POVone: The First Person Perspective

Rants and Reviews on Novels Written in the First Person Point of View

Tag Archives: Poetry

Book Review: The Figaro Murders by Laura Lebow

Author: Laura Lebow
Title: The Figaro Murders
Genre: Historical, Mystery
Publication Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Minotaur (St. Martins)
Number of Pages: 336
Narrator: Lorenzo Da Ponte
Amazon.com Reviewer Grade: I, Insufficient data; there are not enough ratings to accurately gauge the average reader rating.

The Figaro Murders by Laura Lebow

What’s It About?

Priest and poet Lorenzo Da Ponte narrates his tail of getting mixed up in a murder plot while trying to help an old friend. As he is being hauled off to debtor’s prison, the friend asks Da Ponte to look for his birth mother–who he believes to be wealthy based on a fancy token she left behind for him. As Da Ponte seeks out his friend’s birth mother, he crosses the path of a tempestuous teenage boy and–out of annoyance–yells at him. Soon after, Da Ponte is arrested for the murder of that boy.

Insisting his innocence, Da Ponte is offered a deal. If he doesn’t want to go to prison for the murder of the boy, he can infiltrate the boy’s household in an effort to help the authorities root out the actual murderer. To keep up appearances, he also assumes the role of tutor for a young lady of the house–all the while continuing his work as a poet.

Throughout the story, Da Ponte tells of his struggle to balance the various components of his life. He is investigating a murder, working with Mozart (yes, that Mozart) on the development of a legendary opera, and trying to discovery the mystery of his friend’s birth bother–all the while trying to keep his own past from coming back to haunt him.

Should You Read It?

If you are into the Renaissance period of history, you will love this book. The descriptions of the urban landscape, as well as the everyday lives of the people Da Ponte encounters, are rich and lively. Wolfgang Mozart, a friend and colleague of the narrator, plays a central role as a minor character. If you’re into murder mysteries, you might like this as well. The descriptions are grisly or graphic, but there is quite a bit of secrecy and betrayal. It’s a good “whodunit” story. While descriptions of the setting are true to the time period, the voice of the narrator has a contemporary ring to it–rhythmic and slightly tongue-in-cheek, not so old-fashioned and verbose. Bottom line: if you like historical mysteries, you’ll love The Figaro Murders.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Book Reviews: Kirkus Reviews, Dear Author, Publishers Weekly

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books by Laura Lebow: The Figaro Murders is Laura Lebow’s debut novel.

Book Review: Reluctantly Charmed by Ellie O’Neill

Author: Ellie O’Neill
Title: Reluctantly Charmed
Genre: Literary, Fantasy
Publication Date: March 17, 2015
Publisher: Touchstone (Simon & Schuster)
Number of Pages: 416
Narrator: Kate McDaid
Amazon.com Reviewer Grade: I, Insufficient data; there are not enough ratings to accurately gauge the average reader rating.

Reluctantly Charmed by Ellie O'Neill

What’s It About?

Kate McDaid, a 26 year old copywriter located in Dublin, Ireland, tells the story of how her world is turned upside down when she is called in to read the will of her deceased distant relative (who is also named Kate McDaid). Kate isn’t told how much the estate is worth but, in order to receive it, she must agree to publishing a series of poems each week under her own name. The mystery intrigues her, and she agrees to do it.

To publish her poems, Kate uses an old website of a musician with whom she is somewhat romantically involved. The poems are filled with imagery about Irish folklore and imply that fairies may actually exist. Unexpectedly, the poems go viral. Fans of the musician discuss it on online forums, a journalist covers the story in a prestigious paper, and Kate is skyrocketed to the limelight.

As the story proceeds, Kate must juggle her attempts to advance in her career with the development of a potential love interest and her newfound fame (and infamy) as what many begin to perceive as a modern day witch. All the while, Kate digs deeper into her heritage in an attempt to understand herself and her place in a modern world that has lost its touch with magic.

Should You Read It?

If you’re looking for a straight-fantasy novel, this probably isn’t for you. The presence of fairies and the realm of magic are alluded to and yearned for, but they aren’t explicitly there. The work is more literary in nature–a story about a young woman attempting to discover her heritage while at the same time integrating it into modern life. The voice of Kate is very witty and light. The novel draws deeply on Irish folklore, as well as how the country has evolved into modern day. If you’re looking for a book about self-discovery containing a strong sense of place–with a small touch of fantasy and romance–you might enjoy this one.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Facebook, Goodreads

Book Reviews: Kirkus Reviews, Confessions of a Book Addict

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books by Ellie O’Neill: Reluctantly Charmed is Ellie O’Neill’s debut novel.