The Queen’s Vow, by C.W. Gortner, was so eloquently written with a passion and fervor reminiscent of the time it’s set in~the rise of Queen Isabella a...moreThe Queen’s Vow, by C.W. Gortner, was so eloquently written with a passion and fervor reminiscent of the time it’s set in~the rise of Queen Isabella and King Fernando of Spain in the mid 1400s~that it propelled me to continue reading it without ceasing and made me cry for more of the story even as I read the last paragraph.
Gortner hit the high mark with me on The Queen’s Vow; I didn’t want to have to use my bookmark. His writing is engaging, smooth, emotional, detailed and intense. I was compelled by the story telling he wound around his research into one of the most exciting periods of history.
Though many assumed that Isabella would never be Queen, she thrusted through the rules of the day that men set in place for women, as well as forging past intrigue and conniving paperwork clauses, religious notions and advisors, and her own guilty conscience and merciful heart, to leave a legacy almost unrivaled.
Always believing that female heirs were as entitled as male heirs, she held fast in her belief that she was true heir to her half-brother King Enrique’s reign in Castile (through their same father) and not his illegitimate daughter, Joanna. King Enrique was known for overindulging in his many luxuries, as well as running Castile into the ground financially (and with no upkeep of holdings, literally) and making it vulnerable to attacks from many sides. This was especially disheartening because during this time Spain was fractured into several countries and not all under one rule.
One such area besides Castile (which was the largest) was Aragon. This is from where Princess Isabella meets her true love, Prince Fernando, whom she saw only once when she was first brought to Castile as a young teenager. However, anyone from Aragon at that time was deemed not worthy to marry any royalty from Castile and they forbid her union. Building their love from afar, Princess Isabella vows to marry Fernando. Secretly, they do so to the horror of many around them. Together they work to fight off those who attack Castile and their territories, while they also work on making heirs to their own throne (which will unite Castile and Aragon into one country) that they ascertain once King Enrique dies a painful death.
The way the book read I felt this amazing woman never rested for a minute. I was more and more proud to be a woman with each chapter. Reading about her strong presence in politics was astounding as I could imagine her signing a declaration one minute and bending over in labor the next. She rode to the battlefield while with child, organized warfare, cuddled with her children, and cared for her subjects. She assisted in raising her children more lovingly than most monarchs in history and she left a legacy of peace for Spain, brought the first printing press to her country and was the first queen in Europe to mandate that women could earn degrees. Not only that, but she was a visionary, supporting and urging Christopher Columbus in his endeavors to find new lands, though she did also eventually oppose slavery of the First Peoples.
Gortner did a phenomenal job depicting Queen Isabella’s heart and how she must have truly been, taking into account her caring and merciful soul. I could ultimately feel her strength and passion leaping from the page and swoon at her love for her Fernando.
Being a lover of English, French and Russian history, I’ve never truly read a story featuring Spainish monarchs. I’ve only read of Columbus and the various Spanish explorers. With this book now read, I have to truly say that I am now seeking more on the subject and I’m going to start with Gortner’s The Last Queen, which is the story of Isabella’s daughter, Juana.
Read more on my blog at link including an interview with C.W. Gortner!
Do shadows lurk around the corner of your home? Press against your window, claw at your door? Does evil claim your territory for their own devices? No, well….you’re not having any fun then. I suggest you get your fix like I did by reading Forest of Shadows by Hunter Shea.
Until you pick up your own copy, or possibly win the giveaway mentioned below, maybe this blog post will entertain you. Lurking shadows of the night won’t envelope you just from reading this post, BUT if you don’t read it you’ll miss the review of one of the best scary stories I’ve read in years. Published by Samhain Publishing’s horror line, Shea is one of the best writers currently out there and I don’t say that lightly.
Reading Evil Eternal by Shea first, I was not sure what to expect from Forest of Shadows since Evil Eternal is a rip-roaring bloody demonic action adventure. I know Shea is a big fan of ghost adventures and the paranormal, so I was hoping this was some kind of ghost story I could really settle down and get goosebumps from. I wasn’t disappointed!
Primarily taking place in an extremely remote town in Alaska that is more like a makeshift modern Native American village that belongs to the dump, Shea takes time to develop his characters and the town’s visual details. But not in any way that makes the story seem slow or going nowhere…in fact, he builds his characters and his suspense like a master professional with just enough alluding paragraphs, chapter endings, and out of nowhere sentences that made me jump out of my seat or my spine tingle.
