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Hey guys! At the request of a follower due to LJ's new policies, I've moved to Dreamwidth! I hope this isn't an inconvenience for anyone.

Blackwood Farm Ch 28
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Okay, after this post I'm gonna make an account on Dreamwidth, I'll post a link there when I do.

This is meant to bring the Vampire Chronicles together with the Mayfair Witches. And it does do that...but very ham-handedly.

Quinn randomly meets Mona in the hospital cafe, is randomly besotted with her at first sight, and has sex with her the next day, and within said day is trying to get her away from her family and out of the country, and wants to marry her. Which could be done well. No, really, it could. The Gothic is a genre based on emotion and romance, so a whirlwind-but-sincere connection as lovers could be done well here if the work was put into building the proper chemistry and it integrated with the larger story.

But it does neither. There is zero chemistry building, it's really just Quinn being obsessed at random with Mona, and Mona only showing any signs of 'reciprocation' when it means escaping her family, and it bogs down the plot at length with really very little relevance to the larger story, which just goes on hold for chapters and chapters of this nonsense. It's basically the clumsiest most forced-coincidental shove-together of a witch and a will-be-vampire so that the books can merge storylines.

And it's like...a more organic way for them to meet would hardly be difficult to accomplish? Look, Quinn already knows Father Kevin. He's already told him about Goblin, and Father Kevin believes him. Father Kevin admits to believing a lot about the supernatural, and it's no surprise, given his family and that he knows the Talamasca. And Father Kevin, due to this personal connection, came to visit Quinn in the hospital after the stranger attacked him.

Why not say that despite Father Kevin's reservations regarding the Talamasca, he believed that they were the best people to help Quinn? That would be very easy and natural, much more so than his love-at-first-sight meeting with the girl who just happens to see ghosts and be the most important Mayfair witch ever. Father Kevin could bring Quinn to the Talamasca, and they would probably be most intrigued by his tale of Rebecca and the mysterious stranger he believes responsible for her death and others, and they would begin to look into with him, moving the plot along. If meeting Mona and having a romance with her is a must, that's easily done too---since she's with the Talamasca as well, he can meet her through them, and she can help solve the mystery with him, since she's clearly interested as well. They can forge a much more organic connection over time without derailing the plot, and introduce the Mayfairs and their skeevy mysteries in a much more natural, well-paced way so that it runs concurrently with the main plot, rather than pushing it to the side for chapters on end of awkward "romance" and I-just-met-you-but infodumping.

It might take a bit more effort, and I know Rice loves her insta-connections, but I really think this would work so much better for a number of reasons, and I'd probably enjoy it a lot more.
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I did a little bit of research for context, and...remember how Rowan Mayfair is the heroine of the first Mayfair witches book, The Witching Hour? And she and her boyfriend, Michael Curry, also from the first book, are now Mona's legal guardians?

Michael is the father of Mona's baby. Which she had when she was thirteen. Michael was 48 as of his introduction in The Witching Hour. I think she's supposed to have """seduced"""" him, and I'd like to point back to the post I made about how Rice has a tendency to make the bullshit pedophile defense of the seductive child into a reality so that people in her books can have sex with children and not be terrible for it. Now, obviously children, for varying reasons, can be sexual. I'll even admit that maybe they can try to, as far as they understand it, seduce an adult. Generally this is a sign they have already been sexually abused by one, or at least have been exposed to inappropriate material or activities, but I'm willing to believe that a kid with a crush and no other problems can try to get the attention of an adult (though if they're doing it in overtly SEXUAL ways, there is, again, clearly a problem already)

And you know what?



Like I just do not even get this logic of "it was okay because it was the kid's idea" like SO WHAT? THEY'RE A KID! KIDS THINK IT'S A GOOD IDEA TO LET THEM DRIVE THE CAR!

And honestly, the very fact that Michael *can* be seduced by a thirteen year old means he was attracted to one in the first place. People talk about children dressing "provocatively" and I'm like, provoking to who? Do you think ordinary grown men suddenly get boners for six year olds because they wear a bikini to the pool one day instead of a one piece? No! Because if they're not attracted to kids to begin with, the kid's clothes aren't gonna change that! And it baffles me how if you asked someone, hey, would you be attracted to, say, a fat woman if she wore a miniskirt and they'll be all EW NO but somehow they think that a short dress on a child can just suddenly warp someone who isn't into children into being an insta-pedophile. It's asinine.

And I understand that some teens develop fast. I can understand it if someone's hindbrain thinks they're looking at a grown person because "boobs" or "muscles" and I can even understand the adult finding themselves attracted to what physically looks to them like another adult. But we aren't animals, and as adults, as human beings, we should know better than to act on those attractions. They are not okay. It is your responsibility to understand and remember that no matter what their bodies are doing, this is a CHILD.

