both sound lovely, so I'm happy to go with Four Gardens! I'm always eager for a garden-y novel 🙂 1d
LeahBergen @elkeOriginal I haven‘t read it but I have a really cool old edition of it! 1d
LeahBergen @Ruthiella Good plan! 👍 I was just thinking that we should do a reorganization of our voting list after our first cycle ends with @batsy ‘s pick. And we‘ll see who wants to stay or who wants to be added. It will make tagging easier. 😆 1d
elkeOriginal @LeahBergen I have NO doubt your edition will make me wildly jealous 😉 1d
elkeOriginal @Ruthiella I am honored to be on the roster so soon! 😊 I will be on vacation (hopefully) most of July so am happy to take the one after that instead! (edited) 1d
elkeOriginal @LeahBergen @Ruthiella After batsy‘s pick can someone do a post of all the titles you covered so far as a group? Then we will know what is still to be read! 1d
CarolynM I'm very happy with either of the 2. I'm going to order them both, anyway 🙂 I like your plan for the group going forward @LeahBergen I so enjoy reading these over books with everyone. 1d
LeahBergen @elkeOriginal Sure! I can make a post/list as I (nerdily) have them written down in my reading journal. 😆 Oh, and I‘m not sure if I mentioned it but we only do a book every two months. (edited) 1d
LeahBergen @CarolynM I love this group, too! 😊 1d
erzascarletbookgasm I‘m glad to be reading my first Margery Sharp! Both descriptions sound good, I‘ll go for R Pie 21h
Ruthiella @erzascarletbookgasm This‘ll be my first experience of Margery Sharp too! 😃 21h
elkeOriginal @LeahBergen Lists are not nerdy! I started one looking back at the group posts! I just want to be sure it is accurate. Lists are the best! 20h
Cathythoughts My first Margery Sharp too. I‘ll go with Four Gardens...looking forward to our next MiddleBrow adventure 😄 I‘m going to order both as well @CarolynM 📚 (edited) 18h
42 likes25 comments
review
elkeOriginal
Cecil | Elizabeth Eliot
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Pickpick

What did I just read?

For me, the 1st half and 2nd half were very different.
I thought I knew what was going on, then the 2nd half undid those thoughts. And just confused me.

I now have brain scramblies and just need a lie down on a chaise-longue to let this book either soak in or have the next breeze relieve me of all the contradictory + confused feelings I now have…

#FurrowedMiddlebrowClub
⬇️

elkeOriginal I need an Agatha-Christie-murder-mystery-character-gathering-wrap-up-in-the-library explanation. 😟 (edited) 2d
Tamra It was not what I was expecting! 😆 But I really enjoyed it and had to keep reading on hoping for a resolution. 2d
See All 11 Comments
quietjenn It was a doozy! 🤣 And I love your chaise lounge recovery imagery! 2d
elkeOriginal @Tamra I agree! I could not stop reading. I just wish I knew what the heck really happened. 2d
elkeOriginal @quietjenn A doozy, indeed. At least I don‘t regret it? 2d
LeahBergen 😆😆 Right? It was such an odd (but compelling) read! 2d
Ruthiella Yes, it really does throw the reader for loop! 😳 And we have to make up our own version for the bits that were not spelled out. 😅 2d
batsy Ahahaha! I'm with you on needing a Christie-esque wrap up 😆 2d
elkeOriginal @Ruthiella @LeahBergen It WILL stay with me - which is a compliment, I guess! 😉 1d
Cathythoughts Nice review! It‘s a strange one 👍😄 17h
34 likes11 comments
blurb
elkeOriginal
Cecil | Elizabeth Eliot
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I feel like I took this line from the description too seriously because I honestly have huge doubts that anything Anne tells us is necessarily the reality between Cecil and his mother.

Admittedly, I am only halfway. BUT: so far everything is basically hearsay/speculations and Lady Guthrie has not actually been terrible on screen?

