**spoiler alert** This story is a ghost story but not your typical malevolent ghost story, at least I didn't think so. The story started out at Elspet...more**spoiler alert** This story is a ghost story but not your typical malevolent ghost story, at least I didn't think so. The story started out at Elspeth's funeral, who died young of cancer and it started telling a bit about each character in attendance. Neighbors Martin, who has a crippling obsessive compulsive disorder and his wife Marjike who you get the feeling loves her husband very much, but is having difficulty with her husbands disorder as he will not leave the house and she is overwhelmed by the other issues that he is compulsive about.Then there is Robert who was Elspeth's younger friend, lover who is absolutely devasted with Elspeth's death. Elspeth is entombed in a mausoleum in Highgate Cemetery in London right next to where these people live.
Julia and Valentina are 20 year old twins who both had graduated high school and attempted to go to college but both dropped out and really not doing anything with their lives such as getting jobs or even going back to school. So they stay living with the parents in Chicago. The were also very attached to each other and each did the same thing and wore the same clothes etc.
Elspeth and her twin sister Edie (who is the twins mother) have not spoken for 20 years. I do not want to go into the why because that would give some of the story away. Elspeth left her flat in her will to the Julia and Valentina with the requirement that they live in the flat for one year.
As the girls get settled in the flat the ghost of Elspeth starts showing herself to the girls in odd ways until she is strong enough to show herself completely. It appears that she is not able to leave the flat and the girls are the only ones to see Elspeth in her ghostly form. It also appears that there is a motive to her showing herself to the girls but again I do not want to spoil the story. Although for one fact that I never realized could happen as the twins were mirror images of each other, Julias heart was where it was supposed to be and Valentina's heart is on the right side. Valentina also suffers from asthma and Julia does not.
The story goes back and forth between the characters but not a lot regarding the girls parents. It focuses a lot on Martin and his obsessive behaviors and how these said behaviors affect his marriage. Robert not only lives next to the cemetary but also works at Highgate Cemetary doing tours there. He was doing a dissertation on the people buried there. He would give tours during the day and at night he would sneak inside. Karl Marx, George Eliot, and Lizzie Siddal are a few of the Victorians buried at Highgate.
All in all I liked the story, although I was not crazy about the ending at all, it kind of made me uncomfortable and was not what I was expecting at all. I still would recommend this book if you like a good eerie ghost story.(less)
Julia Grant is a woman who does not believe in violence, but finds herself pulled into a world totally against her beliefs. When asked by an agent wit...moreJulia Grant is a woman who does not believe in violence, but finds herself pulled into a world totally against her beliefs. When asked by an agent with U.S. Intelligence to participate in a mission that will ultimately stop a terrorist plot, she is extremely reluctant to do this, but realizes that she has little choice. She has made a few trips to Egypt and found herself in a relationship with a married Muslim, who cannot leave his wife for Julia, due to his religious convictions. Mohamed Zahar meets Julia in Egypt and becomes her "tour" guide. Julia's cover is that she is researching and writing a book on antiquities. Julia does know the culture of where she will be going thus giving her cover credibility.
Julia Grant, against everything she believes in, is swept into all the intrigue,danger and passion that is the the Middle East. This is a story that could be from the headlines of any newspaper today. It is also a love story, as Julia has deep feelings for Mohamed but is starting to have intense feelings for Alexander Bryant, a mysterious arms dealer. Who can she trust?? Who will she give her heart to?? This book is an exciting, thrilling page turner that will keep the reader staying up late to read more. I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope to read more by this author who is very knowledgeable in the Middle East. I highly recommend it. (less)
Whispers in the Sand by Barbara Erskine was first released in 2000 to rave reviews. When I saw that Sourcebooks was offering a review copy, I was so e...more
Whispers in the Sand by Barbara Erskine was first released in 2000 to rave reviews. When I saw that Sourcebooks was offering a review copy, I was so excited. Why?? Barbara Erskine is my favorite author and has been since I read Lady of Hay. In fact, I remember that I had to order the book online with my first computer. I had to order it from the UK and when I did receive it I was thrilled. It took me a few years to read it...not because it was a bad book but because I wanted to savor it and didn't want it to end. I think I even took it along on my first trip to Ireland. Finish it I did and I think it was also one of my first reviews on my blog. I am not a reader who will reread a book but Barbara's books I definitely will.
