I have to start out this review with a disclaimer. This is a wonderful piece of historical fiction. The author, Philippa Gregory took facts and obscur...moreI have to start out this review with a disclaimer. This is a wonderful piece of historical fiction. The author, Philippa Gregory took facts and obscure history to weave an exciting tapestry of power, greed, and betrayal set against the backdrop of the late medieval British court in the late 1400's.
Our heroine Elizabeth Woodville, comes from mostly humble origins with a uniqueness of her own. Her mother's Burgundy family are descendants of a water goddess, Melusina. Wishing, tricks and witchcraft do make recurring appearances in this book. Elizabeth starts out begging the new King, Edward IV for her deceased husband's land as an inheritance for her two sons. After this initial meeting, Elizabeth wins the heart of the new young King and they secretly marry. Edward is from the House of York that took the throne by force through war from King Henry of the House of Lancaster.
Throughout this book, King Edward has to constantly fight to keep his throne from the former King Henry and his plotting wife, Margret de Anjou. This is the first book of a War of the Roses trilogy. This war is also called the Cousin's war where cousins fight against cousins depending on loyalties and physical location in the kingdom. It also eventually turns into a brother's war, brothers fighting against brothers. King Edward not only has to constantly defend his throne and royal line, but he has to do so against his brothers George (who dies a traitor's death) and Richard (who betrays his loyalty to his brother and king) after his trusted adviser, the Kingmaker, Warwick decides to take his power and elevate himself or his family towards the throne once he no longer has control over what Edward does. Edward starts listening to his wife's advice.
I think a central theme in this book is women of incredible strength. It seems back then (a time period where enlightenment was just starting) in order to survive you had to have faith and a strong constitution to make it through life during a time when women were only valued for the heirs that they left. Women were seen as a commodity, and only worth the grave or a nunnery if they could not produce sons. Which was an incredible feat back then to survive childbirth, let alone have multiple children or even multiple sons. Elizabeth Woodville is with child almost every year to secure her husband's line and the Plantagenet rule. (Plantagenet rule was before Tudor rule, the Tudor royal line was established once the throne was fought and won). Being a strong woman was even more necessary to plan and plot to keep your family in power if you were Queen of England.
One way Elizabeth did this was through wishing, sometimes ill wishing, magic tricks, and the like taught by her mother. Sometimes it seemed like Elizabeth did not believe in this, but it gave her courage to do so. Other times in this novel, her wishing did help turn the tide in her family's favor, but always came back to her to ruin whatever goal she and her family were trying to achieve. Her family was never really safe from the curses and prayers she offered. Her mother and herself were accused of witchcraft at one point in the book.
After King Edward dies, we see Edward's sons, the Prince and soon to be King Edward and his brother Prince Richard in danger of their lives from their uncle (Edward IV youngest brother) who swore to be an adviser and protector until Prince Edward could rightfully rule by himself, now this uncle is a claimant as King himself. More battles are fought, new men rise to power, such as Henry Tudor and a Howard (Ann Boleyn's ancestor)set their sights from winning the throne for the young king, to then plotting for the throne themselves. Unfortunately the young king is lost, and presumed dead. His brother is put into safe hiding. The loss of Prince Edward is heart wrenching. The reader never knows for sure if he is alive or will be found. Elizabeth believes for the longest time that he cannot be dead, despite various rumors circulating the kingdom. Then she finally accepts that this must be so, that her oldest son will never be able to claim what is rightfully his. The end of the book closes with the return of Prince Richard to Elizabeth.
True to British court at this time and Gregory's writing we are caught up in an onslaught of constant plotting and intrigue. This really drives the book forward, without it, the novel would have dragged on, which it unfortunately does in some parts. I liked the paranormal aspect of Elizabeth, but felt at some parts I was reading two different books at the same time, the different aspects didn't always connect neatly. This being said, I rate this book a solid 3.5 stars out of 5 and recommend this book to any Gregory fan or someone looking for a solid British historical fiction to try. I am interested in checking out the next book in the series, The Red Queen, which is released August 19, 2010.(less)
I have to say that this third book in the Jane Jameson series is the best so far. Jane Jameson, a newly turned vampire (a ye...more*review contains spoilers*
I have to say that this third book in the Jane Jameson series is the best so far. Jane Jameson, a newly turned vampire (a year ago) goes to Europe on vacation with her sire/love Gabriel whom she first met in book 1 (Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs) after she was fired from her small town's library as the children's librarian. Only given a coupon for potato skins instead of a last paycheck, Jane goes and get trashed while talking to a handsome stranger (Gabriel). She leaves the restaurant alone, but has car problems and is accidentally shot (mistaken for a deer by the town drunk). Gabriel happens to come by and save her. Through the first two books Jane adjusts to life as a vampire and her relationship with Gabriel only to have it incredibly strained in this book. He keeps receiving cryptic notes and phone calls throughout their trip to Europe and will not tell Jane what is going on. Jane can only assume the worst, Gabriel is cheating on her, with someone from his past. Jeanine. Jane goes back home when she learns that there was a break-in at her newly inherited