Historical Romance Book Club discussion

The Black Madonna (Roundheads and Cavaliers, #1)
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Gaol/Buddy Reads & Challenges > BR The Black Madonna

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message 1: by Andrea AKA Catsos Person (last edited Jul 26, 2018 12:24AM) (new) - added it

Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Andrea and Jan’s month-long buddy read of this 600+ paged book:

The Black Madonna The Black Madonna (Roundheads and Cavaliers, #1) by Stella Riley by Stella Riley.

By the summer of 1639, England is sliding inexorably towards civil war, and the havoc of the times is reflected in the lives of the Maxwells of Thorne Ash.

Red-haired and independent of spirit, Kate Maxwell is determined not to let the coming conflict disrupt the lives of those she loves. During her father's forced absence she vows to hold their home against marauding forces from both camps.

More threatening to her peace of mind than the actions of either the Parliamentarians or the Royalists is her growing attraction to the diabolically clever and irresistibly magnetic goldsmith and usurer, Luciano del Santi.

Hampered by the battling English, Luciano is fighting a fierce campaign close to his own heart - to avenge his father's execution at the hands of false accusers and to repay the loan which has financed the venture. Failure will result in ruin, perhaps even death; but success will allow him to reclaim the Black Madonna - the carved obsidian symbol of his heritage and his vendetta...


message 2: by Mariana (new) - added it

Mariana | 2227 comments Wow! Now this is a book length to tackle. Good luck and have fun.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Mariana wrote: "Wow! Now this is a book length to tackle. Good luck and have fun."

Thanks.

I’m going to just spend the month reading this along with a library book and two other buddy reads all for the month of August. I have a full-plate of reading for the month.


message 4: by Jan (new) - added it

Jan (jan130) | 1763 comments Ha ha ha. I'm being a little ambitious tackling this one (due to its length!) But I'm determined to give it a red hot go.

Anyone else want to join Andrea and me?


message 5: by Andrea AKA Catsos Person (last edited Aug 02, 2018 06:39AM) (new) - added it

Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments I’ve just read the Prologue.

There is a lot going on.

So... apparently Vittorios father was was working class. He Has a memory of his humble origins, his sons are spoiled children of a rich man who painfully realizes that they are quite worthless. It seems to me while he has given them access to his wealth as their father, he is contemptuous of them.

Now. Vittorio is perhaps jealous or resentful that his hated feckless bro stole Lucia away from him, BUT, the worthless Alessandro’s son he grudgingly and irritadedly admires Alessandro’s son Luciano, who like his (Luciano’s) grandfather, Vittorios father, Luciano knows how to make something of himself and has the grit to become successful without the advantages his spoilt worthless sons.

, I think Stella Riley’s writing is subtle and we are are going to have to look out to get to know Luciano. I don’t think Vittorio bothered to try to know Luciano. V grudgingly secured his apprenticeship for him, didn’t get to know him, or care about him. Luciano is reserved and plays his cards close to his chest. When he speaks, he reveals the bare minimum. And he’s subtly sarcastic.


message 6: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new) - rated it 5 stars

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 3723 comments Mod
I read this a couple of months ago. I enjoyed it! It did have a lot going on so having a buddy helps!


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Joanna Loves Reading wrote: "I read this a couple of months ago. I enjoyed it! It did have a lot going on so having a buddy helps!"

Joanna, is this really HR? I feel as if it may be HF.


message 8: by Joanna Loves Reading, Bluestocking of HR novels (new) - rated it 5 stars

Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 3723 comments Mod
Maybe it is more a Historical Fiction Romance? There is definitely a primary romance with an HEA, but the historical components are a big part of it too.


message 9: by Jan (new) - added it

Jan (jan130) | 1763 comments I'm starting this as soon as I finish a big fat CR I'm reading (Binding 13: Boys of Tommen #1. Looking forward to starting. I have read (and liked) some other Stella Rileys - her Georgian series. Sometimes her books do move slowly, but I usually like her characters, and she has a great sense of history. I'm a bit nervous about whether or nor there'll be enough romance in this one for me, though.


message 10: by Andrea AKA Catsos Person (last edited Aug 02, 2018 04:44PM) (new) - added it

Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments This is my first experience with this author.