That said, chapter one opens with this paragraph:
" May there be nothing to resist me at my judgement; may there be no opposition to me; may there be no parting of thee from me in the presence of him that keepeth the scales."
" It is thirteen hundred years before the birth of Christ".....
The chapters of the story are told in alternating voices; Anna Fox, as she is on her cruise in Egypt as a vacation away from the stress of her life, of Louisa, Anna's great-grandmother who took a similar cruise in the Victorian era and lastly the ghosts of the dead priests. All these stories combine to tell a powerful spooky story of love, hate, evil, curse's on ancient relics and secrets of a diary. The way that the author told the story had me immersed from the first page and I could not wait to pick it up again, even staying up late to finish it. The research is impeccable and the writing is easy to read, I felt like I was right there with Anna as she discovers more of her great-grandmother's story. I give this book 5 stars and I highly recommend it for fans of historical fiction and specifically the Egyptian era. You will not be disappointed!(less)
I love the Tudors!! What can I say? This is a period in history that is so intriqing to me. The politics, the machinations of the court, King Henry an...moreI love the Tudors!! What can I say? This is a period in history that is so intriqing to me. The politics, the machinations of the court, King Henry and all those wives, his children ,Princess Mary and Princess Elizabeth. The Tudor Secret by C.W. Gortner, is the first book in the trilogy 'The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles'. It starts when sickly King Edward is on the throne and Princess Mary and Princess Elizabeth are hidden away for their protection from the Dudley family. Enter Brendan Prescott , an orphan reared in the Dudley family, as a stable boy who has grown up with the Dudley sons. The elder Dudleys decide to send Brendan along with Lord Robert Dudley to court as his squire. No sooner does Brendan arrive at court, he is sent on an errand for Lord Robert. Thus starts Brendan's adventure into the world of the Tudor Court and the corrupt Dudley family as a spy. As a side story Brendan is an orphan and would like to know who his parents were, but he finds that his birth is part of the mystery that the Dudley's perpetuated. Mr. Gortner wrote this book with a twist, the 'what if' premise. He showed us what could have happened with circumstances different . Don't want to give anything away here, so you will have to get the book and read it yourself. I will tell you though that there are lots of villians in this tale. I have now read three of Mr.Gortner's books, The Last Queen, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici and now The Tudor Secret and really enjoyed them. The author seems to have a passion for this historical era and it shows in his detailed writing, but this one is a bit different in that it has an element of suspense and even murder. I do look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy. (less)
Georgette Heyer's Regency World is an interesting nonfiction book of the do's and don't of life in the Regency period of England, the time of Jane Aus...moreGeorgette Heyer's Regency World is an interesting nonfiction book of the do's and don't of life in the Regency period of England, the time of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer's world that is so popular today . This is actually a guide that is helpful to the reader of Georgette Heyer's novels if the reader wants to know more about that period in time. Upon reading this book you will learn what was worn, the food eaten, most important how to behave, what class you belong to and even to what kind of carriage you drove. Spread through out the book are illustrations of the time with a great attention to detail. The book includes a Who's Who in the Regency, a glossary of common phrases of the Regency, an appendix of newspapers and magazines of the time with a brief description, books written by Heyer also with a description. A timeline and bibliography rounds off the book. I felt that this book was very well researched and meticulously put together. For the fan of Georgette Heyer's Regency novels and Jane Austen, this book makes a great companion. I enjoyed it and even learned a few things about that era. (less)
This, the second book in the Morland Dynasty series begins in 1501 around the time that King Henry VII dies and ends during King Edward VI's reign or...moreThis, the second book in the Morland Dynasty series begins in 1501 around the time that King Henry VII dies and ends during King Edward VI's reign or actually the Regency's reign. Interspersed with the history of the Tudors is the fictional family the Morlands. It is a story of continuing court intrique, treachery, love and hate during a time in history where a person could be charged with treason just by saying the wrong thing or following the 'wrong' religion. Most everyone knows the story of Henry VIII so I will not go into detail. It is a story about the Catholics and the Protestants and the struggle that ensues. The first third of the book surrounds the life of Paul Morland, great grandson of Eleanor Morland. It tells of the marriages and births and deaths within the family. There was a lot of intermarrying within the cousins. This was a very common practice at that time to keep the bloodlines pure and to keep lands and other holdings within a family. There were also illegitimate children born of the Morland family who had no claims to the dynasty. The second part of the book is about the character of Nanette who goes to court and becomes first a friend of, then maid-in-waiting to Anne Boleyn. Nanette forsakes her own happiness for her service to Queen Anne. Nan spends time between the court and her home at Morland. The last part of the book goes into more of Nanette and the other members of the Morland family, the next generations if you will.