and renovated occult bookstore called "Specialty Books." Which carries everything from the latest PNR to the titles of helping the supernatural cope with everyday life. Andrea (a friend and human) helps Jane at the store along with her vampire friend, a good looking, up to no good man, named Dick Chaney. Things start to get weird for Jane when a creepy human descendant (Emery) of her deceased boss arrives and is nosy about the store's expansion, inventory, bank account, etc. Jane starts receiving cryptic letters from this woman who tells Jane that she was a childe of Gabriel's and that they were lovers and Jane needs to stay away. Zeb and Jolene (Zeb's new bride who happens to werewolf) are expecting twins. Attempts where made on Jane's life, Gabriel comes back into the picture and starts being honest with Jane about who Jeanine is. A selfish hypocondriac from the 1950's who was his first childe. He was forced into changing her against his will and certainly against his better judgement. She was never a lover, but believed that Gabriel didn't turn her properly and was holding out, so she continuously stalked Gabriel to try and change his mind. Even if that meant hurting Jane and her friends. Andrea is kidnapped on Halloween from the store. Jane is attacked by the newly turned Emery, who worships Jeanine and her every move. He is convinced that a book his uncle had in the store when he was a child contained information to help Jeanine be turned again properly. She is then kidnapped only to come face to face with Jeanine, she takes her usual sarcastic approach with Jeanine and finds out Emery changed Andrea against her will. Emery learns that everything he did has consequences. He thought being a vampire meant you had no rules. Dick and Gabriel save the day. Jeanine ends up killing herself in a stubborn childish fit when Gabriel won't do what she wants. Andrea adjusts to her new life incredibly fast, all is well. I cannot wait for the next book, I really hope there is more to this series. I really do not have any complaints for this book. It held my interest the entire time, it is definitely the best out of the series. (less)
I don't want to write a detailed review because I am afraid I won't give this book justice, but I will say a few things. First of all, I absolutely lo...moreI don't want to write a detailed review because I am afraid I won't give this book justice, but I will say a few things. First of all, I absolutely loved this epic historical romance (labels are tricky)! It includes mystery, intrigue, fighting, every day life in a Scottish castle, every day life at a Scottish farm, a witch trial, history, betrayal, time travel, clan interactions, and certainly not least love. I laughed, I cried (several times), I was happy, sad, angry, anxious, and enamored. If a book can do all that to you, it is definitely worth the read. I totally recommend this book to everyone. Do not let the length of this book deter you, you will not be able to put it down.
The book starts out during 1940's where two English people, Claire and Frank Randall go to Scotland for a second honeymoon. Both were a part of WW2. Frank is a historian and Claire is a nurse. They have been separated as their duties led them for eight years during war. This second honeymoon was sort of a reacquaintance. While Claire was devoted to Frank, I really couldn't feel the love between them. I don't think it went past common curtesy. Claire goes sight seeing one day while Frank is busy looking at documents where she comes across a small stone henge she has visited the day before. She is catapulted back in time to 1743. She is met with a group of British soldiers who mean her harm only to be rescued by the Mackenzie Scottish clan. Here she quickly falls into becoming the castle's healer, Claire constantly waits for an opportunity to escape and go back to the stone henge and back to her life. One of the first Scottish men she meets is Jamie Frasier, in my opinion is one of the most well written heroes ever (it is impossible not to fall in love with him). I don't want to give to much away, but through a series of circumstances they must leave the castle and wed. What starts out to be a matter of convenience only blossoms into one of the greatest love stories of all time. Claire is faced with the decision later to stay with Jamie or go back to her time. She chooses the right choice, which is Jamie. Captain Randall, one of the British soldiers Claire meets first once walking through the stone, is in fact a six times great grandfather of Frank, is the nemesis of Jamie, one of the most evil and cruel characters I have ever come across. He tortures Jamie in the end and threatens to break all that Claire and Jaimie live for. In the end, nothing can stop our heroine and hero, they definitely get their HEA and the ending sets up nicely for book 2, Dragonfly in Amber. I am definitely a fan of Diana Gabaldon and the characters and world she has created. She is truely an amazing writer.(less)
Release date: July 6, 2010 Looks like this book is a sequel to "Kiss and Hell" which also happens to be my favorite book to date from Dakota Cassidy. I...moreRelease date: July 6, 2010 Looks like this book is a sequel to "Kiss and Hell" which also happens to be my favorite book to date from Dakota Cassidy. It was way better than her accidental friends series!
Brief synopsis: After defying Lucifer to save her best friend Delaney, ex-demon Marcella Acosta has been banished to exist in the plane between heaven and hell — and there isn’t a shopping mall in sight. After numerous failed attempts to contact Delaney through a bunch of hack mediums, Marcella’s at her wit’s end. But there’s one medium she’s hasn’t tried yet, and he just happens to be Delaney’s scorching hot brother Kellen — the one guy who never gave Marcella the time of day.(less)
This one started out a little slow but did pick up. I became engrossed in the story. It could have been condensed but I definitely loved seeing what J...moreThis one started out a little slow but did pick up. I became engrossed in the story. It could have been condensed but I definitely loved seeing what Jamie, Claire, and the rest at Fraser's Ridge were up to. I look forward to reading the next two books in the series to see what happens.(less)