I've been a bit unsure of starting Elizabeth Peters' Vicky Bliss series. I don't know why, but I was. Feeling brave, I picked up Borrower of the Night, book one in the series.
My overall opinion? Not bad. Vicky Bliss is beautiful, tall and smart. She's also very afraid of not being taken seriously in the academic world, so she works hard to prove her intelligence. Her struggle to prove herself takes her to Europe in search of a hidden art treasure.
The story was interesting, intelligent and filled with bits of humor. The art and history sprinkled in was great, as were the many characters--who I was actually able to keep straight! I've heard the second book is even better, so I'm going to keep on reading the series.
My brother introduced me to a fabulous place: McKay Books. I only spent an hour there scouting through their used books (thanks a lot, family!) but I could've spent so much more time. Thousands and thousands of books...my mouth is drooling again. Evidently I was in a Elizabeth Peters because I picked up Greygallows by Barbara Michaels (who is also Elizabeth Peters) for only $.85.
Greygallows is very gothic; set in the early 1800s, a rich orphaned girl is basically forced into marriage with a handsome--but evil!--young man. Michaels did a good job depicting the helplessness of women in that era. Lucy, the heroine, is kept out of meetings concerning her own wealth and holdings and she couldn't do anything about it.
Michaels doesn't come across as a strong feminist but certainly seems to support equal education for the sexes as well as equal intelligence, meaning men and women can reach the same intellectual heights. Rock on, sister.
Now, the book itself isn't bad, it's just dark and dreary. I did like that Lucy actually used her brain and didn't foolishly fall into traps or make awful decisions. It had a happy ending (yay!). Still, it just wasn't my favorite book.