Library Moments: February 2013 Online Book Club

Catherine Coles, Branch Services Librarian:

Hello, I’m Catherine Coles from the Haliburton County Public Library and this is Library Moments. Once a week some of us from the library will come and talk about books, upcoming events, or the services we offer at the library.

As you may remember from previous episodes of Library Moments, we have started up an online book club which you can access 24/7 from anywhere in the world.

Today Bessie Sullivan, Amanda Wilk and I are here to discuss Romantic Reads, which was our book club theme for February.  Believe it or not, there is tremendous diversity within this maligned genre. The four books we selected were Edenbrooke, a great example of “clean” and sweet historical romance; Possession, a contemporary-classic literary romance; Anna and the French Kiss for the romantic YA crowd and Gabriel’s Inferno, which is considered the Canadian equivalent of Fifty Shades of Grey. As always, we’d like to hear from you so please join us online and fill us in on your thoughts but, in the meanwhile, why don’t we begin talking about the books we each chose and what we thought of them.

Anna and the French KissAmanda Wilk, Public Services Librarian:

I read Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins is one of the most delightful books I’ve read in recent years. It is a young adult title, in which the novel’s protagonist, Anna Oliphant is sent to Paris for her senior year of high school, and both befriends and falls for the lovely, charismatic, intelligent, and humanly flawed Etienne St. Clair

I also read Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson and Gabriel’s Inferno by Sylvain Reynard.

With regards to Edenbrooke, although I agree that the plot was predictable, and felt that the characters sometimes reacted in unrealistic ways, and did not always follow societal conventions of Regency England, I greatly enjoyed it. I was expecting it to be a light and fluffy read, and found all of the characters to be highly likeable. However, I did feel that the plot became a little rushed and unrealistic in the last quarter of the book.

On the other hand, while I did like Gabriel’s Inferno, it is not a book that I plan to read again. I greatly enjoyed the historical aspects of the novel, and loved learning more about Italian literary history. However, I found the plot moved quite slowly, and wasn’t really able to connect or empathize with any of the characters.

Bessie Sullivan, County Librarian: Gabriel's Inferno

I read Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson and Gabriel’s Inferno by Sylvain Reynard.

I was intrigued going into Edenbrooke because it was touted as being as good as Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Sadly, it was not. Although a harmless and entertaining story, it was predictable and not particularly interesting.

Gabriel’s Inferno is described as erotic fiction and a Fifty Shades of Grey read-a-like, but there are a few key differences.

1. It took 215 pages before they even kissed. There is certainly a lot of sexual tension, but not the graphic description that is characteristic of other erotica.

2. It is set in Toronto and I like being familiar with the surroundings.

3. It is somewhat intelligent and decently written.

I’ve decided that I like a good romance, and I certainly like the tension.


I read Edenbrooke and Anna and the French Kiss and also liked both.

I agree with both Bessie and Amanda: Edenbrooke is certainly not a literary masterpiece but it was still a sweet and enjoyable read. However, while I did enjoy it, I really wish that the silliness of the story was deliberate! The book is much actually better when you just pretend it is satire…

Also, the advance praise on the back cover is from wives of various authors, which was also very weird.

To join the HCPL Online Book Club, visit our website at and follow the specified link. We look forward to engaging in discussion will all of you enthusiastic readers. This was Library Moments, thanks for tuning in here on 100.9 Canoe FM.

* Originally Aired on Canoe FM from February 27th-March 6th


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