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jenn

Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

The Adventures of Elizabeth in Ruegen

The Adventures of Elizabeth in Ruegen - Elizabeth von Arnim

I can't believe how long it took me to read this book.  It was my second Elizabeth von Arnim book, after reading Elizabeth and Her German Garden, and i have to say it was harder going at first.  Her Adventures in Rügen start off in a much more florid style of writing than she used in German Garden; her verbosity was challenging, to say the least, and I found myself putting the book down and passing it by for days on end.  I was determined though, because I had to believe the writing I loved in German Garden would be in there somewhere.

 

And it was.  By the fourth day (page 87), the Elizabeth I had expected started showing up. Coincidentally it was about this time that her idyllic trip round Rügen started to become less idyllic and more comic.  By the fifth day (page 115) I was pretty well hooked, and where as the first 115 pages took me three weeks to read, the remaining 185 took just a few days.  As the book, and her trip,  progress, the writing becomes more concise and the pace ratchets up higher and higher until it reaches its final, devious, and hilarious conclusion.  I loved the last two chapters, they had me chuckling regularly, and the ending was absolutely perfect.  

 

A few notes about my copy of this book: I was lucky to find a 1904 copy in beautiful condition that includes a pristine pull out map of Elizabeth's trip.  A few things about it made me smile though: the cover title spells the island's name as Ruegen, but everything else in the book uses Rügen.  Both are correct (as ue is the alternate for ü), but the inconsistency left me curious about why.  Also, my edition's copyright is in the USA, but it states that it is strictly intended for circulation in "India and the British Colonies" only, and the publisher is Macmillan, London.  So we have a book written in Germany, printed by a London publisher, copyrighted in the USA, for circulation in India and the colonies.

 

This is why I love old books.