The third book in the Cousin's War series. This is the story of Jacquetta Woodville, mother of the future Queen of England. Good novel, not one of her best works but still an enjoyable read. Would recommend this to Gregory fans and to those who are interested in the War of the Roses. If you are reading this series, I would suggest that you start with this novel as it provides a lot of background knowledge for the first two novels in this series. (less)
This is an amazing story about the French Revolution however the title can definitely be misleading. The story takes place over 5 years during the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror and it is told by Marie Grosholtz, a talent wax sculptor who will one day become the famous Madame Tussaud. In her Salon de Cire Parisians could find sculptures of the royal family, Jefferson, and later Robspierre and other Revolutionary figures. It was also the place to get the latest news and gossip. Marie is soon asked to become a royal tutor to the King's sister, a position that she cannot refuse but a position that may come back to haunt her as the Revolution continues.
Definitely a good novel, but I think that Moran should stick with the ancient world. Her characterization of Marie was cold, unemotional and seemed to only care about her career and making money. I would have liked more details regarding Marie's life after the Revolution as those later years were squished into a matter of a few pages ... a sequel perhaps in the future? As for the title, she does not become Madame Tussaud until the end of the book - the title was misleading and I don't think that it needed to be. It was still a fantastic book about the French Revolution without the gimmick of Madame Tussaud. I would recommend this novel to anyone who wants to read more about the French Revolution and to those who are fans of Moran. (less)
“To Serve a King” is a novel set in 16th century France. Geneviève Gravois is a servant of King Henry VIII of England although she is French-born and...more“To Serve a King” is a novel set in 16th century France. Geneviève Gravois is a servant of King Henry VIII of England although she is French-born and is sent to the court of King François I of France as a spy. Geneviève is trained as a spy and assassin and is told that she is an orphan because of François and from this information stems a great hatred of the man. After arriving in François’ court, Geneviève soon realises that what she has been told is entirely inaccurate and she begins to doubt her abilities to carry out what is asked of her and she begins to question her morals and loyalties.
This was a great book! It was very well written and the characters continued to develop throughout the novel. All of the important people who lived in François’ court, Diane de Poitiers, Anne d’Heilly, Catherine de Medici, are present in the novel however some of their roles, especially that of Catherine de Medici, are drastically underplayed. This novel was obviously researched in great deal and is filled with details. The reader is hooked right from the beginning and the story holds the readers interest from start to finish, page to page. Definitely would recommend this novel to anyone who loves historical fiction. (less)
This story could be summed up with one phrase: Be careful what you wish for, you just might get exactly what you want. Alienor of Aquitaine was just y...moreThis story could be summed up with one phrase: Be careful what you wish for, you just might get exactly what you want. Alienor of Aquitaine was just young girl when her father, William X of Aquitaine, started grooming her to become his heir. Alienor learns at an early age to inspire love and loyalty in her people and how to be powerful in the midst of the ruthless politics of court. Alienor enjoyed life in Aquitaine in the Court of Love with her father and younger sister Petra and her only request of her father was to help her become the Queen of France. With her father’s mysterious and untimely death, Alienor becomes Duchess of Aquitaine at the tender age of 15 and she is forced to finish her own betrothal agreement with the King of France—an agreement which is prolonged by Alienor’s refusal to give up her duchy to her husband but to remain Duchess of Aquitaine with the title passing on to her son.
Louis VII was raised in the Church, being the second son he never aspired to become King, however he is forced to do so upon the death of his older brother. The Church means everything to Louis and the Church’s power only grows stronger with Louis VII on the throne. Being young, impressionable and dedicated to God, he is easily manipulated by the Church. Although he is awed by Alienor, now named Eleanor by Louis, his true love and devotion is to the Church and God. Eleanor tries to guide her weak and naive husband but she faces a constant opposition at every turn by the Church. Trapped in a loveless marriage that has only produced daughters for France and in a life in which she does not believe, Eleanor looks to dissolve her marriage to the King of France and return home to Aquitaine.
