Six Degrees of Separation – From The Turn of the Screw to A Farewell to Arms

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This is the first Saturday of the month which means that it is time for Six Degrees of Separation, the book challenge, hosted by Kate at Kate from Books are My Favourite and Best.

The starting point for all of us is The Turn of the Screw by Henry James.

This is not a book I have read or know much about other than the title. As I investigated this classic, several themes emerged: governess, unruly children, horror.

  1. My first thought was to focus on the governess and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte fit the bill. She is hired as governess for Rochester’s ward. It is a classic as well, with a touch of horror.

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From Goodreads: Orphaned as a child, Jane has felt an outcast her whole young life. Her courage is tested once again when she arrives at Thornfield Hall, where she has been hired by the brooding, proud Edward Rochester to care for his ward Adèle. Jane finds herself drawn to his troubled yet kind spirit. She falls in love. Hard

  1. The next in the chain is Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart. It too is a classic that involves an English governess but with the French nobility.

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From Goodreads: A governess in a French chateau encounters an apparent plot against her young charge’s life in this unforgettably haunting and beautifully written suspense novel.

  1. Thinking of French nobility, had me thinking of Marie Antoinette, which led me to the novel Becoming Marie Antoinette by Juliet Gray,

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From Goodreads: This enthralling confection of a novel, the first in a new trilogy, follows the transformation of a coddled Austrian archduchess into the reckless, powerful, beautiful queen Marie Antoinette.

Before she can journey from sunlit picnics with her sisters in Vienna to the glitter, glamour, and gossip of Versailles, Antonia must change everything about herself in order to be accepted as dauphine of France and the wife of the awkward teenage boy who will one day be Louis XVI. Yet nothing can prepare her for the ingenuity and influence it will take to become queen.

  1. Marie Antoinette led to thoughts about the French Revolution which led to Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran.

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From Goodreads: The world knows Madame Tussaud as a wax artist extraordinaire… but who was this woman who became one of the most famous sculptresses of all time? In these pages, her tumultuous and amazing story comes to life … The year is 1788, and a revolution is about to begin.

Madame Tussaud brings us into the world of an incredible heroine whose talent for wax modeling saved her life and preserved the faces of a vanished kingdom

  1. Art saved Madame Tussaud, just as it saved the lives of Claire and Luc in At the Edge of Summer by Jessica Brockmole, during the time of another war.

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From Goodreads: extraordinary story of a friendship born of proximity but boundless in the face of separation and war.

Luc Crépet is accustomed to his mother’s bringing wounded creatures to their idyllic château in the French countryside, where healing comes naturally amid the lush wildflowers and crumbling stone walls. Yet his maman’s newest project is the most surprising: a fifteen-year-old Scottish girl grieving over her parents’ fate. A curious child with an artistic soul, Clare Ross finds solace in her connection to Luc, and she in turn inspires him in ways he never thought possible. Then, just as suddenly as Clare arrives, she is gone, whisked away by her grandfather to the farthest reaches of the globe. Devastated by her departure, Luc begins to write letters to Clare—and, even as she moves from Portugal to Africa and beyond, the memory of the summer they shared keeps her grounded.

  1. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, is another classic, and as well, is a story of love during war, between 2 people of different nationalities, and taking place in different countries.

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From Goodreads: A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. Set against the looming horrors of the battlefield – the weary, demoralized men marching in the rain during the German attack on Caporetto; the profound struggle between loyalty and desertion—this gripping, semiautobiographical work captures the harsh realities of war and the pain of lovers caught in its inexorable sweep. 

So, the chain has traveled through from a classic in A Turn of the Screw to end with another classic, A Farewell to Arms. 

This challenge is such fun and can lead in so many directions. So many different chains could be created – please join in the fun.

From Kate: “Next month (November 7, 2020) is a wild card – start with the book you’ve ended a previous chain with, and continue from there (for those playing for the first time, start with the last book you finished reading).”

30 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation – From The Turn of the Screw to A Farewell to Arms

  1. Haha Bev … I nearly went the governess route, but changed my mind. I thought Jane Eyre, or Jane Austen’s Emma in which Jane Fairfax feared she might be heading to life as a governess, which was seen as a fate worse than death!

  2. I also had Jane Eyre as the first link in my chain but for a different reason. I haven’t read any of the other books in your chain, but I do like historical fiction (and non-fiction). Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran particularly appeals to me.

  3. Pingback: Six Degrees: From “The Turn of the Screw” to “Anne of Green Gables” | Shoe's Stories

  4. Such a great chain! I wavered over Jane Eyre, but she depresses me so much that I just could not include her (I’m probably horribly prejudiced by having been force-fed this book at school…)

    Having had several of her books on my shelves for years, I only recently started to read Mary Stewart and she is wonderful! – I haven’t even heard of this one so it’s definitely going onto the TBR. I listened to a great adaptation of ‘Madam, Will You Talk?’ on BBC Sounds last month too, so was thrilled to find a copy of the book in a charity shop soon after (how could anyone give a Mary Stewart away?) The heroine, Charity Selbourne, is brilliant. And I do like the look of ‘At the Edge of Summer’ – Jessica Brockmole is a new author to me.

    I’m so glad I’ve started taking part in this – as you say, it really makes you think.

    • Thanks Rosemary. I loved Mary Stewart in my 20s and devoured her books. Haven’t read her for awhile tho. Brockmole wrote Letters from Skye as well – which I really enjoyed.

  5. Hi Bev! Love your post! I’ve actually read The turn of the screw, so it was an easy starting point for me! Mary Stewart! Love her books. I need to read Nine coaches waiting again. Touch not the cat is one of my favorites. I’ve never seen Madam Tussuad, that will be an awesome read. Going to have a look.

    Have a wonderful Ghostober, here’s my 6 Degrees of Separation – The Ghost Edition

  6. I’ve seen Mary Stewart a couple of times this time around but I haven’t read her yet. I have read Michelle Moran and Jessica Brockmole!

    Enjoyed your chain this month.

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