Thursday, September 16, 2010

BBAW: Day 4, Forgotten Treasures


Book  Blogger Appreciation Week has been a grand ole time so far, and today promises to be just as delightful! You know I love tossing out recommendations, and this one jumped and surprised me! I went all the way back to my review archives for today's goody, and I can't wait to share!

I read The Journal of Dora Damage, by Belinda Starling, in October of 2007, and I have rarely ever seen it reviewed elsewhere. It was a really wonderful historical fiction novel. From my 2007 review:

London in the 1860s is a dangerous, scandalous place to exist, especially if you're Dora Damage, the matriarch of the ailing Damage Bookbinders. When her husband, Peter, begins to fall into rheumatic disability, Dora surpasses her station as a submissive wife and mother and takes over the family business.

Dora shows an exceptional talent for binding books, from her creative embroidery and color choices, to her quick mind and willingness to work her hands to cracked, aching stubs. However, no matter how hard she tries in the beginning, the money just doesn't come. Finally, based on her covert work, she lands a job binding ladies' journals and other miscellaneous books. This first innocent employment leads to greater, more dangerous things--namely the task of binding pornography for a treacherous group of London's powerful and ruthless upper crust.
This is one of those books that's done better with the passage of time than I might've originally anticipated. When I saw it staring back at me from my archives, I immediately though, "Ooh! I remember that book!" And I do! Which is saying a lot since I can barely remember my own name. This reading experience comes back to me in vivid detail, and that's a sure sign of a fantastic find.

I remember specific events from the book, the characters' dispositions, and the overall impression I got from the reading. I even recall that I thought the conclusion was a little sensational, but I didn't care. I was charmed by this bookish book. I was fascinated by the binding process and Dora's daring choices. I was swept away.

Read my full review here.

20 comments:

  1. It seems a nice blog! Byee

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  2. OMGosh...I remember your review of this. (Back in those days loooong before I had the guts to talk to you.) And it's been on my wish list ever since. It's amazing how many great-sounding books get buried way down in the abyss of never-ending wishing...

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  3. I am adding it to my tbr list! And I am going to go bankrupt! OMG! OMG!

    Here is my BBAW: Forgotten Treasures post!

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  4. Another one to add to my wish list. My wish list is going to be a mile long after today.

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  5. I've never heard of this book, but it sounds like an interesting plot. And - our library has it! TBR list time! :)

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  6. Oh well this sounds fantabulous!

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  7. I was just eying this one on my bookshelf just last night! The copy YOU graciously sent me. I still haven't read it. I am terrible, especially since it sounds right up my alley. I need to move it on up the pile.

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  8. Thanks, Alice!

    Debi, you crack me up! It is amazing how many books get buried in the abyss. Looking through my shelves is like a walk down memory lane.

    Gautami, I hope you like it when you get around to it!

    Kathy, I feel ya. Mine is growing like crazy.

    Great, Jo! I hope you'll give it a try. Even better that the library has it.

    Enjoy, Pam!

    Heather, Ha!!! I forgot I sent that one to you! I have a bunch of books you sent me that I haven't read yet: Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, Wise Children, etc. I'm horrible, too!

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  9. Books you can actively remember many years later are definitely winners! I haven't heard of this one but will definitely look for it now. Sounds like it's right up my alley!

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  10. I've had this on my wish list for a while, but haven't seen it mentioned in the blogging world more than once or twice. It sounds like the perfect Winter read so I'll try to get hold of a copy soon. Thanks for reminding me out it :-)

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  11. It just looks like it should be a good book. There is something so satisfying to me about reading good fiction that comes in diary format. I am such a voyeur, but I have to get my kicks somewhere since i would never read anyone's diary without their permission.

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  12. I love historical fiction set in Victorian England! I will definitely be checking this one out from my library.

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  13. This book sounds fantastic and I haven't heard it mentioned elsewhere. I'm reading my first Sarah Waters right now and this sounds like more Victorian fun.

    What would we do without BBAW? :) Thanks for the recommendation!

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  14. This sounds like a great book! I'm adding it to my TBR list.

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  15. How sad that the author died so young and will never write another book!

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  16. I remember this book. Her husband ugh I was glad when he died.

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  17. Sounds worth checking out. Thanks!

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  18. This sounds perfect :) Definitely going on my wishlist!

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  19. Thanks for stopping by, everyone! Would've answered sooner, but I've been sick.

    Jodie, I was glad when he finally keeled over, too. What a drag!

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