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The Stockholm Octavo

Engelmann, Karen (Book - 2012 )
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Stockholm Octavo
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Life is close to perfect for Emil Larsson, a self-satisfied bureaucrat in the Office of Customs and Excise in 1791 Stockholm. He is a true man of the Town--a drinker, card player, and contented bachelor--until one evening when Mrs. Sofia Sparrow, a fortune-teller and proprietor of an exclusive gaming parlor, shares with him a vision she has had: a golden path that will lead him to love and connection. She lays an Octavo for him, a spread of eight cards that augur the eight individuals who can help him realize this vision--if he can find them.
Authors: Engelmann, Karen, 1954-
Title: The Stockholm octavo
Publisher: New York :, HarperCollins Publishers,, c2012
Edition: First edition
Characteristics: 416 pages :,illustrations ;,23 cm
Content Type: text
Media Type: unmediated
Carrier Type: volume
Notes: Includes a timeline
Summary: Life is close to perfect for Emil Larsson, a self-satisfied bureaucrat in the Office of Customs and Excise in 1791 Stockholm. He is a true man of the Town--a drinker, card player, and contented bachelor--until one evening when Mrs. Sofia Sparrow, a fortune-teller and proprietor of an exclusive gaming parlor, shares with him a vision she has had: a golden path that will lead him to love and connection. She lays an Octavo for him, a spread of eight cards that augur the eight individuals who can help him realize this vision--if he can find them.
ISBN: 0061995347
9780061995347
Branch Call Number: PS3555.N413 S76 2012
Statement of Responsibility: Karen Engelmann
Subject Headings: Stockholm (Sweden) History 18th century Fiction Fortune-telling by cards Fiction
Genre/Form: Historical fiction
Topical Term: Fortune-telling by cards
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Jul 22, 2013
  • JCLGreggW rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

A wonderfully unclassifiable book that takes place in 18th Century Stockholm, Sweden, the "Venice of the North," where high culture, political intrigue, and commerce swirl. Caught in the middle is Emil Larsson, a low-level customs official who is told he needs to marry if he wants to keep his job. A committed bachelor who prefers gambling to the home life, he turns to a friend to lays out an Octavo, a tarot-like reading of his destiny. A search for true love quickly draws our hero into palace intrigue, including catching wind of a plot to assassinate the King of Sweden - and most importantly, we learn about the importance of a lady's fan. Delightful, absorbing, and with just the barest hint of the supernatural, this is a fun read for fans of historical fiction.

May 23, 2013
  • finn75 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Interesting characters but the story did feel longer than was needed.

Dec 16, 2012
  • maven rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

The story began with a strong start, and I was really interested to see where the premise would go. Unfortunately, it started to drag after about 40 pages or so, and it just kept getting more and more drawn out. The perspective kept changing, and the characters didn't seem to develop or feel real to me.

I kept going, hoping that things would pick up, but when I got to the endless details about fans and geometry, presented in boring conversation and over-detailed descriptions, I had to call it quits. It could have been so much better than it was, but it just didn't deliver.

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