3.5 stars. It's set in 1645 York, as a well-respected midwife starts investigating the brutal murders of prostitutes. The Puritan leadership keeps usi...more3.5 stars. It's set in 1645 York, as a well-respected midwife starts investigating the brutal murders of prostitutes. The Puritan leadership keeps using the murders as "signs" from God that the people of York need to repent from their harlotry, but Bridget is convinced that evil, and not God, is responsible, and she is determined to catch the killer before more women die. I really enjoyed it!
I liked the plot to this one better than THE MIDWIFE'S TALE. But it used the word whore so much I got tired of it. Surely in the 17th century there were synonyms? Harlot? (Which is in the title!) Prostitute? Anyway, it's a small quibble with a good historical mystery.(less)
Thane's writing is as superb as ever, though I'm almost tempted to give it a 3 just bc I find Evadne rather irritating and I just want to strangle Her...moreThane's writing is as superb as ever, though I'm almost tempted to give it a 3 just bc I find Evadne rather irritating and I just want to strangle Hermione the whole time.(less)
Lovely YA romance set in the wilds of "Ouisconsin" in French-American territory. Diane Aubert longs to return to...more*Sappy sigh* I love this book SO much.
Lovely YA romance set in the wilds of "Ouisconsin" in French-American territory. Diane Aubert longs to return to the civilization of Massachusetts, until she realizes happiness has been under her nose all along.(less)
In The Walnut Tree, Charles Todd--the mother-son writing team behind the popular Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawford mystery series--turns to romance, with...moreIn The Walnut Tree, Charles Todd--the mother-son writing team behind the popular Ian Rutledge and Bess Crawford mystery series--turns to romance, with a story that shares the same First World War setting as their earlier books, including a tangential reference to Bess Crawford herself. The book opens as war begins, and Lady Elspeth Douglas finds herself trapped in Paris. Her almost-fiancé, the gallant Alain, is off with the French army, and Elspeth feels compelled to return to England and be of service. As she attempts to reach Calais, she gets drawn into a battle and is rescued by handsome Captain Peter Gilchrist, a childhood acquaintance.
With Peter's aid, Elspeth eventually makes it back to England; against her guardian's wishes, she begins training as a nurse. Abandoning her title and privileged lifestyle, Elspeth serves as a regular member of the service. Nursing takes her to bloody field hospitals in France, back to England accompanying injured men, then to her ancestral home in Scotland and eventually to Sussex, where stands an old, beloved walnut tree. Along the way, Elspeth learns eye-opening lessons about class, society and coping. And she'll have to choose between the dashing Alain and the dependable Peter.
The Walnut Tree is a sweet, simple little book--a perfect holiday tale to read with a mug of hot cocoa (and a must-read for Downton Abbey fans). It conjures up an earlier time, a genteel era obliterated by the onslaught of war.
If you know someone who has read Charles Todd or Jacqueline Winspear, or just someone who likes romantic easy reads - this would be a perfect gift. It's a short book, with likeable characters, and a plot that moves gently. I didn't like it quite as well as the mysteries, but it was still a very enjoyable read. Although really, I think the "A Holiday Tale" subtitle is slightly misleading, because it wasn't as Christmas-y as I was expecting. But I could easily see it joining my usual December re-read rotation.(less)
This is a story of mail order brides in 1867 Nebraska. I didn't really like it. So I was going to give it 2 stars. And yet...I couldn't stop reading i...moreThis is a story of mail order brides in 1867 Nebraska. I didn't really like it. So I was going to give it 2 stars. And yet...I couldn't stop reading it. I just had to know what was going to happen to the characters. So I guess 2.5, or 3? I'm ambivalent.
The problem was that the story was told from the alternating viewpoints of 3 different characters, and I only liked 1 of them. (less)
Lady Jane Grey, King Henry VIII's great-niece, was fourth in line to the throne (after Mary and Elizabeth Tudor, then Jane's mother Frances). As young...moreLady Jane Grey, King Henry VIII's great-niece, was fourth in line to the throne (after Mary and Elizabeth Tudor, then Jane's mother Frances). As young King Edward visibly sickened, the scheming of those close to the throne became more complicated, and the Greys found themselves in the midst of it. Meanwhile, Jane Dudley, wife of the powerful Duke of Northumberland, loved her eight children dearly, but she has never liked the Grey family--until King Edward found it politically expedient to marry the teenage Jane to Northumberland's fourth son, Guildford. The marriage united the two pivotal families, and after Jane was crowned, their futures were bright--until Mary Tudor fought back against Jane's ascension. Suddenly, the Greys and the Dudleys were in a very precarious position.
Told in alternating chapters by Frances Grey and Jane Dudley, Her Highness, The Traitor tells the story of two mothers united in the quest to save their families from destruction. The language is occasionally a bit anachronistic, but what the modern tone lacks in historical accuracy it gains in making the dread of these two women all too real, letting the reader vividly experience the terror of the Tudor era.
Also, somewhat to my surprise, given that I tend to pride myself on my historical knowledge, I learned a LOT from this book. I've read several biographies of King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth, but I knew very little about the space between them. My knowledge of Queen Mary was rather superficial, and my knowledge of Edward and Jane's reigns was almost nonexistent. I think Her Highness, The Traitor is a great first step to start filling in the historical gaps; if your knowledge of British history is much like mine. (less)