While the American Civil War rages near her isolated Virginia farm, Hannah Deane Carter finds a wounded Confederate soldier collapsed and near death....moreWhile the American Civil War rages near her isolated Virginia farm, Hannah Deane Carter finds a wounded Confederate soldier collapsed and near death. With the help of her father’s former medical assistant—Jeb, who also happens to be a free black man—she nurses him back to health. They are both hiding secrets and wary of each other from the start, but through many weeks convalescing (and the author's use of flashback storytelling) the pair form a bond that will test the boundaries of trust, honor and love.
Hannah is a sympathizer who operates a safe-house for runaway slaves, while the gentleman solider, Beau, is being pursued by his own men under mysterious circumstances. Their future together hangs in the balance as the narrative plays out, with each of the endearing characters offering up a retelling of the past and a unique perspective of the war.
Though not overly detailed with fighting and political topics, this story does cover the plight of a suppressed people. The heart of this novel is the love story between Hannah and Beau, with a lengthy chapter on her parents' story as well. As usual, the author has used a real-life inspiration to create her protagonist, with charmingly naive quirks, but a pure and happy heart. Beau is a gentleman with a Southern disposition, but not untouched by his discoveries at the Deane farm.
This novel will delight readers looking for an inspirational historical romance, but may not interest those seeking a war novel, as it's character driven instead of a minute detailing the setting and events. As usual, Ginger Myrick's eloquent writing style, precise structuring and compelling narrative shine through and prove that there are quality self-published novels on the market!(less)
From British occupied India to the Kings of France, the Pitt Diamond – later named the Regent – saw many royal personages throughout its history. It w...moreFrom British occupied India to the Kings of France, the Pitt Diamond – later named the Regent – saw many royal personages throughout its history. It was first discovered by a slave toiling the mines and slipped through several hands of thieves and vagabonds before finding its way to Thomas Pitt, Governor of Fort St. George, who saw the diamond as a means to improve his family’s fortune and status. By this time the diamond was rumored to be bad luck to any who possessed it, which is the premise for this intriguing story.
Most of the story is told as a history being written by Count Las Cases, an exile on the island of St. Helena and companion to Napoleon. His main duty is to help the emperor write his memoirs, but as a further diversion from the unfriendly British guards and the jealous servants, Las Cases begins research on a subject that intrigues both himself and the emperor.
As Las Cases tells the history of the diamond, the emperor reads over his work and inserts his own facts and opinions, though Las Cases writes much in code – most frequently when he comes to the point in the history where Napoleon possessed the stone. There is a chapter near the end called The Emperor Breaks My Code which is among the more humorous parts of the book.
Thomas Pitt, grandfather of William Pitt the Elder and great-grandfather of William Pitt the Younger (Napoleon’s ultimate rival), the first owner of repute, tries to sell the diamond to many royals before it is finally purchased by the Duc d’Orleans, who is acting as regent for the boy king, Louis XV. The diamond remains the property of France’s crown jewels through Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, but is stolen during the French Revolution. Rediscovered, it is locked away by the new government and then comes into the hands of Napoleon, who refuses to give this one diamond to his jewel-obsessed wife, Josephine. Into the hilts of several swords it went, until his final exile to St. Helena. After Napoleon, as the government swayed from kingdom to empire under the remaining Bourbons and Bonapartes, the Regent diamond adorned the ruling power and was finally interred at the Louvre museum.
This book, though only 304 pages, is a hefty read and not for those who enjoy light, easy novels. In fact, it seems more like a non-fiction biography most of the time. I have researched some of the events mentioned and for the most part it is accurate, though the author has a note at the beginning that states there is fiction intermingled.
I enjoyed this book immensely and recommend it to those interested in the history of France. There are many details from the courts of Louis XIV, Louis XV, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette as well as the courts of surrounding countries. The French Revolution is seen through the eyes of an émigré and, of course, directly after is the time of Napoleon. Most interesting to me is the history after Napoleon, as I was not familiar at all with this area of history and I learned much about the times. From fashion to court etiquette, through desperation and debauchery, this is truly an amazing story – not just about a diamond, but about the people whose lives were affected by it.(less)
Based on the little known early life of Elizabethan lady Bess of Hardwick, this novel spans three decades during one of England’s most perilous eras....moreBased on the little known early life of Elizabethan lady Bess of Hardwick, this novel spans three decades during one of England’s most perilous eras. Through the eyes of an impoverished girl turned great landowner, the events surrounding the courts of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I are brought to life, with descriptions of religious divisions, marital disputes and political intrigue. Bess, who married four times, increasing her fortune and status with each, was also victim to misfortune as she witnessed many friends and loved ones suffer during the turmoil of the Reformation.
The beauty of this story is that it does not cover the time period for which Bess is famous—acting as keeper of Mary, Queen of Scots, along with her fourth husband, George Talbot, the Earl of Shrewsbury—but fleshes out her younger years from childhood. It’s such an interesting story that it kept this reader up late a few nights! I highly recommend it for Tudor fans and those looking for a view of royalty through an honest and intriguing character rarely found in historical fiction.
Del Ryan is a young Irish immigrant eking out a living for herself and her invalid mother by serving as a companion to an aging socialite. She has lit...moreDel Ryan is a young Irish immigrant eking out a living for herself and her invalid mother by serving as a companion to an aging socialite. She has little in life, but nonetheless is happy with her humble existence, enjoying friendship with her fellow workers and a few neighbors, as well as her sometime hobby of drawing and painting. She never thought her world would change, and in such an extraordinary way, when she meets Cillian Arthur--an upper class gentleman who is seemingly perfect and somehow decides to court the impoverished girl from the rough and dangerous Irish neighborhood, Five Points.
While Jimmy Sheehan, Del's childhood friend, and Cillian vie for Del's attention, there is a sinister atmosphere in the poorer areas as a succession of women are found strangled, and all seem to have a connection with the trio. Prone to vivid dreams that often foretell the future, Del becomes privy to disturbing clues as to the identity of the murderer, haunting her waking hours. She reluctantly comes to terms with fate, though something deep within her continually fights her sound reasoning about the sudden changes in her once mundane life. She must ultimately decide who to trust and how far she should go in giving away her heart and ensuring a better life for her mother and herself.
While this is something of a historical mystery, it is also a story about family, friendship and love with many heartwarming moments--taking away from the macabre theme of the story. The setting and tone is perfect for the characterization, and the author keeps the reader guessing the identity of the murderer to the very end. This is another great read from a talented author, and shows her obvious skill in writing a different genre. It is recommended to mystery, romance and historical novel fans!(less)