Fiction · Julia P · Local Interest - MO · Quick Read!

Eligible | by Curtis Sittenfeld

Eligible (The Austen Project #4)

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
(Random House, 2016, 492 pages)

This modern interpretation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was really enjoyable. Set primarily in Cincinnati. Liz Bennett and her older sister Jane return home from Manhattan to help out as their father recovers from a heart attack. While they’re at home they are introduced to two new doctors who have recently moved to the area. One, Chip Bingley, was a former contestant on the television show “Eligible” (a play on “The Bachelor”) and he is quickly taken with Jane. The other is Fitzwilliam Darcy, a neurosurgeon who Liz instantly dislikes.

The three younger Bennett sisters all have their own issues they’re dealing with. They’ve managed to stay at home living rent-free at their parent’s estate. Now that Liz has returned home, however, it becomes increasingly clear that the Bennett family is going to have to make some serious changes due to their new financial circumstances. As Liz struggles to keep her family afloat (with little to no help from anyone else) she keeps running into Darcy. Could there be something behind the negative interactions they constantly seem to have…?

This was a fun book that read really quickly thanks to Sittenfeld’s writing and the short chapters that make up the book. If you’re a Jane Austen fan you’ll enjoy this retelling. If you’re just looking for a good summer read, Eligible covers the bases. Plus, Sittenfeld is a local St. Louis author (and her other novels are great)!

Local Interest - MO · Non-Fiction · Paranormal · Rebecca K.E.

Haunted Webster Groves | by Patrick Dorsey

Haunted Webster Groves

Haunted Webster Groves by Patrick Dorsey
(Factual Planet, 2015, 131 pages)

This book by Patrick Dorsey provides fourteen riveting accounts as told to him of unquiet spirits in and near the area of Webster Groves, Missouri. As a ghost agnostic, I am generally fascinated by and open to hearing people’s accounts of interactions with ghosts. This 131-page book is divided into two main section: “Legends,” being more a compilation of experiences that many people have had over many years, and “Firsthand Accounts,” in which Dorsey interviews several Webster Groves-area residents about their up-close-and-personal experiences with these spirits.

Regarding the writing style of the book, sometimes I was charmed by the way in which the author inserted his own editorial commentary into the stories; at other times, I wanted him to get out of the way a little more and simply let the stories speak for themselves. However, a book of this nature is at least in part personality-driven, and the playful treatment of this subject matter provides a bit of non-ghostly levity to the stories. Dorsey notes that he is “a storyteller and a writer, not a ghost hunter” (p. 10), and that the reader will thus find more story and less science. This book is good reading for the casual ghost hunter looking for an entertaining and spooky evening, particularly one familiar with or interested in the Webster Groves/St. Louis County area.