January 3, 2013
SVH #133, To Catch a Thief: More Like “To Catch Some Zs”
Summary: This book is the worst combination of boring and unbelievable I’ve ever seen.
Okay, so Jessica’s in luuuuuuuuuv with Jacques, who keeps trying to get back the emerald he gave her (which he stole from the countess who’s staying at the same chateau as the twins). He keeps sneaking into her room to look for it, then pretending he was there for another reason. Every time Jacques asks for it back, Jessica threatens to dump him, so he backs off. Eventually he tries to exchange a pearl bracelet for the emerald, but Jessica keeps both. Jacques is an idiot. Of course, so is Jessica, but we knew that.
Elizabeth’s in luuuuuuuuuuuuuv with Laurent, but he hasn’t told her that he’s supposed to marry the countess’ daughter Antonia. She overhears some servants talking about the marriage but thinks Laurent is going to propose to her, which freaks her out because they don’t know each other that well. Finally, a realistic response to a declaration of love from a guy she’s only known for two weeks. But then Liz sees Laurent holding hands with Antonia and finds out about their arranged relationship. She has a Jessica-like cry-fest, which is, again, more realistic than anything else this supposed 16-year-old has ever done.
But that’s where the realistic part of the story ends. The countess loses a diamond necklace, which Jacques stole, and the twins think she hid it to get the insurance money. They figure she did the same with the jewel she supposedly lost on the train; Jess hasn’t put it together that that’s what Jacques gave her. The twins participate in a tableau vivant (living art) guessing game, posing with the kids in a scene from Cinderella. Jessica, as the Fairy Godmother, wears the emerald, and the countess screams when she sees it, ruining the tableau. Then the countess has guards (there are guards?) throw the twins in the dungeon (there’s a dungeon??), where Jessica finally figures out that Jacques stole the countess’ emerald and gave it to her.
Thoughts: Elizabeth’s babysitting guide says that the best way to get children to behave is to take away privileges. But according to the last book, it also says to reason with kids, not discipline them, so we obviously can’t trust anything it says.
Why do the countess and Antonia need three bathrooms?
Jacques sneaks into Jessica’s room, can’t leave without her seeing him, and winds up sleeping in her closet. Creeeeeeeeep.
The tableau game sounds fun – you recreate a scene or a painting, and people have to guess what it is. It’s a nice twist on the regular kind of tableau vivant.
I hope the twins contact the American embassy immediately and report the whole dungeon thing. I also hope someone thought through who will be taking care of the children while their au pairs are chained to a wall, being fed bread and water. Because clearly no one else wants to do it.