His verbiage is supreme goodness, his prose so smooth like ghostly vapors, and his foreboding and mystery perfectly ominous and flawless. I was SUCKED right in and couldn’t stop turning the pages. I refused to want to stop reading to do normal tasks such as shower or eat.
His protagonist, paranormal hobbyist John, and his young daughter, Jessica, hail from New York and take up residence in this unlikely outpost based on a ghost hunting tip from a resident intelligent Indian delinquent who has a fancy for the local librarian and unexpectedly encounters a strange phenomena in John’s soon to be home. But this town doesn’t like white folk, or outsiders, and furthermore, doesn’t like its secrets told or history uncovered.
I really enjoyed how Shea was able to write a clean novel, without a lot of crass sex or bloody gore. When he did write some in during the bursting at the seams finale, he did so in a way that shocking and fast-paced. He was toying so much with my emotions that I barely saw the blood I knew must be there as I was focusing on feeling for the characters. I won’t give the ending away, but he had me guessing till the last. It was redemptive and sad all the same, with a message of good vs. evil you won’t want to miss.
He was able to scare the living daylights out of me–had me listening to the creak of my house stairs with more than passing notice and out my back window at night, even walking and looking over my shoulder–by utilizing straight-forward story telling at its finest. If you are a fan of authors who write augur ghost stories, then Shea is a must read and I recommend him highly.
Forest of Shadows has a sequel coming out this Spring from Samhain called Sinister Entity. Shea also has written a novella called The Graveyard Speaks, which is a prequel to the sequel. (Yes, you can laugh at that). To make it more confusing, it’s a sequel to Forest of Shadows, but also a stand-alone and the start of a new series. The Graveyard Speaks takes place some 13 years after Forest of Shadows ends and one month prior to Sinister Entity. Shea utilizes one of his most endearing main characters from Forest of Shadows for Sinister Entity.
The Painted Girls, by Cathy Marie Buchanan, is not just the story of the famous Impressionist Edgar Degas’ paintings and sculptures, or of the French Opera House and Ballet post revolution, but rather, a story of the depths of sociology, psychology, and the desire of human nature to judge and categorize. However, it’s also the story of overcoming odds, circumstances, and even predestined labels, showing that humankind is redeemable and that people can overtake insurmountable boundaries.
The Painted Girls is an astonishing look inside the poignant world of art, dance, and the modern world of post-revolution France. Intellectually, it made contemplate and left a lasting impression, while emotionally, it broke my heart and then reclaimed it by the end.
I first wanted to read this book primarily not just for my fondness of history, but also my admiration for Impressionist artist Degas, as well as ballet. My youngest daughter, aged 5, dreams of being a ballerina and we have enjoyed several outings together to an art museum that features one of Degas’ works showcasing dancers. Immediately into reading this novel, I knew I would be absorbing a book that had so much more to it than I realized. Buchanan really delves into the heart of her highly developed characters with this novel and gives us a glimpse of humanity at its ugliest and at its finest.
The story is primarily told through the words of two sisters, Antoinette and Marie van Goethem, by alternating chapters between them to tell the story in each point of view. Antoinette, not set to following rules and basing decisions on emotions, is kicked-out of the ballet early on, and though taking care of her two youngest sisters while their mother works and drowns her sorrows in alcohol, she finds romance with a street thug Emile who makes her feel “adored” and makes him her life’s goal.
Blinded by love, Antoinette and Emile are both are cast in a stage play of the time, L’Assommoir, historically well-known now as a production based on an 1877 book that showcased the lower rung of society and working class debauchery. Much like Degas’ art of the time, the book’s author, Emile Zola, writes a realistic picture (as Degas paints it) of the realism of certain areas of France that were overcome with not enough money, too much drink, and too many seedy relations. Antoinette’s story shows her misfortune as a laundress, her tie to a criminal, and even her dreams of being someone with a life only money can bring.
Meanwhile, Marie begins dancing at the Paris ballet with her younger sister. She works tirelessly in worn tights, shoes and costumes for hours a day with no emotional support, while struggling with the prospect of having a suitor to pay for her progress, which was common place during this time. The grueling work leaves her overly fatigued, but her family needs money. And she desires to progress to the next step up the ladder, which is to be on stage. She wants to be remembered; she wants to be appreciated for her talent. Unlike most from her area, she can read and is intelligent as well. She begins working at a bakery for extra income for private lessons and through hard work is promoted at the ballet.
