March 24, 2012

Week One: Forever Amber Read-A-Long

Welcome to the Discussion Post for HF-Connection's first Read-A-Long! If you didn't officially sign up for the read-a-long, you are still welcome to chime in with your thoughts. The original post with the schedule can be found here.**

**There has been a slight change in the reading schedule.  Please refer to the original post (link above) to view the change.  It was a necessary change due to the structure of the book.  I do apologize for any inconvenience.

This week, we were to read through Chapter 23 in whatever edition you are reading. What edition are you reading?

Please know that this post is for discussing whatever you like regarding the first twenty-three chapters. If you have not read that far.. don't read this post any further! Hopefully this chunky novel is delightfully sinful enough so that you can manage the tight reading schedule.


Marie's thoughts:
Oh Amber!! and oh.. why did it take me so long to read this?? I am in love with the setting, with the drama of Amber and her silly, naive decisions... even though she acts like such a horribly spoilt little girl, I can't help but root for her. And even though I kept having the recurring thought, 'Bruce Carlton, how could you?', I knew that Amber was warned. Yep. She dove in head first and we knew what was coming, didn't we? (Just like her mama Judith.. impetuous disastrous actions on both their parts!) And the earrings she treasured.. of course they were fake! Silly little chit.

Luke Channrell the Scoundrel! What a snake! What an abyss Amber found herself in when she met Sally Goodman the Swindler. Poor Amber. I would've loved to see Amber go back home to Sarah, how bad could it have been? She just would've proved everyone right and she could've found herself a farm to live on once Matthew had her married off. Why couldn't she just see the light?

Black Jack seemed like an answer to a prayer, and again Amber saw him only as a means to an end. What end, though? What did she actually hope for? Because then came along Captain Morgan.. and what a waste. I know understand why some say I hate Bruce Carlton!

As far as the story goes, I have not felt so in tune to a storyline like this in a while.. I love epic/saga material and this is perfect for that. Sometimes we shy away from chunksters because our brain balks at the sheer size of it. But look at how awesome this story is.. and how you cannot wait to get back to reading.. and how I am going to be sad when it actually is over.
I am enjoying the point of view where it's not only all about Amber, but the views from Charles as well which breaks it up a bit.

Michelle's thoughts:
I'm just coming off an all night reading session.  Yes, I'm crazy that way.  So my thoughts this week are going to be somewhat brief.  Most likely I will expand on them whilst responding in the comments to other readers' thoughts.

The first thing I noticed about the book is how it immediately drew me in from the first page.  I could immediately tell that this is a book that I will long to return to and, as Marie said, I will be sad when it comes to an end.

Dare I make the comparison between Amber and Scarlett O'Hara?  As I was reading, I couldn't help but make the connection.  Maybe it's because I've been reading Gone with the Wind, but Amber has some of that very same impetuous nature that Scarlett possesses.  Of course, I do not feel that Scarlett is anywhere near as naive as Amber, but I do notice some similarities.  I did find myself wondering if Scarlett would have allowed herself to get into the situations Amber does.  Did Scarlett avoid the predicaments because she was too smart to compromise herself?  Or was it that the men in her story were too chivalrous to take advantage of her impetuous nature?  I am thinking that it is more the former of the two.  In Amber's case, she is so naive, and coupled with her tendency toward impetuous behavior, it's a dangerous combination.

The parallels between Amber and her mother are also striking.  Being a child who never knew her mother, it's amazing how similar the mindset is.  Judith 'loved' John from a very early age, but I feel that it was more of a crush.  Then, when she is told she can't marry him, it's like forbidden fruit for her and then they make love during that brief visit, she is willing to risk everything to be with him.  I'm of the opinion that when two people engage in intimate relations, there is such a connection between them that makes them feel they are in love.  However, I'm of the mindset that love is the lasting bond between two people.  Once the flame of passion dies down, there is still the bond of love underneath.  In Judith and Amber's case, they associate passion with love and Amber continues to make disastrous mistakes because of it.  And it's how she justifies her behavior.

I can see why this book was considered so scandalous in the 1940s.  If you put yourself in the mindset of the 40s, the provocative nature of this book would have been shocking.   

I'm reading the 1944 cloth bound edition.  The print is tiny and is printed on the pages in two columns, much like a newspaper article.  Ah, but I love old books!

Now it's your turn to share....

See you here next Saturday for Week Two (March 25 - 31)--Chapter 24 through Chapter 47  {Revised: Part III through Part V, which starts at Ch. 46 (stop reading at end of Ch. 45)}


  1. I'mso grateful you put in a catch up week because I'm already behind :( I really have fallen under the spell of this book! Yes I've been rolling my eyes a bit about Amber's choices but what shines through is who she is. Amber would have never been happy in her small town. She want's more of EVERYTHING. She has found her femimine wiles very early and will take them as far as she can. it will be interesting watching her character develop :)

  2. I agree with you about Amber, Kai. She is definitely a wild spirit who would have never been happy living her life in that village. She can be an annoying character, I admit, but she is also entertaining. =O)

    I'm glad you're enjoying the book. I'm sure you will catch up soon. See you next week!

  3. It seems everyone might need that catch up week! For those who want to find the discussion posts as they do catch up, please feel free to chime in when you are ready.
    (We welcome anyone who has read the book eons ago also!)

    On the right hand column of the blog you will see READ-A-LONG as a labe. Click that link to find all the Posts regarding the Forever Amber Read-A-Long.

  4. Here are my thoughts, they are kinda lengthy for a comment. LOL!!


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