I have heard the word 'Zakka' a lot recently, but really wasn't sure just what it meant - or what the style was. In all honesty, I had not been intere...moreI have heard the word 'Zakka' a lot recently, but really wasn't sure just what it meant - or what the style was. In all honesty, I had not been interested enough to find out more about it. That is, until I saw the cover of this book. I had been looking for a pattern similar to the one on the cover for some time. I am so glad that I got to have a look at this book and learn more about Zakka!
According to author Cecelia Hanselmann, the word Zakka "...originates from a Japanese word which originally meant 'household items', ... In recent years, it has increasingly been used to mean home made everyday items...".
The 'everyday items' in "Zakka Style Gifts" include (a partial list ) the 'Sakura Box Bag' (on the cover), a camera pouch, a tissue holder, an owl paperweight, a mug wrap, a coin purse, table baskets and more. If you like to sew and also like to make and gift handmade items, then this book would be a perfect addition to your library!
This very modestly priced book seems to be available for purchase now, although the official release date is May 13, 2014.
I was browsing the "new non-fiction" stacks at the library when I discovered this book. I took it home not really expecting much since the time of Fre...moreI was browsing the "new non-fiction" stacks at the library when I discovered this book. I took it home not really expecting much since the time of French Revolution, as tumultuous as it was, is not really "my" taste in historical readings.
Imagine my surprise when I could not put this book down! It's a fascinating look at the French Revolution and the demise of the French Monarchy from the view of Marie Antoinette's hairdresser, Leonard Autie.
I have read my share of historical accounts of the last days of the Monarchy in France, and I have read even more about the life and death of Marie Antoinette, but this book managed to fill in some details that I had never known, and I learned a lot that I had not previously known. This book provides fascinating historical details that always manage to provide a broader picture of a particular time in history.
Leonard arrived in Paris in 1769 with nothing in hand except his "magical comb", a few francs and his ambition. He swiftly became the queen's hairdresser, hobnobbing with the powerful nobles of the land. In the years that followed his arrival as a penniless coiffeur, Leonard even had hopes of becoming ennobled himself.
It was Leonard who developed those towering head dresses that always seem to be a part of my collective image of Marie Antoinette. As I looked through the plentiful illustrations of this book (something I truly appreciated) I noticed that these outrageous head dresses manage to balance the equally outrageous fashions of the era, something that I had never considered before. Leonard became fast friends with the Queen's milliner and dress maker, Rose Bertin. I wonder if they planned it all in advance? The "too-wide-to-go-through-a-door" hoops in the dress in sync with the "too-tall-to-go-through-a-door" hair styles!
I had not known that there were actually three royal hairdressers named Leonard (nor had I had ever known the name of the person who created these towering hair styles for that matter). Leonard had also employed his relatives and all three were known as 'Leonard'. I had not known that one of these Leonard's actually had a hand to play in the Royal family's disastrous attempt to flee Paris. The book goes into some very interesting detail about the multiple calamities that doomed this chance at safety, there were so many things that went wrong with the planned escape. If even one of these things had gone right history might well have played out so much differently. The flight of the Royal family is one detail that I had, heretofore, not paid too much attention to, but I found that these details were riveting as I read this book.
This book is filled to the brim with fascinating, little known, information that is, obviously, the product of many long hours of meticulous fact finding and precise historical documentation.
I have often wondered what I would have done had been alive during either the American or the French revolutions. In the past I thought that I might have been more of a Monarchist, but after reading this book I think that I underestimated the reckless expenditures of the royals in France with the destitution of the multitudes. This was a French storm that had been brewing for a long time; similar, but also quite different, from the American Revolution. In hindsight it seems as if these tragedies were almost fated to happen.
The Royals knew no other life but that of wealth and privilege. They thought of money as an endless stream that procured their pleasures and pomp, while the general citizens knew only lives of dire, desperate, poverty that left many dead of hunger. The time of the French Revolution was a flood that washed away the foundations of every belief that had once been known as the law. By the time the Royals knew the extent of the problem it was already too late I think.
This book really helped me to see the Revolution in a very different light than I had previously. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and it written in a very 'readable' style. As I said, I could not put it down!(less)
I generally post my book reviews to my book blog, but this book just "feels at home" here on Musing Crow, and I thought that you might enjoy knowing a...moreI generally post my book reviews to my book blog, but this book just "feels at home" here on Musing Crow, and I thought that you might enjoy knowing about it.
Ruth Isset is one of my favorite color artists. Her passion for color is obvious and dominates all of her work, both textiles as well and paper. I was enthralled by her 1999 book, "Colour On Cloth", which focused on some special effects of dye on cloth and stitch. Her 2007 release "Print, Pattern and Colour" is another favorite . These two books have remained solidly on my book shelf through all of my recent book purges . They are both keepers as is this new book, "A Passion or Colour".
