Friday, February 24, 2012

Book Notes: Miss Garnet's Angel


Miss Garnet's Angel
by Salley Vickers
Plume, 2002
337 pages

What it's about: 
After the death of her longtime friend and flatmate, retired British history teacher Julia Garnet does something completely out of character: She takes a six-month rental on a modest appartamento in Venice. An atheist, a Communist, and a virgin, Julia finds herself falling beneath the seductive spell of the city's intoxicating beauty and sensual religiosity. She befriends a young Italian boy and English twins who are restoring a fourteenth-century chapel. And she falls in love for the first time in her life with an art dealer named Carlo. (from amazon)

Why I read it:
Venice in February, TBR Double Dare

What I liked:
Character development:  Miss Garnet's spiritual and emotional transformation was very well done.
Setting:  Venice is such an appealing setting. It's practically a character here.
Map: I love maps! This map of the city includes characters' apartments, significant historic sites, and canals.

What I didn't like:
The alternating story of Tobias and the Archangel Raphael (from the Apocryphal Book of Tobit), while necessary to overall understanding, slowed things down. I was always anxious to return to Julia's story.

A favorite passage:
"The dark green water-weathered doors lay open back. Stepping through the vestibule she made out a procession of candles punctuating the fine gloom with little swaying hollows of light. As she stood the notes of a chant started up. What a strange world she had entered coming to Venice; a world of strange rituals, penumbras, rapture. Timidity crept over her, the old insidious sense of not belonging, and she stepped back out of the wax-laden smell into the harshness of the foggy air." page 68
My Rating:




19 comments:

  1. I really liked Salley Vickers' Dancing Backwards and want to read more. This sounds pretty good, so I'll keep it in mind.

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  2. I read this so long ago that I didn't remember the details - just that I liked it (as I have most of her books). And maps! I love maps in books, too.

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  3. Add me to the list of loving maps with stories!

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  4. Teresa - Just read about Dancing Backwards on amazon and it sounds wonderful! I've added it to my wish list.

    Audrey - I didn't realize she'd written other books until Teresa' comment. Looks like I'll be reading more of her work!

    Rhapsodyinbooks - Nothing better than a map... except maybe a good family tree ;-)

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  5. If being in Venice can cause a person to unfold as this character has, it makes for a great sales pitch for the city. Now I want to see Venice as well as read the book. Good representation for the Venice challenge.

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  6. I just picked this one up from the library. I hope I can get around to it soon.

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  7. Margot - I think so, too. Maybe we should start planning our trips now!

    Carol - It's worth reading even after Venice in February is over.

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  8. I was going to read this one for Venice in Feb to streamline my TBR pile a bit but ended up reading two library books instead :/

    You make it sound very appealing, I'll have to get round to my copy at some point.

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    Replies
    1. This will be an enjoyable read even if you don't get to it for Venice in February. I want to read Vicker's new novel, Dancing Backwards, now.

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  9. jinx!

    I posted yesterday about this book, with pretty much the same reactions. You verbalized it better though. I forgot to mention the maps. I love maps (and family trees) in books as well.

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    Replies
    1. So funny we both posted on this the same day! Not sure why I find maps and family trees so appealing in novels - they always add so much for me. Now if I could only find a way to visit Venice...

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  10. I loved this book. It definitely made me want to read more about Venice. Have you read Miss Webster and Cherif by Patricia Duncker? It reminded me of it in the way the main character develops.
    Joanne

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    1. Joanne - This is the first I've heard of Miss Webster and Cherif. Just read about it at The Book depository and added it to my wish list. Thanks for the suggestion!

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  11. I like your choice. I so would love to experience Venice. I've never heard of this book but it's now going on my list!

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  12. Staci - I really want to go to Venice, too - actually anywhere in Italy would be fine with me! Not sure if Venice in February will be an annual thing, but this would be a perfect selection next time around.

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  13. I am making a list of all of these Venice books!

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    1. Stacybuckeye - I've started a list, too, in hopes that this will become an annual event!

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  14. I had this in my stacks for the Venice Challenge, but didn't get around to reading it. Maybe I'll save it for 2013.

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    Replies
    1. Les - I didn't get to all the books on my list either. I'll start next year with Donna Leon!

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