Monday, August 19, 2013

Something Strange & Deadly Book Club: Week Three

Hello again and welcome to week two of the Something Strange & Deadly book club sponsored by Epic Reads. If you want to learn more about this fantastic book club dedicated to Susan Dennard's debut novel, click here.

This Week's Question: Eleanor finds herself more and more intrigued by (and perhaps attracted to) Daniel Sheridan, the inventor of the Spirit-Hunters. What is it about him that appeals to her? And vice versa, what do you think attracts Daniel to Eleanor? Then there's Clarence Wilcox, the seemingly perfect eligible bachelor. Why do you think Eleanor doesn't like Clarence?

Ah, now we jump into the juicy relationship dynamic! In her original post for these questions, Susan Dennard states that E.M. Forster's novel A Room With a View is one of her all-time favorites. I loved that book as well, and I can see a lot of parallels between that story and this one in terms of Eleanor's relationships with Daniel and Clarence.

I think one of the primary aspects of Daniel that appeals to Eleanor is that he's honest. Not to say he wears his heart on his sleeve or is always open about everything, but he never tries to be something he's not. He's not comfortable with a seemingly rich and good girl sticking her nose in his business and a dark world he's dedicated his life to fighting. He's the only person in Eleanor's life that treats her like she's normal. To her mother, she's a pawn. To Philadelphia society, she's the daughter of a disgrace. But with Daniel, he teases her, calls her Empress, tries to make her feel uncomfortable and at the same time shows her (however unwillingly) a place where she could have a chance to be more than a society girl. He pushes her, and she pushes back. This is key to why I think Daniel is attracted to Eleanor. She's feisty. She doesn't always listen, yet she always has good intentions. They're both vibrant people being muted by their respective situations and the expectations of society. They don't seem to like each other at first, but they do come to respect each other and from that, something more grows.

It's the opposite when examining Clarence Wilcox. Slimey from the start, Clarence is a creep with an agenda. He doesn't even hide it very well, at least not to Eleanor. While charm and a rich family are more than enough in the eyes of Mrs. Fitt, Eleanor sees not all the pieces fit together. Her smarts and ability to pay attention to the world and people around her are the same things that make her a good Spirit Hunter and a good match for Daniel. To Clarence, her skills are nuisance. He represents the worst in men as a manipulative specimen who doesn't think much of others (especially women) and will use whoever he has to if he believes he will benefit in the end.

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