A 'Passion For Colour', whose subtitle is 'Exploring Colour Through Paper, Paint, Fabric, Thread and Stitch', just about says it all. The same passion for color, the same amazing imagery and excellent instructions and the same color sparks for your own creativity abound in the pages of this book. Search Press always seems to hit the 'nail on the head' when they publish textile arts books, and this book is no exception to that rule.
Some sections of the book that I especially enjoyed are: 'developing design ideas (pg 114), 'creating colour charts' (pg 41- these are not just your ordinary color chips) and 'practical application (pg 98). Ms, Isset explores using color families and color combinations to create cloth that has an impact and stitches that create texture. Colorful paper collage is also a part of this book that provides further inspiration, and it is a boon for people like me who are enamored with both cloth as well as paper arts!
Also contained are brilliantly photographed sections about the basics; materials and equipment such as choosing fabrics, papers, threads, paints and markers of various types.
I liked this quote from the author, " ... I am fascinated by how colour responds to different surfaces such as papers, fabrics, threads and fibers, as well as printed and stitched surfaces. How I work tends to reflect the materials and media I use..." and I think that it really reflects what this book explores so well; the different ways that media is affected by both color and materials used.
This is a book that will provide any artist, no matter what their chosen medium, with inspiration and creative ideas. For textile and paper artists I think this book is a treasure trove of information that is sure to get your creative juices flowing. Ruth Isset has another brilliant book to her credit and we all can share in the fun!(less)
I have to admit to having a particular penchant for large books. The thicker the better as far as I am concerned! Often, when I am looking for somethi...moreI have to admit to having a particular penchant for large books. The thicker the better as far as I am concerned! Often, when I am looking for something new to read, if I have an option between a book with fewer pages and one with more, I will choose the thicker of the two.
Sharon Kay Penman's "A King's Ransom" does not disappoint in any way . I loved this book!
It's an unstoppable novel that pulls you in and keeps you right smack dab in the middle of the action. I could almost believe that I 'knew' Richard, Eleanor, Joanne and Berngaria, Mariam, Morgan and all of the other 'major players' of Ms. Penman's other novels as I read this amazing account of "Richard, the man".
(The author likens her previous book, "Lionheart" as the story of Richard, the legend, while this book recounts the story of Richard, the man")
There are not too many authors who can bring me into the time period of which they write. I can count the ones that do on less than two hands. I sharpened my love for 'historical fiction" when I began to read Ms. Penman's earlier works, and I still feel, that to some degree, I judge other authors by her work - as well as by about three other superior historical fiction authors who I think are write exemplary, historically accurate, fiction. My devotion to history (non-fiction) sprang largely from my love of historical fiction. I read non-fiction now with as much relish and excitement as I read historical fiction - all thanks to authors such as Ms. Penman. That's an inspiring debt to have!
This is the tale of the last seven years of Richard's life. These years were filled with torment for Richard, his family and the Kingdom. Held as a prisoner of Henrich, The Holy Roman Emperor, Richard was kept in a torturous dungeon that almost sapped his spirit as well as his life. Richard and his mother, Queen Eleanor, overcame every obstacle that was put in their way - regaining both Kingship and Kingdom through paying a huge, punitive ransom that was followed by years of subterfuge and political rankling. Ricahrd was always at war with France, and the many other dutchies and kingdoms that made up the royal world of the time.
This is also the story of his faithful, but beleaguered Queen Berengaria of Spain; of her loneliness and self-recriminations for not providing Richard with an heir. It is the story of Lady Miriam (a Saracen woman from the Holy Land) and her Welsh love. A love that Miriam came close to losing because of surprisingly modern concerns - those of mixed race children and peer discrimination.
Richard's sister Queen Joanna features heavily in this book as does her love for the 'heretic' Raimond of Toulouse, a man known more for his tolerance than for his prowess on the battlefield. It is also of course, the story of the strength, courage and remarkable intellect of Richard's mother, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. A woman who would have been considered remarkable in our own time, but was truly unique and unexpected in her own time. I would give a lot to have more historical background available about this amazing woman!
I could probably write a short book about all of the reasons why I loved this book, and why I am so sad that I have finished reading it. I hate it when a superb books ends, because then nothing that comes after, for a while at least, quite seems to measure up! This book became a place for me to get lost in, a place where my imagination could spin clothing and colors, odors and fear.
Richard's death came as almost an after thought. It was happenstance . It came from a wound not acquired in the heat of battle or from a disease contracted in the mire of an infested camp ground, but it came as a 'bolt from the blue' as he was inspecting his sappers. A wound that he almost missed! How history might have different but for a few inches! I was especially pleased at the finesse that Ms. Penman used in NOT finishing the book with this wound, for the pages continue to flow for a time after, and follows the lives of the main characters just a bit further down the paths of heir lives. Perfectly done!
