I really enjoyed (some parts of) the TV mini-series based mainly off of this book but also pulling from some of the other books in the series. HoweverI really enjoyed (some parts of) the TV mini-series based mainly off of this book but also pulling from some of the other books in the series. However, I had read one other Gregory book before, The Other Boleyn Girl, and wasn't super thrilled by it, so I wasn't in a hurry to dive into this other Gregory series. But a few months after finishing the mini-series, I happened to read The Daughter of Time, which I had no idea was about the exact same time period and characters until the historical mystery of the story began to reveal itself. That book reinvigorated my interest in the history and so I set out to read Gregory's The Cousins War series.
I enjoyed this first installment in the series, which gives account of Elizabeth Woodville's climb from landless post-war widow to queen and wife to Edward IV. However, I felt like Elizabeth, as the point-of-view character, acted more like a cardboard cut-out or fly on the wall than an actual character with feelings and opinions. There wasn't enough her in her point of view. She told us what she did and what others around her did, but what did she think of it all? That absence of character depth left the story feeling a little vanilla....more
This book, the third in the Cousins' War series, follows Jacquetta's story--mother to Elizabeth Woodville, eventual wife and queen to Edward IV, whoseThis book, the third in the Cousins' War series, follows Jacquetta's story--mother to Elizabeth Woodville, eventual wife and queen to Edward IV, whose story was told in book one of the series (The White Queen). Beginning when Jacquetta is a young girl whose family briefly takes in Joan of Arc before she is turned over to the English for execution, the story follows her travails through her first brief marriage to John, Duke of Bedford, uncle to Henry VI, her choice then to marry a gentleman of her household for love rather than let the court determine her future for her, and her and her husband's time serving Henry VI and his fiery queen Margaret of Anjou.
Oh man, this book is long. But enjoyable. I definitely felt like Jacquetta had a clear point of view. And certainly most everything that happened in her life was interesting. Though it does seem challenging to keep a reader's attention when things digress to war and frequent battles and skirmishes -- when the viewpoint is a woman who is rarely directly involved in these events. All in all, though, I found this third book interesting and easy to get through....more
This second book in Gregory's The Cousins' War series follows Margaret Beaufort's life as a young, unusually religious girl all the way to her long-awThis second book in Gregory's The Cousins' War series follows Margaret Beaufort's life as a young, unusually religious girl all the way to her long-awaited ascendance to Queen Mother when her son Henry (VII) Tudor finally takes the throne.
I enjoyed this installment more than the first, as I really think Gregory did a good job of capturing Margaret's personality and unique viewpoint. However, I was very disappointed to realize (only at the very end of the book) that I had accidentally checked out the abridged version of the audiobook. Grr! So I can only assume I would have enjoyed it even more if I had listened to the unabridged version. I also wished that the story had gone on into Henry VII's reign. So much build-up to Margaret finally reaching the throne and then the story is just over....more
This young adult novel takes place in Western Europe, on the cusp of World War I. The story follows the escape of fictional sixteen-year-old AleksandaThis young adult novel takes place in Western Europe, on the cusp of World War I. The story follows the escape of fictional sixteen-year-old Aleksandar Ferdinand, piloting a large walker (a mech) through the countryside toward Switzerland, from his home country of Austria after his parents are assassinated in Russia (the instigating act that led to WWI), making him a fugitive from those who don't want to see him made the heir of the Austrian throne. Meanwhile, fifteen-year-old Deryn Sharp has disguised herself as a boy in order to join the British Air Service and serve on one of the massive, bio-engineered, living airships that make up the British Fleet.
Westerfeld has set up his alternate history as a clash between two scientific paradigms. The Germans and Austrians are "klankers", using their mechanical engineering skills to build massive walking mechs and mechanical airplanes. The British and Russians are "Darwinists", bioengineering creatures to serve every imagined need, from message lizards to flechette bats and flying hydrogen "whales" that serve as airships.
This was a great story and really really got good once the paths of our two protagonists finally met. My only disappointment was how soon it all ended. Felt like half or even a quarter of a book. But I know that's the nature of these shorter YA novels. Ah well. On to the next one!...more
Elizabeth Gilbert's (Eat, Pray, Love) latest work of fiction is an epic and engulfing historical wandering into the worlds of botany and life in the eElizabeth Gilbert's (Eat, Pray, Love) latest work of fiction is an epic and engulfing historical wandering into the worlds of botany and life in the early 18th century. The story follows the life of Alma Whittaker, daughter of a highly successful and enterprising botanist and pharmaceuticals manufacturer (with a very fascinating prelude about him and how he came to be the successful man he was). Alma is graced with the keen intelligence of both her parents and takes up botany at a very young age. Despite her mother's emphasis on moral propriety, she also discovers herself as a sexual being and looks forward to the day she will marry and couple with a man. But that day seems, for a very long time, like it will never come for Alma, as we follow her into adulthood and then old age through her eventful and thought-provoking life.
To be honest, a lot of the tension that drove me to keep reading at a pretty quick pace was "is this girl ever gonna get laid?" But what I loved about the story was that you never knew where it was going and it took so many unexpected turns. It was definitely an adventure, seeing where the tail would go next. And the prose were phenomenal, making it easy to lose yourself in the story and not realize that time was actually still passing around you, as you read.