First of all, I highly recommend reading the prequel to this novel: Whisper of Jasmine. It shows how Evie and Gabriel met, and gives good insight into...moreFirst of all, I highly recommend reading the prequel to this novel: Whisper of Jasmine. It shows how Evie and Gabriel met, and gives good insight into the beginning of their relationship.
That being said, City of Jasmine takes place in 1920 Syria, and seeing as how I didn't know a whole lot of what was going on in that area then, I learned a lot. Evie and Gabriel were thrown into lots of adventures and came across a lot of suspicious characters, some dangerous, some just shady. The descriptions and seeing the area through the eyes of Evie totally brought the country to life. The descriptions were not overdone, but were the right amount.
While I miss the Lady Julia books, I'm just happy to have another book by Deanna Raybourn. Her style and feisty, independent heroines are still strong in books like City of Jasmine.
I couldn't put this down! Deanna Raybourn fans will not be disappointed.(less)
The entire book is told from the point-of-view of Frances Osgood, a poet who has to support her two daughters after her husband skips out on them. She...moreThe entire book is told from the point-of-view of Frances Osgood, a poet who has to support her two daughters after her husband skips out on them. She soon comes into contact with the increasingly famous writer Edgar Allan Poe and his sickly young wife Virginia. She constantly gets thrust into their world, falling more in love with Poe with each meeting, but is also becoming more concerned that Virginia is plotting against her.
I was glad to see a book focused on a now forgotten female writer, even if most of the book is focused on her relationship with Poe rather than her writing. However, I understand that a love affair with Edgar Allan Poe makes for better reading. We do get to see some of her writing, though.
While I did enjoy Mrs. Poe, there were two things that constantly bugged me throughout the book:
First, whenever Frances went to break-off the affair with Poe, it went something like this: “We must stop this. Your wife! My children!” “But I need you!” “OK!” Frances had no spine, here. It was getting frustrating.
Second, Frances kept getting into these 'accidents' and it almost started to get comical. Even at the end of the book, when I found out the story behind all these incidents, I still thought it was a bit much.
Other than that, like I said, I enjoyed the book very much. It was a fast and engaging read. The spirit of 1840s New York was perfectly captured; the sights, sounds, people, everything.(less)
I just loved this book so much that I had to write something about it.
The book is told from the point-of-view of Francesca, the daughter of an English...moreI just loved this book so much that I had to write something about it.
The book is told from the point-of-view of Francesca, the daughter of an English father and an Italian mother. Francesca's mother died in childbirth, and she grew up in England not knowing her mother's family, for she was disowned when she ran away with Francesca's father and defied her own father.
When Francesca's father dies when she is 17, her mother's family suddenly pops up, when her grandfather sends her cousin Andrea to fetch her and have her brought to Italy.
The story takes place in 1860, in the midst of Italy's strive for Independence. Roaming the land is the mysterious Falcon, a man who is leading the rebels, and causing lots of problems for the military.
I won't reveal the identity of the Falcon, of course, but the author was very brilliant in making me undecided between two characters. One minute I would think it was one character, and then something would happen and I would think it was the other. However, at one point in the book I started to think about events that happened in the earlier parts of the book, and came to a conclusion and stuck with it. No matter what happened, I was convinced that THIS person was the Falcon, and I ended up being right.
When I was finished, I ended up going back and rereading parts with this character, looking to see if there where things that he said and did that should have tipped me off. Of course, now that I know who he is, things became obvious, but they were subtle the first time around.
I'm going to reveal some things that made me come to the conclusion of the Falcon. I will put these under a spoiler, of course.
(view spoiler)[ Obviously, the only two people who were viable candidates for the identity of the Falcon were Andrea and Stefano. I immediately thought it was Andrea at first, which is probably what a lot of people thought, but as I started getting further into the book, I wasn't so sure.
Andrea was hot-headed and rash, unlike the Falcon. And I thought it was the intention of the author to make us all think it was him, but I started to have my doubts.
I came to the conclusion that it was Stefano when Francesca was helping the Falcon to the tombs. She thought it was Andrea because she could kind of see him through the mask, and saw the birthmark on his chest, but then I remembered earlier in the book when Stefano rescued her from the tombs when her grandfather locked her in. She thought he was Andrea, and at the beginning of the book it was remarked how Andrea and Stefano looked similar. Of course, the author used Stefano's disability as a ruse, and that's how I saw it. It wasn't long before I figured he was faking it. And what a good ruse it was.
When Stefano popped up the day after Francesca left the Falcon in the tombs, injured from his wounds, I started to have my doubts, but when Andrea returned home, I changed my mind again. I KNEW it was Stefano, I just knew it, but it was driving me nuts because I couldn't figure out how the hell he was sitting there after everything had happened. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I echo the sentiments of other reviewers: this is very different from the first book.
First of all, this book takes place almost entirely in France, du...moreI echo the sentiments of other reviewers: this is very different from the first book.
First of all, this book takes place almost entirely in France, during the time of Napoleon III, where Katharine goes to search for Lane. Second of all, the story takes place over a wider area, whereas the first book took place in a confined area of a small town.
Intrigue ensues, with shady characters, royal secrets, and the like. New characters pop up, who I quite like and hope to see again, if there is another book, that is.