One of the things I like the best about Sharon Kay Penman's work is the historical basis upon which she creates her novels. I love reading her "Afterwords" and her "Author's Note's", although it has been said that the Authors Note is not one of the aspects of writing that she looks forward to. Ms. Penman's background in the history about which she writes is formidable, as well grounded as any historian can be. I can read with a good amount of certainty that most of the salient facts of the book are truth-based, and every time I read her Author's Notes I learn something more about the historical novelist's burden of accuracy, for a burden it must surely be to so skillfully weave the facts into the thin veil of fiction.
Had Richard lived today he would be hailed as the worlds foremost commander and political strategist. Had Eleanor lived today she would be running for President or Prime Minister.
This book has been one of my favorite reads in some time. It offers something to please everyone, and, I believe, will become one your favorite new read too! (less)
World War II and the French Resistance is not an area which I generally choose to read about, but when I heard that one of my favorite authors had pub...moreWorld War II and the French Resistance is not an area which I generally choose to read about, but when I heard that one of my favorite authors had published a new book that concerned just those areas I had to read it!
I read, and reviewed Liza Perrat's first book "The Spirit of Lost Angels" last year and it was at that time that I became hooked on Ms. Perrat's writing. In my opinion her work should be far more well known than it is. While I do not know Ms. Perrat, I am a fan of her work!
"Wolfsangel' is a sequel of sorts, but not really. It is a perfect stand alone book. The story line revolves around a small French town during the German occupation of France during World War II. Celeste (Celestine) Roussel is the main character. Her mother runs the centuries old family farm. Aside from running the farm, her work involves assisting women who find themselves inconveniently pregnant, often due to being raped by members of the occupying German forces. Celeste's father had volunteered to go and work in Germany, where the purported pay was good. They had received no word from him though in many months and they had no way of knowing if he was even still alive.
Celeste's sister is nun based in a convent that takes in families at risk from the Germans, and her brothers are part of the Resistance movement, but do not allow Celeste to join them because they fear that she may not be able to withstand the rigors of questioning were she to be found out. The town itself is acknowledged to be a 'hotspot' for Resistance activity. The Germans 'requisition' the best food stuffs from the town has, they take what they want and blackmail those who they suspect may be Jews hiding under the pretext of false papers and new, more French sounding, names. Women are raped, people go hungry, and the German's loot at will.
After one Resistance expedition, Celeste's brothers and friends are arrested and imprisoned. The prison is a place from which most never return. The firing squads make short work of the inmates after they are questioned and severely tortured. We follow Celeste as she matures, becoming involved with the Resistance in her own way as she formulates a plan with other Resistance workers to free her brothers from prison. The brothers are provided with just enough of an infectious serum to make them ill enough to be transferred to a hospital where Celeste has been placed. In a gripping series of chapters their escape is effected and Celeste and her long time friends become well known as good Resistance operatives.
Meanwhile, Celeste becomes involved in a romantic diversion with an unlikely man. A German officer named Martin Diehl. Martin does not relish being in the Army and provides Celeste with a few small luxuries and the security of his protection. They fall in love and talk of a future after the war. This dalliance causes a lot of conflict for our heroine since any sort of relationships with the hated "Boche" is decried by all town members, other than the few who are profiting by the largesse that the Germans can provide.
In a moving chapter, after Celeste is raped by two German officers while Martin is away and cannot provide any protection, her mother shares her own dark secret that had never been spoken of. She too was raped in her youth, perhaps explaining her seemingly cold and aloof manner. Celeste forms a plan as she quietly plans her revenge.
The last part of this book reveals Celeste's plan for revenge, but does her successful plan manage to backfire on the entire town? I just cannot say more without revealing too much of this intricate plot that would spoil it for your reading!
This book is simply wonderful, and I could not stop reading it. I finished it in a day because I could not put it down! The plotline is well constructed, they story is taut and gripping, and the characters are more than well fleshed out. I felt as though I too was a member of the Resistance. The only problem is that the book had an end, and I wanted to read more!
The book is factually based on a real village, true resistance heroes, and a massacre that remains a reminder of the brutality that war can bring. Ms. Perrat provides an excellent epilogue that was also spine chilling reading for me in which she presents the facts from which her story is based.
I learned a lot from this book, one thing is that perhaps I should read more about this brutal period of history. It's really quite amazing to me what the human spirit can survive.
"Wolfsangel" is currently available as an e-book, but the paperback edition is soon to follow.