Basically, Michael Curry is disgusting. And I hope that Mona was not his legal ward when this happened (not that it's not unforgivable as is but the additional power dynamics there would just make it worse, if it can even be worse). He definitely shouldn't have been made her guardian after, but the Mayfairs are obviously pretty twisted so I'm not surprised by this. And guys, I like twisted. The idea of a secretive creepy incestuous Southern family of witches is RIGHT UP MY ALLEY. I love that idea so very much. But the thing about my love for twisted trash is it NEEDS TO BE PRESENTED AS TWISTED TRASH like is that so much to ask? Apparently so, from a lot of fantasy authors.

Also, two other things about Michael:

- According to TV Tropes, he had sex with Mona when Rowan was in "dire straits". They don't specify that this means (it was in one of the books after The Witching Hour so I didn't read it), but basically Michael would still be scum even if Mona had been an adult.

- Rowan was raised by adopted parents, totally apart from the Mayfairs, with no knowledge of her biological family. Michael is an ordinary guy who gets drawn into the Mayfair shit in The Witching Hour due to her discovering her heritage and powers. I don't remember this from The Witching Hour so I guess it was in a later book (though I don't remember much from The Witching Hour) but it turns out Michael is a Mayfair too, descended from an illegitimate affair between one of the Mayfair men and a house maid. So Rowan is raised TOTALLY APART from the Mayfair family and neither she nor Michael know their heritage, but they just happen to hook up? I know this is a supernatural story and all but that's just too big a coincidence to buy, and...both Rowan and Mona are stated to be really inbred already (Rowan's father is her mother's grandfather) is MORE INCEST needed? Like, whoops, you think you're fucking outside the family tree but YOU'RE NOT? And spoiler alert, turns out Quinn is descended from Julien too.

I'm starting to think this whole incest thing is a fetish on Rice's part or something; it would explain some of the weird stuff with Quinn and Aunt Queen earlier, as well as stuff with Lestat and his mother, and maybe even some of the Lestat/Louis/Claudia dynamics (which I had *thought* was *meant* to be disturbing). It would also explain the very weird detail of Rowan being able to survive birthing a Taltos because said Taltos (which grow rapidly to maturity after birth) breast-fed her afterwards. Like, Taltos as like, super duper witches or something, right? And Rowan herself is a really good doctor specifically because she can use her own witch powers to heal cells. So...shouldn't her Taltos daughter be able to do that? But nope, apparently the way she heals her mom is to breastfeed her. I just...question why that's what Rice decided to go with. That's all I'm saying.

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In this chapter, Anne Rice attempts to make a scientific explanation for ghosts. I will be honest, I hate when she tries to do this for her supernatural creatures. I don't think she's ever done it for her vampires, though I could be wrong, but she's done it for the witches and werewolves I believe, now for ghosts and spirits.

Now, let me tell you the reason I dislike it. It's not that I think that writers should never try to make scientificly-plausible explanations for supernatural creatures. There's a lot of instances where I really LIKE that, actually. But it has This is gonna be more just opinion than everything else, but I feel like Rice's supernaturals are the type that work better when left purely in the realm of mysticism, outside science, outside explanations. The overall style and tone of her work just lends itself much better to that, to things that just ARE without anyone really know why they are or how they work. I am someone who usually likes explanations. But I feel like, in the case of Rice's mythology, supernatural explanations are better than “scientific” ones. For example, the first vampire being created by a spirit entering her flesh, that works for her stuff. The stuff said about ghosts here...I don't think it really does. But this is very much my opinion, your mileage may vary.

Also I don't think the science posited adds up but I don't understand enough about science myself to actually dispute it.

I just realized Hamlet is a theme in the book, like Father Kevin talks about Banquo and the ghost, I think it was quoted in Lestat's conversation with Aunt Queen, and a few other times. And I was randomly flipping through the book and came to a place ahead where Quinn quotes it at someone in anger. And, of course, Mona's shit about Ophelia. I wouldn't say that novels can't reference classical works or have them as a recurrent theme---Nabokov did that expertly with Carmen—but there doesn't really seem to be a point with how Rice does it, it's just there? It just seems kind of hackneyed and pretencious, like she thinks sticking Shakespeare in will make it classy elevated literature or somehow “smarter” and...I don't think she's pulling it off. There's still half a book to go, of course.

By the way here's a fun reminder she's a bratty vindictive person above and beyond anything LKH ever did:

I'll be honest, it kinda makes me scared to keep posting?