Don‘t throw 🍅 at me yet - just concerned she is an unreliable narrator who never shows SHE is a decent mother…

Ruthiella Interesting hypothesis! 🤔 3d
See All 11 Comments
CarolynM I have to admit I took Anne at face value, I didn't see anything to make me doubt her. But maybe this is the significance of the "face reflected in the glass" - maybe Anne is less reliable than I thought @LeahBergen 3d
Cathythoughts This is a very interesting view… I got the feeling Anne was a good mother , and that she seemed normal enough … hmmmmm !!! 🤔 3d
elkeOriginal @Cathythoughts I got suspicious from a few comments that seem to show a great distance between her and her daughter, and the boys have barely been mentioned…? Not done yet so will keep an eye out to see if I judged this too soon.. (edited) 3d
elkeOriginal @CarolynM There were also vibes with Anne, her husband, and his cousin thru his mother that seemed like they were all looking for negatives about Lady G. Maybe bad blood about her replacing the first wife, their loyalty was with her as husband Charles‘ mother so automatically thinking the worst of the young 2nd wife? 3d
batsy I felt this about halfway and considered the possibility that Anne was an unreliable narrator... Will be interesting to see how you feel when you get to the end. 3d
elkeOriginal @batsy Exactly! I wasn‘t sure if it was too early in my reading to mention but it was bugging me! Reading onward… 2d
quietjenn Definitely an interesting point to ponder! 2d
LeahBergen What @batsy said! 2d
22 likes11 comments
blurb
quietjenn
Cecil | Elizabeth Eliot
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Well then! There are possessive mothers - in literature and real life - and then there's Lady Guthrie, who takes things to a whole other level! Definitely darker and a bit more unsettling than I was expecting, I found this somewhat ambiguous tale falling closer to tragedy than comedy and leaving me with lots to ponder.

And now to go read all of the posts from our #furrowedmiddlebrowclub, as I've been avoiding until I finished.

LeahBergen Yes, quite unsettling! 3d
Ruthiella It was tragic story, I agree. But just as Helbert couldn‘t be prosecuted, I wonder could any of it been prevented? Clearly everyone knew something wasn‘t right but were powerless to stop it. (edited) 3d
Tamra The reader understands right off the bat something isn‘t right with both mother and son. There is a train wreck you know is coming and you can‘t avert your eyes! 3d
See All 8 Comments
quietjenn I either unconsciously absorbed some of your comments, or we all opted for some of the same language to discuss Cecil and his mother. 😆 Maybe both! 3d
quietjenn @Ruthiella I wonder, too. I think people tried - to the extent that they could - along the way, but if people don't want to hear the words your saying ... 🤷‍♀️ Definite sure of inevitability. 3d
rubyslippersreads Dark and unsettling are the perfect words. 3d
Tamra @quietjenn I think the novel has had the same impact on us all.😅😄 (edited) 3d
batsy @quietjenn @Tamra I love reading all of our reactions and seeing how similarly we were affected 😅 3d
59 likes1 stack add8 comments
review
Ruthiella
Cecil | Elizabeth Eliot
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Pickpick

Definitely a book that encourages discussion among #FurrowedMiddleBrowClub readers!

Set in late 19th century Britain, the story comes to the reader 2nd hand through Anne Guthrie as she narrates the unhealthy and twisted relationship between her mother-in-law, Lady Guthrie, and Lady Guthrie‘s young son, Cecil. Just how far will Lady Guthrie go to keep “her dearest boy” all her own? 😱