This book will appeal, I think, to all readers of excellent general fiction as well as those who enjoy historical fiction, and fiction that revolves around World War II. I cannot imagine that reading this book will not move you, and perhaps, as it did for me, teach you a thing or two about what people can, and do, endure in the name of freedom.
I'm not sure what it is about Elizabeth Chadwick's work, but it never fails to mesmerize me, and transport me back in time. When I purchased this book...moreI'm not sure what it is about Elizabeth Chadwick's work, but it never fails to mesmerize me, and transport me back in time. When I purchased this book I was not aware that it was one that I had obviously had missed somewhere along the path of reading Ms. Chadwick's work. It was originally published in 2002. I can't imagine that I would have forgotten reading it when it was new!
This book follows the path of William of Normandy and begins with the year 1067 following the great Battle of Hastings. William the Conqueror is establishing his rule over Britain, and in doing so retains custody of many captured nobles, Earl Waltheof Siwardsson of Huntingdon being one of them. Although he did not fight in the war, Earl Waltheof retains his title but fights to regain his pride of place and his lands from William. Waltheof falls in love with one of Willaim's daughters, Judith.
Reluctantly, after the threat of an uprising against him, William restores Waltheof's lands and grants him marriage to his daughter,Judith. In the years that follow, Judith feels that Waltheof is engaged in some activities that are contrary to his fealty to William, and, through familial treachery, Waltheof is executed. His eldest daughter falls in love with the man who is sent by William to take control of Waltheof's earldom, one by the name of Simon de Senlis, who had been a long time friend, and former squire to, Waltheof. He is also a person for Judith, Matilda's mother, holds no love.
Simon follows the Crusade, leaving Matilda behind to question his fate. Simon;s first love had followed her husband on the Crusdae trail until he is drowns.A dire injury almost takes his life, and Simon is tended to by his first love, who he had taken under his wing. During his convalescence they have a one time resolution to the desire that was founded in their younger years.
After his return from the Crusade, his first love becomes a nun, and Simon returns to his lands and his family. Simon and Matilda long for peace, a commodity that is difficult to come by during this turbulent time. Tension builds in their marriage, but the truth of Simon's "one-night-stand" comes out due to the birth of his bastard child; a child that Matilda must accept and raise in their home after she meets with, and grudgingly accepts, the confession of Simon's early love.
The epilogues for Ms. Chadwick's books are always one of my favorite parts. There she provides the history behind her stories. Much of what she writes is structured on solid historical facts, and I find it utterly fascinating the she "fills in the blanks" so convincingly. Elizabeth Chadwick is one of my favorite historical fiction writers and this book is a credit to her!
Anyone who loves historical fiction, British historical fiction, the history of William the Conqueror, or just a great read, will undoubtedly enjoy this excellent book! (less)
I have been a life long fair tale fan, and I have been a big fan of this fantasy series by Juliet Dark (aka Carol Goodman) since it began with "The De...moreI have been a life long fair tale fan, and I have been a big fan of this fantasy series by Juliet Dark (aka Carol Goodman) since it began with "The Demon Lover". Each of these books works well as a stand alone book though so you don't have to read the entire three book series, but I think that once you read " The Angel Stone" you will want to read the other two books!
Over the course of the last two volumes I have become enthralled with the quirky world of Fairwick College, and the delightful mix of it's inhabitants. The witches, demons, fey,nephilium, and humans are all rife with possibility. The plots all contain what could be considered an allegorical basis in the truth of all humanity and they contain the best elements of what makes up all good, timeless fairytales.
With The Angel Stone this trilogy sadly comes an end. I will miss waiting for the next book in the series,but I will console myself by reading more of Carol Goodman's other novels.
The Angel Stone was a delightful read that held my interest. I almost read it all the way in a day! I love the creativity that comes through in this tale of love lost and found again- of just causes fought for well and won. Although this is a tale of fantasy there are bits of real world wisdom to be found as well
Although YMMV ( your mileage may vary) I suspect that any fantasy/ paranormal or escapist reader will surely enough this creatively written delightful read.(less)
This book is one of those thoroughly unexpected treats that should not be ignored! It was suggested, and provided to me, by the publicist who thought...moreThis book is one of those thoroughly unexpected treats that should not be ignored! It was suggested, and provided to me, by the publicist who thought it might be a book that I would enjoy. I have to admit to being skeptical. How could someone that I don't know at all possibly know what I might like or not? What a shock! She nailed me and my interests perfectly, and I am so happy that she did!
This is a book that deserves a lot more attention that it has, perhaps, received. The author, Helen Bryan, is a barrister, and she is the author of another best selling book, "The War Brides". Perhaps it is her background in the law that facilitates her ability to blend time and space flawlessly and logically. The prose is so well done, and the flow of the book is perfectly paced. It's engrossing!
