Dear friend,

At long last, I am here writing to you once more. I have been super busy. Like…it’s kind of a problem. Let me put it to you this way. My day is made up of several different things. There are my responsibilities at home, my writing time, job hunting, and then there is recreation which can include playing a videogame or watching TV or reading a book. Here is where the problem comes in. I try to space out my reading during the day so that I don’t grow bored or tired or feel like I’m not accomplishing anything. But what ends up happening is that I sit down to read and immediately my brain can’t seem to focus on the text in front of me. All I can think about is my to do list and how I could be playing a videogame instead of reading this book.

What is wrong with me?

tenor (1)

Essentially, I am experiencing book fatigue. It is not the best thing to happen during my year of big books. I mean, I would accept it had it occurred in October but this early in the game is worrisome for sure. So I’ve spent the last few days neglecting to read at the appropriate times and stressing myself and overall just feeling pretty miserable. And it isn’t as if I am not enjoying the books I am reading. I do enjoy them. But it seems the part of my brain that tells me to concentrate has gone to bed.

It seems to be waking up a little bit today so I hope the trend continues…

I have to tell you, I have been anticipating this book for a really long time. Ever since it was mentioned on one of my favorite podcasts (Literary Disco) comparing the main character Isabel to Belle from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (the original animated, not the new live action – duh), I immediately needed to get up and buy this shit. And speaking of Beauty and the Beast, can we just reflect for a moment that this book has a better Belle than Belle from the new live action? Or rather everything is better than that live action garbage. The fangirl within me is super disappointed.

giphy (55)

Anyway, let’s talk more about the main character Isabel. She is so much like Belle it is insane. And I absolutely love it!

I love how this is one of those books that can take emotions and put them into such elongated language that seems to provide this essence of truth and understanding that you never saw before…

something there

If you haven’t noticed, I’m only using Beauty and the Beast gifs in this letter…BECAUSE I CAN!

This book has a character who is smart and full of life and admired by many. She comes into the lives of these people, her family in the U.K., who can’t get enough of her and she can’t get enough of them. I can’t help but thinking that this book would have made actual Belle so happy to read. She would relate to Isabel wanting to travel and coming from America to the U.K. She would have envied her opportunities to travel for sure since Isabel is planning on travelling a lot with her Aunt. And I think Belle would have craved going to a new place and being accepted for who she is.

giphy (56)

But stepping off the Beauty and the Beast train, I am now wondering if it is a common thing for people to compare Henry James to Jane Austen. I can’t help but notice the similarities in their characters and writing style. Is it just me? Is this a thing? I will have to do some research.

What I am really enjoying about this book is how every chapter is very precise and can be compared to eating a good meal. At the beginning it sort of feels overwhelming but as you read you slowly ease into the narration and the emotions of the characters around you and suddenly it is over and it feels complete but you also are excited for more. It’s like that huge burger you order at a local restaurant. That local burger is The Portrait of a Lady. LOL.


I don’t have much else to say other than I am enjoying this book a lot.

It is hard not to feel overwhelmed. After all, I still haven’t even gotten to writing future podcast episodes for A Year of Big Books. I need to get on that…like super soon. This is getting ridiculous. But I promise, it will come.

Until next time, friend. Danielle.


One thought on “The Portrait of a Lady: Chapters I – XVIII

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