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Frog Music

A Novel
Donoghue, Emma (Book - 2014)
Average Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
Frog Music
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"Emma Donoghue's explosive new novel is based on an unsolved murder in 1876 San Francisco. Summer of 1876: San Francisco is in the fierce grip of a record-breaking heatwave and a smallpox epidemic. Through the window of a railroad saloon, a young woman called Jenny Bonnet is shot dead. The survivor, her friend Blanche Beunon, is a French burlesque dancer. Over the next three days, she will risk everything to bring Jenny's murderer to justice--if he doesn't track her down first. The story Blanche struggles to piece together is one of free-love bohemians, desperate paupers and arrogant millionaires; of jealous men, icy women and damaged children. It's the secret life of Jenny herself, a notorious character who breaks the law every morning by getting dressed: a charmer as slippery as the frogs she hunts. In thrilling, cinematic style, FROG MUSIC digs up a long-forgotten, never-solved crime. Full of songs that migrated across the world, Emma Donoghue's lyrical tale of love and bloodshed among lowlifes captures the pulse of a boomtown like no other"--
Authors: Donoghue, Emma, 1969-
Title: Frog music
a novel
Publisher: New York :, Little, Brown and Company,, 2014.
Edition: First edition.
Characteristics: 405 pages ;,25 cm
Content Type: text
Media Type: unmediated
Carrier Type: volume
Contents: Darlin'
I have got the blues
There's the city
Somebody's watching
"Vive la Rose"
I hardly knew ye
Bang away
When the train comes along.
Summary: "Emma Donoghue's explosive new novel is based on an unsolved murder in 1876 San Francisco. Summer of 1876: San Francisco is in the fierce grip of a record-breaking heatwave and a smallpox epidemic. Through the window of a railroad saloon, a young woman called Jenny Bonnet is shot dead. The survivor, her friend Blanche Beunon, is a French burlesque dancer. Over the next three days, she will risk everything to bring Jenny's murderer to justice--if he doesn't track her down first. The story Blanche struggles to piece together is one of free-love bohemians, desperate paupers and arrogant millionaires; of jealous men, icy women and damaged children. It's the secret life of Jenny herself, a notorious character who breaks the law every morning by getting dressed: a charmer as slippery as the frogs she hunts. In thrilling, cinematic style, FROG MUSIC digs up a long-forgotten, never-solved crime. Full of songs that migrated across the world, Emma Donoghue's lyrical tale of love and bloodshed among lowlifes captures the pulse of a boomtown like no other"--
Local Note: 1 6 8 9 15 16 17 18 24 27 29 35 37 53 59 62 64 65 69 70 75 78 81 97 102 109 110 112 118 122 127 133 138 143 148 150 151 152 156 159 160 167 172 173 182 188 193 198 203 210 211 216 222 224 226 228 231 232 234 235 236 242 243 244 245 250 261 263 264 268 276
ISBN: 9780316324687
031632468X
9780316371452
0316371459
Statement of Responsibility: Emma Donoghue
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (pages 385-398).
Subject Headings: Women dancers Fiction. Murder Investigation California San Francisco Fiction. Women detectives California San Francisco Fiction. San Francisco (Calif.) History 19th century Fiction. San Francisco (Calif.) Siglo XIX Novela. bidex
Genre/Form: Historical fiction.
Historical fiction.
Detective and mystery stories.
Topical Term: Women dancers
Murder
Women detectives
LCCN: 2014000840
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Oct 19, 2014
  • 671books rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

Meh. I thought this book was ok, but the writing style was difficult and choppy. I felt there was no flow to the story.

Full review here: http://671books.net/fiction/frog-music/

Sep 06, 2014
  • Roxannigan rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

Amateurish and superficially written. Too bad, could have been an interestingly told tale

Found it a little tedious and hard to keep reading as it wasn't really engaging though by the time you get to the last 20 pages of the book, everything picks up...that is, if you can bear the first three quarters of the book! Jenny's character is very interesting though you don't find that out unless you keep on reading!

It’s the 1870's in San Francisco, a small pox epidemic and heat wave are the backdrop around the lives of two rather unconventional and very independent women. Not surprisingly, women of the day had few options – our heroines have a lot of pluck, though one of them not so much luck. A gritty murder mystery filled with historic detail that will appeal to readers of women’s fiction as well as historical fiction buffs.

Jul 11, 2014
  • marinka rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

Such a tedious read I gave up half way through - page after page seemed to comprise of dull, endless filler. I didn't care about the characters and the inane decisions they made. Blanche strikes me as a cliche and not a bright one at that. Unfortunate because I enjoyed Room and Slammerkin

Jul 10, 2014
  • yvox rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I enjoyed Room so much and its images remain in my mind still. Probably it was that same writing skill which made Frog Music so difficult for me to stick with in some parts. Some of the passages describing sexual activity made me mad, though I later learned that this character actually enjoyed stimulation of all her orifices; some passages describing the little baby made me cringe and cry, though I love babies and happily tolerate all the messiness of caring for them; and passages that flipped-flopped between then and the now of two days, three days, an afternoon, a week later strained my wish to figure out what was going on and the answer to the who-dun-it mystery.

