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HELLO everyone! Hope you all are having a fabulous week. I can't believe it's already Fall and Halloween is around the corner! Side note: Halloween is my FAVORITE holiday. Mostly because when I was growing up, I wasn't allowed to dress up and go trick or treating except that one time when I was 17. My dad followed my friend and I around our gated neighborhood. The entire loop. No joke.
ANYWAY, I kind of feel like all I ought to read for the next month are ghost stories, mysteries and lots, and I mean lots, of Edgar Allen Poe. Anyone else have a spooky classic they can recommend me? Just let me know in the comments section below.
OK. So for this week's Book Cover Challenge, I picked The Painted Veil which is one of my favorite movies of all time. The book was published in 1925 and the title came from one of Shelley's poems. I love how classics allude to one another in some way or another. In Jane Eyre, there is so much French in it, with zero translation, and it makes me think that Bronte just assumed everyone could speak French fluently like she could, which was probably true.
FUN facts about the author, W. Somerset Maugham.
- He started out in med school and actually got trained as a medic but ended up writing a novel that sold out so fast, he gave up being a medic and took up as a very successful writer.
- This man was seriously mutil-talented. He served with the Red Cross during the first World War and then was recruited by Britain's secret service!
- His mother died when he was quite young; he kept her photograph on his nightstand for the rest of his life.
- During his stint in the Red Cross, he served as an ambulance driver alongside Ernest Hemingway, E.E. Cummings, to name a few.
SO. The book is about the very selfish, beautiful Kitty Garstin who refuses suitor, after eligible suitor, much to the dismay of her overbearing mother. When Kitty's younger, less attractive sister makes a "spectacular" match, Kitty makes a snap decision to accept the offer of the bland Walter Fane. He is a bacteriologist. Which is just as exciting as it sounds. His job takes him and his new pretty, vain wife to Hong Kong where she promptly starts an affair. Walter discovers them and it's there that we finally see that Walter Fane has some backbone. What he says to her then made the whole book for me. It's some excellent writing. Anyway, in that incredible, scathing speech he tells Kitty, "I'll divorce you and you can live in the scandalous infamy or you can come with me to nowhere, China during a Cholera epidemic". A death sentence for both of them.
HE does offer a clause in the ultimatum. If Kitty can persuade her lover to leave his society wife, then he will permit her to divorce him quietly. Less scandal. But now it's Walter's rep that's tarnished. Guess what happens? The lover doesn't like that idea so much and Kitty finds herself going with Walter to a tiny village where everyone is dropping off like flies.
SINCE I had seen the movie first, I was curious to see how I'd like the novel; I'm happy to report that the two are similar but the novel takes you that much closer to the bottomless depth that is Kitty's self absorption and shallowness. Her transformation throughout the novel is subtle and completely believable. She never has an aha! moment where she thinks, "man, I'm such a jerk." Her growth is so gradual that I don't think she's aware it's even happening. Such a great way to write about how someone can change.
SUCH a great read. Please pick this one up!
NOW, as for designing this book cover...I really tried to incorporate a fan, but I just couldn't see it. I ended up using watercolors to create the finished product. And lots of Cherry blossoms.
Hope you like it!
- Isabel Davis