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This chapter begins on page 351. This story ends on page 626. Meaning, I'm a little more than halfway through the book, and while I would not say nothing has happened, I think it's dragging it's feet. I feel like more should have happened by now. One of the reviews on the back says that Quinn's story is "like a curiosity shop, filled with lovely things" and I think that's accurate---there's a lot of beauty in her prose and descriptions, and certainly some interesting ideas, but it's not a STORY. Well, that's not right. There is a story, but it takes a backseat to the "curiosity shop" aspect. Admittedly, I do think a focus on aesthetic over story can be done well but, as I've only said about a dozen times, that doesn't so much work when it's "guy telling a story to another guy" and also Rice clearly WANTS there to be a story---the ghosts, Goblin, the mysterious stranger on the island, and so on. I can tell she is TRYING to move the plot along but she gets incredibly bogged down in boring stuff. That's the real problem, not the beautiful stuff but the BORING stuff. I think I could tolerate the pace a lot better if the diversions were at least more engaging. Especially because she's so TALENTED at beautiful decadent Gothic descriptions. I truly think if she changed the framing device and focused on her strengths over her weaknesses, there might be less substance to the story but it would be a more enjoyable read. It wouldn't be some great novel, but Gothic novels were never meant to be "great" they were meant to be sensationalist and romantic and bizarre and focused far more on emotion and scenery than on making sense and SHE'S SUPER GOOD AT THAT. I realize that sort of sounds like an insult with that last part, but still.

And there is a good deal of that in Blackwood Farm. It's not like the whole thing is bad. A lot of it is not. I just feel like it's not as good as it COULD be. Basically, one more reason she should go back to using an editor.

But yeah, I feel like the story is really NOT progressing at a decent pace, it's the middle of the book and the stage is still being set.

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They got to the cottages and have very good sex "like little jungle animals." Afterwards while they cuddle, she says that she "wanted to put my mouth on it" and "Come, let me wash you in the bathroom and I'll do it"

I guess Quinn thinks that's degrading or something, because he tells us "I protested gallantly. I required no such sacrificial adoration!"

Mona tells Quinn that she WANTS to do it "and I was led like a slave into the tiled bath where she performed the arousing ablutions" and then they go back to bed and she blows him and "then I died when I came."

Oh good, is the book over? Or is this when he becomes a vampire?

Neither, it was figurative. Pity. Aside from the cringey phrases here (sacrificial adoration, arousing ablutions) it's not bad. I wasn't aroused by it, but there was nothing obnoxious or ridiculous either, nor was it stupidly drawn out. It's definitely better than any LKH sex scene I recall, but that's not a high bar.

...could do without the slave bit there. I know she means like a Roman slave, but still. It's sort of mega-cringe coming from the guy with the happy slave staff.

She asks if no one has ever done that before, and he says no one has, and I wonder if he's telling the truth. Jasmine, Rebecca, and Goblin never did it? Come to think of it, as many issues as I have with Quinn and Jasmine on Quinn's end, I feel like I should also note I'm a little weirded out on Jasmine's end too because he's a barely-legal boy she's known since he was a baby. But I'll save that for another time.

He asks if they can sleep cuddled up together, and there's some description of that, of the moist heat from her boobs and groin and the cool air conditioner and stuff. Mona tells him he's a beautiful boy "and your ghost is here and he's watching us." Quinn tells Goblin to go away or he won't speak to him for a long time. Quinn asks Mona if she can see him, she says he's gone.

Then she starts talking about how "I am Ophelia once again. I am floating in the water, with only 'nettles, daisies, and long purples' to hold me up, and I will never sink to 'muddy death'. You can't imagine how it is with me."

Apparently consistently comparing herself to Ophelia, namely Ophelia's corpse/death scene, is a thing with Mona, and as someone who is a mentally ill oft-suicidal woman I really find this super gross, since she seems to be completely romanticizing this already grossly culturally romanticized thing. Like nothing turns me off faster then "The Ophelia" trope in media as is, so an apparently neurotypical woman (I can't find anything online about Mona being suicidal or insane in any way, unless you count super sexual and incestuous as mental illness) gushing about identifying herself with a woman famous for being ~oh so pretty~ WHILE KILLING HERSELF is super gross to me. Like, can we not? The Victorians were shitty for it, and it's shitty now. Stop. Maybe I'm overreacting and this will get better but it's making my hackles raise now for aforementioned personal reasons.

Also, what the fuck does it have to do with anything? Quinn asks this, though in a way that seems to encourage the fantasy:

"How so? I see you borne along forever, vital, precious, oh so sweet---" and then he starts getting tired, and Mona tells him to go on and sleep, that men sleep when it's over while women want to talk sometimes, then starts yammering more stuff about being Ophelia. She then says "they won't find me till tonight, and maybe not even then. I tip these hotels pretty high, I think I may have won them over."

Rather than asking what I want to know--who "they" are that won't find her--Quinn asks if she means she's done this before.

