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Kaleidoscope (2003)

Kaleidoscope (2003)

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3.8 of 5 Votes: 3
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0345448219 (ISBN13: 9780345448217)
ballantine books

About book Kaleidoscope (2003)

I loved The Clairvoyant Countess as a kid and still have a great fondness for the book today (reading it through the lens of the era in which it was written), so I was really excited to discover that the author had decided, 30 years later, to revisit the characters. Well, I enjoyed this book for the nostalgia it brought, but the writing style really doesn't hold up well to a more modern sensibility.It was great to see all the old characters again, but the author did one thing that I found incredibly jarring, and I don't think it was a wise choice. She basically lifted all the characters and situations from the first book, which took place in the early 1970s, and plunked them down 30 years later, unchanged (as if mere months had passed instead of decades). So, the talk of hippies intermingled with the talk of personal computers and terrorism seemed wildly out of sync. It was a rather odd book to read.I would put this one down as enjoyable, but simplistic by modern standards and potentially disconcerting, if you've read the first book.

Okay, I admit: Four stars is probably generous. But Dorothy Gilman is my favorite comfort writer, and this is the first of her books that I've reread since her death earlier this year. There's no doubt that her writing style is old-fashioned. Characters call each other "wretch," very often remark "dryly," and are unusually fond of "terribly" as an adjective. This book overlaps a number of short investigations that are all the cornier for their brevity. A hint of "women's lib" further dates the stories.I don't care. There is a genuinely good spirit at work here. I love Dorothy Gilman.*As other reviewers have noted, only one year since the events of The Clairvoyant Countess has passed for the characters, although both that book and this one are set in the years they were published - 30-odd years apart. Although maintaining the earlier time period may have made the quaintness of this story less ananchronistic... meh. I still don't care.

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I have always loved the Mrs. Pollifax books, but this one has a different main character. I was worried that this one would be just like Mrs. Pollifax, but she is definitely different. I was reading "Mrs. Pollifax Pursued", and came to a part in the story where she is given a job as a "psychic" at a carnival. Then suddenly Dorothy Gilman switched gears and had her become a newspaper reporter writing a story about the carnival. I thought, "Wow, she missed a great opportunity to write an interesting story of Mrs. Pollifax playing the part of a psychic. When I started reading Kaleidoscope, I realized she had decided to write an entire book on the subject! This book is the story line of the psychic that I hoped for in the last book. :)

I've been trying to figure out what I love so much about Dorothy Gilman. Although the Clairvoyant Countess is not my favorite of her characters, it is still recognizably a Dorothy Gilman book. She has such hope for people and sees within a landscape of sadness and difficulty seeds of transformation and human goodness. In this sequel to The Clairvoyant Countess we see again Madame Karitska using her talent to bring people together and rescue those in danger. It is rather like a collection of shor

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