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Bettie's Books

A Stuga On the Cusp of the Orust Riviera, tucked away next to a hobbit hole in the woods.

The Luminaries

The Luminaries - Eleanor Catton

bookshelves: e-book, autumn-2013, cover-love, booker-winner, published-2013, mystery-thriller, filthy-lucre, new-zealand, victoriana, recreational-drugs, dodgy-narrator, period-piece, seven-seas, pirates-smugglers-wreckers, gambling, teh-brillianz

Read from September 11 to October 30, 2013


[ Read in Autumn


For Pop, who sees the stars
and Jude, who hears their music
Note to the Reader
Character Chart
Table of Contents


A Sphere Within a Sphere
27 January 1866

Mercury in Sagittarius

The twelve men congregated in the smokeroom of the Grand Hotel gave the impression of a party accidently met.

ARC E-book

The nuggets we are promised at the start of this tale are as 'big as a lady's pistol' and newly landed all the way from Edinburgh, Scotland is Mr Walter Moody, and he is up for having his hands on some of that gold.


This is a hard story to sum up without giving away threads that may spoil enjoyment should you wish to embark on this fabulous journey, which is probably one of the finest victoriana mysteries I have read since Quincunx!

The narrator at points tells us that a speech or conversation is too dull or circumlocutional so we, the readers are whisked off to observe some other behaviour elsewhere. And once, when we are following two people who split up, the narrator chooses the one over the other to trail after. Dodgy; Dodgy; Dodgy; and I love this literary device which obfuscates.

Definitely not one for the speed-read-then-next brigade because you may need to take time to re-read passages and chapter headings. All the players pass each other in their orbits and everyone is interconnected through their nefarious lifestyles.


A eureka moment at page 200 lent me the idea that Aurora is a shifting curtain, colouring one way then the next, defying a pattern, and this mind's eye view certainly holds to the storyline, especially if those curtains/veils are as a woman's skirts.

How to win a wife, well at least this is marginally better than the outright sale as in The Mayor of Casterbridge.

The story is wound tighter than the ferns on page 350.

We love a happy medium

Page 478 Moody hits pay dirt.