I am not at all sure I want to dignify this book with a review. I am utterly perplexed by all the 5-star reviews, and all I can say is this is SO notI am not at all sure I want to dignify this book with a review. I am utterly perplexed by all the 5-star reviews, and all I can say is this is SO not my genre. Romances (not the same thing as love stories in my categorization) are silly. This book is sillier than silly. I can't call this historical fiction by any stretch of the imagination, so I have settled on fantasy. As far as romances go, this one was pretty tame with one utterly unbelievable sex scene. If I hadn't been listening in the car, this would have been a did-not-finish at that point. It started out as a not bad adventure story, some cute characters, some humorous dialogue. But then it seemed to completely change direction in the second half with the appearance of Merry's mother, a witch. Not just herbs and potions - but actual magic seemed to be involved. There's a bit of mystery, and a twist at the end that I didn't see coming. So two stars. Adequate entertainment if you just want a light read, but don't set your expectations too high. There are apparently recurring characters from previous books in the "series". I read this thinking it might be a fun read for my book club, as the library has it as a bookclub-in-a-bag kit. But no, I won't be recommending it.
Book Description: When Garron of Kersey returns home from the king's service to claim his title as Baron Wareham, he's shocked to find Wareham Castle very nearly destroyed by a man called the Black Demon. According to the last starving servants still clinging to life inside the castle walls, the Black Demon was looking for silver belonging to Garron's brother Arthur. Among his remaining servants is the enigmatic Merry, said to be the bastard child of the castle's priest. Garron quickly realizes that she is much more than a servant: She reads and writes and makes lists, just as he does. Together they bring Wareham back to its former splendor. But this is only the beginning. Did Arthur have a cache of silver? Who is the Black Demon? And the biggest question of all: Who is Merry? ...more
If you don't think too much about the glaring plot holes and gratuitous sex scenes I suppose this is sort of a fun, fluffy book. I have no clue what tIf you don't think too much about the glaring plot holes and gratuitous sex scenes I suppose this is sort of a fun, fluffy book. I have no clue what the title signifies. I don't recall the phrase "Son of the Morning" coming up at all. I enjoyed the fact that a lot of the book takes place in the Twin Cities. And I'll read anything about medieval Scotland, and a modern-day scholar translating historical documents. But Grace's reasoning and inner-thought process left me shaking my head - starting with why the heck didn't she go to the police immediately after witnessing the murder of her husband and brother. Then, of course, there is the fact that this CLUELESS woman is extraordinarily lucky, not just once, but quite a few times. This book contains VERY explicit sex - if you like that kind of thing you'll be in heaven. It's not my thing. Nothing particularly romantic about any of it. I suppose the fact that they share sex dreams before they even meet is supposed to indicate that they are meant for each other. Whatever. But first she has to get over feeling like she is betraying the memory of her dead husband. But like I said, if you can get past the plot machinations, I enjoyed the adventure of her outwitting the sadistic, evil guy, and her relationship with the woman she rents a room from in Chicago. But really, the sex added nothing at all to the story.
Description: A scholar specializing in ancient manuscripts, Grace St. John never imagined that a cache of old documents she discovered was the missing link to a lost Celtic treasure. But as soon as she deciphers the legend of the Knights Templar - long fabled to hold the key to unlimited power - Grace becomes the target of a ruthless killer bent on abusing the coveted force. Determined to stop him, Grace needs the help of a warrior bound by duty to uphold the Templar's secret for all eternity. But to find him - and to save herself - she must go back in time to fourteenth-century Scotland and to Black Niall, a fierce man of dark fury and raw, unbridled desire. Audiobook read by Natalie Ross....more
This is everything I love about historical novels and family sagas: big, sweeping, panoramic, enough history to understand the context, enough detailThis is everything I love about historical novels and family sagas: big, sweeping, panoramic, enough history to understand the context, enough detail to put me in that time and place, characters that I care about, a little romance, a lot of adventure, and a satisfying ending. This caught my attention in connection with my Moby-Dick project because it had the word "sea" in the title. Other than that, there is no connection. It is not a sea story. For information and pictures of the cathdral see http://www.aviewoncities.com/barcelon... . I listened to an audio recording of the book. Otherwise I would have been stumbling over the pronunciation of Spanish names and places. It had me sitting in my garage on multiple occasions after driving home from work because I didn't want to stop the narrative. Arnau begins life as the son of a runaway serf, joins the guild of the bastaix (porters who unload the cargo from the ships in the harbor) who carry stones from the quarry to the building site on their own time because of their dedication to the Virgin of the Sea. Through Arnau's eyes, we see life in Barcelona during times of famine and plague, relations with the Jews, the Inquisition, war, the growing maritime prosperity of Catalonia and the merchant classes, and the role of religion and faith from differing perspectives. Arnau is a good man at his core, but he is not above exacting revenge on those who have harmed him and those he loves. Well researched, I did not mind the historical asides, and learned a lot about a less familiar region of medieval Europe.
