This is the story of Mary Penley and Kit Stansell. The daughter of a brewer and the (illegitimate) son of a duchess whose parents hated each other, th...moreThis is the story of Mary Penley and Kit Stansell. The daughter of a brewer and the (illegitimate) son of a duchess whose parents hated each other, they fell in love and decided to elope together but their marriage didn't last long with both committing adultery. When the story opens they have been estranged for a number of years and meeting in Paris they decide that the best thing is to start divorce proceedings. They both travel to England and they meet again at the village where they grew up. Mary is visiting her family and Kit investigating a political conspiracy. They soon find that they can't keep their hands off each other...
My main problem with the story was Rosenthal's writing style. There were many points of view, many flashbacks and that made me feel very distant from the characters and if I can't care about them I have a hard time wanting to know about them. That's the reason why I felt that maybe I should have left it DNF. Most people seem to have loved it and felt that this was a rich story but my lack of interest in it just made it a chore to reach the end. I couldn't see why Kit and Mary were so in love, or why they couldn't stop meeting when they seemed to have very different ways of thinking. Maybe I should tackle it some other time when I can concentrate more... or maybe I should go read something else...
The Saint and the Fasting Girl is a story divided in two parts. In the first Georgia is the Abbess in a Yorkshire Abbey that follows the ways of St Is...moreThe Saint and the Fasting Girl is a story divided in two parts. In the first Georgia is the Abbess in a Yorkshire Abbey that follows the ways of St Isela. The Saint has died and promised to return so Georgia lives to see that moment. When the story opens, the abbey and the nearest village are under attack; Georgia has a vision and knows she must save the baby girl whose birth is eminent as she will be an important part of St Isela's return.
Georgia manages to keep the Abbey safe but Phillip SeVerde, the archbishop of London, wants to control the land. They'll both fight for it, with SeVerde sending troops and Georgia trying to evade them while raising Lo, the baby who she believes will grow to be awakened to St Isela's story and eventually lead to St Isela’s return. However, in a period of religious instability that is the Kingdom of Henry VIII, the abbey ends up destroyed and Georgia is killed.
On the second part of the book a young girl, Jane, realises that she is Georgia. She must devote herself to prepare the way for St Isela’s return and the first thing is to look for the sisters who lost their home when the abbey was destroyed and to look for St Isela's treasure that she had hidden in the abbey.
While Jane is still a girl, she behaves very much like Georgia, set in her beliefs and determined to restore Isela's ways. She only behaves as a teenager when she grows fond of a young servant and we see them bickering their way to love. But her main concern is to save Lo, now a grown woman, from the man who has brutalised her and to find St Isela's treasure.
I think what I enjoyed the most about the book was how the author can really make us understand how religion was an integral part of the medieval mind. Everything was ruled by religion and social class. Not only we see in the story a lot of violence towards the lower orders but that behaviour seems to be expected and accepted by everyone.
I did like the first half of the book better because I had some trouble warming up to Jane. I was surprised by how she enters the story and in the beginning she is not very likeable. I must say that one of the interesting things of the story is that there are several twists that keep you guessing. In fact, given all that happens, the ending is also quite surprising. I only wish the "fasting girl" aspect had been more explored, both Georgia and Jane don't eat when they are worried and upset but they didn't seem to fast on purpose and I was very curious about that angle of the story after having read something about it on Anna Richenda's website.
I found this a very interesting and original story with its focus on monastic life and would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading about that period.
One final word to thank the author Anna Richenda for having sent me a copy.
Pope Joan is a figure I was aware of but knew next to nothing about, her existence is surrounded by mystery and so she seems the ideal figure to write...morePope Joan is a figure I was aware of but knew next to nothing about, her existence is surrounded by mystery and so she seems the ideal figure to write a historical fiction novel about. Author Donna Woolfolk Cross writes an interesting tale about what could have been a young girl's life in that time.