It's a book that will stay with you. Once I finally opened it I could scarcely put it down. I looked forward to getting up in the morning to read a bit more, and then more at night. Yes, it really is that good.
I suppose one of the things that I really like about this book is that the story straddles two different times in history; the modern day and 16th century Spain during the throes of the Inquisition. Sometimes when authors write books like this, that span different time periods, there seems to be a slight catch or hitch as the book flows from from time period to time period. There is none of that little hesitance in this book, however. The chapters, and time periods, flow seamlessly from one to another and back again, and it all makes perfect sense as you read it too.
The story begins with the modern day and South American orphan girl who is adopted from a South American Convent. The only memories of her birth family are a curious medal and an ancient chronical (written in both Latin and vernacular Spanish). These artifacts are given to the American Southern Baptist adoptive parent with the understanding that, upon her sixteenth birthday, the girl, Menina, would be presented with these mementos of her beginnings in life.
From the present you are sped to Spain in the 16th century. To a convent and to the lives of five orphans who were secreted to the sanctuary of a convent where all women and orphans were accepted regardless of past sins or religious upbringing. The names of these hapless orphan girls are Esperanza, who is 16 years old and whose parents are Muslims. Luz, a dwarf, who is also an heiress, but is not able to speak. Marisol, 14, incorrectly believed to be the misbegotten daughter of a Courtesan and the mad royal prince. Pia, a child of Scandinavian descent whose hair glows like the moon and whose beauty is difficult to ignore, but her mother is a courtesan. Last there is Sanchia, the daughter of Jews who barely escapes the burning that claimed the lives of her parents.
Eventually, as the Inquisition spreads, these children are sent on a journey to the new world in South America. They are sent away in order to protect them because the Inquisitor's are expected at the convent gates at any time, and the sisters do not want their various histories to be discovered lest the be taken by the Inquisitor's and tortured. They are sent with both the chronicle and the medal in the hopes that they will found a new convent dedicated to the healing arts and acceptance of all women no matter their religious beliefs or color. It is also hoped that they may find men to marry and will be able to carry on the mission of the convent.
Swallows, which are so plentiful in Spain, are the symbol that is used to mark both the old convent and the new; they also mark the cover of the chronicle and the medal. The journey takes so many unexpected turns. No one at the main convent knows what became of the orphans nor do the orphans know what happened when the Inquisition came knocking.
Back in the present time, after braking off her engagement to a local political maven's son, Menina , decides to travels to Spain; both to heal her broken heart as well as to do research for a thesis on the artist Tristan Mendoza. Menina now suspects that her ex-finacee wanted to marry her only for the Hispanic voters that she might bring to the political relationship. She wants to escape also from the forced, premarital rape that left her bereft of her future and split her exceedingly 'safe' life apart at the seams.
After an unexpected, severe, storm leaves Menina stranded in a mountainous village just after her arrival in Spain, does her life begin to find renewed meaning, albeit not willingly at first. Due to the storm's effects the phones in the village are not functioning and preclude her trying to contact her parents or the tour director who she was supposed to meet up with in Madrid. The local police officer at first thinks that Menina is a prostitute that has come to the town to join in a yearly celebration. Menina is taken to the mountainous convent where she will find safety and a place to stay until needed repairs are made to the telephone system and allow Menina to leave the village.
At this point the story, along with Menina, blossom with kismet, and the telling of the tale is beautifully done! The separation between past and present becomes a thin veil as Menina uncovers some long lost paintings by the artist, Tristan Mendoza, who she is studying and whose only known works were thought to be found in the Prado Museum in Madrid.
This is how these two diverse stories begin, but the telling is what is entrancing and is what will hold your attention from the first page to the last. I was sorry to have this book end, and I don't too often feel that way no matter how good a book may be.
Some of the publication that was sent to me with the book was particularly interesting and contained some comments by the author about her work.
One of the questions concerned what lasting impression she hoped that the book would leave readers with. Part of her reply included ".. the book is set in two periods of tension, hostility and mistrust between Jews, Christians and Muslims, four hundred years apart but with many parallels..." This is a really relevant comment, but you will simply have to read this gem of a book for yourself to understand what the parallels are!
Read this book! I cannot help but think that you will not regret it. The book should have wide appeal for historical history fans as well as for readers of wonderfully written general fiction. (less)
I worked a bit backwards. I had just finished reading "Arbella: England's Lost Queen" by Sarah Gristwood and, after rea...moreI thoroughly enjoyed this book!
I worked a bit backwards. I had just finished reading "Arbella: England's Lost Queen" by Sarah Gristwood and, after reading "Venus In Winter I am currently reading "Bess Of Hardwick" by Mary Lovell.