Tamra 😲 exactly! 3d
Ruthiella @Tamra I think the ambiguity was really well done in this book. 3d
Tamra @Ruthiella I don‘t mind ambiguity at all! It gives the reader something to ponder and come back to for reread. 😁 3d
See All 14 Comments
LeahBergen @Ruthiella @Tamra I really enjoyed the ambiguity as well. It somehow made the story even more atmospheric. 3d
Ruthiella @LeahBergen I found it really quite tense to read...almost thriller like. 3d
LeahBergen It was! I found it hard to put down whenever I picked it up. 3d
LeahBergen Oh, and I believe you have our next pick? I can‘t wait! 👏👏 3d
Ruthiella @LeahBergen Yes, I‘m up next! I have two choices to put to the vote. 3d
LeahBergen I love when it‘s time for us to find out our next pick. 😆 3d
Ruthiella @LeahBergen I know! What do readers love almost as much as reading? Thinking about what to read next! 😆 3d
batsy @Ruthiella @Tamra @LeahBergen Sometimes I wanted more info, but I agree that the book's atmosphere was bolstered by the ambiguity. That sense of dread! It's a book that keeps pulling you in. 3d
Ruthiella At first I was wondering if Cecil was a “bad seed” and Lady Guthrie was protecting him from detection. But by the end, I became convinced she was just a narcissist and master manipulator. 2d
elkeOriginal @Ruthiella When does the next vote happen? Just want to make sure I have a copy ready to read instead of jumping in late like this time 🤦🏼‍♀️ 2d
Ruthiella @elkeOriginal I‘ll post it today or tomorrow! 😀 2d
49 likes14 comments
review
Cathythoughts
Cecil | Elizabeth Eliot
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Pickpick

I‘m lost , the subtler parts of this story went right over my head. I feel like I‘d need to reread the book to make some sense of it all. I will say that I enjoyed every bit of it and was glued to the pages. I‘m left with a creepy feeling though. ..strange story. . I will be thinking about this one .. there are clues that will take time to filter through my mind. Elizabeth Eliot is quite the character herself ! #FurrowedMiddleBrowClub

Tamra Eliot definitely doesn‘t pander to the reader! That is why I liked the quote from Nealie who says she doesn‘t fully understand and perhaps she doesn‘t want to. 😯 3d
Cathythoughts @Tamra Yes! It‘s just such a strange feeling to be left with after a book 😳😬 3d
Tamra I was really expecting a revelation of LG having a more direct involvement in C‘s death! She didn‘t want anyone to have him and I have a suspicion she intended or planned or at least knew what was going to happen. What do you think? (edited) 3d
See All 34 Comments
Tamra @Cathythoughts yes, it leaves you full of doubt. That is the way to would be in real life without an omniscient narrator or crystal ball! 🔮 3d
Cathythoughts @Tamra I think that‘s very possible... she was a different woman after he died .. she didn‘t react in the ways they expected... gives me the shudders.. she wouldn‘t let him go even when he was dead 3d
Ruthiella @Cathythoughts @Tamra I thought too she might have purposely influenced events which led to his death along the lines “If I can‘t have him to myself, then nobody can”. 😱 3d
Tamra @Ruthiella it sure seemed to be suggested! 3d
LeahBergen @Cathythoughts @Tamra @Ruthiella I totally thought she was involved in his death, especially when she didn‘t want Thomas the butler to accompany him. When he turned out as less than a perfect son as an adult she did away with him, keeping his memory alive and reshaping it by writing that (bizarre!) book about him. 3d
