Saturday, September 3, 2022

Six Degrees of Separation – from Eloise at the Plaza to The Secret River

It’s time for #6degrees, inspired by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. We all start at the same place, add six books, and see where we end up. This month’s starting point is the final book from last month, which in my case is Eloise by Kay Thompson, the famous 1950s picture book about the girl who lived at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.
First Degree

These days there is another well-known Eloise – Eloise Bridgerton is the fifth Bridgerton child and second daughter in Julia Quinn’s historical romance novels, now infamous as Netflix miniseries. The first book is The Duke and I (2000). As a former romance editor and constant critic, I think Quinn could have made these just as appealing and much less improbable, as could Shondaland in the screen adaptation. However, I did enjoy the costumes and settings in Season 1, even while I found it quite ridiculous. And anything that gets people reading is good, right? I thought the series would be disdained in the UK but bookstore staff there told me it was their most popular Netflix ever and there were plenty of books for sale.
Second Degree

The Duke’s Daughter by Angela Thirkell (1951). The link here is better behaved Dukes than seen in Julia Quinn’s books! While many of Thirkell's best-known characters appear in this book, it is primarily the romance between Lady Glencora Palliser, the Duke of Omnium's daughter, and Cecil Waring, a former war hero and the heir to one of the large local estates. The fact that Lady Cora is a descendant of the Glencora made popular by Trollope and Masterpiece Theatre is doubtless why this is my favorite Thirkell. It could also be I can never keep the other titles straight!
Third Degree

The Last Great Game: Duke vs. Kentucky and the 2.1 Seconds That Changed Basketball by Gene Wojciechowski. The link here is a different Duke, one of my alma maters. 

March 28, 1992. The final of the NCAA East Regional, Duke vs. Kentucky. The 17,848 at the Spectrum in Philadelphia and the millions watching on TV could say they saw the greatest game and the greatest shot in the history of college basketball. The Kentucky team had one star, Jamal Mashburn, who wound up playing 12 years in the NBA, while Duke had many stars, Christian Laettner, Grant Hill, Bobby Hurley, and Coach K. Yet it was a game that was decided in the last fraction of a second as I watched, too stressed to sit down, from my New York living room.
Fourth Degree

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes (2019). The link here is Kentucky. When a well-bred but rebellious English girl marries an affluent American and goes to live with him in Kentucky, she finds a sense of purpose in joining a team of women who will deliver books in rural areas of the state as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library. The novel's title comes from a poem by Amy Lowell that describes the sense of peace that a person finds while spending time with a lover. My review.
Fifth Degree

The Stars are Upside Down by Gabriel Alington (1980).  The link here is stars, presumably upside down because the book takes place Down Under. Brought up in a crowded orphanage in the 1840s and working as a London kitchen maid, Tavy yearns for freedom and space, so when she sees a poster advertising a five-pound passage to Australia for single females of good character, she jumps at the chance.  You know I love a plucky orphan story!
Sixth Degree

The Secret River by Kate Grenville (2005). The link is the colonization of Australia. William Thornhill, a former convict claiming land, realizes that if he wants to settle there, he must ally himself with the most despicable of the white settlers, and to keep his family safe, he must permit terrifying cruelty to come to innocent people.  My review.
Have you read any of these? Did you play #6Degrees this month? Next month, we’ll start on October 1, 2022, with Notes on a Scandal by Zoë Heller, which I read a long time ago.


Davida Chazan (The Chocolate Lady) said...

Lovely chain! I forgot Eloise was the name of that daughter.

Helen said...

Great chain. I've only read the first book in the Angela Thirkell series so it will be a long time before I get to The Duke's Daughter!

TracyK said...

That is a very good chain, you have me interested in all the books, although you know I already have too many. Except the Bridgerton one. I love all the Eloise books.

Marianne said...

Quite a lot of different books there. I have only read the last one, The Secret River, what a great book!

My Six Degrees of Separation took me from The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett to The Island by Victoria Hislop.

Lex @ Lexlingua said...

I've wanted to read Thirkell for a while and wondered if High Rising was a good place to start. Let me see if The Duke's Daughter may be a betetr starting point. And while I haven't the read the very cute Eloise, I hear you on plucky orphan stories!

Anonymous said...

Gosh, I haven't thought of Angela Thirkell for years and years! To revisit, perhaps? The Secret River, however, is a real favourite. What an interesting and varied chain!

Margaret 21 said...

I'm not anonymous! Blogger stripped out my name. It's Margaret of From Pyrenees to Pennines here!

Mary @ Notes in the Margin said...

What a great chain! And I haven't read the book, but I remember Christian Laettner's shot.