When I first decided to read this book, I was excited at the prospect of learning more about Catherine Howard, a queen I knew little about. Unfortunat...moreWhen I first decided to read this book, I was excited at the prospect of learning more about Catherine Howard, a queen I knew little about. Unfortunately after reading it I still feel as though she is a distant character. Catherine was very unlikable in this novel; it was impossible to see anything deeper then her childish and one dimensional character. Since everyone was so one dimensional, it unfortunately resulted in not really caring what happened to them. The characters might not have been in depth but the scenery was. The author's descriptions of clothing, banquets, gardens, etc. were absolutely wonderful. I was able to read the book quickly and never felt tired of it but at the same time I did not have a strong desire to find out what happened next. I do have to say the ending was really emotional, touching, and beautifully written. If only the rest of the book had been written in that manner, it would have been an excellent read.
Read my full synopsis & review here Melanie Benjamin has weaved an engaging and haunting tale with her novel Alice I Have Been. Before reading this...moreRead my full synopsis & review here Melanie Benjamin has weaved an engaging and haunting tale with her novel Alice I Have Been. Before reading this novel, I had never known that there was a real Alice that inspired Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. This novel has brought Alice's story to life in a whole new way. Throughout the book, there are many phrases used from Alice's adventures in Wonderland, which made the book even more enchanting. It was also brilliant how the author gave characters certain personality traits which easily tied them to the classic story. This was a fast paced and very well written book. The last chapter of the book was one of surprise intensity and answering any questions that might have been lurking in the back of the readers mind, resulting in complete and perfect closure. Alice I Have Been is a wonderful book that will leave you with a whole new view of the beloved classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
This was an excellent and moving book. There are so many emotions felt as you read Jane's story. It was told in such a captivating way that you find y...moreThis was an excellent and moving book. There are so many emotions felt as you read Jane's story. It was told in such a captivating way that you find yourself lost in the characters struggle for happiness and love. This is definitely a book I could see as an epic movie; right up there with Gone With the Wind. In the authors note at the beginning of the book, we are told that a full-length biography of Jane Maxwell does not exist. Therefore, I definitely have to give a huge thank you to Ciji Ware for bringing the historical figure of Jane Maxwell to life in such a remarkable way.
With The Highest Stakes, Emery Lee has given the reader a highly detailed and researched plot. While reading this novel, there was never a time when I knew what was going to happen next. Unexpected twists kept you guessing until the very last page. There are just a couple small issues I had with the book, the first being the times when writing became a little dry with the abundant equestrian detail. The detail of the horse racing was great, it was just the history and lineage of horses that became a little overdone. That being said, any of the dry moments were quickly forgotten when the intricate plot became intense. Also, I felt the end was a little abrupt. I did love the outcome, but after such a long and intense journey to reach happiness, the ending was pale in comparison. Overall, this is an enjoyable and intriguing read that will keep the readers attention through it's 500+ pages. (less)
2.5 Stars Read my full review on my blog: Confessions & Ramblings of a Muse in the Fog This was a hard book for me to attach myself to. The first fe...more2.5 Stars Read my full review on my blog: Confessions & Ramblings of a Muse in the Fog This was a hard book for me to attach myself to. The first few pages were great but then it really became a bit dull until a little over half way through. Although I found the beginning a tad dry, I did enjoy reading about Richard's personality and seeing him change from a mere youth to a man who could rule a country. The author did a splendid job of helping the reader actually feel what it would be like to be Richard II. The book definitely kept you pondering what might happen next. The characters personalities really helped this aspect; they were well described but at the same time they all had an air of mystery about them. Besides the slowness of the book, my other issue was with how the story's time frame was laid out. It was quite confusing sometimes when in between chapters the date suddenly leaped eight years ahead without telling you right away. Instead of stating at the beginning of the chapter that it had been a prosperous eight years, we only read this a couple paragraphs into the chapter. I am greatly unfamiliar with this era in history, since my research focus has been mainly on the latter years of The Wars of the Roses. That being said, I think I might have enjoyed this book more if I knew a bit about the history before reading it. It did however pique my interest in Richard II, and I will definitely be doing some research on him. The couple issues I had with this book has not hindered my desire to read more from this author. Therefore, I will definitely be reading the next book of hers that Sourcebooks is re-releasing in October, called The Passionate Brood.(less)
Read my full review on my blog: Book Review of The Scarlet Lion In this sweeping tale of medieval England, Elizabeth Chadwick creates a intriguing and...moreRead my full review on my blog: Book Review of The Scarlet Lion In this sweeping tale of medieval England, Elizabeth Chadwick creates a intriguing and delightful story full of gallantry, tournaments, treachery and a love story for the ages. The words flow freely from the pages and envelope you in a story so real that you find yourself having the same intense emotions as the characters. William Marshall was such an endearing and three dimensional figure that after reading 549 pages I was sad to finish and close the book. The Scarlet Lion is a sequel to The Greatest Knight; both following the life of William Marshall. Since I have not read The Greatest Knight, I can definitely say that The Scarlet Lion is able to stand alone in the series and although it follows the second half of his life, it does hinder the reader from wanting to know the his beginning and reading the first book. After reading this amazing novel, I am greatly looking forward to reading much more of Elizabeth Chadwick's spectacular work.(less)
To bring a historical figure to life within the pages of a book takes talent, but to bring to life a historical figure who has been viewed by history...moreTo bring a historical figure to life within the pages of a book takes talent, but to bring to life a historical figure who has been viewed by history as a ruthless and un-compassionate person, and then to be able to portray them in an understandable, convincing and sympathetic light takes brilliance... and that is just what C.W. Gortner has delivered in his latest novel, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici...
