The blurb for The Long Shadow is rather misleading. It talks about the reign of James II as though that forms the bulk of the book, when it's probably The blurb for The Long Shadow is rather misleading. It talks about the reign of James II as though that forms the bulk of the book, when it's probably less than the final hundred pages. Which in a way is nice, as life for all the Morlands and their connections is better under Charles II than under his brother's four-year reign.
I will say this book killed any liking I had left for Annunciata. Yet again there are few really likeable characters in this series: Hugo got on my nerves, and even Elizabeth Hobart (poor dear) couldn't grab me. Annunciata is fascinating, and a wonderful character, but I don't like her, or have much sympathy for her,
I continue to find it fascinating that Harrod-Eagles take on history is so far from my own. Or should that be her take on the contemporary view as events were unfolding? Still, I've always felt quite sorry for both Mary and Anne, and H-E/her characters seem quite the opposite....more
I read this one so quickly (plane trip, among other things) that I feel at a disadvantage now that I'm trying to post about it. Also, because I'm currI read this one so quickly (plane trip, among other things) that I feel at a disadvantage now that I'm trying to post about it. Also, because I'm currently reading "The Long Shadow", which is making me feel *less* inclined to like Annunciata (more on that in my first Long Shadow post) which is sad given that I think I still liked her during The Black Pearl. She just feels a bit... remote, I guess. I'm not sure if it's unfair that in my mind I'm connecting her to various Stephanie Laurens protagonists in my head - these aren't Regency Romances, after all - but somehow Laurens' characters live more to me than Annunciata is doing.
But this could all be my Long Shadow bias speaking.
In terms of history, reading this has certainly sparked off an interest in Civil War/Restoration history that I didn't have before. I've read a little set in this era (only two of the relevant Plaidy's so far), although that does include most of Children of the New Forest, which I've never quite properly finished and which I really should give one more go... ~wanders off to check shelves~ Got it!...more
Looking at my AWW list, I have at least five other books (beyond this one) that I want to review before I finally wrap up and say goodbye to the challLooking at my AWW list, I have at least five other books (beyond this one) that I want to review before I finally wrap up and say goodbye to the challenge for 2012 (and get stuck into the 2013 challenge). But I'm going to start at the end with the book I finished this afternoon: Jane Caro's book about Princess Elizabeth, Just a Girl.
Disclaimer number 1: While I really like Jane Caro's public stance on a lot of things, I got into a twitter tiff with her earlier in December, and there were things in the book that reminded me of other attitudes of hers I have issues with. Except where I mention these issues, I've tried very hard to keep my discomfort with the author away from my review of the book.
Disclaimer number 2: I read a fair amount of Historical Fiction, and am pretty much over Princess and Queen Elizabeth I.
It strikes me as a bold move to write ones first novel about a woman so often written about as Princess Elizabeth Tudor. I'll say at the outset that I think this book was better than Alison Weir's travesty of a novel, but not as good as Philippa Gregory's "The Virgin Queen". I haven't yet read Jean Plaidy's Tudor books, so I can't give a comparison there. As I said above, I'm kind of over Elizabeth. She gets written about so often, both in non-fiction and fictional treatments. She has plays and films and I keep reading them (watching them), but to be honest, if this one hadn't been by Jane Caro (who we saw at this year's Write Around the Murray) and if I hadn't needed a quick-ish read to finish off the AWW 2012 challenge, I might not have picked this one up for a lot longer.
It's an interesting structure, all this thinking on the night before Elizabeth's Coronation as Queen. Except for the one element that Caro made up, I know my Elizabeth well enough that nothing is all that new. It just seemed to me that none of the characters lived in the way that they do in Gregory's books - neither Thomas Seymour nor Philip of Spain really seemed all that threatening or skeevey, whereas in Gregory they're that little bit oily. Elizabeth's insecurity next to Jane Grey was an interesting element, and yet Jane was a complete shadow, as was Robin Dudley, sadly. Overall, I wanted it to be better than I felt it was.
One thing kept throwing me out of the story: each time one of Caro's characters - particularly Elizabeth herself - preached religious tolerance. I found it sad that Caro's characters could manage what she has not been able to herself (she's fond of insulting the mere concept of being a person of faith, or certainly it seemed that way at Write Around the Murray and on Twitter,) particularly when I think her depiction of Elizabeth's tolerance was a little broader than it was in reality.
As with another recent read, if Goodreads had half stars, I'd be making use of them here. It would be 3 1/5 stars if it could be, but I just couldn't bring myself to up the level to four....more
The thing is, I'd avoided this book because I didn't think the author was black. My thing with the Royal Diaries series is that I will only read themThe thing is, I'd avoided this book because I didn't think the author was black. My thing with the Royal Diaries series is that I will only read them if the author is of the ethnicity of the Royal Princess in question. But then I discovered that Patricia McKissack was African American, and so I was okay to read this book.
There is such strength of character that comes through this book. A beauty in her awesomeness (and strength, and if I repeat strength a lot, it's because that word needs to be part of any mention of this story...) I didn't know about Nzingha before this, but I will know to look for her in African history from now on.