Venus In Winter closely follows the historical facts and Ms. Bagwell weaves a delightful, highly believable, tale around the history. Bess of Hardwick was a truly amazing woman who was quite ahead of her time. Intelligent and canny - she made a good life for herself and he family despite the tenuous times in which she lived. She came close to losing everything that she and her husbands had worked so hard for, but came back from the brink and prospered.
This is one of those books that I found difficult to put down. It made me interested enough to read her biography by Mary Lovell. If you love historical fiction, Tudor fiction, British historical fiction or just great fiction in general I think that this book will appeal!(less)
Tales of Jane Shore abound; Mistress to King Edward ,and Lord Hastings, scorned harlot who, under Richard III...moreI thoroughly enjoyed reading this book!
Tales of Jane Shore abound; Mistress to King Edward ,and Lord Hastings, scorned harlot who, under Richard III was forced to walk through London in her chemise holding a candle in repentance of her harlotry, but aside from Vanora Bennet's 2009 e"Figures In SIlk", the life of Jane Shore has not been the subject of much attention by writers. Perhaps that's because of the dearth of extant records about this fascinating woman, but in "Royal Mistress" Anne Easter Smith manages to provide an excellent idea of how Ms. Shore life may have lived.
This book flows well, and I was loathe to put it aside when staying up any later would make my performance at work the next day suffer! The author bases her portrayal on historical records, and she weaves a very realistic tale of what the life of this silk merchant's daughter might have been like. Historical figures breath with life ! In addition, the book provides a realistic 'feel' for what sort lives the merchant class of this time might have lived.
This book should please anyone historical history fan - as well as readers of very well written general fiction. It's a keeper!(less)
At last ! An novel about one of the least well known, but most fascinating of Henry VIII's Queens; Katherine Parr.
Elizabeth Fremantle has finally don...moreAt last ! An novel about one of the least well known, but most fascinating of Henry VIII's Queens; Katherine Parr.
Elizabeth Fremantle has finally done justice to this most enigmatic, free thinking, spirited Queen. Reading this book was a thoroughly satisfying, extremely entertaining read, that I was loathe to put down and sorry when it ended!
The book goes far beyond the usual fare that tell the story Katherine Parr's life. Generally we know her only as the last wife of the saint/monster King, Henry VIII. Sometimes we hear about Katherine's prior marriage to Lord Latymer (Latimer), but seldom do we hear more of the story of this most illustrious Queen.
Katherine Parr was an extremely learned woman, in a time when the education of women was not very much encouraged. Katherine was married and widowed not once, as most tales tell, but twice, and both times at a young age. She was the young wife of aged men who needed a nurse maid more than a wife. Katherin Parr's mother had been associated with Henry's first Queen, Katherine of Aragon and, Katherine Parr was a member of Princess Mary's household at time of her husband, Lord Latimer's death. It was during this time that Katherine Parr caught the eye of King Henry VIII who, at that time, was aged himself and suffering from complications of his ulcerative leg wounds. He too needed a nurse, and one that was amiable and light hearted. Henry appreciated Katherine Parrs intelligence, but she came to great peril, to the extent that Henry issued a warrant for her arrest over her reformist views. It was by chance that the warrant was intercepted before it could be served - gaining Katherine the opportunity to restore herself to the King's affections before any harm could come to her.
Following Henry's death the book go on to chronicle Katherine's passionate love affair with the elegant and worldly Lord Thomas Seymour, for whom she had long held a torch. After marrying in secret they form a household dedicated to the instruction of young, titled wards. Princess Elizabeth and Lady Jane Grey were two of those who benefitted by being under the care of Katherine Parr and her husband, Thomas Seymour.
Katherine becomes pregnant, a blessing that she had never anticipated being possible for her. Thomas with some complicit agreement with Katherine, makes merry with the young and attractive, and somewhat vulnerable Princess Elizabeth. After some time, and repeated protestations from Elizabeth's nurse, Kat Ashley, that Thomas' involvement with Elizabeth was becoming unseemly, the dowager Queen Katherine has Elizabeth moved to another residence, while Jane Grey remains behind. Jane Grey ultimately, becomes Katherine's chief mourner when she dies not long after giving birth to her daughter. Not much remains in the history book of what become Katherine's much longed for daughter, Mary (named for Princess Mary).
This book is well researched, very well written and is gem to read. It will hold much appeal for a wide variety of readers; historical fiction fans (especially those who are Tudorphiles or British history buffs), general fiction readers, possibly romance readers and anyone who enjoys a really good book that you are sorry to see end. I really don't think that you will be disappointed in any way with this riveting read!