Daughter of a canon who values women little and definitely finds them unworthy of an education her Joan has to struggle from early on to pursue her studies. Luckily she finds a monk willing to help her learn and who eventually will lead to her being accepted at a school. Much brighter and intelligent than her brother, Joan stands out as a student and eventually develops an attachment to Gerolt, the nobleman in whose house she leaves in. But Gerolt leaves and the village is attacked by Norsemen.
To survive Joan disguises herself as her dead brother and becomes John. As a man she is more easily accepted and continues her studies at the Fulda monastery and later travels to Rome where she is known as a dedicated scholar and a celebrated healer. Her fame is such that she is called to attend the Pope and so enters the Vatican's sphere of influence. There she will understand the politics behind the scenes and she will meet Gerolt again. The story is very easy to read and proceeds at good pace. However I did feel that Joan, as a character, was a bit too perfect to be totally believable. Not only that but some things seem to happen too easily or too coincidentally. I suppose I would have liked to see more of her thought process and she having to work more to get where she ended up. She does have some painful decisions to make regarding her relationship with Gerolt but everything else seemed to fall into place quite easily. I did enjoy learning about the politics behind the throne, the same as in every other kingdom, and was surprised to learn about the power of the people in the election of the Pope.
History is full of possibilities and this was certainly an intriguing story that kept me interested till the end. Thank you so much to the author for sending me the book.
Scream For Me is a sequel to Die for Me where we were introduced to the Vartanian family. Simon, the murderer caught in the previous book, is now dead...moreScream For Me is a sequel to Die for Me where we were introduced to the Vartanian family. Simon, the murderer caught in the previous book, is now dead and his brother Daniel returns to the small town where they grew up. Also back in town is Alex Fallon, she left town when she was still a girl after her twin sister was murdered and her mother committed suicide and she now returns to look for her cousin who has gone missing.
As usual Rose's books are an interesting mix of suspense and romance, she pays equal attention to both of them and that works very well for me even when she deals with gritty subjects. One must mention that these stories are not for the faint of heart as her villains are really bad guys.
Daniel Vartanian goes back to investigate a crime his brother committed while still in high school, a series of rapes of young girls. It's clear that more young men were involved and he soon finds out Alex Fallon's sister was one of their victims. Rose successfully creates a small town atmosphere where everyone could be guilty and most seem to know everyone else's secrets and feel they have a right to judge. I really disliked all the time spent there but I think that was Rose's intention. You know those bad horror movies where you know something bad is going to happen and you feel like screaming at the screen: don't go there? Well, for a while I kept screaming at Alex to just get out of there and go home, but of course that couldn't happen could it?
While investigating Simon and his friends past crimes and how they link to Alex's cousin disappearance, Alex and Daniel uncover a new crime organization that's kidnaps girls and sells them for prostitution. They solve the old crime but this new one is clearly set up to continue in the next book. In fact it almost felt like the two books were one and if you are planning to read this trilogy that is better done in a row, especially book 2 and 3.
While I did like the story I felt it lacked a bit of closure and that the small town, Dutton, felt a bit too corrupt, too dirty. I certainly hope nothing like this exists in real life where all the powers seem involved with the bad guys.
I did like Daniel and Alex, even if I felt they fell in love a bit too quickly. But as usual Rose writes strong, courageous and interesting characters and one can't but enjoy they're developing relationship.
I had no idea what was in store for me when I was offered a copy of this book. A story about a girl who makes a pact with the devil seemed a bit odd b...moreI had no idea what was in store for me when I was offered a copy of this book. A story about a girl who makes a pact with the devil seemed a bit odd but I decided to give it a shot. And I am very glad I did because I actually had a lot of fun reading it.
Lucy made a vow when she was 10 years old that in exchange for her sister's life she would do anything. Unfortunately someone was listening on the other side and since her sister was almost killed when she refused to fulfil that vow, Lucy has been a facilitator, someone who leads the targeted victim's to the devil's furnace.
I actually found Lucy a fun character, tired of being beautiful, perfect and sexually attractive without being able to commit and find a boyfriend to keep her company. She is ready to change her designer clothes and her wealthy life style for something more meaning. Unfortunately she is stuck with helping the dark side and leading people to their demise in her basement. Her need for friendship and family is fulfilled by her neighbour Maggie’s family as she feels she must stay away from her own family to protect them.