Prior and during this time Marie also begins to model for Degas in his home studio, where he pays people to pose for him. Marie, in real life and in Buchanan’s fictionalized tale, is his model for his famous Dancer Aged 14. Featuring his work at the Sixth Impressionist Exhibition in 1881, Degas primarily gives an ode to how these lower class models are predisposed to crime and seedier ways, for instance that their facial structure in some way determines them as evil and not able to be morally sound. His goal of showcasing the realism of these lower subjects is ironically turned to international praise for this little ballerina in today’s society. The statue in wax that Parisians once called ugly and “marked by the hateful promise of every vice” is now an international icon in bronze to the beauty and discipline that is ballet.
Buchanan, a ballerina and teacher of dance herself over her the course of her life, started at a young age admiring Degas’ portraits of dancers. Later, she fully imagined this eloquent and touching novel, raw and intense, stemming from research on the Van Goethem sisters, the Paris ballet and the social climate, then mixed it with one of the notorious criminal cases of the time period.
The novel is full, rich, and emotional, both dealing with overcoming societal boundaries, sibling rivalry, and the dance that is relationships, yet also a touching glimpse at a sisterly love that overcomes all.
Addie, my 4 year old says "i loved the duck in this book." As a parent, I love the simple text and beautiful, cute art. Addie loves ducks and always e...moreAddie, my 4 year old says "i loved the duck in this book." As a parent, I love the simple text and beautiful, cute art. Addie loves ducks and always enjoys the stories. Certainly a simple lesson of why not to leave your loyal friends behind!(less)
Completely absorbed in exquisite storytelling, reading M.J. Rose's The Collector of Dying Breaths kept me captivated to the point I didn't want to hav...moreCompletely absorbed in exquisite storytelling, reading M.J. Rose's The Collector of Dying Breaths kept me captivated to the point I didn't want to have to go to sleep, and in the morning, I forgot to eat breakfast. I did have my coffee though, the steaming red cup held in one hand, while the other held the book with the gorgeous, also red, cover open to where my eyes were glued. Transported to another world, I didn't even smell my usually glorious creamy and pungent aroma, but rather was intoxicated by the words within the novel, and her description of flowery scents, of her newest story.
The novel juxtaposes between the mid-1500s with the story of Italian orphan Rene le Florentine, who first is the apprentice of a highly-regarded monk and then the perfumer of Catherine de Medici, and a modern day story of Jac L'Etoile, a single woman who is mourning her brother and has inherited the prestigious L'Etoile perfumery. It brings the obsession of the past, as well as its mysteries, to the future in a very calculated, yet seemless way that entranced me from the start.
The modern story is set in Fontainebleau, France, but the past begins in Italy and descends into the time that Catherine de Medici becomes Queen of France. It begins with a monk who is trying to capture dying breaths in little glass bottles in hopes of bringing a person lost back to life. When the monk dies, Rene is passed on the desire, and soon it becomes his only thought, to attempt and succeed at this experiment. In the meantime, after Catherine saves his life he is put to the task of also creating perfumes-and poisons-for her. His most fervent work, though, is with reanimating the dying breaths and this creates a suspenseful mystery that centuries later ensnares our modern era mythologist Jac to become involved in also. Suddenly the thought of past lives and our associations with ancestors become not so hard to understand or believe.
I was absolutely enthralled by this story and didn't want to stop turning page after page, even to get anything done on my busy to-do list. It was truly an escapist type of book--you know, one that allows you to forget reality and immerse yourself in the story and the mystery as the suspense builds. The beautiful imagery and descriptions of smells added to the endearing quality of the book, as well as wonderful character development. M.J. really set the scene well on every page of the book so I felt completely lost in the story--both time and place.
Earlier in the year her novel, Seduction, was Suspense Magazine's book of the 2013, but I think that The Collector of Dying Breaths is even better. Well, to me, I know it was better. I am happy to read this book again, even considering the fact that I rarely want to read a book twice.
By intertwining mythology, alchemy, passion, and lush prose she brings an underlying eerie feel to the book that kept my arm hair standing on end in anticipation and a desire to peek deeper into the story. As readers, we are compelled to see that there is a fine line between obsession and passion. Throw in all the thrilling mysteries that Jac set to uncover as she also rekindles romance with Griffin, a man she's always loved but had let go, and the novel can't be more well-rounded or complete.
M.J. Rose writes a MUST HAVE book if you want an excellent one to dive into for a weekend you expect to not come up for air. Her work of introducing us to new, modern gothic tales of reincarnation and connections of past lives to present lives, as well as spirits of our ancestors connecting our own puzzles, is amazing. She offers us tangible stories that allow us to really think about the world around us and the legacies we leave.