Mona: "Tarquinn, I have a huge family. And one time it was my goal to be intimate with every one of my cousins. I succeeded with more than I can count without the aid of a computer. Of course it wasn't always in a hotel. It was more often in the cemetery at night---"

Quinn: "The cemetery! You're serious?"

THAT'S WHAT YOU'RE CONCERNED ABOUT?! Like okay, fucking in a cemetery is kinda weird, but SHE JUST SAID SHE FUCKED HER FAMILY MEMBERS!

Mona says her life isn't normal, that "Mayfairs don't seek for a normal life" but her life is abnormal even for a Mayfair. She adds that her goal of cousin-fucking has been over for some time but she did fuck her cousin Pierce here, but "it doesn't matter, Tarquinn, it's all new with you, that's what matters. And I was never Ophelia with Pierce. I'm going to marry Pierce but I'll never be Ophelia."

Oh, so Pierce doesn't make you feel like a woman who kills herself tragically? Wow, clearly it's a loveless relationship.

Quinn responds that "you have to marry me"

Yeah, he says "have to"

No comment needed

He says his life isn't normal either and they're clearly meant for each other, that she has no idea. She says yes she does, that Father Kevin told her how his ghost goes everywhere he does and he grew up with adults and has never known other children. She adds that though Kevin is a gossip, he's a good priest, because she almost got him into bed but "he proved to be immovable" Well good for him, not sleeping with his cousin who is also only fifteen by the way, I flipped ahead and she mentions this in a few chapters or so. So who knows how young she was when she came on to him.

Quinn asks "Did he warn you off me? Did he tell you I was crazy?" and Mona says it's the other way around, that "they're out to protect you from me. 'Course, they do keep me under lock and key."

Well, I'm not normally one for controlling women's sexualities, but if I had an underage female relative who was so unusually sexually active so as to be obsessed with seducing her relatives, I would assume she was suffering some sort of psychological thing, probably stemming from sexual abuse, and try to keep her under close eye too because she might not be in the right mind to be making these decisions, and because a teenage girl running off to have sex with someone she literally met yesterday could get seriously hurt by some pervert. I'm trying to decide if that sounds victim blaming, like I'm saying girls get hurt by perverts because they're promiscuous, but that's NOT what I mean, what I mean is like...there are bad people out there who will try to pick up young girls, and if I were Mona's family, I would be doubtful if she was capable of realizing when she's in danger from these dudes. Hell, plenty of girls might not realize that even if they DON'T have any kind of psychological issues going on. That's WHY a lot of these monsters prey on teens.

Mona says she is "considered to be a raving slut" so it could be the scenario that I just posited, or it could also be that her family does consider her to be just that. That's not something I agree with, but it's how a lot of people would see her.

She adds that this is why she was at the door so fast, that "I had to see you before they did. And I'm not the only witch in the family."

Quinn asks what she means by witch, she asks hasn't he heard of "us" to which he seems to take to mean the Mayfair family in general, to which he responds he's only heard good things, like about Father Kevin or about Dr. Rowan of Mayfair Medical. Mona says that Father Kevin came to the South because "we needed him. Oh, there's so much I wish I could tell you, but I can't." She says when she saw Quinn talking with Quinn, she felt God had answered her prayers by sending her "someone with secrets! Only now I realize it doesn't change things with me. It can't. Because I can't tell you everything."

She starts to cry, Quinn begs her not to and tells her she can confide in him, she says she believes him and "I'm not sure Ophelia actually cries in the play, does she?"

Hey Mona, if you're going to proclaim yourself a famous character from a play, maybe you should actually see the play she's from?

"Maybe crying is what keeps people from going mad," she continues, "It's just that there are things that can't be told, and there are things nobody can do anything about."

I really would like to know what Mona would think is something that can't be told, given she's happy to admit to being obsessively incestuous. The Mayfairs already seem quite a bit more interesting than the Blackwoods, if only by being more apparently twisted. I mean, I guess that's not fair, Patsy and Aunt Queen are interesting, and Manfred murdering Rebecca is obviously interesting, as is just what's going on out there in his Hermitage, but a huge family of incestuous witches with secrets they can't even tell to people who know they're incestuous witches is a pretty big hook for a reader. Especially after sitting through so much of Quinn's boring narration.

Quinn says that "it's always been my way to tell" and how he embraced Goblin and never kept him a secret, and adds there's a ghost that haunts him and a mysterious stranger who beat him up and "I know I'm going to marry you, Mona. I know it. I know it's my destiny."

I keep going "wtf this is ridiculous" every time Quinn says something like that, but then I remember Quinn's very...peculiar upbringing and I'm like, you know, that makes sense.

