**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)
There are numerous books out there on the market telling us women how to diet, exercise, eat properly and keep stress out of our lives. Skinny is Over...moreThere are numerous books out there on the market telling us women how to diet, exercise, eat properly and keep stress out of our lives. Skinny is Overrated, on the other hand is not a 'diet' manual. The author explains about the right foods to eat and dispells some ideas that we have all been taught that may not necessarily be correct. Like eating tuna packed in water. We should actually eat tuna packed in the oils because it is a good source of Omega 3's. We should also eliminate all fast foods, sugars, certain fats and instead we should be eating fish at least three times a week and eat lots of fruits and veggies. The key to any good 'diet' is learning portion control, getting off the couch and exercise. The author explains about fats, the good, bad and trans fats and tells us about saturated, polyunsaturated and monosaturated oils and fats. We need to set goals for ourselves and we should eat three meals a day along with 2 snacks. Oatmeal, cinnamon, beans, barley and brown rice are all good foods for us to eat. Some of the tips that are in this book are: Eat veggies especially the leafy green kinds. Stop drinking soda's, even diet ones, juice, iced teas or any sweetened drinks. Do not skip meals and do not go hungry. Eat less starches. Dr. Milano also explains in the book how to shop and how to set up your kitchen and pantry, and finally the last part of the book has recipes. I found this book to be educational and I may just try some of the tips and recipes. I did learn a few things and found the book to be useful(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.
This book is a very readable murder mystery. It appears that someone is trying to set up Kathy Spence for the murder of her husband. Why?? Anne, a fri...moreThis book is a very readable murder mystery. It appears that someone is trying to set up Kathy Spence for the murder of her husband. Why?? Anne, a friend of Kathy's , who believes that Kathy is innocent of her husbands murder, is enlisted to find out what happened. Anne is a law student, and she enlists a few of her fellow law students to assist her in trying to solve this crime. As they dig deeper they find themselves in a very dangerous situation. Anne also has th ghost of her father who assists Anne in solving this murder.This is a story of thwarted love, greed and revenge. I enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone who likes a quick and suspenseful story. (less)
**spoiler alert** When I started reading this book, The Queen's Mistake, I was not sure if I was going to like it or not. I enjoy the Tudor era but my...more**spoiler alert** When I started reading this book, The Queen's Mistake, I was not sure if I was going to like it or not. I enjoy the Tudor era but my reading has been mostly focused on Anne Boleyn and Catherine of Aragon. I had not read many books about the other wives of Henry VIII. But as I was reading I found that even though this was another wife that " lost her head" I really sympathized with her. As with her cousin Anne, her future was pretty much all planned out for her by her greedy uncle Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk for his political aspirations. She also had a grandmother Agnes Howard, the Dowager Duchess, who aspired to the same goals as Thomas, that of seeing that there was another Howard on the throne and . Catherine is sent to be a lady-in-waiting to the court of Queen Anne of Cleves . In the meantime Henry is trying to get his marriage annulled due to the fact that their marriage was never consummated and he could not stand being married to her. Queen Anne of Cleves is portrayed as a very pleasant woman who has her language barrier and her looks going against her as far as the King is concerned.
I think Catherine's biggest downfall was the fact that she was too free with her 'charms' with the men in the town she came from and she did not realize that her 'little lie" would be found out. She was not a virgin when she came to the marriage bed with Henry and he was too 'in love" to notice this little lie. I really think that she didn't really realize until too late that her past was coming back to haunt her marriage to Henry and she was torn between doing the right thing, according to her uncle and grandmother or go with her heart and the love she has for another man , Thomas Culpepper, who was a trusted person in Henry's mind.
Catherine did what was expected of her and tried to make the marriage work and she stayed faithful to Henry and also suffered a couple of miscarriages. Then when she tried to save an old woman in the tower and argued with Henry about this he had the woman put to death anyway.This showed her what kind of a man Henry really was.
The plot to discredit Catherine came from a vindictive woman, Mary Lassells one of her maids, who was actually forced on Catherine by her grandmother. Mary was a vindictive, jealous,woman who would do anything, along with her brother, to further her own ambitions and she had knowledge of Catherine's past indescretions and will use it against Catherine. Mary also became real close to Francis Dereham who claimed that he and Catherine were still trothplighted and he used that to further his ambitions and Henry used this detail to have his marriage to Catherine annuled.
