Imaginary Books: The Gentleman’s Book of Vices and The Princess Bride

30 Nov

I’ve seen it called literary inception. Could there be anything more relatable for a book lover than a story centered around a character’s love for literature even if those books themselves don’t exist? Two spins on this I recently enjoyed were The Gentleman’s Book of Vices and The Princess Bride.

The Gentleman’s Book of Vices
by Jess Everlee

Set in London in 1883, The Gentleman’s Book of Vices, has protagonist Charlie Price counting the days towards an arranged marriage which he needs to pay off his debts. He takes solace in his naughty novel collection and when he decides to track down the secret author of his favorite; he finds actual sparks with the author/bookstore owner, Miles Montague. Miles’s novels always end in tragedy for its protagonists; can he and Charlie make a happy life together in a time when their love is forbidden? Though the novel is fairly predictable as romances go, the charming characters made this a fun read. I liked that Charlie’s bride found her own happily ever after as well. The novel is the first in the Lucky Lovers of London series. I received an advance copy from the publisher and Netgalley.

The Princess Bride
by William Goldman

Many people may be familiar with the Princess Bride in its movie form. Terrific casting and acting has made that story a romantic comedy classic. But the novel that the film is based on is also worth a read. We read it as part of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Discussion Club and many of the group shared stories about their first reads of the book but agreed that it held up for them over the years. One difference from the movie is the framing is that of a man recounting a book he loved as a child from the perspective of the author retelling a translation of the story, compared with the movie which shows a grandfather reading the book to his sick grandson. However, Buttercup and her long suffering farm boy Wesley, still fall in love and then are tragically separated. Adventures ensue with Buttercup being kidnapped and then forced to marry. Villains and heroes turn out not to be who they seem. It is as much a love letter to fairy tale romances as it is a parody of them.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Information and Digital Services Manager

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