The House of L'Etoile might hold fast on not using vanilla so that the perfume isn't like candy, but The Collector of Dying Breaths was certainly like melting a decadent caramel on your craving tongue. 5 stars!
*I received this book in exchange for a review*(less)
No matter how much I love books and respect every author out there for having the guts to tell his or her story, it isn't often that I am BLOWN AWAY b...moreNo matter how much I love books and respect every author out there for having the guts to tell his or her story, it isn't often that I am BLOWN AWAY by a book. Dead of Winter, by Brian Moreland, is the best book I've read all year and I believe that Brian, in terms of talent, is one of the best writers I've ever read.
In Dead of Winter, Inspector Tom Hatcher just can't get over what happened when he was on the case of serial killer, the Cannery Cannibal. It haunts him. You can't begin to believe how dark and terrible this killer really is as he craves human meat, killing women to feed his growing hunger. Father Xavier, an exorcism specialist on assignment with the Catholic church, visits the serial killer in an asylum. As he realizes the mental patient is possessed by a demon, we sense that the Cannery Cannibal is far more powerful and deadly than anyone could have imagined.
Now in 1870 at a fur trading fort set in the deep and dense Ontario wilderness, Hatcher confronts his own demons while investigating some gruesome murders. It becomes apparent that a predator from the forest has unleashed a deadly plague among the colonists in which they begin to crave human flesh with an insatiable hunger and take on supernatural powers and body shape to obtain it. Once the shape shifting begins, there isn't ending it and death abounds.
Based on a real historical Native American legend, Moreland crafts his tale to include the spirituality of the Native American culture who lived in these woods and the conflicting arrogance of the white man who often lived at the forts and outposts. Inspector Hatcher doesn't know if he can stop the rampage this time, as good is pitted against evil in an amazing battle of wills. Father Xavier arrives to assist him as no other priest has been able to manage or live through, along with passionate Native American Anika, who is disregarded by everyone but Hatcher, accused of being a witch and used as a slave. Together, they unravel a mystery of epic proportions.
Will Tom be able to overcome his depression and believe in himself? Will the Church be able to fight this powerful evil? Will anyone survive this carnage, this flesh-eating disease that is turning everyone on everyone else? What is this predator in the forest? You definitely don't want to miss the answers to these questions and much more.
There is more to this review and an exclusive interview with the author at my book blog (www.hookofabook.wordpress.com) and the direct link for this review is:
I must say that Bitter Greens, by Kate Forsyth, could possibly be the front-runner for the best book I read this year. It’s still early in 2013, but I...moreI must say that Bitter Greens, by Kate Forsyth, could possibly be the front-runner for the best book I read this year. It’s still early in 2013, but I can’t imagine falling in love with a book as much as I’ve fallen in love with Bitter Greens. It most certainly will go on my final list of most cherished and loved books of all time.
Of course, there is the point that I am a perpetual lover of fairy tales, vintage mostly, but also various adaptations and re-tellings. So because this novel is a re-structuring of Rapunzel, one of my favorite stories, I was already bound to have a desire for this book. However, it was more than I had expected as Forsyth has an original voice that worked to create an amazing imaginative world that one could slip into and dance around in forever.
Using books as a magical way of escaping the stress and dealings of life, I let them carry me away in my mind. As one of Forsyth’s main protagonists, writer Charlotte Rose de la Force, also creates her own worlds in Bitter Greens by pushing open the imagined door into fantasy realms where any lovely place can be found. This is a tactic useful whether it’s 17th century France or modern times.
However, this book doesn’t just lead us on a frivolous walk of enchantment and fantasy. It carries a message about women living their dreams and hope, overcoming the gender role, being courageous and bold, and most of all love, but beyond that, also the darker emotions and desires that lead us to bad decisions and situations and how we can be redeemed or doomed.
And yes, it transported me away when I needed it most. It lead me to deeper parts of my own motherhood, womanhood, and mortal desires. It wasn’t a book to be put down, and in fact, I had to be reminded that I actually had a life outside of reading the book…..I was swept away.
I can barely begin to give this multi-layered and multifaceted novel the justice it deserves. It is just THAT good and beyond a normal review. The author may be pursuing a degree in fairy tales, but she needs to be the one being taught to those pursuing creative writing courses and literature.
