4.5 stars. I was engrossed in this book from the beginning, enthralled by the complex characters, the architecture, the Gods, the political intrigue,4.5 stars. I was engrossed in this book from the beginning, enthralled by the complex characters, the architecture, the Gods, the political intrigue, the clothing, make-up and jewellery. Michelle Moran brings Ancient Egypt to life. This is the story of Nefertiti, narrated by her younger half sister, Mutnodjmet (Mutny) and their family's rise to power. After the death of the favoured son of the Elder Pharaoh, Amunhotep is crowned. Amunhotep despised the rule of his father and all that he stood for. Nefertiti’s marriage to the Pharaoh as chief wife, provides her with the opportunity to gain the everlasting recognition & power she craves. With the encouragement of his wife, Amunhotep forsakes Egypt’s ancient gods, overthrows the priests of Amun, and introduces an untouchable god for all to worship, Aten, a representation of the sun.
Nefertiti’s scheming selfishness, irrational demands, and willingness to sacrifice her sister’s happiness for her own ambitions make her a compelling figure but not a very likeable one. Mutny touched me, I felt emotionally connected to her character. I cried over her losses, railed at those inflicting hurt upon her and cheered her on when she took her happiness into her own hands, defying her sister, all while retaining her own integrity, compassion and deep love for Nefertiti. Through Mutny's skills as a herbalist and healer I particularly enjoyed the indepth look at the herbs of the time and their medicinal uses. I also found Ipu, Mutny's loyal body servant, to be a particularly endearing character. Such a contrast, but entirely relatable, many of us know sisters with similar traits to Nefertiti and Mutnodjmet.
A compelling, intricately woven story with a well researched historical foundation. Ancient Egypt is calling, I'm about to immerse myself in 'The Heretic Queen'....more
I'm sending a big it's all her fault letter thank you to Staci from Life in the Thumb for her glowing review that had me scouring NetGalley f4.5 stars
I'm sending a big it's all her fault letter thank you to Staci from Life in the Thumb for her glowing review that had me scouring NetGalley for The Bungalow. Luckily for me it was still available and on turning the last page on this book my verdict: Enchanting!!
Sarah Jio made me care about the characters, they felt real, so much so that Anne & Westry made my heart leap, then sink, then leap, then sink ... I had my hopes pinned on a HEA for them but at the same time I cringed over Anne's lack of honesty with fiancé Gerard.
He was there, of course - in uniform, shyly smiling at me as the waves fell into the shore. I could hear them - their violent crash, followed by the fizz of a million bubbles kissing the sand. Closing my eyes tighter, I found him again, standing there amid the fog of sleep that was lifting, too quickly. Don't go, my heart pleaded. Stay. Please stay.
My one disappointment: click only if you've read The Bungalow or curiosity gets the better of you (how's that for an all care no responsibility clause lol) (view spoiler)[Why, oh why didn't Anne & Westry have more time? I cried as I read Westry had returned year after year to the bungalow, hoping that Anne had also been back. Reuniting at 90+ years I couldn't help feel sad ... so much time lost (hide spoiler)]
I fell in love with the beautiful island of Bora Bora and Anne & Westry's hidden bungalow, Sarah's lyrical descriptions put me right in the moment; perspiring in the humidity, the sand pushing up between my toes, inhaling the sweet scent of tropical flowers.
WWII, mystery, tragedy, secrets, love and loss, and being a former nurse I adored reading about the nursing corps but this wasn't the highlight, well not for me. Whilst it's all an integral part of the multi-layered plot, giving explanation if not justification for characters' behaviour for me The Bungalow was a beautiful story of relationships, both complex and fleeting, with lovers, family and friends and best of all ~ love that endures.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
4.5 Stars Wolfskin is a powerful, painstakingly researched historical fantasy set against a backdrop of the Viking world and the colonisation of the Sc4.5 Stars Wolfskin is a powerful, painstakingly researched historical fantasy set against a backdrop of the Viking world and the colonisation of the Scottish islands of Orkney. It follows the destinies of three central characters - the Viking warrior Eyvind, would-be king Somerled and Priestess Nessa. Eyvind has grown up with the dream of becoming a Wolkskin warrior of Thor, like his brother. He is set the task of befriending the strange boy Somerled and although Eyvind often fears Somerled's cruel and unpredictable nature, circumstances draw the boys together in friendship and they eventually swear their lifelong brotherhood with a blood bond. Their journey to the Light Isles reveals long denied truths and sets the scene for a page-turning read.