Mona replies that won't happen, they can have a little while and talk to each other and "be with each other like this, but we can't really be together"

Quinn asks why, thinking that if he loses her he will always regret it, and believes Goblin knows it too, and that's why Goblin went away with no argument, and thinks about the damage Goblin could do if he wanted.

Quinn urges her to come live at Blackwood manor, saying she can stay with him in his room or in Pops' room, which he assures her Pops didn't die in, and says Jasmine can gets her some clothes and toiletries and things at Wal-Mart to tide her over.

...Wal-Mart? That's...not a name I would expect one of Rice's richie-rich types to drop.

Mona says "God, you're as mad as one of us. I thought we Mayfairs were the only ones who did things like that."

Quinn says no one in the house will bother her, just his 79 year old Aunt Queen might have "sage advice" (I feel like she might have more than that for Mona, given her earlier reaction) and that his private tutor Nash is a "perfect gentleman".

Mona says "So you don't have to go to school either. Cool!"


So Quinn phones Jasmine and tells her Mona wears a petite everything "and away we went" and he realizes when he gets behind the wheel that he's been awake thirty six hours.

....yeah, that's a great time to drive a car. Mona must agree because she says to let her drive and Quinn agrees and he thinks about how she drives in a really SEXY way and "that somebody so delectable could drive" because I guess normally hot people can't drive or something, and he says to Goblin, "I love her, old boy, you understand, don't you?"

Goblin is looking at him with a "cold, contemptuous" expression from the backseat and tells him, "Yes, and I very much enjoyed her too, Tarquinn."

Has Goblin ever called Quinn by his full name before? Not that I can recall.

Quinn is angry, he wanted to choke him" and says "You're lying you bastard!" and "You think you can sneak inside me!" but Mona confirms, "as she pushed the car past eighty five miles per hour" that "Oh he was there. I could feel him."

I like the idea of every chapter ending with Mona saying something shocking and blunt while in a car.

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Quinn is shocked when he returns to Blackwood Farm to see the restoration done on the white wicker furniture from the attic so it's now just like it was in his dream with Rebecca. Quinn thinks about how Mona will understand, as will “that kindly man” Stirling Oliver and “Nash, who seemed as great and kind as a teacher could be.” I'm not totally sure what he's talking about in terms of understanding but in any case, when Quinn walks in, Nash has his luggage by the door and is leaving. He tells Quinn that he can't stay and that he has to talk to Aunt Queen before he talks to Quinn.

Naturally, as would be the case for anyone who has known a man for an entire day, Quinn is “devastated” and asks if this is about their talk last night, if Nash thinks he's insane, but Nash says that's not the case. He repeats he has to leave and to speak to “Miss Queen” alone but promises he won't leave without telling Quinn.

Quinn “let them go to the front parlor together” and then goes to the kitchen for lunch where “Jasmine was just telling Big Ramona that they were rich.” Quinn thinks about how they were always rich, “they just didn't want to leave Blackwood Manor, everybody knew.”

Reminder that the all-black staff just really fucking LOVES working for the rich white people, they really do, they love it so much that even though they're totally rich they just don't want to leave said family or said family's property ever even though they definitely absolutely have the means to. They just really love it that much!

...seriously guys I cannot stress the level of creepy this is if you know anything about the “happy slave” narrative and how many Southern white people still do cling to it. Like Rice making them rich enough they COULD leave is what shows to me she's really bending over backwards to make sure the reader knows just how much they super love working for even richer white people and living in a bungalow with their hand-me-downs.

When he goes to the parlor, Aunt Queen explains “Nash is under the impression that you'll be disturbed in time by the fact that he hasn't so much chosen a bachelor's life as been rather predisposed to it.”

To which Quinn replies by asking if this means Nash is gay. Despite the fact this is exactly what Aunt Queen was saying, she is “shocked” because, I guess, maybe she didn't realize Quinn knew what that was? Or she just doesn't approve of saying something that bluntly, which is indeed what I would expect from a rich old sassy Southern lady.

Nash says yes, that's it. And then Quinn says this: “I knew that last night. Oh, don't worry that you gave it away with some obvious gesture or mannerism. You didn't. I just sensed it because I'm probably that way myself; at least, I'm bisexual, I have no doubt of that.”

Nash is in “stunned silence” but Aunt Queen gives a “low pleasant laugh” and says “Oh my precocious one. You never fail to charm me. Bisexual it is, how Byronic and charming. Doesn't that double one's chances for love? I'm so delighted.”



You know what I have no idea how to respond this or exactly what I even think of it so I'll just leave it here as is without comment.

