Welcome to my 1st #ThrowbackThursday review for this meme today! I have another one prepared for later. This meme as a way to share older reviews you may have missed, or reviews of older books. Come and join me!
When an injured Union soldier is found in the Virginia woods as the Civil War rages, he is brought to the nearby Miss Martha Farnsworth Seminary for Young Ladies to recover. For the sheltered girls and their teachers, the arrival of the attractive John McBurney is a thrilling distraction from normal life. But before long, McBurney’s presence will turn them against each other and upend all their lives – with potentially devastating consequences. Combining psychological suspense with humour and romantic drama, The Beguiled is a wildly entertaining novel of sexual tension and repression, and of rivalry, jealousy and, ultimately, vengeance.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’m reviewing The Beguiled (Penguin Classics)
by Thomas Cullinan. Here are my thoughts:
“A classic slice of Southern Gothic, shot through with psychological suspense, which is the basis for Sofia Coppola’s (winner of Best Director at Cannes) 2017 film of the same name starring Nicola Kidman, Colin Farrell and Kirsten Dunst”. Source: wiki/The_Beguiled_(2017_film).
The book was originally written with the title A Painted Devil and some of you eagle-eyed readers and film fanatics may also remember this was a film starring Clint Eastwood and Geraldine Page in the ’70s. The maid in the latter film and this 1966 novel, was black and there was also another bi-racial character, too. However, in the new film, mentioned above, this bi-racial character was played by Kirsten Dunst. This totally ruined the whole point of the book that the black woman was really a slave in their household and the bi-racial woman (who was a free woman) could not seem to see that she herself was not truly white. And that, dear readers, is a very relevant part of the original book, why change it? (Rolls eyes). Is it so wrong to portray this black woman exactly how the author intended her to be? The way I see it, what she did in that house was her way of surviving. It’s an integral part of the story. Why hide it?
After all, if you look at the underage sex and the way the main male character acts by taking advantage of his position in a household full of young girls who are basically shut away from society, should he also be seen as wrong? These young girls are easy prey, but some, are also very willing to learn… Incidentally, I must say the heat and sexual tension within the book is superbly done.
I found parts of the way this was written to be a little repetitive and confusing in style, despite this, it was still a great story. It’s only told from the girls’ perspective, which in many ways adds to this atmospheric, hothouse of lies and deceit the further into the story you delve.
The Beguiled is chock full with a Gothic sense of foreboding and unease, set against a backdrop of the Civil War, which made for some serious, ghostly tension. Who is this injured solider who turns up on their doorstep? How can these girls protect themselves from this seductive man when they have no idea what life is like outside the four walls of the house they live in?
If you read right to the end you’ll find out the brilliant twist of fate this story has in store for you. A devious surprise!
Which book have you reviewed for your #ThrowbackThursday feature?
Do share your link below and I’ll pay you a visit!