Another magnificent release by C.W. Gortner! He excels at bringing the indomitable Queen Isabella of Castile to life in this gripping and unputdownabl...moreAnother magnificent release by C.W. Gortner! He excels at bringing the indomitable Queen Isabella of Castile to life in this gripping and unputdownable novel! Highly recommended!(less)
Never before has a book entranced me the way The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman has. I’ve literally just finished reading this book and I can’t get my m...moreNever before has a book entranced me the way The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman has. I’ve literally just finished reading this book and I can’t get my mind to settle down. It’s almost as if I’ve ran a race, my adrenaline is pumping and my heart beating a mile a minute, scenes from the book keep going around and around in my head. My urgent need to tell everyone about this beautifully haunting book is taking over all other thoughts, so I need to get this review out before I explode!
Alice Hoffman is the author of Practical Magic and The Red Garden, plus many, many other novels but The Dovekeepers is her first historical fiction work. Hoffman was inspired by a trip to Jerusalem, when she visited a place called Masada, a fortress built by Herod the Great that is situated on top of a large mountain, where a group of nine hundred Jews in the first century CE, who had fled their homelands from the invading Romans converged together to escape the slaughter of their people.
The Dovekeepers is the story of four women – Aziza, the girl-warrior; Shirah, the Witch of Moab; Yael, the lioness; and Revka, the revenging mother – who came to Masada after their homes and towns were destroyed, each arriving a completely different woman than who they had been before the invasion. They tell the stories of their own life, prior to and including their time in Masada, up to that fateful day and each story is more haunting and profound than the next.
Hoffman’s writing is among the most exquisite I have ever read! She has expertly woven a tale of tragedy and hope, hate and love, magic and human nature and I was mesmerized by every word. This book should come with a warning as it has the power to thoroughly enthrall a reader, causing them to block out the world around them completely. My household chores were abandoned, husband and child ignored, I was just absorbed into the pages of this novel that everything else took a backseat to the fascinating story enfolding in front of me.
I cried when I finished the novel, not only because of the sad fate of the people of Masada, but because I will miss these four bold and unyielding women. I will carry their story in my heart forever. (less)
No one does Ancient Rome quite like author Kate Quinn and her third novel, Empress of the Seven Hills, is yet another shining example of historical fi...moreNo one does Ancient Rome quite like author Kate Quinn and her third novel, Empress of the Seven Hills, is yet another shining example of historical fiction done right!
Vix is the son of Thea from Quinn’s first novel, Mistress of Rome, and the feisty boy we met previously has grown into a headstrong, obstinate man with a loyal heart…I fell in love with him instantly! Sabina is equally headstrong. She’s a woman who knows what she wants out of life and goes after it, but not in a conniving, scheming manner like Empress Plotina, but rather as an impressive and inspiringly independent woman. Though their passion for each other ebbs and flows throughout the novel, their mutual love for Emperor Trajan unites them against others who threaten his rule and the Empire.
Kate’s talent at writing characters in such a way that the reader becomes totally invested in them is one of her greatest strengths, in my opinion. Combine that with her flawless writing, extensive research and an intriguing, action-packed plot and you’ve got one hell of a read...one that I can't recommend enough!
Quinn ends the book with a hint of a sequel and I can’t wait to see what more is in store for Vix and Sabina! (less)
No one does medieval historical fiction quite like Elizabeth Chadwick, and her latest novel, Lady of the English is just one more example of her enorm...moreNo one does medieval historical fiction quite like Elizabeth Chadwick, and her latest novel, Lady of the English is just one more example of her enormous talent for bringing the past to life!
Matilda has just returned to England after the death of husband, the German Emperor and is welcomed by her father, King Henry I and his wife, Adeliza. The two women become fast friends and a true companionship begins. Before King Henry’s death he makes his noblemen pledge their allegiance to his daughter Matilda as heir, but when the time comes they defy his wishes and her cousin Stephen assumes the throne. Matilda won’t back down without a fight and that’s exactly what she gives him. Factions soon form and the battle is on. Poor Adeliza is caught in the middle of the two sides as her new husband is fighting for Stephen. Adeliza knows that Matilda is the rightful ruler of England, but she loves her husband and wants to be loyal to both.
The characters of Matilda and Adeliza were portrayed wonderfully and Chadwick gives the reader such insight into each woman that when you finish the book you feel as if you’re saying goodbye to a friend. Chadwick’s impeccable research and knowledge of the medieval time period is, as always, very evident and her use of Akashic Records makes her novels that much more so and gives her that extra edge. I cannot recommend Elizabeth Chadwick novels enough, if you haven’t checked her out yet you are really missing out! (less)
When I read and reviewed Gillian Bagwell’s first novel, The Darling Strumpet, last year I knew she would be an author to watch, and boy was I right! G...moreWhen I read and reviewed Gillian Bagwell’s first novel, The Darling Strumpet, last year I knew she would be an author to watch, and boy was I right! Gillian’s sophomore novel of the woman who helped King Charles II escape from the grasp of his enemies and return to his rightful place on the throne of England is an extraordinarily engrossing read!
At twenty-five years of age, Jane Lane still lives at home, is unmarried and unsure of what she wants in life. All she knows is that she isn’t ready to settle down and become a wife to a man that she doesn’t feel passion for. When the exiled and penniless Charles Stuart lands in England to fight for his crown Jane’s royalist family supports his cause and her brothers take up his fight. She’s envious of the freedom their gender enables them and desires more than anything to be able to fight for her king, so when the opportunity arises and Jane is the one person who can help Charles escape from Cromwell’s army, she doesn’t hesitate to accept the challenge. Risking her life and the lives of her family Jane and her cousin race Charles to safety - sidestepping danger and capture along the way.
Charles would not be Charles if he wasn’t charming a lady out of her chemise and Jane succumbs most willingly to his magnetic allure, and a passionate love affair between the two begins, ignited by the dangerous circumstances they find themselves.
I have read quite a few HF novels on Charles II, but none that dealt with this part of his life or his time with Jane Lane, so this was quite a treat for me. Jane was a fabulous heroine and the sacrifices she made to restore Charles to the throne are what earned her a place as an important figure in the history of England and I am so glad to have read about her. Gillian did a wonderful job of bringing Jane and Charles’s story to life, and it’s such an important story to tell because it shows us that despite the limitations of the female gender in the 18th century a woman can and did affect the history of the world.
My congratulations to Gillian for another fabulous historical fiction novel! I loved The September Queen, it had everything that I look for in a novel – drama, romance, danger and adventure. I devoured it in two sittings and my copy is now sitting comfortably on my keeper shelf. Highly recommended! (less)