I eagerly await Ms. Fremantle's next offering!(less)
For me, this was a book like no other! I have not found myself underlining, making margin notes and dog earring a book for many years - but this book...moreFor me, this was a book like no other! I have not found myself underlining, making margin notes and dog earring a book for many years - but this book just ignited me so much that I had to make notes, notes and more notes! I did not merely really like this book, I loved it! No, I have none of those conspiratorial affiliations or associations - this book is just unique and very different. I'm a history buff, especially a British history buff, and I love the cultural aspects of history. This book could have been more tailored to my interests!
Susan Bordo is a philosopher, cultural & feminist historian, and humanities scholar from the University of Kentucky. She has presented us with a finely detailed, acutely researched and edifying history about the 'becoming' of the famous English Queen, Anne Boleyn. Ms. Bordo details precisely how the myth of Anne Boleyn has been created, defined and re-defined over the centuries.
This is not just a history book, nor is it to be considered necessarily biographical in nature. It is rather a book that details how the cultural history of Anne Boleyn over the centuries has morphed into the myth behind the Queen and about how those myths have shaped our understanding, and our version about the 'reality' of this fascinating woman, who, many feel, was a modern age woman confined by the 'feminine strictures' of her 16th century world. Anne Boleyn; was she a saint or a sinner? Was she really the instigator of reformed religion in Britain? Was she, in fact, malformed? Did she truly have the adulterous relationships that led her to the scaffold or was this simply a conspiracy that allowed Henry to bed a more fecund woman who could, he hoped, provide him with a true heir to his throne? How have the myriad characterizations of Anne in books, plays and movies, shaped our common perception of her as a female and Queen? What do we really know about the woman who was Anne Boleyn.
Drawing from myriad and prime sources such as the writings of Eustace Chapuys ,and Thomas Wyatt, Ms. Bordo sets the stage for the beginnings of the mythology that would develop. Topics covered in this book include how a variety of plays and movies, and the actors and actresses in them, have formed a part of our cultural understanding of Anne Boleyn. Ms. Bordo goes into detail about how each actress who has portrayed Anne Boleyn, and each writer who has written about her, have added their own 'personality' stamps to our conceptualizations about this legendary Queen. She has interviewed many of the living actress' and writers up to, and including, Natalie Dormer who played the Queen in the acclaimed TV series, "The Tudors" and writers such as Hilary Mantel. "Additionally, Ms. Bordo has spoken to the directors of plays and films about Anne Boleyn as well. She has researched all of the biographies and extant writings about this, most famous, Queen, and she delineates how these very diverse depictions have shaped our modern understanding and cultural opinions about this maligned, but thoroughly modern, Queen and woman by looking at her in relation to the realities and social norms of her own time.
I especially like an included quote from the famous author, Hilary Mantel, ( author of "Wolf Hall" and "Bringing Up The Bodies" fame) which states "...we always write from our own time...". How true is that? Each generation puts it's own stamp on the 'reality' of history and historical figures. Ms. Bordo attempts to sift through the various 'versions' of Anne Boleyn that have been devised by many authors, film makers, actors, and 'news' sources over the ages to try to distill what the reality of Anne Boleyn was.
I even enjoyed the Chapter headings of the book! They are all so descriptive! Here are a few: Part One : Queen Interrupted Henry: How Could He Do It? Part Two : Recipes for Anne Boleyn Annes After Lives from She-Tragedy to Historical Romance The notes and sources pages are monumental! The pages are filled with rich fodder for future reading. The sources include books, periodicals, and websites. Another favorite inclusion is a "fact checker" which posits the facts versus the fiction in some well read books such as "The Other Boleyn Girl" by Philippa Gregory.
When I read historical fiction I remember, first and foremost that I am reading historical fiction - not history. One of my favorite things to do is read a good historical novel along with a non-fiction book concerning the same time period. I enjoy understanding to what extent the author has used the facts and how they have woven their fiction around the facts.! I think doing this had provided me with a wealth of solid historical background that I would certainly not have enjoyed had I merely read the fictional work. I love factual history, which in many cases, can be even more fascinating than fiction!
Have a look at "The Creation Of Anne Boleyn's" Face Book page and the author's blog/website.
This book was a delight to read, and I know, without any doubt, that it will be of interest to a wide array of people; those who love history, those who love British history, cultural historian fans, those who question how the media can "make or break" popularity. It's winner of a read!
This is the advertising verbiage for the book:
"...Part biography, part cultural history, The Creation of Anne Boleyn is a fascinating reconstruction of Anne’s life and an illuminating look at her afterlife in the popular imagination. Why is Anne so compelling? Why has she inspired such extreme reactions? What did she really look like? Was she the flaxen-haired martyr of Romantic paintings or the raven-haired seductress of twenty-first-century portrayals? (Answer: neither.) And perhaps the most provocative questions concern Anne’s death more than her life. How could Henry order the execution of a once beloved wife? Drawing on scholarship and critical analysis, Bordo probes the complexities of one of history’s most infamous relationships.