LeahBergen @Tamra That Nealie quote is so telling! 3d
Tamra @LeahBergen yes! Lots of hinting. 3d
rubyslippersreads It‘s as though she preferred possessing a perfect memory of him (as shaped by herself), than her actual, living son. (edited) 3d
CarolynM @LeahBergen Yes! If she couldn't control him he couldn't be allowed to go on. Her book was bizarre, but what happened to his? Was it just an excuse to get away from her or did she destroy it? 3d
CarolynM @Tamra I loved Nealie, she had such a great attitude to life. 3d
Tamra @CarolynM 😁 I was disappointed she didn‘t defy convention and marry Willie. But she‘s probably wiser for it. (edited) 3d
Tamra @CarolynM I can‘t recall if any other character ever confirmed there was an actual book, or did she manufacture that in her letters too? 3d
LeahBergen @CarolynM Oh, right! Wasn‘t there something mentioned between Anne and Nealie about this? That maybe she didn‘t like what the book had to say and got rid of it or maybe there never was a book? Another mystery! @Tamra (edited) 3d
CarolynM @Tamra Even better, she married him off to someone else who "made Willie an excellent wife" while he "remained as devoted to Nealie as ever before" I think the arrangement suited her perfectly! As to Cecil's book, I can't remember if anyone else saw it, or whether it was just Cecil claiming that they had. 3d
CarolynM @LeahBergen Right at the end Anne says it's not clear if it ever existed or if Lady G "finding it not to her liking, caused it to be destroyed" 3d
Tamra @CarolynM yes, she was perfectly happy with their “arrangement.” 😉 😄 3d
Tamra @CarolynM more ambiguity! 3d
Cathythoughts @CarolynM @Tamra @LeahBergen I loved Nealie too & I thought Willies marriage suited her perfectly. Cecil‘s book is another mystery , as you say Leah. And , the opening line of the book ‘ you must never believe anything a poltergeist tells you ‘ LG was ‘ out there ‘ and living in some strange world 3d
Cathythoughts @rubyslippersreads Yes ! Good point. Her perfect dear boy 3d
batsy @CarolynM @Tamra Nealie was one of my favourite characters, too. She kept me grounded as a reader, kind of highlighting the way certain things were just not on! 3d
batsy Nice review, Cathy! I was left with that creepy feeling, too. And was really intrigued by the fact that this might have been based on Eliot's own mother/their relationship. 3d
Cathythoughts @batsy Yes , I read that too about her own mother , and that fathers are mostly absent in her books , as was Cecils father too. Thanks X (edited) 3d
youneverarrived Great review! I do love a book that makes you think even after you‘ve finished it. 3d
elkeOriginal I am at 70% and just became so confused I need to lie on a chaise-longue to recover… 2d
elkeOriginal @LeahBergen Her reaction was so odd! Very suspicious… 2d
Cathythoughts @elkeOriginal Stop 😂 between the tomato & the chaise-longue you have me in stitches 😂😂 putting Anne up for questioning may get you the tomato 🍅🤣 watch out 😆 2d
elkeOriginal @Cathythoughts Send smelling salts instead of 🍅! I am starting to feel as crazy as these characters… 2d
Cathythoughts @elkeOriginal Smelling salts are on the way 👍🏻🤣.. good luck with the rest of the book ( I‘ll send LOTS of smelling salts … 2d
elkeOriginal @Cathythoughts Bless you, friend… 2d
erzascarletbookgasm I‘ve finally finished it, Cathy! Agree with you on the creepy feeling part. 1d
61 likes1 stack add34 comments
review
LeahBergen
Cecil | Elizabeth Eliot
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Pickpick