In Bitter Greens, Forsyth introduces us to Charlotte Rose de la Force’s adaptation of Petrosinella from 1697, while also making our acquaintance with de la Force’s own life by making her a part of the story. Yes, it’s several stories interwoven with delicacy and grace; it’s smooth, seamless, and highly evolved. Petrosinella, with maiden Persinette, would later be adapted in German and picked up by the Grimm Brothers in the 1800s, by that time known as Rapunzel. However, the novel is not just another re-telling of Rapunzel, but an even deeper look into society and how vintage writing defines history.
Since my five-year-old is also a lover of classic fairy tales, and we’ve read as many adaptations of Rapunzel over the last few years as we can find while embracing their similarities and differences together, Bitter Greens is a novel I’ll put on the shelf to share with her when she’s old enough to read the adult content. It’s one book that will always have a place on my bookshelf and hopefully hers too. It’s timeless.
Forsyth’s subtle dissection of the culture, art, storytelling and emotions of the time within her fiction, coupled with how we retain and retell stories today, is in a class all its own. Her creation is a masterpiece of art to not get lost in a sea of ever published books. Forsyth could quite possibly be one of the best story tellers of our modern age.
From my book blog site, see an interview with Kate Forsyth on March 7, 2013 as well.(less)
The Tudor Secret by C.W. Gortner was an amazing cache of intrigue and suspicion. I had hoped for nothing less from a book surrounding the Tudor family...moreThe Tudor Secret by C.W. Gortner was an amazing cache of intrigue and suspicion. I had hoped for nothing less from a book surrounding the Tudor family and their era of rule in England. Though plenty of books about Elizabeth I or Henry the VIII line the shelves of many bookstores and libraries, Gortner’s work of historical fiction spins an original yarn about an orphan boy, Brendan Prescott, who has a birthmark which supports his possible royal lineage.
Prescott may or may not be from the Tudor line during the entire book and is probably being used as a pawn to the advancement of others. He discovers all this during his time of being a spy for several men who are historically accurate names of men that actually become attributed as those who discovered the art of intelligence. At times in the novel Prescott is uncertain who he is even spying for, yet his own heart is always true to Elizabeth I and her safety.
The Tudor Secret is so full of suspense that pages will turn like they are on fire. You won’t want to put this book down for fear you will miss something. When you do put it down, it will still have you wondering so much about its twists and turns that you’ll want to pick it back up again and read until you know the secret.
Still has me sucked in. I am more than ready for part 5. I am adrenaline pumped and feeling scared yet laughing at the humorous conversations (meant t...moreStill has me sucked in. I am more than ready for part 5. I am adrenaline pumped and feeling scared yet laughing at the humorous conversations (meant to be funny parts!!). Everything flows and seems plausible even though it's fairy horrific. Big surprises. I love this book. I still think it is his best writing. :)(less)
If you love historical fiction as much as I do, more than likely it’s because it takes you away to a new place, a new world, and a new time. The BEST historical fiction novels are so phenomenally written with intricate details, robust characters, lush scenery, and have a way of really making you feel the passion behind the novel. Four Sisters, All Queens, a novel by Sherry Jones about four thirteenth-century sisters who all become Queens, gave me all that and more!! I highly recommend this book to all women, history lovers, or really ANYONE looking for a fresh, original, and memorable read.
While reading Four Sisters, All Queens, I was whisked away to a medieval feast of words, so stirring and richly decorated, with a pace that made me not want to put the book down. Even though a more lengthy book, as most historical fiction novels tend to be of course, I had no trouble reading through it as quick as my schedule would allow. When I did finish, I was left feeling empowered and fulfilled at the end. It fueled my passion for the power of women by showcasing me the strength of regal women of history, giving me inspiration, and it ignited my passion for the medieval time period even further and left me wanting to learn more.
I found Sherry Jones’ style of writing refreshing and I connected to it so intrinsically due to her use of third person in the present tense, as compared to most novels using the first or third person in past tense. Hearing not only what the characters say, but also what they think at each pass in the story as if we all were presently living it, truly helped to propel me into the new time and place that I so desired. The use of the present tense really formulated this novel into more of a set of stories that intertwined, told about each of the four main characters–sisters of Provence Marguerite, Eleonore, Sanchia, and Beatrice. It was storytelling as its FINEST, almost at a musical pace, and way beyond just good fiction writing. It was as if each character was narrating their story in a way that we could visualize vibrantly. We can easily become the character’s best friends, understanding their innermost secrets, thoughts, desires, and fears.
