Who Is Frances Rain? and P. G. Wodehouse

Going to talk about two things today, a great book and writing styles.

Has anyone else read Who Is Frances Rain? by Margaret Buffie? Apparently it's also known in the United States as Someone Else's Ghost. I don't remember how I first came across this book. Must have been a choice from the Scholastic catalogue.

"It's going to be a long, hot summer for 15-year-old Lizzie. Normally a vacation at her grandmother's northern Manitoba cottage is the highlight of the year, but this summer the whole family is going along, including her new stepfather whom she detests.

To escape the family's bickering, Lizzie explores a nearby island, where she finds the remains of an old cabin and uncovers a pair of spectacles. When she tries on the old glasses she is surprised to find herself watching a woman and girl from the past. Lizzie is determined to find out who these ghosts are, and why they are appearing to her. Enlisting the help of her grandmother's teenage neighbour, Alex, she puts together clues about the ghosts' identities and in doing so, finds a way to help her estranged family reunite."

The book has won all sorts of awards, including the Canadian Library Association Young Adult Canadian Book Award. I've reread it a few times since that first read, and fall in love with it each time. It was part of a jumble of Canadian YA books I read when I was a kid and they each showed me a different way of being Canadian - and introduced me to parts of Canada I'd never seen.

I haven't lost my love of this genre. I'll be reading Dogsled Dreams by Terry Lynn Johnson this weekend!

And now, writing styles. Specifically, the transferred epithet, which is when an adjective is applied to the wrong thing. The Inky Fool wrote about this the other day, in reference to that master of the transferred epithet, P. G. Wodehouse:

"I balanced a thoughtful lump of sugar on the teaspoon"

"He was now smoking a sad cigarette"

Aren't they lovely? And yet I can't imagine using this style in my own writing at all. Not unless I happened to have a character who talked this way naturally...

Are there any styles you love but haven't used yet?

Also, here's Stephen Fry on Wodehouse. Just because.

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