Saturday, June 15, 2024


I've recently read two books by Portuguese authors, both to suit a topic in a challenge I'm doing in one of my GR groups.
Neither book was long and I managed to read them both in one day and a half, which is always positive!

Imaculada by Paula Lobato de Faria is an historical story, set in 1956 during the dictatorship regime my country had and that lasted until 1974. Imaculada is the name of an estate, owned by a well established high society family, and the plot is about their lifestyle and values, and how Cristiana, the daughter, is going to face the fact she falls in love with an unsuitable man. 
This was the first book I tried by this author and I had no expectations, therefore I was actually positively surprised by the writing style (fluid and easy) and the sometimes clever remarks here and there. the book isn't big, and I thought this would be a pretty straightforward plot, probably about Cristiana rebelling or something, during a time when girls/women had their roles pretty much set on stone.
Well, I discovered that no, this story is more focused on presenting the characters and their lives, and I will have to confess my contemporary notions did clash with what the characters said... how frustrating and a little irritating having them say outdated and ridiculous things, but that can be historical settings for you. I also disliked a little that this story has no real conclusion. I don't know which fate the characters truly had, apart from vague issues, because the story ends without resolution, then we have an epilogue that is more a cliffhanger than the actual plot ending. 
After finishing I checked the author's work and there are two more stories written in this "universe", with characters we met here having a role then too. I mean... GR did not identify these books as being a series, or having a linear/chronological continuation, so... bummer. Despite having liked enough about this title to have finished, now I don't know if I want to read the others. Perhaps if the library has them...
Grade: 6/10


Uma Aventura no Palácio das Janelas Verdes by Ana Maria Magalhães and Isabel Alçada is a juvenile story, part of a very long series, featuring five friends, and the adventures they have. Reading this took me back to my childhood/beginning of my adolescence, when I changed schools and had to go to the city for 7th grade. Discovering the city's public library was heaven and I've gobbled up plenty of series in the juvenile section, until I moved up to the adult zone.
This book is part of one of those series, which I used to love and now, although this story no longer appeals to my adult self, it still makes me think of that experience fondly, the so-called "good old times". The title can be translated into "an adventure at the Janelas Verdes palace", which is an actual building in Lisbon, where the national museum of old art is currently located. I liked the story and "seeing" the group again, and having those memories back, but apart from the emotional aspects, yes, this isn't totally stimulating anymore.
The authors are both teachers (probably retired) and they started this as a fun experiment, since children aren't often exposed, or weren't then, to books and literature outside of the obligatory books in school. It was a great idea which conquered many kids and their parents, that is for certain.
Grade: 7/10 

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