This book is great fun, and filled with lots of historical detail very cleverly worked into the story without the author imposing her knowledge in anThis book is great fun, and filled with lots of historical detail very cleverly worked into the story without the author imposing her knowledge in an arrogant way or lecturing the reader.
The book follows the exploits of Mara, a slave who quickly bcomes involved in the fight for the throne between Hatshepsut and her brother (the rightful Pharaoh) Thutmoses. Lots of intrigue, some romance.
Not the sort of book I would usually read but it had been recommended to me by the "Egyptian Realms" Goodreads group, and I'm glad I read it. Recommended if you're looking for fun set in what appears to be an accurate description of ancient Egypt....more
The third in the Taj series, following The Twentieth Wife, and The Feast of Roses. I have thoroughly enjoyed this series, especially having travelledThe third in the Taj series, following The Twentieth Wife, and The Feast of Roses. I have thoroughly enjoyed this series, especially having travelled through these regions, and visited the various cities, forts, palaces and of course the Taj Mahal. It is so easy to picture the events occuring in the places I have visited.
I found the third book enjoyable but it did involve recapping at times, necessary for those who read this book as a stand alone. Initially this was a little annoying but soon the story swept me up and any annoyance left me.
I particularly like the author's attention to detail and her vast historical knowledge. Coupled with good writing skills this makes for great reading, and adds interest to those with a passion for historical fiction based on solid facts. ...more
A great snap shot of travel in the 1950's. Two British young men travel through Iran in an old and somewhat unreliable Land Rover. They encounter a feA great snap shot of travel in the 1950's. Two British young men travel through Iran in an old and somewhat unreliable Land Rover. They encounter a few 'situations' where running away seems the best option; their sense of humour shines through in patches. A memoir of travel and more gentle times in Iran; sad to realise how much has changed....more
**spoiler alert** 2 stars for the first third of the book which to me dragged on with detailed descriptions of the London life mid 1800's. It dragged**spoiler alert** 2 stars for the first third of the book which to me dragged on with detailed descriptions of the London life mid 1800's. It dragged not because London life was uninteresting but because the characters held no real appeal for me. We are presented with Mariella, a well behaved young woman who seems incapable of stepping outside the prescribed ways of behaviour. She is 'destined' to marry Henry, a cousin of sorts, who makes good as a surgeon in London. The pair seem fairly soft, and as such as well suited, but make for a rather uninteresting tale. Henry nobly heads off to the Crimea leaving Mariella behind to miss him (but not that much really - is there any real love between them?).
The other characters have more life: Rosa, a cousin who will break every law in order to do what she chooses, who desperately wants to nurse, to break bonds, to take chances. It also appears that Rosa is in love with Mariella, a love which is described throughout the book but which is not defined as lesbian, however I think the reader can sort this out for themselves. Rosa's stepbrother Max, the naughty boy, who joins the army and serves in the Crimea. Can you see where this novel is headed yet? Yes, they all end up in the Crimea - Henry as surgeon, Max as soldier, Rosa as nurse. Except it all goes wrong.This is where the book earns its stars.
The household hears that Henry is unwell, and Mariella with her maid Nora, head over to Italy. Henry is delirious and raves about Rosa and his love and passion for her (ah, so the man does have passion in his body after all, but not for Mariella).
Devastated Mariella and Nora head to the Crimea to find Rosa who, refusing to stay shackled to the rules of the Nightingale hospital system, has disappeared at the front lines. Max is a constant presence, and he ignites the passion that has been missing in Mariella’s relationship with Henry.
It is as Mariella leaves London that she develops as an interesting character. Her ability to find ways of surviving in the midst of the battlefield is believable and within character, drawing on the very few skills she possesses. In fact it is the battlefield which reveals everyone’s true strengths and weaknesses – Henry doesn’t manage, falls to pieces; Mariella and Nora thrive; Rosa pursues her independent passion, and Max pursues both Rosa and Mariella but for different reasons.
Initially I wanted to abandon this book because I felt it had no substance. The descriptions of London life fell short of Heyer’s fun and details, and the main characters seemed insipid. However I am glad I persevered, because the tale becomes enthralling. The last section in particular keeps you up until all hours to reach the conclusion.
And the ending? We’ll talk more when you’ve read the book. ...more
Loved this book. Once I started reading it properly (rather than flicking through the pages and admiring the photos) I couldn't put it down. I was litLoved this book. Once I started reading it properly (rather than flicking through the pages and admiring the photos) I couldn't put it down. I was literally awake at 0315 this morning reading it again.
Let me say from the outset that I am biased - I love Paradise Gardens, which is what Islamic Gardens are called. The ancient Persians built their gardens according to the Quran, trying to surround themselves with total beauty and peace. The garden was to be a place of refuge, sanctuary from the busy world. Water was an integral feature. It was filled with beautifully scented plants, fruit trees, fountains, water channels, wonderful symmetry. Lemons, oranges, apricot, plum, pear, quince, apple, walnut, mulberry, pistachio, date palms, figs, pomegranates, olives, fragrant herbs, jacaranda, roses, gardenia, frangipani, jasmine, hyacinths, daphne, jonquil, daffodils, tulips, cedar trees and cypress, plumbago, oleander, hibiscus, bougainvillea - on and on the lists go. Don't you wish you could live there?
Some of the gardens were enormous, covering acres and acres of land. Many were established by the rulers who sent expeditions out to locate new and exotic plants. Others are contained within the courtyard of private homes. All aim to provide peace and sanctuary.
I am quite convinced that if I have lived a previous life it must have been in ancient Persia as a gardener. Everything about their gardens astounds and sustains me....more
Sure, it's not great writing, and the characters are one dimensional. But it held my interest. I may even borrow the second one in the series to read.Sure, it's not great writing, and the characters are one dimensional. But it held my interest. I may even borrow the second one in the series to read. Then again, I might not bother. It's a bit like that....take it or leave it. But fine hot weather holiday reading when it's too hot to go outside and you feel like taking it easy....more
Really love this book. Is particularly delightful for me as I have travelled to these parts, and visited the places mentioned in the book, so can pictReally love this book. Is particularly delightful for me as I have travelled to these parts, and visited the places mentioned in the book, so can picture it all. Knowing that I have walked around these palaces and forts, have been to Fatehpur Sikri, and seen the harem rooms and the open areas used for the Mina bazaar at Agra really adds to my enjoyment. I am fascinated with this period of history, especially anything related to Persia. Apart from "The Blood of Flowers" by Anita Amirrezvani (another great read) does anyone know of any other books I might enjoy?...more