Brona’s Book Salon


I think that this is a relatively new meme and if you’d like to participate, I believe that the home page is:

What are you currently reading?

I usually read two books at a time:  a fiction book and a non-fiction book.  I also listen to a book-on-tape when I promenade.  I am reading The Romanovs by Simon Sebag Montefiore and it’s vastly entertaining:  history, yes, but with all the little human details.  Did you know that Tsarina Alexandra called her period the “Mechanic engineer”?  She could drop a note to her husband that the “mechanic engineer” had arrived.    I am listening to one of the superb mysteries by Donna Leon.  And I am nearing the end of the novel, The Rector of Justin by Louis Auchincloss.    I also tend to read several poems every day.  Below:  Nicky and Alix peeved that the “mechanic engineer” is in town.

How did you find out about this book?

I recollect when The Rector of Justin was on the best-seller lists.  I read it when I was quite young and decided to reread it with a bookclub.

Why are you reading it now?

Bookclub but mostly my own amusement.

First impressions?

I like the multitude of narrators who are telling the story of the Rev’d Prescott, Rector of Justin Martyr, famed and prestigious New England Boarding School for boys.  Renowned for being a good, even a great man, and an intellectual innovator, Prescott is really the kind of eminece grise who is behind the lives of the kinds of people who populate the novels of Edith Wharton.  This novel explores the negotiations of a life driven by service and a sort of snobbery.


Which character do you relate to so far?

I enjoy the old friend, Horace Havistock, a probably closeted man who uses close friendships with both men and women to stay at the center of society and who is occasionally as witty as Oscar Wilde.

Are you happy to continue?

Most certainly–with all three of the books.  With The Romanovs, however, I realize that I am about to get to the historical point when I want to close the book and scream scream scream at all of the main actors.


Where do you think the story will go?

Because I cannot recall the end of the story from the first time I read the novel so long ago, I guess that perhaps some more things will be described that will undercut the perfection of the Rev’d Frank Prescott but will also humanize him.


Author: Gubbinal

Bookish, tea-drinking cat-lady who loves great poetry and music and is in the midst of dying

3 thoughts on “Brona’s Book Salon”

  1. I have The Romanovs on my TBR wishlist – it sounds intriguing.

    Like you I read a couple of non-fiction books and a fiction at the same time. I often have a kids book on the go as well!
    The Rector of Justin is new to me, but I’m glad you’re enjoying your reread. I love how rereading certain books at different times and ages gives us another insight into the story (& into us).

    The link you left on my post, took me to my own wordpress edit page. I tried to fix it through the linky edit mechanism, but the same thing has happened. Very curious?! I’m wondering if you need to double check your privacy settings or linking options?

    Thanks for joining in 🙂


  2. All your reading selections are new to me!
    I’ve never read anything about N&A in Russia….will put this one on the list.
    Auchincloss rings a bell….but I will have to look him up on Wikipedia…along with Donna Leon.


  3. I’ve just read a review (“Romancing the Romanovs” by Gary Saul Morson) of Montefiore’s book in the October issue of The New Criterion and found it highly entertaining. The Mechanical Engineer was not mentioned, but I have you to thank for that gem. There’s no longer room in my life to read that kind of book but it does sound like a good’un. Over 800 pages might have me—like you—screaming after a certain point.


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