As in any epic style novel, there are characters too numerous to mention, some historical inaccuracies, wars, deaths, births, jealousy between siblings and also happiness. I enjoyed this book as I did the first one in the series and look forward to the next in the series. For the person who loves a great story and a very interesting time in the history of England will be sure to like The Dark Rose.
I recently had the pleasure of reviewing The Beginner's Bible App on my iPad. This app is so well done, colorful and full of lessons for the young chi...moreI recently had the pleasure of reviewing The Beginner's Bible App on my iPad. This app is so well done, colorful and full of lessons for the young child just starting out learning the bible. I loved the beautiful illustrations, the easy to read follow along hi-lighted words and the audio. So all the child needs to do is listen and read along. As well as the read along story there is a play section where the child can interact more with the coloring pages that can be colored right on the iPad. There are also jigsaw puzzles to challenge the young mind. A video game is also included in the first story pack that helps the child with manual dexterity. Each story pack can be purchased right through the app.
I am a grandmother so I do not have young children in the household but I think that this app is a must for the family that wants to share God's story with their children. I loved it.
I reviewed this app and was not monetarily compensated for my review.(less)
I received the book Ah, Those Irish Colleens by Helen Walsh Folsom from Turner Publishing after I was contacted by Laura, Marketing Manager. She notic...moreI received the book Ah, Those Irish Colleens by Helen Walsh Folsom from Turner Publishing after I was contacted by Laura, Marketing Manager. She noticed my blog was Irish themed and had a few suggestions of books for me to review. Of course with irish colleens in the title how could I refuse. I accepted and enjoyed the book immensely.
Here is the books description from the publisher:
"Helen Walsh Folsom presents "Ah, Those Irish Colleens" as a collection of incredible stories describing the lives of more than a dozen Irish women of prominence or fame, including Deirdre of the Sorrows, Grace O'Malley, Marie Rue O'Brien, Mary O'Connor. Kitty O'Shea and more.
Irish women were behind the scenes of most of the great events in Irish history. Reading Folsom's book gives you the story behind their influences, with thirteen women who, for better or worse, helped mold the country's history."
These stories span the time from 122BC to 1953. Here are a few examples of the women featured in the book. Most had tragic lives but all had very productive and exciting lives..
The first irish colleen in this book was about Queen Mauve (122 BC ~AD 02) who was the Queen of Connaught (inherited from her father) in the western part of Ireland. One of the legends regarding her was called "Tain bo Cuailgne, The Cattle Raid of Cooley" where she gathered her warriors and went to her rival"s (her ex-husband who divorced her) land to steal cattle to help feed the poor on her lands.
Then there is Grace O'Malley (1530~1603), also called Gráinne Ní Mháille one of my favorites along with Boudicea who is not in this book, unfortunately . Grace O'Malley was a famous lady pirate, she also inherited from her father the business of pirating. Grace and her crew would sail the seas and plunder the Spanish ships they came across. Grace gave birth on board her ship and 6 days later met with Queen Elizabeth I. They were rivals, both being Queens, but they had a grudging respect for each other.
" Both Grace O'Malley and Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603. Two queens both rulers in parallel years over their domains. Grace was buried in the abbey she built on Clare Island and lives on still awestruck legends among the people of Connaught." quote from the book
Also in the book is the story of Maude Gonne (December 1866 – 27 April 1953) , good friend and lover of W.B. Yeats. They never married as she said that she would run his writing carreer, even though he proposed at least 4 times. She was an English born Irish revolutionary, famous actress, and feminist. She was involved in the the plight of evicted people in the Land Wars. She was also active in Home Rule activities.
There are ten more heroic women of Ireland, Kitty O'Shea and Bridget The Saint, to name a few depicted in this non-fiction book. The stories are written like they were fiction and very easy to read. I think after reading these stories I will want to read more about some of these wonderful strong women. I enjoyed the book a lot and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about Ireland and its legends and true stories of the turbulent times that all people of Ireland faced in some of the 'darker' times in Irish history.