Hunky heroes? Check! Political turmoil? Check! Headstrong, believable heroines? Check! WILLIAM WALLACE? Check!
If you're looking for a fantastic histor...moreHunky heroes? Check! Political turmoil? Check! Headstrong, believable heroines? Check! WILLIAM WALLACE? Check!
If you're looking for a fantastic historical fiction set in Scotland you can't go past this novel. Givens has written the spirit of the Scottish people into the pages of this book and it is difficult to be unmoved by their struggle for freedom from the English crown. This story is tight with suspense and is filled with passionate characters whom I guarantee you will barrack for.
Part of the brilliance of the book is that it tells two very different love stories - Rory and Isobel, Keiran and Rachel. Givens was very clever with the way she wrote this. Because she uses four points of view, the tension is always high and you constantly find yourself reading on even though you promised yourself you would put the book down at the end of the chapter.
The other aspect of this novel which was quite brilliant is that even though Givens is ultimately telling a love story, she never neglects the larger issues happening in the country of her characters. Instead, she lets the tension and turmoil of her character's inner worlds mirror the mood of Scotland. She never forgets that the purpose of historical fiction for a reader is to connect emotionally not just with the characters but with history itself.
If you loved On a Highland Shore then Rivals for the Crown will not disappoint. Although it is a sequel I believe it can be thoroughly enjoyed as a stand-alone novel also. If you have read OAHS, Margaret and Gannon do feature in the book (they are Rory's parents) and you do get to hear a little of the life they've shared together but I have no doubt that the new characters will steal your heart too.
All in all, a fantastic book! I really do hope that Kathleen Givens is busy writing another now.(less)
Cecelia Ahern has this great easy to read style but all her books are quite different. I don't think I could really compare this one to 'PS I Love You...moreCecelia Ahern has this great easy to read style but all her books are quite different. I don't think I could really compare this one to 'PS I Love You' because it really is an intentionally different story to her smash-hit debut novel. The common thread is definitely Ahern's flair for fleshing out believable relationships and depicting what I would say are very normal yet endearing characters.
The thing I found most interesting about this book is that it is told completely through emails, text messages, instant messages and letters between a multitude of the novel's characters. I've read other novels that include emails but not one yet that only used that medium to tell the story and I did feel Ahern executed this brilliantly. At times she had me laughing and at other points I found myself a little misty-eyed. All in all, it was a very cute, sweet story.
I probably didn't rate this one any higher because I felt it may have lacked substance in parts and towards the end I found it a bit slow going. Having said this, these 'crimes' are completely forgivable becuase this was exactly what I was looking for when I picked up the book. I read the last page and felt compeltely satisfied. I don't think I'll remember the names of the characters past next week but that's okay. It still served its purpose.
Read this novel if: You're in the mood for something a little lighter. I'd say it's probably in the same line as a Jane Green. Save it for a rainy afternoon or a quiet weekend. Don't read this novel if: You're looking for a book that'll change your life.(less)
After being obsessed with the movie for months, I decided to take the plunge and read the book. Finally. And I can tell you that the book was equally...moreAfter being obsessed with the movie for months, I decided to take the plunge and read the book. Finally. And I can tell you that the book was equally as satisfying but completely different to the Gerard Butler perv-fest that I so dearly love.
There were so many changes made to translate this book to film. I won't go into them all here now because I wouldn't want to ruin it but let's just say they were significant. From love interests to careers, everything was different. And for that reason, I think I probably did it the right way round watching the movie first and reading the book second. I'm giving it 4 stars for because Cecilia Ahern is just so easy to read. It requires no effort to get into a rhythm and it's the perfect little book to pick up when you're in between epics. She tackles grief without making you feel life is pointless. There is always hope. And I think that's what Gerry gives Holly in her first year without him - hope for a new life.
I'd say this little story gave me a similar feel-good feeling to The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. It didn't matter that it was tragic, it still managed to really touch me. Really it was beautiful.
Read this novel if: You're looking for something inbetween other books and don't want to have to work too hard to enjoy the characters. Don't read this novel if: You think you could feel disconcerted or upset by the intense, overwhelming grief Holly is struggling to come to terms with.(less)
This was my first Woodiwiss novel and having seen her name so many times on the bookshelves, I was a little excited. Sadly though, I was really disapp...moreThis was my first Woodiwiss novel and having seen her name so many times on the bookshelves, I was a little excited. Sadly though, I was really disappointed with the story. I'm not saying I'll never read another Kathleen E. Woodiwiss novel but let's just say I won't be in a hurry....and it would have to come highly recommended.
Sadly, Woodiwiss passed away last year after battling long-term illness. Out of respect for her fans and the legacy of an author who was considered quite prolific, I don't feel comfortable going into too much detail about what I didn't enjoy about this novel. But briefly, I felt that it lacked depth from a too-convenient plotline and a flawless hero and heroine. While it was certainly lovely and feelgood, this particular novel wasn't really very memorable.
It probably also didn't help me warm to it that when the woman performing this audio spoke in the hero's voice, he came out sounding like a verrrrrrrrrry old dirty Scotsman. Not a very sexy burr at all. And not really how I imagined Raven Seaburn to sound.
On a positive note, the book had a fantastic cover. In fact, I think it has to be one of my all-time favourite historical genre covers. Oh and I love love loved the heroine's name Abrielle. I thought it was beautiful! Writing-wise Woodiwiss wove some interesting sub-plots and although they were predictable, I do feel she coloured the narrative well with them.
I didn't feel this novel was at the same standard as a Jude Deveraux historical however I'd still be willing to give her another go. Does anyone have some recommendations???
Read this novel if: You're a long-term Woodiwiss fan who would like to show support and purchase the author's final book. Don't read this novel if: You've never read a Woodiwiss before. I'd recommend seeking some suggestions from Woodiwiss fans as to which to start with because I definitely started with the wrong one!(less)
I'm trying to find another author's work to compare this novel to but I keep coming up short. Kathleen Givens is like a hardy mix of my favourite auth...moreI'm trying to find another author's work to compare this novel to but I keep coming up short. Kathleen Givens is like a hardy mix of my favourite authors - a gritty Jude Deveraux, a loved up Philippa Gregory, a purley historical Barbara Erskine. This was truly one of my favourite purely historical depictions of Scotland.
The most powerful aspect of this novel was certainly the characterisation. Whilst some reviewers have found this lacking, I felt the protagonists to be diverse and perfectly matched. The antagonist was equally well-crafted and just pure evil. There are many scenes of his doing which are both repulsive and haunting. Well before the end of this book, you'll be cheering for the bad guy to get it!
Many Scottish Clans were the victims of raids just like the ones Givens writes about and this novel truly places your heart in a different time and place. It reminds you that tragedy has followed humankind through history and its effects have not been lessened by the passing of time. Givens did not shy from depicting the rich tapestry of human emotions - emparting on the reader a sense of deeper understanding of Scottish pride and courage.
Weaved within this narrative of a nation is the deeply satisfying love story of Margaret and Gannon. The novel is beautifully layered to keep your suspense and works itself into a frenetic pace by about page 250. The romance plot is centre-stage enough to satisfy a romance reader but possibly doesn't contain the same level of eroticism as other novels in the genre. I think there's too much else going on for the characters to be spending all their time in bed!
Read this novel if: You have a fascination in either Scots or Vikings and don't mind a bit of romance. Don't read this novel if: You're looking for something strictly accurate. The author does admit she freely embellished the facts.(less)