This compelling portrait of malevolent motherhood, set in the late 19th century, was so much darker than I was expecting and kept me second guessing everything I read. The relationship between the domineering Lady Guthrie and “her own boy, Cecil” was so creepily affectionate and overbearing and made me wonder just how far she would go to keep him wholly to herself. How far DID she go, #FurrowedMiddlebrowClub? 😬

LeahBergen Okay… opinions, please! What did you take from the whole “The face reflected in the glass!” thing in Chapter 17? 🤔 4d
CarolynM I was waiting for that to be explained, but like so much else it was left hanging. Maybe it's just that Anne subconsciously recognised Lady G's malevolence from early on. 4d
elkeOriginal I think that cover says so much! Amazing. 4d
See All 22 Comments
Ruthiella Half way through! Hope to finish tomorrow so I can read all the spoilers!!! 😆 4d
batsy Malevolent motherhood! Yes. Nice review. A bit of a strange but very compelling book. 4d
batsy @CarolynM @LeahBergen I'm not sure what to make of it, either. I went to several extremes 😆 Was Anne able to sense something and unknowingly (at the time) picked up on it or was Lady Guthrie's forays into spiritualism paying off, so to speak? 👻 But how? I wanted an answer but also was happy not to know, if that makes sense ... It creeped me out, though. 4d
Cathythoughts Great review! I hope to finish soon too @Ruthiella so I can read spoilers too 4d
Tamra @LeahBergen that was a weird scene that I expected would be addressed later. I don‘t know other than like @CarolynM notes, perhaps Anne is intuiting the depravity of LG‘s character. (edited) 3d
LeahBergen @CarolynM @batsy @Tamra Yes, I couldn‘t figure it out either and all your suggestions ran through my mind, too. I also thought for a moment that maybe she was actually and purposely hidden in the house while Cecil introduced his future bride to it? 😬 3d
LeahBergen @elkeOriginal I‘m quite taken by the cover! The image occurs very early on in the story. 😊 3d
LeahBergen @Ruthiella @Cathythoughts @erzascarletbookgasm I can‘t wait to hear what you all think! 3d
Tamra @LeahBergen oh that‘s just creepy & fitting! 3d
Tamra I was just thinking a prequel about LG‘s life would be fascinating - just how did she get to be so awful? There‘s a story there! 🙃 3d
LeahBergen @Tamra OMG. That‘s brilliant and I want it RIGHT NOW. 😆😆 3d
batsy @LeahBergen Oh yes! It could be a mirror scene to the one where young Cecil was hiding in the mother's room the first time Anne meets him. 3d
LeahBergen @batsy Eek! That‘s true. I hadn‘t thought of that! 2d
erzascarletbookgasm @LeahBergen @CarolynM @batsy I was surprised when LG said there never was a portrait in the room. I thought perhaps Anne was an unreliable narrator after all, and that could change the whole direction of where the story was going. But after finishing the book, I agree with Carolyn about it being Anne‘s subconscious, perhaps. So many things unexplained! (edited) 1d
erzascarletbookgasm Another thing unexplained, did Cecil actually write a book? Only LG said he did 🤔. Why was LG so buddy buddy with Mademoiselle Laurent? 🤔🤔 (edited) 1d
LeahBergen @erzascarletbookgasm I‘m completely baffled as to why LG became so close to Mlle Laurent, other than the fact that she had to take over and control anything to do with Cecil‘s life. 🤷🏻‍♀️ 1d
elkeOriginal @LeahBergen @erzascarletbookgasm It was SO weird how she befriended Cecil‘s exes - Nealie said that LG ‘only liked them once Cecil was done with them‘. I have no clue why or what it means. She sure ruined Julie‘s life thoroughly and completely. 18h
LeahBergen @elkeOriginal Yes! Poor Julie. 8h
81 likes22 comments
review
Tamra
Cecil | Elizabeth Eliot
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Pickpick

Welp! 😳 That was not the romp I was expecting, much better in fact. The period setting & penetrating examination of character and motivation within upper class circles reminds me of Wharton. 💜

I‘m surprised with the ending!

#FurrowedMiddleBrowClub
@Ruthiella @batsy @LeahBergen @Cathythoughts @CarolynM @erzascarletbookgasm @quietjenn @rubyslippersreads @catebutler @BookNAround @elkeOriginal @sarahbellum @SamanthaMarie

Tamra Cecil/Eliot is making good on the promise that we‘ll never really know. 4d
Tamra If I can‘t have him, nobody will. 😨 4d
CarolynM I thought of Wharton when Julie was reported to be "in America acting as a kind of lady-in-waiting and general arbiter of English taste to a rich family from Chicago". Very House of Mirth. 4d
See All 11 Comments
LeahBergen @Tamra Your review is just how I felt, too! I quite enjoyed the grimness. 😆 4d
LeahBergen @CarolynM Ah, that‘s cool! I love Wharton and House of Mirth is one I still need to read. 4d
batsy I like that you mention Wharton! I did get those vibes in the way that Eliot has a sharp eye for the ways in which Lady Guthrie could manipulate a situation. 4d
Cathythoughts Great review! I‘m really enjoyed this one 👍 4d
Tamra @batsy manipulation - prefect descriptor! Wharton perfected that character type. 3d
Tamra @CarolynM ahh yes! 3d
Tamra @LeahBergen I‘m not sure what that says about us!? 😜 3d
LeahBergen @Tamra 😆😆 3d
55 likes1 stack add11 comments