Still, by the end of Frog Music I was glad to have read it, though she took me to the last 20 pages before I was sure of that. After page Fin, I stayed to read about the historical characters who seeded this fiction from Emma Donoghue, and I read about the music of the period found throughout this story. The appendix of translations of French phrases woven through the novel I had already found and used as I read and which I felt would have been more useful in alphabetical order rather than ordered chronologically by appearance in the tale.

A quick synopsis: Blanche and Jenny become friends. Jenny is shot dead. Blanche has reason to believe she was the target of the shooting and wants to prove the murderers guilty. But Blanche has a child who has been kidnapped from her and whom she wants to find more than she wants the murderers. But the murderers and kidnappers are the same! If she gets them convicted of murder, then she'll probably not learn where her baby is. And perhaps they have horribly killed her baby already in this smallpox-, violence-ridden San Francisco of 1876. Our heroine loses her job, her home, her money and her reputation; she suffers more perils than does the proverbial Pauline. Will she conquer all, will she end victorious and validated? Only you can tell, dear reader, and don't go peeking at the ending beforetimes for you don't want to miss this beautifully crafted book.

Jun 13, 2014
  • jeanie123 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

A very interesting but sad story. I found the flipping back and forth between the days before and after the murder a bit confusing. It is employed as a method to trickle out the facts and events, but I find that style kind of annoying. I kept wondering if I had already read and forgotten the facts of certain events only to have them revealed much later on. I was particularly disappointed with one stereotypical scene between Jenny and Blanche which I feel would have been best left for the reader to wonder about. I enjoyed Jenny's uniqness but I felt this was graphic and ugly, and out of character. I can't really elaborate more without a spoiler.

Jun 02, 2014
  • Laphroaig rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

An engaging story well told, but I found myself increasingly impatient with the main character. In the author's words (p.371) " Her best strength is a terrier one: bite the rope and don't let go."

May 13, 2014
  • rochellemc9110 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

What an awesome story. Don't be fooled by the statement in the beginning of the book that all characters are fictional, this is based on a true story and these are real people. She has some great background info on the characters at the end of the book. The author really transports you to 1890's San Francisco. I can't wait to see the movie!

May 13, 2014
  • CecileSune rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

It is the end of summer 1876, and San Francisco has been struck by a heat wave and a smallpox epidemic. Jenny Bonnet, a frog-hunting woman dressed in men’s clothes, is riding her bicycle when she collides with Blanche Beunon, a burlesque dancer and prostitute. This is the start of an unexpected friendship that will end a month later when Jenny is shot dead in a saloon at San Miguel Station. Blanche is convinced that the bullets were meant for her, and she tries to piece together the events of the previous weeks in order to make sense of this horrific murder. At the same time, she is desperate to find her one-year-old son who was kidnapped by Blanche’s ex-boyfriend/pimp, Arthur, and his friend, Ernest. On 28 April 2014, Emma Donoghue was in Ottawa to promote her book, Frog Music. She explained that, 15 years ago, she discovered by chance an article about the real-life Jenny, and she thought that it would make a great novel. In order for the book to be really close to the facts, the author did a lot of research, mainly online: she pored through ship immigrant lists, genealogy websites and newspaper databases. She also read memoirs and travel guides of the time, and looked at photographs from the end of the nineteenth century. However, Emma Donoghue decided on writing a fiction rather than a non-fiction because there were not enough facts to make a biography. That being said, almost all the characters in the book come from historical records. Another important component of the book is music. The author wanted to show the culture of the time using folk songs that were popular in the 1870s. In fact, at the end of Frog Music, there is a historical background for each of the songs used in the book, and it shows that the lyrics evolved through time. In the end, the author was surprised by how the music took over the novel: there are almost 30 different songs in the book. I thought this real-life murder case was interesting, and I particularly enjoyed the historical elements of the story. The baby farms horrified me, and I couldn’t imagine leaving my child in one of those places while I was working! However, there were repetitions in the story, and the narrative was slow at times. In addition, Blanche was not a very likable character, unlike Jenny who I found fascinating: she was ahead of her time and carefree, and would have deserved to be the main character in Frog Music. In fact, I would have loved to know more about her background, particularly her childhood. The ending was satisfying though: Emma Donoghue offers a culprit even though the real-life murder case was never really solved. Please go to my blog, Cecile Sune - Bookobsessed, if you would like to read more reviews or discover fun facts about books and authors.

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Jul 10, 2014
  • PrairieStar rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Listened to the downloadable MP3 and had a hard time putting it down. The jumping back and forth in time got a bit old, especially when it was just a rehash of information covered previously.

A gilded age prostitute has a relationship with a gentleman of the night. A typhoid epidemic hits San Francisco. The book is rich in period details. The appendix also has much helpful information.

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Apr 09, 2014
  • quagga rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Frog Music by Emma Donoghue - book trailer

Frog Music by Emma Donoghue - book trailer

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