I guess Nash must feel the same way because he just keeps staring and Quinn decides that Nash must be resigning not because he's gay but because "of what he'd seen in me and what I'd told him about my own predilections!" Because everything is about Quinn, I guess. Admittedly, I do think Quinn is right but I think it might be more that Nash is attracted to Quinn and, being a good responsible adult who isn't as keen on boning teenagers as most Rice characters, wants to remove any possibility of something bad happening.

Quinn, ever tactful, tells Nash he's "got to stay" and "let's take a vow that nothing erotic will ever pass between us."

So basically, Nash says he's gay, and Quinn responds by saying "well let's just promise never to bone"

I know I just said that it is likely indeed the case that Nash is attracted to Quinn, but this is still staggeringly embarrassing for a number of reasons and I dearly wish Nash had responded with something like "oh don't flatter yourself you little rich twit I like bears"

Aunt Queen agrees that this is a "potent argument" on Quinn's part, that there are lots of gay people all over the countries who are "fine teachers" and that "the matter is settled"

I notice both Quinn and AQ here both aren't just ASKING Nash to stay; Quinn is TELLING him he has "got to stay" and AQ is acting as if he's already agreed. I like to think this is a deliberate way to show they're both people used to getting what they want and just being surrounded by servants rather than those who can easily refuse them.

Also did I not predict LAST CHAPTER that this EXACTLY would be Nash's big dark secret? DIDN'T I?? Speaking of which if this is indeed the big dark secret it's REALLY CRAPPY STORYTELLING on Rice's part to reveal it the very next chapter and have no fallout whatsoever, especially in a goddamned dramatic mystery story like this.

Quinn shakes Nash's hand for some reason and Nash gives a "softly murmured statement that he would stay" and Quinn runs upstairs to get three hundred dollars from his drawer, make sure he's in his best suit with the Versace tie, and then as he goes back downstairs he feels something pull at him. But it's not Goblin "so much as it was a feeling or a mass of feelings" and he feels like Rebecca is with him for a minute. She probably is, as we get this line in italics:

"Little redheaded bitch!"

Huh. How would Rebecca know about Mona? Maybe she could hear Quinn telling Nash about her last night. Wouldn't it be something if she was just his misogynistic subconscious though?

Quinn is sure she's waiting for him to fall asleep so she can talk to him, and in italics we get:

"A life for my life. A death for my death."

Shit, Rebecca is getting serious! Quinn thinks so too as he says, "Murderous ghost, get away from me!"

Then randomly thinks about the fact the wicker is refurbished again.

He takes Sweetheart's Mercedes 450 sedan and goes to Mona's address with a bouquet. There's a paragraph about her grand house but it's well-done so it's enjoyable, in Rice's typical good Gothic Romantic prose, without being irritating.

Mona answers and we are reminded she's a green-eyed redhead. And a "naturally rouged mouth" he wants to kiss and a white shirt and tight white pants and white sandals that show her red-painted toenails he also wants to kiss. He starts by "covering her mouth with mine" and "grabbing for her tiny wrists" but she breaks away and says they have to leave quick, which they do. She tells him to go to The LaFrreniere Cottages, that she called them this morning. Quinn asks how she knew he'd come, she explains "I'm a witch" and that's how she knew when he left his home and that Goblin is in the car with them now even though Quinn can't even see him at the moment, and that she wanted him to come. Quinn says she put a spell on him (not sure if he's serious) and he hasn't slept since he last saw her and "Only lawyers and wills have kept me from you, tales of infidelity and orphan children and roaming in ghostly furniture and forging alliances as strong as I intend to forge with you."

....Mona understandably responds "God you've got some vocabulary. Or maybe it's your delivery." Then she declares that it's meant he should come to her because "I'm Ophelia always, floating in the flowery stream. I need your rushing poetry. Can you drive if I unzip your pants?"


Quinn wisely says that's not a good idea, and then adds he thinks this might all be a hallucination. She says it's not and asks if he has any condoms. Quinn quickly becomes frantic about how they have to get condoms, to which Mona responds,

"No we don't. I have tons of them in my purse."


Man, I actually like Mona? She's funny. I mean, when I remember all I've read about her adventures prior to this book she is a really concerning, disturbing character to me, as I said in her introduction, but if I had absolutely no foreknowledge of her, this would be HILARIOUS to me and it actually still is when I read it before I remember WHY she's so frankly sexual.

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So I realize there's some hubub going on about the new LJ terms and to be honest I don't totally understand them exactly? I read that LGBT-related content could start being censored. I'll probably keep posting sporks for now if they're still allowed though.

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Mona Mayfair, Anne Rice creepiness, & BLACKWOOD FARM CHAPTER TWENTY ONE
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Before I start this summary/spork, I want to talk about the character it introduces: Mona Mayfair. I have read The Witching Hour, which is the first Mayfair witches book, but I have not read the subsequent ones. Thus, I have never actually read anything with Mona in it before. However, I know of her from TV Tropes and Wikis. I am going to put this under a cut for discussion of pedophilia, incest, and victim-blaming, specifically the idea that children who dress or behave in certain ways not only can consent to sex with adults, but WANT to and are the aggressors if anything.