When Lucy meets Luke Marshall, a blind university teacher she really wishes her life could be different. As Luke, who being blind is unable to see the perfect and gorgeous Lucy, falls in love with her (even after their first meeting involved a drunken Lucy peeing in her closet), Lucy starts to feel much trapped by her odd circumstances.
But then, she and Maggie attend the concert of her favourite singer, Teddy Nightingale, and he reveals to Lucy that there's a way to break the contract and be free again. I thought Lucy's idea to use the bad guys to make the number she needed to free herself quite fun, she was a girl who did some really bad things but she always seemed to have a good motive to do them, usually saving someone's life. Unfortunately Finn, her young neighbour, is on her hit list too and soon she finds herself needing to choose between her life and his.
The book has a chick-litish feel that appealed to me, had this been a serious book I don't think it would have worked so well. But as it is it made for a very pleasant read.
First of all I have to thank author Eva Etzioni-Halevy for sending me her book. When she first contacted me I hesitated at first because I'm always a...moreFirst of all I have to thank author Eva Etzioni-Halevy for sending me her book. When she first contacted me I hesitated at first because I'm always a bit wary of reading books set in the Biblical period, in fact, till now I had only read one - The Red Tent - which I absolutely loved, and so I decided to give it a go. I'm very happy that I did. This book was an absolute page turner and I just couldn't put it down.
Although it is called The Triumph of Deborah the action revolves also around Barak, the warrior who defeated the Canaanites, as well Asherah and Nogah, the two daughters of the Canaanite King that he eventually marries.
Deborah is a Judge and a Prophetess of the Israelites, for years the Israelites and the Canaanites have been at war and after a first attempt at peace Deborah believes they will have to defeat the Canaanites so they can have peace. She enlists the help of Barak for the war but by doing so alienates her husband who divorces her. Against all odds the warrior defeats the powerful Canaanite army and eventually will invade and destroy the fortress of Jadin, the Canaanite king and bring his women as prisoners, Asherah, his youngest daughter and widow of Sisra, the army commander Barak defeated and Nogah, his daughter by an Israelite slave.
I found the relationship that each women forms with Barak very interesting. They try to stay true to what and who they are which is not always easy. While they are not always likeable we can understand their actions and worries. Deborah, who would like to have a relationship with him but knows that she must stay true to her role as a judge and prophetess, Asherah who finds it difficult to have any kind of tender feelings towards the man who destroyed her world and Nogah who is grateful that he saved her mother but is uncomfortable with her role in his life. In different ways they all show strength, resiliance and independence. Barak is usually more preoccupied with his wars and working his fields than women, his use for them is normally of a temporary nature, but as the women have to adapt to the changes in their lives so he will have to change his behaviour according to his feelings.
The story gives an interesting glimpse of the way of life at the time, both in palaces and farms, as well as about the status of women and the behaviour of men. I don’t know much about this period but I must say I am now curious and ready to go and do some investigation. It’s a very easy read with solid and interesting characters.
There seems to be many Austen sequels around lately and I haven't read that many. A few years ago I read Elizabeth's Aston Mr Darcy's Daughters and ha...moreThere seems to be many Austen sequels around lately and I haven't read that many. A few years ago I read Elizabeth's Aston Mr Darcy's Daughters and had a nice memory of it so when I won this one at Jane Austen's Today I decided to give it a go. Mr Darcy's Dream is book 6 in a series that Aston wrote about Austen P&P characters. Although it's not mandatory to read the others before this one I think it would actually improve the reading if you did because the Darcy's and the Bingley's have so many daughters that it is a bit difficult to locate everyone at first. The book can be read as a standalone though.
It tells the story of Georgiana Darcy's, now Lady Hawkins, daughter Phoebe. Phoebe has fallen in love with a young man called Arthur Stanhope. Mr Stanhope loves in return but unfortunately he doesn't belong to the same political party as Phoebe's father and he does have a bit of a rakish reputation so Sir Giles Hawkins denies them permission to marry and makes Phoebe promise she won’t see him again. While upset at first Phoebe readily agrees after she sees him with the woman she believes to be his mistress.