I can't guess what a third book would be about. This book didn't end with a question mark like the first book, which I knew would have a sequel. I guess we'll just have to see.(less)
I need to preface this review with the statement that lady pirates are most likely my favorite all-time historical subject. I study and read about the...moreI need to preface this review with the statement that lady pirates are most likely my favorite all-time historical subject. I study and read about them, I watch TV and films with them, I even create my own lady pirate characters for stories. I love them.
So, the fact that this book contained a fierce red-headed lady pirate captain, I was all over it, so to speak. There was the fear that I may be disappointed (it's not like books about lady pirates grow on trees) because this book was written by a male author and told from the perspective of a man. I feared, because I thought the lady pirate may be some unrealistic male fantasy. Alas, no! Captain Hannah Mabbot was a realistic pirate and a fully fleshed out character.
The bare bones of the story is this: chef Owen Wedgwood is kidnapped by Captain Hannah Mabbot after she kills his employer. He gets to keep his life if he cooks one fancy meal a week for her. So, Wedgwood must improvise with the ingredients found on a pirate ship. And I really loved how he worked around getting the ingredients that he got. He had to plan ahead and make deals, it was quite interesting to watch.
But Captain Mabbot isn't just dilly-dallying around eating food, she's after the elusive Brass Fox, with whom she has a mysterious score to settle.
We see all the characters through the view of Wedgwood, and it was quite fascinating to read how his perspective of everyone, and of pirating in general, started to change throughout the months. Of course, the best thing to watch was how his view of Mabbot changed. How she went from a one-dimensional ruthless pirate, to a full formed person with strengths and weakness, goals and fears.
Pirating was not glossed over here, and was not seen as romantic. I thought the book really captured the grittiness of pirating.
I could literally sit here and write paragraphs about Mabbot, but I just have to say I was really impressed. Like I said, it's not everyday a book about a lady pirate comes out, so I have to read what I can get. The fact that I wasn't disappointed in the least, makes me very, very happy. She's everything I love in a lady pirate: the fact that she was really no different from a male pirate. She was realistic, and that's all I wanted.(less)
A delightful story set in 1920s Africa starring a scandalous flapper.
Even from reading the summary beforehand, I still didn't know what to expect when...moreA delightful story set in 1920s Africa starring a scandalous flapper.
Even from reading the summary beforehand, I still didn't know what to expect when I started reading this. It was a fast read, although I'm not sure if the reason for that was the writing style or the fact that the story just moved quickly. Regardless, I never really felt a lull in the story. While it took a little while for the story to get going, once it did, there was no stopping it.
I admit to not reading a whole lot of historical fiction set in Africa, but that was because the books always looked so stuffy. A Spear of Summer Grass managed to evoke the beauty of a country without gagging me with it.
The characters were fantastic, although I admit to not being able to keep some of them straight. The main character Delilah started out as a frivolous, flighty flapper, but her character growth made for great reading.
A fantastic read set in a rarely visited time and location.(less)
The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart picks up right where Darker Still left off. And due to possible spoil...moreA really good sequel to Darker Still.
The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart picks up right where Darker Still left off. And due to possible spoilers, I will refrain from saying exactly what that is. I was wondering how the series would continue after Darker Still; I couldn't see what could possibly happen next.
I will say that the beginning of the book was slow going and I was a bit fearful that the whole book would be like this. Thankfully, once the story settled, it took off and I was engrossed. There was just the right amount of supernatural for me, and I was able to follow all of it. And the spooky moments even went up a notch from the last book. Reading this at night was not a good idea.
This installment of the series introduced some new enjoyable characters that I hope to see more of. And based on how the book ended, there will definitely be a third book, and I can't wait.(less)
I have been sort of skimming books lately, not really engrossed with any of them. So, The Painted Girls came at the right time. I was completely taken...moreI have been sort of skimming books lately, not really engrossed with any of them. So, The Painted Girls came at the right time. I was completely taken with the story and the voices of the two sisters.
Taking place in Paris in from 1878 to the early 1880s, the book is told from the points-of-view of Antoinette and Marie, sisters. Marie is the subject of Edgar Degas famous statue Little Dancer Aged Fourteen. The story is based in fact of the lives of the sisters, and shows how their lives might have been.
I knew I would love this, because stories set in the Paris ballet scene absolutely fascinate me. The nitty gritty behind beautiful production, and the hard and brutal work that ballerinas put their bodies through make for good dramatic stories. And the writing in The Painted Girls perfectly captures the period and the city.
This was a great historical fiction novel, and books like this is why I read historical fiction novels. Highly recommended.(less)
At first look, this looked like another historical fiction tale set during World War II. In some ways, it was, but it had a different settings: a silk...moreAt first look, this looked like another historical fiction tale set during World War II. In some ways, it was, but it had a different settings: a silk factory.
The factory eventually starts making parachutes for the war. This was an interesting perspective: a factory and its workers during wartime.
This book dealt bad choices, regrets, immense love, and bravery.
The point of view we're seeing through is Lily Verner, a young woman who starts working at the family's silk factory. There she finds friendship, love, and learns new and unexpected things about herself.
I'm just giving you the bare bones here, because this book was basically a story about ordinary people during extraordinary times. It will pull on your heartstrings, and like any good book, will make you think about what you might have done in the same situations.(less)