Marillier's connection to the natural world is a beautiful one, nothing is contrived or exaggerated. The imagery was so vivid I felt like I'd been to the Light Isles myself. Eyvind and Nessa are wonderfully drawn characters, sensitively portrayed & I fell in love with both of them. Somerled is the character you love to hate, although his portrayal is also done in such a way that it is possible to see his vulnerability. Wolfskin examines the value in loyalty, the pain of betrayal, the necessity of sometimes denying love and the strength required to do what is right. I can't wait to read Foxsmart...more
4.5 stars This book was highly recommended to me by a friend and I'm so glad I picked it up. The Midwife's Tale is a beautifully written debut novel. P4.5 stars This book was highly recommended to me by a friend and I'm so glad I picked it up. The Midwife's Tale is a beautifully written debut novel. Poignant, raw and sometimes shocking, it portrays with honesty and emotion the realities of life in rural Virginia in the early 1900's. Narrated by Elizabeth, a midwife like her mother and grandmother before her, we experience heartache, love and hardships alongside this strong, compassionate character.
Descriptive birthings, timeworn herbal remedies, sage advice and complex relationships are woven together to create a very moving account. The author doesn't shy away from some of the grimmer aspects of midwifery, such as unwanted babies and newborn deaths, and while I'm sure it's time-true, be warned it does make for bleak reading.
Fear of a dry birth ate its way through my belly. My herbals were useless. I had given her blueberry root and hardhack. I'd forced bitter summer cohosh straight down her throat. Now there was nothing to do but wait. (page 34)
As much as I had once loved this man, I would have loved his baby more. That Alvin thought my love for him greater than my want for a child was strange knowledge, but like a spring tonic, I swallowed it and was made stronger. (page 145)
I loved sharing the wide spectrum of emotions that Elizabeth experiences in her relationships; with her mother, grandmother, her friend Ivy, and the men in her life. With much of her life shadowed in sorrow, it's truly heartwarming when Elizabeth eventually finds love and happiness.
As a lover of stories centred around midwifery or healing The Midwife's Tale certainly ticked all the boxes for me.
Another favourite read for 2008 In this rich tapestry of medieval life Chadwick chronicles the life of William Marshal 'one of Englands's greatest forgAnother favourite read for 2008 In this rich tapestry of medieval life Chadwick chronicles the life of William Marshal 'one of Englands's greatest forgotten heroes' from humble origins through his service to 4 kings & finally as Regent of England. Marshal is loyal to those he pledges his fealty even in the face of death, a rare commodity in an age where many men switched allegiance to suit themselves. He was well known and loved as a chivalrous knight & for his success on the tourney circuit.
When his older brother John inherits the family lands, William travels to Normandy to train as a knight and earns a place in his uncle's household. Here he saves Eleanor of Aquitane from capture by enemy knights & in her gratitude she assigns William tutelage of Prince Henry, heir to the throne. Upon the death of Henry II, Richard impressed with William's loyalty requests that William serve him. For his loyalty and courage William is rewarded with the hand in marriage of Isabelle de Clare (an Anglo-Irish heiress.) Their marriage offers Isabelle freedom (she has been a ward of the Crown for 3 years)& William financial security. Their match which begins as one of expediency soon becomes much more - William refers to Isabelle as his "safe harbour".
The Greatest Knight is a seamless blend of fact & fiction. Elizabeth Chadwick, embellishes those parts of William's life not covered by the biography of his life, the HISTOIRE DE GUILLAUME LE MARECHAL, but in a manner she trusts is consistent with the man's personality and achievements. It was an absolute delight to learn more about this fascinating man, a man of high integrity & morals, loyal character & courageous nature. I look forward to reading the next chapter in William's life - The Scarlet Lion. ...more