Tag Archives: Teen Period Fiction

The Life of a Teenage Body Snatcher – Doug MacLeod
Book Reviews
August 21, 2010 posted by Christina

The Life of a Teenage Body Snatcher – Doug MacLeod

“Thomas Timewell is sixteen and a gentleman. When he meets a body-snatcher called Plentitude, his whole life changes. He is pursued by cutthroats, a tattooed gypsy with a meat cleaver, and even the Grim Reaper. More disturbing still, Thomas has to spend an evening with the worst novelist in the world.”

The Life of a Teenage Body Snatcher is a black comedy set in England in 1828 and is the 12th book written by Doug MacLeod. We meet sixteen-year-old protagonist, Thomas Timewell, on the evening of his grandfather’s funeral. Thomas’ Grandfather’s dying wish was for his body to be donated to science to help in the advancement of the medical and scientific fields. Like in many cases, those wishes were ignored and he was buried anyway. So, as you do, Thomas takes matters into his own hands and digs up the grave to take the body where it rightfully belongs, as per his Grandfather’s wishes.

As he digs, we meet Plentitude – a body snatcher. An uneasy alliance is made between the two as Plentitude shows Thomas the tricks of the body snatching trade and delivers the body to the desired destination. From there Plentitude convinces Thomas to continue fulfilling the final wishes of the recently deceased.

Body snatching is not a simple game though – there’s competition. Disgruntled former partners of Plentitude’s want the bodies (and the payment that comes with their sale) for themselves. That, plus a gypsy with a taste for throwing meat cleavers, a teacher who ritually tortures his best friend and a mother in a constant opium daze, Thomas’s life gets really bizarre, really fast. Not to mention the lovely Victoria, who he can’t keep from offending every time their paths cross.

As some of you may know, I spend most of my day studying fashion and trends, but I’m picking up on a book trend here –  more stories being set during the Georgian and Victorian eras (18th and 19th century) – and I have to say I’m really liking it. Think Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, and Emily Bronte, but teen friendly. Now don’t get me wrong, these authors and many others of that period were very talented and have written some of the best loved classic literature of all time. I’ve read a fair few books from the period either for study or by choice but try as I might I just don’t know what they’re saying. Since times and social customs have changed you need to read between the lines, and understand the contextual history to know why it’s so scandalous for a girl to leave the house without a hat and gloves. This, plus the language itself means the message of those books are unfortunately lost on me, it just feels like a chore to read. I don’t doubt they’re still valuable and the themes and issues they express are important and still relevant today (and should still be read and studied)….but they’re just not fun for me.

What I’m trying to get at here, is that books such as The Life of a Teenage Body Snatcher and others that are coming out recently, are quite faithful to the period and allow you to enjoy a story set in the age of gentlemen in top hats and ladies in corsets without getting lost in the writing of classic literature.

There was a great plot here, quite different to things I’ve read lately – very dark and gruesome at times but also with a sense of sarcasm and humor that kept it light. I loved the surprise ending, as well as the reference to Sweeney Todd, and to the issues of women who had to pose as males to be taken seriously as authors and the extend of opium use of the time.

The characters were a delight and I loved the witty interaction between them. Particularly between Thomas and his adopted younger brother John, who at fourteen has moved out into his deceased grandfather’s mansion and considers himself an important adult, high power business man. I also liked that body snatchers (or resurrectionists) never revealed their names; each one had a unique name chosen by them.

The Life of a Teenage Body Snatcher is a great period novel that was witty and engaging, that gives a dark insight to an unusual occupation.

Publication Date: June 2010
Rating: : ★★★½☆

Teaser Quote: “You must think it strange that I’m digging up my grandfather.”
“Not at all. I’m sure many men dig up their grandfathers.”

Splendor: A Luxe Novel – Anna Godbersen
Book Reviews
November 7, 2009 posted by Nikki

Splendor: A Luxe Novel – Anna Godbersen

As spring turns into summer, Elizabeth relishes her new role as a young wife, while her sister, Diana, searches for adventure abroad. But when a surprising clue about their father’s death comes to light, the Holland girls wonder at what cost a life of splendor comes.

Carolina Broad, society’s newest darling, fans a flame from her past, oblivious to how it might burn her future. Penelope Schoonmaker is finally Manhattan royalty—but when a real prince visits the city, she covets a title that comes with a crown. Her husband, Henry, bravely went to war, only to discover that his father’s rule extends well beyond New York’s shores and that fighting for love may prove a losing battle.

In the dramatic conclusion to the bestselling Luxe series, New York’s most dazzling socialites chase dreams, cling to promises, and tempt fate. As society watches what will become of the city’s oldest families and newest fortunes, one question remains: Will its stars fade away or will they shine ever brighter?

When the young Diana Holland follows Henry Schoonmaker, the love of her life, to war, what are the chances that she’ll actually find him? Diana isn’t concerned with chances, though. The whole world has been stacked against them right from the beginning, and they’ve managed to battle through it all. What’s stopping her this time? No, chances are not important. All that matters is that she finds Henry. She must, she will make sure he knows how she feels, propriety and marital conventions be damned.

Meanwhile, Diana’s sister, the newly married Elizabeth, is settling into life as the new Mrs Cairns. Newly weds are supposed to live out their days in blissed out harmony, shack up on cloud nine, and all that. So why does it feel like there is something missing between Mr and Mrs Cairns? And if we, the readers, can see it, what’s stopping the harsh and unforgiving New York City society from noticing as well?

Speaking of society, New York City’s newest society member, Carolina Broad, has just about reached her all of her goals. All she has ever wanted was money, status, and a man to call her own. With two of those three already checked off the list, there’s only one more thing left for her to chase. Will Lina land her man, or will she continue her days in bitter loneliness?

With Henry off at war, Mrs Penelope Schoonmaker is up to her old tricks. Penelope proves money can’t buy happiness, and it certainly can’t buy love. Not the love of her husband, anyway, so she tries out her charm on a new player in town. Will she get found out, or will anyone even care enough to notice that Mrs Schoonmaker is not making good on her wedding vows? But when does Penelope ever make good on anything she says?

Splendor is an exceptional ending to an exceptional series. Some get what they want, and some don’t. But that’s the way the cookie crumbles in life, so why not in fiction, too? Anna Godbersen’s characters remain true to themselves in every which way, and although the way things unfold may not occur exactly how you might want them to, they certainly happen how they’re supposed to. How could we possibly want anything more than that?

You’ll gasp, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry out in glee. Splendor does not disappoint. Reading this series has been a real pleasure and I can’t wait to see what Godbersen produces in the future.

Rating:: ★★★★☆