Even though I knew what the outcome was going to be, I really liked Catherine and hoped all would be well in the end, that she could be with the love of her life, but that would have been a happy ending but it appears that there were no happy endings for Henry or anyone associated with him . Catherine really had no choice but agree to marry Henry, a bloated, ageing king desperate to recapture his youth and avoid life's inevitable decay and also to father a son for the throne. I think that in the short marriage that Catherine really came to care for Henry and genuinely wanted to make him happy.
I did have trouble trying to figure out Jane Boleyns role in this whole thing. I got the impression at first that she did not like Catherine, but turns out that she became Catherine's confidant and assisted in her liason's with Thomas. I am sure that Jane thought that befriending Catherine would obsolve her in her participation in the downfall of her husband George and of Anne with her accusations that were untrue.
I am not a historian, so I won't presume to say that this novel was based on facts as it is just that, a novel, a work of fiction. I felt that this story was well written and I enjoyed it very much and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys the Tudor era...I look forward to reading more of Diane Haegers books.
This is a story of love, loss and family secrets. Marnie had moved to California 16 years ago and opened a book/coffee shop. She thought that secrets...moreThis is a story of love, loss and family secrets. Marnie had moved to California 16 years ago and opened a book/coffee shop. She thought that secrets of her past were just that, secrets, until she gets a letter from a lawyer she knew from her past, telling her that her sister,Rose, had died in a freak accident and that she was now guardian of a 15 year old nephew, that she did not know she had. Marnie has no desire to be a guardian or parent of anyone, let alone a nephew that turns out has Down's Syndrome. Marnie has a box called her 'regrets' box that she has used for momentos and slips of paper of memories and regrets that she would like to forget. Emmitt keeps opening this box and with his insistence Marnie is able to face the regrets and sorrows that this box contains.Emmitt proves to be a handful and Marnie is stressed to the breaking point trying to do the right thing by Emmitt and still run her business. Marnies life is turned upside down what with having no clue how to take care of a Down's child and deal with the secrets of her past which include Taylor Cole, her sister's lawyer. Taylor had once been a man that Marnie had loved and it is because of this love that Marnie flee's across the country. As time goes by Emmitt and Taylor work their way to her heart and she learns to find the love that she thought she would never know again. Her faith in God has been tested over the years and Marnie is not sure what she should believe in. The ending, which of course I will not write about as that would spoil the story for the reader, I was totally unprepared for. Needless to say the whole story comes together in the end. I feel that Emmitt restores her faith and she is able to do what is necessary to find and keep the love she thought was lost to her. I really enjoyed this story and like I said was very surprised at the ending.. (less)
I have to be honest and say that I had never read any of Julia London's books, so after reading about One Season of Sunshine, it sounded interesting s...moreI have to be honest and say that I had never read any of Julia London's books, so after reading about One Season of Sunshine, it sounded interesting so I agreed to read and review.
Jane comes from a loving family, parents and two brothers who love her very much. Her family owns a restaurant and everyone in the family works there, except for Jane. She is a teacher and working on her thesis. She has a boyfriend and he has asked her to marry him but Jane stalls him because she can't commit until she knows more about herself. Jane is adopted and wants to find her birth mother, so in order to do this, she moves to the town that she knows she was born in. Jane applies and is accepted for a position as a nanny with Asher Price, a rich widower with two children, Riley 11 and Levi 5. Ashers wife Susanna was killed in a terrible car crash and the children are having a hard time adapting to this. Riley is sulky and argumentative and Levi acts out in bad behavior. So Jane has a hard time trying to get close to the children. She does win Levi over as she helps him grow a garden but Riley is harder to reach. Susanna was a gifted artist and Riley has inherited her talent but refuses to do any painting. As Jane learns more about Susanna she begins to understand the difficulties that this family has overcoming the loss of their mother and wife. In the meantime Jane is continuing to do all she can to find her birth mother. So with the help of some women at the local hospital and newpaper, clues start to emerge. On the other side of this, her relationship with her boyfriend, Jonathan, becomes strained as Jane is still not ready for marriage. As time goes by Jane and Asher become more and more attracted to each other until it gets to the point that they both need to make a decision. The truth about Susanna soon comes out, that she was bipolar and her behavior had been detrimental to her ability to be a good wife and mother. Asher is away from home often for his job and does not want to get involved with the nanny, but he has a hard time with this as he finds himself falling in love with Jane and he hopes the feeling is mutual.
This book was a fast and enjoyable read. I liked the characters and how they evolved over time and were able to start to have a life as a family that they all desperately need. I highly recommend this book and I will be reading more by this author.
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)