Mini-reviews: The Dowry by Walter Keady; The Sherlockian by Graham Moore; and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Title: The Dowry: A Novel of Ireland
Author: Walter Keady
Genre: Irish fiction, contemporary fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from my personal library
First line: It was the sudden onslaught of lust that convinced Brideen Conway she had to get married.

This Irish comedy of manners was a delight. In the post-World War II years, a small-town priest decides that the young people in his parish need to marry – only things are economically tough for pretty much everyone. He hatches a crazy scheme to pass one dowry from couple to couple until everyone is married off. Full of eccentric characters, gossip – and even a faked death – this novel reminded me a tiny bit of Austen and Trollope.

Title: The Sherlockian
Author: Graham Moore
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Twelve
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from my personal library
First line: Arthur Conan Doyle curled his brow tightly and thought only of murder.

This mystery really deserves its own review, but I’ve let myself get behind again. πŸ™ There are two mysteries in this book – the murder of a member of the Sherlock society The Baker Street Irregulars, investigated by their newest inductee, and the serial murders of new brides in Victorian England, investigated by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself. The chapters alternate between storylines, and I can’t decide which one I liked best. I loved the character of Harold White, the new Irregular – but I also loved the way that Moore portrayed Doyle. I could see this easily becoming the first in a series of mystery novels, and I, for one, would line up for book two.

Title: The Handmaid’s Tale
Author: Margaret Atwood
Genre: Dystopian fiction
Publisher: Anchor Books
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from the public library
First line: We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.

This was a re-read for me, as I read along with Florinda at The 3 R’s Blog. I first read The Handmaid’s Tale when I was in high school, and I was too young to fully appreciate how terrifying the world of this novel is. This is truly a masterpiece of dystopian fiction, and a must-read for lovers of the genre.

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21 Responses to Mini-reviews: The Dowry by Walter Keady; The Sherlockian by Graham Moore; and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

  1. Katie says:

    I was excited to see your mention of The Handmaid’s Tale this morning. I have never read it but picked it up from the library yesterday. Can’t wait to get started! Katie

  2. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread

    The Sherlockian has been in my peripheral vision since it came out. Five out of five stars. Hmmm.

  3. Anna says:

    The Handmaid’s Tale was my first dystopian read. I read it in college and then re-read it last year. I must admit it scared the heck out of me the first time I read it, and it was a more emotional read the second time around since I’d become a mother.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Anna – yes, I was just thinking today of how I’ve changed as a reader since becoming a mother.

  4. bermudaonion (Kathy)
    Twitter: bermudaonion

    You’ve been doing some great reading! I had no idea The Sherlockian is that good – I need to make time to read it!

  5. Beth Hoffman says:

    I love the sound of The Dowry! I’ll have to add it to my list. Thanks, Carrie!

  6. Kailana says:

    I enjoyed The Sherlockian and The Handmaid’s Tale. I am glad you did, too!

  7. You have the tri-fecta of great novels up here! Every time I see Handmaid’s Tale, I tell myself I should read it. And, here I go again – I need to read this book. I should have read it along with Florinda, but life was a bit too crazy and my attention span has gone missing.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Alison – I did read Handmaid’s Tale during the read-along, but was too busy to really participate in discussions or write a decent review. Life got in the way!

  8. carol
    Twitter: carolsnotebook

    The Sherlockian’s next on my list. I hope I enjoy it as much as you did.

    I read The Handmaid’s Tale in high school too. It’s one of the few books that have stuck with me from then.

  9. Amused
    Twitter: amusedbybooks

    Oh I really want to read the Sherlockian! Glad you liked it!

  10. Samantha says:

    I so want to reread The Handmaid’s Tale myself. It has been a long time since I read it and seeing so many people read it makes me want to pick it up myself. Glad to hear that you enjoyed it again on your 2nd go round.

  11. Pingback: Recommended reading for the 2012 Ireland Challenge – plus, vote for the March read-along book | BOOKS AND MOVIES