I gave this book 4 stars as I read it after reading Anna Campbell's first novel, Claiming the Courtesan and while I enjoyed Untouched I felt it was a...moreI gave this book 4 stars as I read it after reading Anna Campbell's first novel, Claiming the Courtesan and while I enjoyed Untouched I felt it was a little undeveloped in comparison.
The characters, Grace & Matthew were atypical which was refreshing (Grace being widowed & Matthew, Marquess of Sheene being held captive in his own home for over a decade and a virgin.) I also found it quite novel that the couple's first sexual experience was unsatisfying for Grace.
There is romance, genuine scenes of fear, sexual tension and sizzling encounters but I thought after the many refreshing differences in this novel, I was disappointed in the ending...yes it was happy, but it seemed an easy option rather than being an ending with more substance. (less)
Barbara Villiers Palmer, labeled the Great Harlot of Charles II, proudly claims her successes at the king’s side, rising in rank and power. Barbara ne...moreBarbara Villiers Palmer, labeled the Great Harlot of Charles II, proudly claims her successes at the king’s side, rising in rank and power. Barbara never proclaims to be anything other than what she is, politically astute, honest and unimpeded by public outrage & social conventions. A great read about a woman I had heard of, but knew very little about, the story of Barbara's life from age 15 to 31. A fascinating blend of history, colour, sexual tension and drama. A really good character study and portrayal of one of history's infamous women.(less)
The Thrall's Tale chronicles the early viking colonies in Greenland and covers the introduction of Christianity to a pagan shore. Katla, a beautiful t...moreThe Thrall's Tale chronicles the early viking colonies in Greenland and covers the introduction of Christianity to a pagan shore. Katla, a beautiful thrall (slave) born to a Christian Irishwoman enslaved in a Viking raid, emigrates with her master from Iceland to Greenland in AD985. Katla joins the household of Thorbjerg, a powerful seeress and gives birth to a daughter, Bibrau. These three women alternatively narrate the tale.
Judith Lindbergh devoted ten years to researching and writing The Thrall's Tale, creating an intriguing mix of historical detail, norse wisdom, mysticism, lust, deception, retribution and love. It is an engaging and challenging read. This isn't a book you will finish in one sitting. There is much to follow, some of the language is uncommon to modern times, and the heritage and mythology of the Vikings can be challenging to follow, although these elements are what add depth and drama to the story. The Thrall's Tale has received mixed reviews due to the "uncommon, occasionally overwrought" language but I found the language quite easy to adjust to and interpret, hence my enjoyment of a historical period little read. A graphic novel full of sensorial detail.
Recommended to: readers of tragic historical fiction, lovers of norse/viking history, maybe not the wisest choice to begin viking history lessons with for those who have read little of that period! (less)
One of my favourite reads of 2008 The Love Knot is set during the turmoil of civil war between King Stephen & Empress Matilda in 12th century Engla...moreOne of my favourite reads of 2008 The Love Knot is set during the turmoil of civil war between King Stephen & Empress Matilda in 12th century England. Oliver Pascal returns home from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land after losing his wife in childbirth. After losing his lands to King Stephen, Oliver becomes a hearth Knight to Robert of Gloucester, illegitimate brother to Empress Matilda. Oliver rescues the only survivors of a village raided by mercenaries, Richard an orphaned boy is the illegitimate son of the old king and half-brother to Earl Robert & Catrin, maid to the young boy's mother and widowed. Richard and Catrin are accepted into the household of Robert of Gloucester but Catrin being an independent, spirited young woman, soon tires of court life. Ehelreda, the old midwife & healer offers to teach Catrin the trade of a midwife & the secrets of her ancient art. I thought Ethel was an endearing character and I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about childbirth and healing in the middle ages.
The Love Knot is a carefully-woven tale, each page flowing with rich colour & detail of the period. The characters are beautifully portrayed & I was carried along by the emerging love between Oliver & Catrin. I liked the fact that they were 'ordinary' characters, a landless knight and a lady's maid.
Much of Elizabeth Chadwick's research is carried out as a member of Regia Anglorum, an early medieval re-enactment society; while aiding authenticity Elizabeth does mention that it is not a guarantee to 100% accuracy. This a vivid historical read intricately woven with romance & mystery (less)
Twilight has become a phenomenon, a dream of Stephanie Meyer's transformed into a bestseller. After every man, woman and dog (okay, slight exaggeratio...moreTwilight has become a phenomenon, a dream of Stephanie Meyer's transformed into a bestseller. After every man, woman and dog (okay, slight exaggeration) had been sucked into the twilight vortex, I finally surrendered to peer pressure (from my over 40 Aunt) and devoured "a vampire story for people who don’t like vampire stories." I must admit, the plot of hot vampire Edward Cullen, falling for ordinary girl Bella Swan, was extremely appealing. The book is marketed at Young Adult readers but as a 'mature' adult myself, I think Twilight has the ability to transcend age barriers and satisfy teenagers and adults alike. A thoroughly enjoyable read which had me almost longing to be a vampire; obviously only of the 'good' vampire variety, strictly non-human consuming.(less)
Kathleen Givens breathes life into history & her characters, creating a moving & captivating story. Set in 13th century Scotland Margaret MacD...moreKathleen Givens breathes life into history & her characters, creating a moving & captivating story. Set in 13th century Scotland Margaret MacDonald is preparing to marry Lachlan Ross, (cousin to King Alexander.) When Ross betrays Margaret, she refuses to marry him and travels to England with her sister Nell and her brother Rignor to ask the King to break her betrothal contract. On returning home, Margaret finds viking raiders have destroyed her home in Somerstrath, decimated her clan & murdered her family. Gannon MacMagnus, a half-Irish, half-Norse warrior offers Margaret hope of defeating the barbarians & reuniting her clan.