Out of sorts and unhappy Phoebe is sent to Pemberley for the summer. The Darcy's are away but are planning a ball for their return and Mr Darcy leaves Phoebe to do all the organising. To keep her company she has Louisa Bingley, Jane Bennet and Mr Bingley's daughter, who after 3 seasons in London still hasn't found a man who interests her. In the house is also Mr Drummond, the man who is redesigning Mr Darcy's gardens, he is a close friend of Mr Stanhope who in turn comes to Derbyshire ostensibly to visit his sister but in fact to speak to Phoebe. Stanhope pursues Phoebe who tries to avoid him and Miss Bingley and Mr Drummond develop a fondness for each other while talking about plants and plotting to bring their friends together.
While I felt there was great potential in the book I think most of the tension is nonexistent due to the fact that there is never a confrontation between Phoebe and Stanhope about their feelings. Phoebe never explains to him that it is the fact that she saw him with another woman that disappointed her and not just her father’s orders. Since there was no real conflict it is just the story of his pursuit of her. I would have liked to see a bit more of Louisa Bingley's romance too as she was such a nice secondary character. The same goes for Stanhope's sister, I was glad that her problems were at an end but I would have liked to see a bit more of her and her thoughts.
I have realised this past few weeks that traditional regencies are my comfort reading material. Whenever I feel down this is invariable the genre I tu...moreI have realised this past few weeks that traditional regencies are my comfort reading material. Whenever I feel down this is invariable the genre I turn too. Although there are less stories being published there are still a huge number of authors and stories for me to discover. This was my first read by this author Corinna Cunliffe and while it wasn't a favourite it had some attractive points and I want to read more by her.
Perdita Chase has been raised by her aunt since she was a little girl, her mother died when she was young and her father is an actor and so considered unsuitable to raise her. She has grown up surrounded by her cousin and 2 of the neighborhood boys, Sir Jeremy Dole and his brother. Perdita is secretly in love with Sir Jeremy and always has been but always feels overwhelmed and tongue tied in his presence. One day, while out walking alone, she is kidnapped by mistake by ruffians who believe her to be a great heiress. Sir Jeremy proceeds to save but they end up having to spend a night at an Inn where a gossipy old Lady sees them and reaches the wrong conclusions. To protect Perdita's reputation Jeremy pretends they have married and the next day proposes to her.
It is clear from the beginning that Perdita and Jeremy do love each other. However they both believe the other loves someone else. Acting on that presumption they are cold and distant with one another and the misunderstanding just grows bigger and bigger till Jeremy, after behaving awfully towards Perdita decides to stay away.
Unable to conquer him Perdita, who has found her father, decides to join the theater company and perform in the play she herself wrote and that reproduces somehow her problems with her husband. It will take the handiwork of friends to bring Jeremy to watch the play and finally realise the truth.
While I always appreciate books full of heart ache and this one certainly has a lot of that going on I never felt immersed in the story and in the characters to the point where I was suffering along with them (which I like!). They felt believable and interesting but somewhat cold to me. There is a secondary love story that develops that I enjoyed too although we see little of it and it also contributes to the problems between Jeremy and Perdita. Their main problem was one of communication and I would certainly have liked more dialogue between them. The only thing that sounded to me a bit unrealistic was that Perdita would take to the stage so well and without fear of creating a possible scandal. Wouldn't that be odd in that period?
But I did enjoy the book as a whole and thought it well written and am now curious to read more (I have another one in the TBR pile). The ending seemed a bit rushed after all that heartache though.
Like so many of the books that have been in my TBR for a while I don't remember why I added it to the pile anymore. It seemed to have a marriage or be...moreLike so many of the books that have been in my TBR for a while I don't remember why I added it to the pile anymore. It seemed to have a marriage or betrothal of convenience which is one of my favourite themes so maybe that was it. It was only after I had finished it that a friend told me this was Christian fiction, although I can see how that term may be applied to it this is definitely not a story of the preachy sort. I never read Inspirationals and had I noticed any preachy messages I would have abandoned it immediately.