Incest and pseudo-incest and symbolic incest and so on have been a trope in the Gothic genre since its creation. Writing about incest, or pedophilia, or any number of horrible things is not something I have a problem with. If anything, I think it's actually important to write about them, because the unspeakableness surrounding these things doesn't do any favors the real-life victims who are too afraid to speak up as is. But, as with everything, it all depends on how it is handled.

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Blackwood Farm, Chapter 20
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And I'm back for another random update!


The laptop computer does not arrive for three days, at which point it is brought by his new tutor Nash Penfield, though Quinn has declined to actually meet him until "more favorable circumstances"

In those three days, Quinn has a ton of tests done and the conclusion is he's a-okay.

"In between my long journeys down the beautifully painted passageways of the hospital labryinth I told the full story of the violent night to everyone who wanted to hear it."

I feel like this means he walked around the place yammering at anyone unfortunate enough to make eye contact with him.

Quinn tells Dr. Winn about Goblin, who "listened quietly and thoughtfully" and "there was something deeply reserved about him" and he is "delicate" with all his "remarks". One of these remarks is to ask Quinn if he'd like to see "a small select panel of psychiatrist."

Quinn says no. Then he tells us that Aunt Queen changes his mind. Then he talks about her wearing sack dresses and cloche hats. Then he goes back to how she changed his mind by saying if he doesn't, "we'll stand accused of simple negligence. Think it over, Quinn. We could both be accused."

...I'm confused. Firstly, Quinn's not a minor, so I'm not sure how AQ could be accused of neglect, even if she was his legal guardian. Secondly, how would QUINN be accused of neglect?

AQ says they have to go home and "get back to life the way we want it to be." Quinn asks "How's that Aunt Queen?" and says if they go off on one of her "exotic junkets" then there will be no Blackwood Farm when they return. I have genuinely no idea how he got "let's go on an exotic trip!" from AQ saying that. Also, what, will the staff just blow Blackwood Farm up if they leave? Wait, actually, that's not a bad idea...

Quinn tells AQ how he doesn't want to meet Nash here, she agrees, and adds that she's very sure that Jasmine is flirting with Nash right now and "something's come over Jasmine. And it's high time if you ask me" and says how Jasmine is "prancing about" in some fancy clothes she gave her a few years ago and how she never used to wear the "truly fine things" that Aunt Queen gave her (maybe she doesn't want them, AQ?) and "I think Jasmine sees her destiny."

Quinn asks what that is, AQ says "To run Blackwood Manor in our absence."

Ah yes, that's Jasmine's destiny, to wear your hand-me-downs and run your home for you without pay. What else could her life possibly be about? She surely doesn't have one outside of you guys! Anne Rice is so progressive, man.

"I mean, Jasmine has languished in domestic service all her life, and she's sharp and well-spoken and can certainly take on the responsibility for a portion of the profit."

Ah, yes, well-spoken, the ultimate backhanded compliment of white people to black people. At least that makes sense coming from an old well-mannered white Southern lady though, just, I don't think we're supposed to see it as symptomatic of her being that.

Quinn says he didn't think they made a profit because Pops always said "operated at a loss" and Aunt Queen says "Oh, Pops was pessimistic, bless his soul, and of course he was right"

...if he's just stating the facts, that's not pessimistic? Also if you operate at a loss, then what profits will Jasmine be getting? You're saying "she'll get some of the profits" when there are no profits. You're basically trying to foist all the boring, annoying parts of living in a big fancy manor off on the unpaid domestic worker who doesn't even live in it but in the fucking bungalow out back. I did not dislike Aunt Queen till this moment and I really hope even Rice isn't oblivious to see the problem here.

AQ says that "when Pop's will is read, everything will be easier". Quinn asks when that will be, and is told that since Patsy got home two days ago, they can do it the day after tomorrow.

Quinn tells us that a "Technicolor Goblin" was in his dreams recently and I have no idea what he's talking about, then goes back to what AQ is actually talking about, telling us how the idea of Jasmine running the manor excites him and "It was perfect for Jasmine. Aunt Queen understood Jasmine as no one else did, not even Jasmine."

Ok, the idea of someone understanding someone else better than they do themselves is not AUTOMATICALLY racist because the former is white and the latter is black, but in the very gross, condescending, exploitative dynamic that the white characters have with the black characters in this book, it is. In another book, this would not have made me bat an eye. I might find it sweet. In this book, it makes me wanna scream.