Bordo also shows how generations of polemicists, biographers, novelists, and filmmakers imagined and re-imagined Anne: whore, martyr, cautionary tale, proto “mean girl,” feminist icon, and everything in between. In this lively book, Bordo steps off the well-trodden paths of Tudoriana to expertly tease out the human being behind the competing mythologies...." (less)
I wasn't quite certain what to expect when I began reading this debut historical novel by Kate Alcott book, but since I have a yen for the turn of the...moreI wasn't quite certain what to expect when I began reading this debut historical novel by Kate Alcott book, but since I have a yen for the turn of the 19th century (prior to WW I) I thought I'd give it go. I was most happily surprised with an excellent read that is historical fiction at some of its best.
The book begins as a young Tess Collins flees from the home where she is employed doing menial labor and stitching for the family of a vexing, sexually groping teenaged boy. Determined to better herself, and become the dressmaker that she dreams of becoming, Tess rashly flees the house and heads to the dock where the Titanic is tied up, waiting to begin her ill fated voyage to America and the history books. Somewhat easily, Tess wrangles a position as a lady's maid to the famous designer, Lady Duff Gordon (aka Lady Lucille) and quickly finds herself surrounded in a luxurious world of good food, designer clothing a soft bed, kind gentlemen and an imperious mistress. On board Tess makes the acquaintance of an interesting, well dressed,well mannered handsome man, Jack Bremerton. She also becomes friendly with a sailor named Jim.
From this point the book covers much of the usual Titanic fare. The iceberg and the ill trained staff, the life boats that launched half empty and the flailing and screams that came from the tortured waters. Tess and the Duff-Gordons are separated and wind up in separate life boats. Eventually rescued by the crew of the Carpathia the story picks as the differing tales of what really happened in those life boats begins. Tess imagines that the fascinating Jack did not survive as there had been no word of him. Jim and she meet on the deck of the Carpathia, both had survived.
Upon arrival in New York the few surviving passengers and crew begin to pick up the remnants of their lives. Tess moves with the Duff-Gordons to the Plaza hotel and is hired to be 'an assistant', rather than a maid, in Lucille's dress atelier. Jim manages to locate Tess, and they discuss those fateful hours together. Jack Bremerton is, indeed, found to have survived the tragedy. He finds Tess and begins courting her. A female reported for the New York Times called Pinky becomes involved with the investigation, and befriends both Tess and Jim. Ultimately, the Senate becomes involved in the investigation and survivors and crew are called upon to testify. There are allegations that Lady and Cosmo Duff Gordon bribed the sailor to not go back for more survivors and that they pushed people back into the sea fro fear that they would be swamped in the effort.
The cast of characters is well rounded and well fleshed out. The 'unsinkable' Molly Brown is also one of the characters in this novel. What I really liked about this book is the historical portrait of the times that it provided. The suffragette movement and women's rights for equal pay were in full swing during this time period, as was the beginning of the industrial revolution. The times were changing, and the people were trying to adapt to the world that I think they felt was becoming out of control. This book presents not only a portrait of a tragedy it amply provides a fleeting glimpse of what the world was like during these precious pre war moments... it was a time on the brink of change and this book brings you into the time and the place quite well.
I found myself fully involved in these characters and in the times in which they lived. Ms. Alcotts presentation was flawless and I look forward to her next book! (less)
First let me say that when I saw this book my immediate reaction was - oh no pompoms! I do not like pompoms; never had and I thought I never would! Th...moreFirst let me say that when I saw this book my immediate reaction was - oh no pompoms! I do not like pompoms; never had and I thought I never would! Then, as I turned the pages of this charming little treat of a book I realized that although these little cuties are made from wool pompoms, they aren't pompoms as we normally think of them. These are haute pompoms!
The author, Myko (think mike-o") Diann Bocek, is a Beatrix Potter fan and her pompom creatures are born from Beatrix's delightful whimsical creatures. Beatrix Potter also filled my childhood with delight and I remain a huge fan of her work to this day.
If you can, for a moment, consider what Beatrix Potter's creatures might look like as pompoms you will get an idea about what's in this charming little book.
I am going to give making these a whirl - they are too cute not too. These haute pompoms are all made from luscious wool yarn and roving and they become shaped like whimsical creatures. Not my typical type of art making - by these are just too adorable not to give them a try.
Don't be put off by the word pompom - if you are like me - this book really deserves your attention! If you are already a pompom lover than you have to have this book.!
I'm not sure how Lark manages to produce such high quality, visually beautiful books - but this one is a bargain!(less)