Description: In the tradition of Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth, here is a thrilling historical novel of friendship and revenge, plague and hope, love and war, set in the golden age of 14th-century Barcelona. Arnau Estanyol arrives in Barcelona and joins the powerful guild of stone-workers building the magnificent cathedral of Santa Maria del Mar, while his adoptive brother Joan studies to become a priest. As Arnau prospers, he secretly falls in love with a forbidden woman. When he is betrayed and hauled before the Inquisitor, he finds himself face-to-face with his own brother. Will he lose his life just as his beloved cathedral is finally completed, or will his brother spare him? ...more
A fascinating subject with enough drama for a soap opera, but it just didn't come alive for me. Perhaps because of the lack of primary sources, the boA fascinating subject with enough drama for a soap opera, but it just didn't come alive for me. Perhaps because of the lack of primary sources, the book gets bogged down by too many mundane details. Who cares that they left one city on a specific date and arrive somewhere else four days later on a specific date. Still, this Lady is begging to be better known. Her life and times were harrowing and tragic, with violent husbands, feuding families, a papal schism, the plague decimating all of Europe, and the "free companies" marauding and pillaging the countryside. And yet she maintained her sanity, held her own against all the plotting and conniving, built churches and hospitals, sponsored the writer Petrarch at her court, reduced crime, and was an ardent promoter of peace.
Description: In 1348, at the age of twenty-two, Joanna I, the queen of Naples, stood trial before the pope, accused of murdering her cousin and husband, Hungarian prince Andrew. Arguing her own case in Latin, she won her acquittal, and went on to become the only female monarch in her time to rule in her own name; she presided over one of Europe's most prestigious and influential courts for more than thirty years—until she herself was murdered. For the first time, Nancy Goldstone tells the full story of one of the most courageous and accomplished women in history, painting a captivating portrait of medieval royalty in all its splendid complexity....more
Four stars is perhaps generous, but I like family sagas and I like historical fiction where history is actually the focus. This is book 1 of a now 34Four stars is perhaps generous, but I like family sagas and I like historical fiction where history is actually the focus. This is book 1 of a now 34 book series intended to cover British history from the middle ages through WW2 through the eyes of a fictional family. The author says on her website (www.cynthiaharrodeagles.com) "I wanted to include...not just the kings, battles and Parliaments, but how people lived, what they wore and ate, how they gave birth and died, how they built their houses and related to their servants, how they travelled, what they believed in." Although the fictional setting of the Morland family is near York in England, the original Morland home in this book (Micklelith House) was based on Tretower Court in Wales. If I ever get back to Wales, this will be on my itinerary: http://www.gardenvisit.com/garden/tre...
And, although there is not really a plot, and the characters are mostly pretty flat and one-dimensional, I immediately wanted to reread the book after finishing it. I don't know if that's because I wanted to continue to immerse myself in the time period details, or because of some vague sense of having missed something that would make the story more complete. I do wish the publisher had included the royal family genealogy tables along with the Morland family tree provided, but I suppose that can be found readily enough. The political background of The Founding includes the reign of Edward IV and Richard III, and yes, the famous Princes in the Tower. The main character, Eleanor (nee Courteney) is strong-willed and ambitious. She will put the family fortunes ahead of every other consideration, even at the cost of the lives and happiness of her own children. She is arrogant and selfish, but yet she does elicit some sympathy and even admiration. Oh! and of course I liked that her personal device was a white hare.
I would like to have seen a lot more development of the characters, maybe over three books instead of one. The harrowing story of Eleanor's daughter, Isabella, could have been a book in itself. Her strange son, Richard, and his wanderings could have been another fleshed out story. As it is, the book covers more than 50 years during the tumultuous Wars of the Roses. I will probably pick up the next book at some point to see how this fiercely Yorkist family survives the Tudors.
Series info: Morland dynasty series 01. The founding - read 02. The dark rose 03. The princeling 04. The oak apple 05. The black pearl 06. The long shadow 07. The chevalier 08. The maiden 09. The flood tide 10. The tangled thread 11. The emperor 12. The victory 13. The regency 14. The campaigners 15. The reckoning 16. The devil's horse 17. The poison tree 18. The abyss 19. The hidden shore 20. The winter journey 21. The outcast 22. The mirage 23. The cause 24. The homecoming 25. The question 26. The dream kingdom 27. The restless sea 28. The white road 29. The burning roses 30. The measure of days 31. The foreign field 32. The fallen kings 33. The dancing years 34. The winding road