With so much history to delve into from the lush and barely tapped historical time period, Jones focused on her character’s feelings surrounding their dilemmas and the revolving theme of family and how they all interconnected. Each sister, faced with varying and differing problems of each of their countries, regions, and political entanglements throughout the book, all kept a common thread of “family first” even if sometimes they didn’t realize it in each other’s actions. Though we learned quite a bit of history, we more importantly grasped how these women of history learned to deal with issues common during medieval England, such as illness, death, piety, and the stringent laws not favoring the poor or women. We read what the characters were thinking, feeling, and how their response framed not only their lives, but the lives of each other as well as even our own lives today as women. Their amazing strength, intellect, and love of family and children shone through in each sentence.
Reading several other books lately pertaining to one or more of these famous sisters of Savoy, in which Marguerite seems to be overwhelmingly the sister who dominates in prose, I feel compelled to learn more about each one–Marguerite’s story because her passion interests me and remind me of me, Eleonore because of her strength, and the others, simply, because more should be written about them. Maybe more isn’t known, but that is what fiction is for I guess! Beatrice, though disliked by her sisters it seems in Jones’ book, showed true political prowess and fortitude.
As I said, I especially like Marguerite’s story. I have enjoyed reading different perspectives of various authors of her struggles living as the Queen of France to overly pious and extreme flogger Louis IX, as well as daughter-in-law to the infamously controlling Blanche of Castile. I found Marguerite’s thoughts of how confining the Church was to life and women at that time very much how I might have thought if I had been her. Her disuse and annoyance for Louis IX to be so pious as to not care for his wife, his strange infatuation with his mother and his blind mania for the Crusades mirrored most of my own thoughts. I felt in Jones’ book she really captured the personality of how a strong and intelligent woman might react mentally to the extremely trying life Marguerite had to deal with and showed, tapping into several documented instances, how she overcame the mental stress and stood strong for her King and France, even while birthing babies at the same time.
Overall, what a great monumental historical fiction masterpiece from Sherry Jones. A must read for any female who admires the amazing stories of all the strong women of the past, for any woman who needs some inspiration to remember how strong she really can be, for any history lover, for any man who doesn’t believe women can do great things, and finally, for anyone who wants a really great book that they’ll read, remember, and want to keep on their bookshelf.
“Women have only the power that men allow them, said Beatrice.” How happy I am that the world has evolved enough that women have more of a voice to not have to continue to believe that true.
Beautifully drawn dark, gothic scenes with superb writing and storytelling. Demons can come in disguises and this little girl, and her helpers along t...moreBeautifully drawn dark, gothic scenes with superb writing and storytelling. Demons can come in disguises and this little girl, and her helpers along the way, can put a proper stop to their evil plans.(less)
My six year old (she is a very high level reader) LOVES this book. Carries it everywhere and re-reads it. Plus loves the rest in the series! Great for...moreMy six year old (she is a very high level reader) LOVES this book. Carries it everywhere and re-reads it. Plus loves the rest in the series! Great for those kids who like spooky things written in a not so scary and fun way! Echo is a darling, funny bat!(less)
White Heart, prequel to Four Sisters, All Queens, is Jones’ novella about Blanche of Castile, the notorious B*itch of a mother of Louis IX, who ran France after the death of her husband and put her son on the throne, while managing to wield her political power and strong-arm every man in France. Her history is so infamous that everyone sees her as evil, but Jones’ book really shed a new light on Blanche’s personality for me, which never occurred to me could have been caused by her absolute need to protect herself and her family in the brutal world being run by men. As women are always scrutinized for indiscretions, which was especially true in the 1200s, she had to have pristine piety. Of course her white heart would win her and her son favor. It wasn’t just about favor with God, but about favor with France. She had to stand up to every man vying for what she had. I loved the novella because I liked hearing the viewpoint from Blanche, to hear her innermost thoughts and concerns. I think differently of her now I suppose, in a way. In contemporary times her quest to remain in control and in charge of France, and her son, at all costs would be too ambitious; however, if the alternative is a life in the nunnery because men feel you can do nothing else, how could you not fight for your ultimate freedom even if it is self-serving? It’s only my opinion, but of course everyone has reasons for how they act and with Jones’ book we get an in-depth look at the emotions behind Blanche. I recommend everyone read White Heart if they are reading Four Sisters, All Queens. It only takes an hour or two to read.
Addicted to this book. Part 3 of this 5 installment book gives us some amazing character work, fantastical action, and hilarious content coupled with...moreAddicted to this book. Part 3 of this 5 installment book gives us some amazing character work, fantastical action, and hilarious content coupled with spine tingling fear. Love it and ready for part 4!!(less)