I couldn't turn the pages of this book fast enough; the pace was frantic but beautifully developed and I was caught up in Margaret & Gannon's developing love story. Givens weaves the story with breathtaking clarity, showing the raw beauty as well as the brutality of the time. The depictions of the viking raids are violent & graphic as is the carnage in the battle scenes. Difficult to read but it is not just violence for violence's sake.
I found the Author's note referring to which of the characters and events are real, informative & an appreciated addition. Givens admits to mixing fact and fiction but hopes her "depictions are close to the spirit if not the letter of the past." This novel was pure escapism! (less)
4.5 Stars This is an intricately told tale set during the reigns of Louis XIV, XV & XVI with a backdrop of the splendours of the French court, culm...more4.5 Stars This is an intricately told tale set during the reigns of Louis XIV, XV & XVI with a backdrop of the splendours of the French court, culminating with the turbulence & horror of the French Revolution. This sweeping saga chronicles the rise and fall of Versialles, spanning four generations of women from the one family, Marguerite, Jasmin, Violette and Rose, all of whose destinies are entwined with those of their monarchs.
Rosalind Laker's superb imagery and historical accuracy bring 17th & 18th century France to life. From the architectural detail of the Palace of Versailles, the rich colour of changing court fashion, the art of fan-making, the persecution of the Heugenots (Protestants) & the lavishness of court in direct contrast to the plight of the peasants.
In 1664 hundreds of nobles descend on the village of Versailles to pay court to the sun king, King Louis XIV. Augustine Roussier witnesses the birth of a peasant fan maker's daughter and christens her Marguerite promising the mother that he will return for Marguerite on her seventeenth birthday ...and so the story begins.
"Marguerite becomes part of the royal court of the Sun King, but her fairytale existence is torn out from under her by a change of political winds. Jasmin, Marguerite’s daughter, is born to the life of privilege her grandmother dreamed of, but tempts fate by daring to catch the eye of the king. Violette, Marguerite’s granddaughter, is drawn to the nefarious side of life among the nobles at Versailles. And Rose, Violette’s daughter, becomes a lady-in-waiting and confidante to Marie Antoinette."
My small criticism of 'To Dance with Kings'- this is quite a lengthy book & Laker devotes very little time to Violette's character which I found a little disappointing considering her attention to detail with the other characters. However I loved her most sympathetic & to me, more honest portrayal of Marie Antoinette. I was completely enthralled & touched by the Queen's intelligence, courage & love & appalled at the use of her initial extravagant & carefree behaviour as a scapegoat for the King's failings.
Don't expect this to be a quick read, it is however well worth the time.
This beautiful story is a definite keeper for my historical fiction shelf.(less)
I had high expectations for this book based on the glowing reviews but only finished the book through sheer stubbornness and the hope of seeing what o...moreI had high expectations for this book based on the glowing reviews but only finished the book through sheer stubbornness and the hope of seeing what other reviewers saw. I gave the book 1 star only because of the history lesson, the one palatable factor in this otherwise long, dry chew! The reader learns (if they have the staying power) about 18th Century European life & the rigid social structure of the Venetian Republic. The highlight for me was the interactions between the protagonists and Giacoma Casanova.
Di Robilant makes his nonfiction debut with the true story of the forbidden love affair between of one of his ancestors, Venetian noble Andrea Memmo and 16 year old Giustiniana Wynne, based upon the letters passed between the two lovers. I found Andrea and Giustiniana to be narcisstic, fickle & duplicitous. Their casual faithlessness made their written declarations of 'undying love' and 'soul mate' ring hollow and the actual "love letters" were monotonous in the extreme. (less)
I loved Sam's Letters to Jennifer and Susan's Diary to Nicholas so I was hoping that Sundays at Tiffany's would be of the same calibre.
The novel's byl...moreI loved Sam's Letters to Jennifer and Susan's Diary to Nicholas so I was hoping that Sundays at Tiffany's would be of the same calibre.
The novel's byline; 'what if your imaginary friend is your one true love?' had me intrigued and expecting a whimsical, romantic read, but sadly, Sundays at Tiffany's just didn't do it for me.
Now I'm fairly easy to please but I found the prose confectionery sweet and either Patterson or Charbonnet appeared to have a fetish for mentioning brand names, "her hair smelled of Johnson & Johnson's baby shampoo" "...ties from Bergdorf Godman", "his navy blue Ralph Lauren suit" - who cares. I liked the characters but I didn't feel a real connection with Jane & Michael, I felt they lacked depth (that may have been helped along by the Patterson's typical 2 - 3 pages to a chapter.)
This was an OK read, very quick and light but overall I found it disappointing.(less)
This beautiful story gets 4 1/2 stars from me, it pushed all the right buttons. I was caught up in the vivid tale of ghosts, mysticism, love, family t...moreThis beautiful story gets 4 1/2 stars from me, it pushed all the right buttons. I was caught up in the vivid tale of ghosts, mysticism, love, family tradition, legend & vendettas. The men of the St Ledger family must accept the partner chosen for them by the Bride Finder, to do otherwise risks disaster. Practical Madeline Breton arrives in Cornwall to meet her husband, the tormented Anatole St Ledger and the story that follows became a page turner for me (which pleasantly surprised me.) The story unfolded at a believable pace and Carroll's writing made for an effortless emotional connection with the characters and the gothic setting. I thoroughly enjoyed this historical romance with a spellbinding dose of supernatural. (less)