You can read my full review here: Full Review It is always refreshing to read a book set during the Tudor court without it being directly about one of...moreYou can read my full review here: Full Review It is always refreshing to read a book set during the Tudor court without it being directly about one of King Henry VIII's Queens. Secrets of the Tudor Court, Between Two Queens focused more on the time in between the queens of England, hence the title. The author did a great job of portraying the vast personality differences with each queen. Nan was a very unlikable and most of her suffering she brought on herself, but I was still able to sympathize with her sometimes because at least she did not try to blame her problems on someone else. It is a very hard thing to be able to write a unlikable character but still make them likable; Kate Emerson did a wonderful job of this. The only issue I had was how many times the plot branched off with other characters. In the beginning, it left the reader wondering "ok what does that have to do with anything?" but towards the end all the pieces started to come together and it all made sense. Overall I found this book to be quite enjoyable and will be looking forward to Kate's next novel.(less)
Read my full review on my blog: Book Review of Cleopatra's Daughter Michelle Moran has done it again! I have loved her two previous novels and this one...moreRead my full review on my blog: Book Review of Cleopatra's Daughter Michelle Moran has done it again! I have loved her two previous novels and this one is no exception. With exceptional detail, she takes the reader on a journey from the glimmering city of Alexandria to the crowded and ruthless Rome. With a cast of characters that are all three dimensional, a wonderful and compelling story is created that captures the readers attention and stays with you long after the last page is read. This book was also full of twists that kept you guessing until the end, resulting in complete jaw-dropped shock a few times. I loved reading about the vast difference between Egypt and Rome; these are two places that have always interested me and it was great to learn about them in such an enjoyable way. If you want an excellent book that has love, suspense, and beautiful scenery, you can't go wrong with Cleopatra's Daughter.(less)
Eleanor of Aquitaine is most well known for her marriage to Henry II and for being the devout mother of Richard I, but in The Secret Eleanor, Cecelia Holland focuses on Eleanor's early adulthood and her marriage to King Louis VII of France.
From the Beginning of the book, Eleanor's ambition and thirst for power is quite apparent. While holding court in Paris, Eleanor meets Henry II and is quickly besotted with him. Already dissatisfied with her marriage to Louis VII, Eleanor decides at once that, with Henry II at her side, nothing can hold her back from the power she desires. She immediately embarks upon a course of action that is sure to set her free of her current situation. Eleanor is strong and ruthless when it comes to reaching her goals, yet not even she can accomplish this feat alone; She will need the help of her sister Petra and the loyalty of those whom love her. But when the stakes are so high, can one completely trust anyone? In a story of love, ambition, power and betrayal, The Secret Eleanor will have you questioning who is right in their actions and what price is too high for power and loyalty to those you love.
Having read only one other book on Eleanor of Aquitaine, I was eager to learn more about this fascinating woman through Cecelia Holland's The Secret Eleanor. Unfortunately, I found this description of Eleanor to be lacking in depth and it was quite hard to derive any pleasing qualities from her demeanor. In the first few chapters she meets Henry II and has an intimate, and might I add cleverly descriptive, rendezvous with him; which lead me to ask: "Why? Where did that come from?". There were many times during the course of the novel I found myself pondering how their love came about. If only there would have been a bit more history between them it would have improved the plot greatly.
Although my issues with Eleanor were great, they became less prevalent as the book went on. This was mainly do to the sift in focus from Eleanor to her sister Petra, who's motives were not without reason. It was through her that everything was put into perspective and the story began to draw me in.
After the switch in focus, the plot quickly becomes more in depth and it twisted with great surprise. By the end of the book, I found myself wanting it to continue! I was not ready to leave Eleanor and Petra; it seemed their story had just begun. All things considered, this was a good read; though one that could have been better, especially in the beginning. I have another book by Cecelia Holland awaiting me on my bookshelf; I shall indeed be reading it.(less)
Elizabeth Chadwick has once again weaved a work of art with her vivid descriptions and ability to tell a most captiva...moreRead the full review on my blog.
Elizabeth Chadwick has once again weaved a work of art with her vivid descriptions and ability to tell a most captivating tale. From the ripples cast in a pond at dusk to the warmth felt from a sun warmed stone, this story comes alive from the moment you read the first page! All of the characters were well rounded and had very distinct personalities. As usual, with Chadwick's writing style, the villains were ugly and intense emotion was felt for the main characters. The one thing that held this book back from receiving 5 crowns was the intensity of the plot. After reaching the halfway point of the book, I was still waiting for that crazy moment where everything falls to pieces and the plot twists and jerks you around; and I still found myself looking for that up until the end. That being said, the plot was indeed well thought out and was never dull. Overall this is yet another must read for any Chadwick fan or lover of historical fiction. I will definitely be reading anything I can find by this extremely talented author!(less)
Having just defeated the Spanish Armada, Elizabeth I spirits could not be higher; that is until she receives word that her long time love, Robert Dudley, has perished. All of her joy and laughter quickly vanishes and she is thrown into deep despair. As she is drawn into her private chambers by loyal subjects, we are taken on a journey through the final years of Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley's erratic and passionate relationship.
Jeane Westin has brought Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley to life in this touching and absorbing novel. Focusing mainly on the relationship between these two characters, we see the events of that time period unfold through their eyes. Elizabeth I is not merely portrayed as a....