This story is everything that a great historical fiction should be—it’s educational; it’s exciting; there’s romance, deception and betrayal; and finally it’s a fantastic read. I have loved Alienor of Aquitaine ever since I learned about her in a French history class in University. She was a strong, independent, determined and unconventional woman who was born to rule in a time of male dominance. I read Christy English’s “The Queen’s Pawn” last year and I have to say that English’s sophomore novel is just as good as her debut novel. It is evident that English has a personal love and interest in her subject, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and this shines through in her writing. The story is written in such a way that it is evident that English did her research. She paints her characters in such a life-like way that it is possible for the reader to be able to feel the love between Alienor and her father. Her father William realizes that his daughter is special and instead of remarrying to produce an heir, he is comfortable leaving his lands to his daughter—there is obviously a loving and trusting bond between the two. Her style of writing and the amount of rich details evokes the senses – it is almost as if the reader is transported into the novel and experiencing the same sounds, smells and sights as the characters. I thoroughly enjoyed this fast paced, page-turner by Christy English and I cannot wait to read what she has in store for the future. (less)
“The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette” tells the story of Marie Antoinette, from her beginnings as an Austrian archduchess to her last days as prisone...more“The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette” tells the story of Marie Antoinette, from her beginnings as an Austrian archduchess to her last days as prisoner 280. Marie Antoinette started keeping her journal as a young girl and in it she records her life – her disappointing marriage, her heartbreak of lost children, secret affairs and her fears of the people of France.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book – it was a quick, easy and effortless read. It was fairly well written however I found that the diary format in which it was written was very juvenile. I found that even though it was written as a personal diary, it lacked any real emotion in the writing. I as found it strange that the calibre of Marie Antoinette’s “writing” doesn’t change much from when she was a young girl (of about 13 or 14) in Austria to when she was a 37 year old women in prison waiting to be executed. It was definitely a good effort however there is room for improvement. (less)
Another one of Erickson's "historical entertainments". Was a little disappointed wit this one - not one of her best but also not one of her worse eith...moreAnother one of Erickson's "historical entertainments". Was a little disappointed wit this one - not one of her best but also not one of her worse either.
The second novel in a trilogy about the life of Marie Antoinette. I really enjoyed reading this novel - it spans 15 years, from the beginning of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette's reign up until the start of the French Revolution. Marie Antoinette is portrayed as neither good or bad but rather as a real person - yes she had her faults and she made a lot of questionable decisions but she was also a young woman who was desperate for her husband's love and affection and she desperately wanted children.
The novel was very well written and well researched, the character's were great, the descriptions were unbelievably vibrant. The only problem I had with this novel was the fact that it was extremely slow in some parts and it dragged on and on at times - it was almost like would you please get to the point of this chapter... However, I still really enjoyed it. Can't wait for the next installment The Last October Sky due out in September of 2013. (less)
Looking for an 18th century historical drama? Pick up The Queen’s Dollmaker by Christine Trent. The novel is set both in France and England and tells the story of one woman’s survival and her struggle for independence, love and life. The heroine, Claudette Laurent, loses everything when a tragic fire sweeps through Paris killing her family and destroying her house and the family business. Penniless and alone Claudette decides to take her chances in England. On the ship from France to England, she befriends Béatrice and her young daughter Marguerite. The three of them become inseparable and they form their own little family and begin their journey together. They stick together through good times and bad, including tedious servant work, Claudette rekindles her talent and dreams of continuing her father’s business of doll making. At the beginning, this is just for survival . . . the girls need to make enough money to escape their lives as domestic servants but eventually these little dolls become coveted items and the demand begins to increase drastically. Claudette and Béatrice manage to break free from their misery and they begin a very successful and thriving business. (less)
The novel tells the story of Jeanne du Bois and her life at Versailles in the court of the Sun King, Louis XIV. Jeanne’s father does not particularly...moreThe novel tells the story of Jeanne du Bois and her life at Versailles in the court of the Sun King, Louis XIV. Jeanne’s father does not particularly like his daughter as she is too independent and unladylike as she has fencing lessons from her Uncle Jules. After one of these secret lessons, Jeanne and Jules come across two of the King’s Musketeers and join in the battle. Jeanne then takes on her alter ego Jean Luc which allows her to live life as a Musketeer. Jeanne falls in love with one of her fellow Musketeers but her father plans on marrying her off to a detestable Baron. Throughout the novel there is a plot to kill the Queen and it is up to Jeanne/Jean Luc to save her.
This was a good novel, a fairly quick read. The characters were a little flawed, especially Jeanne. I found her to be way over the top—she was way too independent for the time period. I also found it difficult to believe that Jeanne would be able to transform between Jeanne and Jean Luc so quickly (it seems as if this is done in a matter of minutes) which in reality would have taken a great deal of time and would probably take at least one extra set of hands. Overall I enjoyed the story although I would classify it more of a young adult novel as the writing is a little juvenile. I would recommend this for a light, easy read. (less)