Monday, November 17, 2014

TV I Love: 'North & South' and 'The Forsyte Saga'

For some reason, my Netflix "Suggestions For You" list is consistently chock-full of period British miniseries. Apparently its recommendation algorithm is so good, that it can simply divine that I would enjoy them. Skynet, man.

How does it know?!?!

Anyway, this magical technology led me to two new (to me) and wonderful discoveries in the world of melodrama in hoop skirts and posh accents. North & South and The Forsyte Saga.

I admit, North & South had been on my radar for some time and everything I had heard about it led me to suspect that it would be up my alley. Don't ask me why it took me so long to finally sit down and watch it. But about 40 minutes into the first episode, probably around the time when new girl in town Margaret Hale is giving a piece of her mind to factory owner John Thornton, I was hooked. Hooked as in even though I started the show on a Sunday night at 9 PM and there were four one-hour episodes to get through, I watched them all. That night. Whoops.

Was I bleary-eyed the next day at work? Yup. Was the swoony, dramatic final episode soooo worth it? You can bet your bonnet.

The show was beautifully shot and acted, had Downton's Mr. Bates acting very Mr. Bates-like,  and even gave me a new Brit to get moony-eyed over (hello, Richard Armitage). It's based on a novel by Elizabeth Gaskell--who I have to admit I've never read. I might need to remedy that situation!

Trust me on this one...
The Forsyte Saga is a 10-part series made around the same time as North & South (early 2000s). It follows three generations of a wealthy family over the course of 50 years (1870 through 1920). And, believe me, this family sees its share of scandal, tragedy, and dramatic levels of stalking.

Its production value is a bit lower than North & South and I think some of the storylines can veer a tiny bit too far into soap territory. That being said, it was still thoroughly enjoyable. And, ultimately, I really got into the character arc of Soames Forsyte (played by Damian Lewis) who, besides having a last name as a first name, spends a lot of the show desperately looking like he really needs a mustache to twirl and yet somehow manages to redeem himself in the end.

Somebody give this man some facial hair to grab onto.

The Forsyte Saga is based on a series of books by John Galsworthy--who won a Nobel Prize in Literature for it. (I've also now added them to my to-be-read list.)

So if your "recently watched" list looks anything like mine and you haven't checked these two out yet, I highly recommend them. And if you and/or Netflix have some other hatted and corseted Brits to recommend to me, I am all (delicate) ears.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Read the First Excerpt from 'Three Day Summer!'

This week, my editor shared with me the small excerpt that will be going on the back cover of Three Day Summer... and I thought I would share it with all of you!

This is the first bit of this book that I've posted but since we are almost exactly six months out from publication, and since it's Friday, and since it's cold and I've been daydreaming about summer, here it is!

It begins to rain again, gently at first and then a bit harder. All around us, the water plops as it’s hit with itself, the line between lake and sky becoming hazy. It’s like being in a bath and a shower at the same time. Cora laughs, holding her hand out to catch some raindrops and then letting them fall through her fingers into the water. Plop
A piece of her hair has come undone from its braid and it trails behind her in the lake, like a silky eel.
I reach over and lift it, watching the wet, dark strands make patterns on my palm. 
“It’s so beautiful,” I say. Then I look right at her and drink her in: her deep, brown eyes and small nose; her wide lips; the slope of her shoulders which only draws my eye downward to take in the rest of her curves which she has, unfortunately, kept shrouded beneath the water. The red Hog Farm fabric is still around her wrist, sodden and trailing in the water like a red flag, a claim.
“You are so beautiful,” I say, a little choked up at how true it is. Especially here, surrounded by water and music. I think that this has to be the most romantic moment of my life.