The extra pages of information after the story itself are important. The explanation of how much is known and how much is NOT known is always important in the Royal Diaries books, but this one really was fabulous. I have so much respect for the writers of these books, as there is so much research that needs to be done....more
**spoiler alert** When I finished this book, I hugged it because I couldn't hug the characters themselves. And then five days later, when the news cam**spoiler alert** When I finished this book, I hugged it because I couldn't hug the characters themselves. And then five days later, when the news came through that the Australian Girl Guides were changing the wording of the promise, I wondered what Henry would think of it.
Dear, dear Henry. And Sophie! And Veronica! And Julia!
This whole series has been brilliant.
I mean, okay. This book is totally in my area of love, and the characters are so brilliant, and I have to say, if they'd just sent Henry to the Chalet School as they should have done, she'd still be alive because they'd never have allowed her to join the WRENS at that point. I almost want to try that out, in fact. (But that'd be admitting to writing fic, wouldn't it?)
I gave my mother "A Brief History of Montmary" a week ago, and she's now demanding the next two books. Which is at it ought to be.
I adored "FitzOsbournes at War", I mean, I really adored it. Part of it is that when I look at the list of references I've read most of them, and other parts of it is that I know this era quite well. And yet it's also that Cooper brought us along, even thought I knew someone was going to die, but made me cry when it was Harry. Made me get to the end of the book and hug the book, because I couldn't hug the characters. Made me adore these people, made me want them to get back their fictitious island, made me hate the Nazi use of Spain even more than I already did, made me want victory for Montmaray while knowing that it didn't even exist.
It was awesome. It needs to be read. I will re-read, over and over again. And I will probably even write fic. No finer accolade exists. Michelle Cooper, you are awesome....more
I'm a book behind with this series. My twitter feed has been full of people reviewing the third book (and loving it) so I know that I've got somethingI'm a book behind with this series. My twitter feed has been full of people reviewing the third book (and loving it) so I know that I've got something good still to come.
I adored the first book (although my Goodreads review might not seem like it, I did give it five stars), and I equally adored the second book. I also got a laugh out of the fact that while reading it, I was wondering whether Cooper had used particular sources, and when I got to the end, yes, she had. :-) There is so much to love in this book: Henry, who is just plain awesome, Simon the mostly stalwart, Veronica the Magnificent, especially when speaking to the Foreign Secretary's Office, and later in her final big scene... I can't wait to see how Colonel Stanley-Ross' character develops in the next book, and I have to admit that if he wasn't already married and ridiculously too old for Sophie, I'd be shipping the two of them right now.
Which brings me to Sophie. The wonderful, strategic, clever, and far too good for the fluffiness of débutante society Sophie. The line I quoted in a status update about feeling like a one-person League of Nations is marvellous, and I can just imagine her, in Geneva, meeting Edith Campbell Berry and the two of them getting along like a house on fire.
I hope I find a reasonably priced copy of FitzOsbournes at War sooner rather than later, because it's a while until the British edition is released, and I don't like the cover of that one nearly as much as the Australian version....more
I ADORED THIS. (And the ALLCAPS are entirely legitimate.)
Disclaimer: I hosted Sulari Gentill at the library where I work in the week beWhat can I say?
I ADORED THIS. (And the ALLCAPS are entirely legitimate.)
Disclaimer: I hosted Sulari Gentill at the library where I work in the week before I started reading this. I was blown away by Sulari, and I think she is awesome. I think her book is awesome, I think her characters are awesome.
Between the on-board mystery, the two-stage on-boardness, by the way..., the lashings of history, the increasing fabulousness of Wilfred (and I know you're probably reading this, Sulari, but yes, I'm appreciating Wilfred more every time he shows up). I love Kate *more*, and Ernie, and oh Edna/i>.
But the inclusion of historical figures in this series is stunning. It's so seamless, in that if I didn't know people were real, I'd neither know nor care. They just ARE. And I am so very looking forward to books three and four in this series.
And Sulari, if we can convince you to come back for another visit to our library, we'd love love love to see you again! Book launch, perhaps? ...more
About six months ago, I saw this book on sale, and I almost bought it but didn't. That was a massive mistake. Because, having finally read it via theAbout six months ago, I saw this book on sale, and I almost bought it but didn't. That was a massive mistake. Because, having finally read it via the library... I *love* this book. I adore Rowley and Edna, and I'm so very glad to know that there are at least two more books to come.
As an historical novel, this was brilliant. I own a book about the New Guard and the times (it's called "Defending the National Tuckshop" - isn't that an awesome title?) and the only reason I'm not delving straight into that one right now is that it's written by someone who doesn't fit a challenge criteria (ie, straight white male)). My GF watched Underbelly: Razor last year, and loved it and got really into it. She'll love this book. I loved this book. Gentill is visiting my library later this year, and I'm so looking forward to it.
There is such a good build up of atmosphere; the characters are brilliant - and by the end, even Wilfred is approaching loveable. (Ernie and Kate were loveable from the beginning.)
For a book with a sense of place and sense of time, I don't think you can get past this one. I am so very much looking forward to the next in the Rowland Sinclair series. ...more
Apparently her first, and there were moments that grated (Roger de Clovely?) I rather wonder how she would have written it if she was writing it now,Apparently her first, and there were moments that grated (Roger de Clovely?) I rather wonder how she would have written it if she was writing it now, as I know certain aspects would be different....more