"Suddenly, and with surprising verse, I wanted to escape this place. If Jasmine was going to resist her 'destiny', I wanted a chance to talk with her."





He also wants to get back because he wants to see her all dressed up in that Chanel suit Aunt Queen mentioned and "in my fiendish eighteen-year-old heart, I wanted a second shot at Jasmine"

I want to cut him some slack for acknowledging his treatment of her as "fiendish" but I feel like it's meant tongue-in-cheek here.

He tells Aunt Queen he will see the panel of doctors but wants to do it in his own clothes, specifically his Armani, the handmade shirts she sent him from Europe, his lucky Versace tie, and his Johnston & Murphy shoes.

...I feel like Rice really enjoyed getting to rattle off those brand names. He also says Goblin likes those clothes too and always gets excited when Quinn dresses up for an event at home.

AQ says she'll arrange for it and asks if Goblin will be at the meeting, Quinn says of course he will and that he can't always control him anyway and that Goblin has put up with " a great deal of contemptuous dismissal"

AQ says "I suppose so" and Quinn notices her yet again staring at the spot where Goblin is. And there is an "amazing" development with Goblin in that he's NOT wearing the same thing Quinn is, he's wearing jeans and flannel from home. "But it was the ever-shifting expressions on his face which most frightened me" and the "frigid quality to him" as well as a "despairing look" despite the fact Quinn himself feels safe here and tells us how staff and family and so on have all been visiting and bringing him sweets and things.

Quinn now has the laptop and tells AQ he needs to work now and she should go to dinner. She asks what he's going to do, he says he and Goblin talk with it. AQ goes "Oh my darling Quinn!" with "confusion and anxiety" to which Quinn replies that Goblin saved his life. AQ asks what would happen if he just stopped interacting with Goblin altogether. She also suggests simply destroying the Hermitage house on the island and dismantling the mausoleum. Quinn says to this "You're shocking me. You're hurting me!"

oh my god Quinn

He says he's been inspired by the desk and marble chair and wants to do the Hermitage floor in marble and he knows AQ is upset by Pops dying but "I want that place, don't you see, and it belongs to us, not this interloper!"

Goblin is staring intently at AQ, who just says "Alright, my precious dear" to Quinn (GAG ME) and goes to the super fancy Grand Luminere afe on the super fancy hospital rooftop because this is the fanciest hospital in the world I guess.

Goblin is wearing Quin''s Versace tie and "It looked positively flaunting." Quinn speaks with him on the computer and asks why Goblin hasn't talked to him even though Quinn gave him credit for saving him by telling everyone he did it. Goblin responds that "I like being angry"

Good for you, Goblin.

But Quinn says that's wrong and how "the man who hurt me was angry" and how the man did "bad things" and Goblin tells Quinn to use bigger words, that he knows all the words Quinn knows and that "when I was angry it was for you" Goblin says they're trying to take him from Quinn, to divide him. Quinn says he's loyal to Goblin and loves him and they can't be parted, but if Goblin is violent and angry then Quinn can't love him. Goblin retorts that it's alright if he's violent and angry if it's to help Quinn, which is a very good point. There's a time and a place for everything, and that includes getting pissed and fighting back to save a loved one. Quinn is impressed by the sophistication of Goblin's phrasing, and agrees with him.

Goblin says "you make me laugh" then pushes the laptop off Quinn's lap and kisses him and grabs him and says in a "slow, masculine" tone that "You're afraid of me now."

and we're back to weird ghost rape

Quinn asks Goblin if Goblin wants him to be afraid of him, and tells him he can't love him if he's afraid of him, that he'll hate him. Goblin kisses him again and puts his hand between Quinn's legs. Quinn tells him "Not here" and "Be patient." which means apparently Quinn doesn't object in general so much as just the time and place and I don't even know how to feel about that.

Goblin says that he knows Quinn wants it because he feels what Quinn does and "it was over within seconds"


there's that then

Quinn asks Goblin after about the stranger, who was he, Goblin says he doesn't know, but that he does know lots more than Quinn thinks he does. Quinn tells him to go away so he can think, Goblin says Quinn can't command him like he thinks but that he'll do it because he loves Quinn. Quinn asks him not to frighten him anymore (I'd personally like for him NOT TO RAPE HIM ANYMORE) and Goblin says he doesn't want to but that "they" want to change Quinn so Quinn won't hear or see him anymore. Quinn tells him that's not possible, repeats his wish to be alone right now, and asks Goblin where he goes when he's not with him. Goblin doesn't answer, Quinn asks again, no answer, Quinn feels him leave and then he makes the Sign of the Cross. He wonders what to do, and wishes for someone to tell him. I understand that feel. He thinks about the stranger too, and what if he came back. And how "if I went to sleep, I'd dream of Rebecca"


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