This is the story of Anne McGregor and Niall Campbell, beginning in 1654, whose clans have been feuding for 8 years. Due to some troubling events that involve Niall's capture by Anne's father and then the McGregor's siege by the Campbells, Anne's father concludes that the only way of ending the feud is to unite Anne and Niall in marriage. Unfortunately none of them is happy with that idea. Niall is still mourning his first wife and Anne doesn't want to get married, especially to someone she doesn't know. But the situation is bordering on war and so they eventually agree to a handfasting, a betrothal of sorts, for a year. After the year is over either they marry or separate.
Their union effectively stops the tension between both clans. However as Anne goes into Campbell territory and reaches their castle it is clear that there are many people who don't like their union and don't trust her. While she and Niall try to get along their relationship is affected by the fact that Anne's healing powers lead people to think she is a witch, in a time when a royal edict determined that witches should be burned at the stake, and Niall has to deal with a traitor who may be trying to kill him and take over his clan.
The book is as much about them getting to know and love each other as it is about the mystery of who is trying to destroy Niall. I must say I had a pretty good guess about who that might be from the beginning and I wasn't wrong. The book has enough action to keep you reading nonstop and has none of those religious messages that I usually associate with inspirational readings. Although they have decided on a chaste handfasting I felt that was quite in character for them and their situation, while they might be tempted to a physical relationship after they do know each other better there's no religious message stopping them from go ahead, it's their promise to each other that holds them back. All in all a very enjoyable read.
In Dreams by Nora Roberts A woman travels to Ireland and finds herself in a castle with a man who has been trapped there for 500 years. I didn’t feel a...moreIn Dreams by Nora Roberts A woman travels to Ireland and finds herself in a castle with a man who has been trapped there for 500 years. I didn’t feel anything for either character, thought they fell into love (lust?) rather quickly and there wasn’t enough character development. Grade: 2/5
The Sorcerer’s Daughter – Jill Gregory My favourite! To save her father from a witch Willow has to find a treasure. Her father decides to help and send someone to protect her but he makes a mistake and the wrong man shows up. Since both of them want the treasure it was fun to see them compete and fall in love in the process. Grade: 4/5
The Enchantment – Ruth Ryan Langan A love story between a real estate agent and the son of the owner of the house she is going to put on the market. Everything was going well, if not particularly memorable, when some sort of alternate reality/dream ruined the story for me. I just couldn’t believe that part. Grade: 3/5
The Bridge of Sighs – Marianne Willman This was another nice story although I must admit I was more interested in the past history than the modern couple. It seemed I didn’t know them enough and they sounded a bit immature. I liked the Venice setting, it seemed ideal for a ghost story. Grade: 4/5
Hiding in the Shadows is the second book in the Bishop series. I was surprised to realize that it is completely different from the first book in the s...moreHiding in the Shadows is the second book in the Bishop series. I was surprised to realize that it is completely different from the first book in the series. Bishop is the only common link but had a very secondary role her and the truth is that the type of story is completely different from the first one.
There is the mystery of what really happened to Faith in that car accident and the mystery of what happened to Dinah. Unlike the first book in this series, their paranormal powers are not related to what is happening or with discovering the guilty party. It is only really connected to who they are and how they are related.
This means the mystery part is solved by looking for clues and investigating the old-fashioned way. While that part was ok, what I was interested in was the paranormal and psychic elements. I have no idea where Hooper got inspiration for this plot but it made a really compelling and enthralling read to follow Faith through her discovery of who she was and why she had Dinah’s memories. The problem is that by focusing on Faith instead of the mystery this one looses much of its strength and in the end were just not that excited about its resolution.
Hooper kept me guessing till the end and about Faith and Dinah’s relationship and she did surprise me with the psychic twist, I’m not sure I’m convinced by it in the long run but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment. I think if she had kept us as curious about the mystery as about the two women it would have worked better though.