I’ve read 3/4 book series this year thatvis really heavy on history. I was expecting heavier romance, but the period detail and the politics of the US revolutionary war was so good, I adapted and went with it bec I do like HF. If this turns out to be Romantic HF rather than HR I can still enjoy.


message 11: by Jan (new) - added it

Jan (jan130) | 1763 comments Her Georgians are quite traditional HRs in style but I still liked them. e.g. The Wicked Cousin The Wicked Cousin (Rockcliffe, #4) by Stella Riley was a goodie. This is an earlier book so it will be interesting to compare.


message 12: by Andrea AKA Catsos Person (last edited Aug 02, 2018 04:46PM) (new) - added it

Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments If you like Georgians, I'm reading Emperors of London by Lynne Connolly, a British Author.

Today, book 3, Danger Wears White is $.99 in the Kindle store. Technically it can be read on its own, but the the backdrop for the series is a juicy subplot of a rivalry between families who are Jacobites ( catholic Stuart supporters) at vs the Hanover supporters (The Emporer's family) and intra-family stuff among a bunch of male cousins who are named after Roman emperors.

I have written reviews for the three books that I have read, but they don't do a good job of convincing people. I'm not a great writer. Sonya Heaney has read the first two books and is a blogger, so her reviews are better than mine. SH reviews should be near the first reviews of the books reviews so you should see them.

It would be nice if Danger Wears White was $.99 in Aussie-land.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Jan130 wrote: "Her Georgians are quite traditional HRs in style but I still liked them. e.g. The Wicked Cousin The Wicked Cousin (Rockcliffe, #4) by Stella Riley was a goodie. This is an earlier book so it wi..."

I think that I have some of SRs Georgian titles on my shelves.


message 14: by Jan (new) - added it

Jan (jan130) | 1763 comments Go for it. IMO some are better than others, but I have enjoyed them all except haven't read the most recent one yet (Hazard).

Yep Danger Wears White is on sale down here! Nice. Some of the other books seem to be at reduced prices too. I'd like to try them. Do you think I could read Danger Wears White OK without having read the others, or should I start at #1?


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Jan130 wrote: "Go for it. IMO some are better than others, but I have enjoyed them all except haven't read the most recent one yet (Hazard).

Yep Danger Wears White is on sale down here! Nice. Some of the other b..."


If you are willing to buy book 1, I suggest that you read in order. I read books 1-3 some time ago and I was such a blockhead that I cottoned on to the exciting subplot about the factional rivalries (Stuart vs Hanover) and the family relationships. Do start at book 1 and pay attention to ALL of the family members and relationships. The relationships are confusing in the first book, but it they become clearer in the 2nd and 3rd books.

I'm in love with Julius.


message 16: by Jan (new) - added it

Jan (jan130) | 1763 comments K thanks Andrea.


message 17: by Jan (new) - added it

Jan (jan130) | 1763 comments OK, welp, I've started The Black Madonna but only read 3% so far. LOL. It seems pretty heavy going - a fairly formal and old-fashioned writing style. But I think once I 'get' who all these characters are and what's going on, I'll improve my reading pace. (I hope so!)


message 18: by Andrea AKA Catsos Person (last edited Aug 13, 2018 11:12PM) (new) - added it

Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Jan130 wrote: "OK, welp, I've started The Black Madonna but only read 3% so far. LOL. It seems pretty heavy going - a fairly formal and old-fashioned writing style. But I think once I 'get' who all these characte..."

I’ve been off GR for about a week. Got to catch up!

I’m only at about 4%.

I think since this is such a long book, SR is taking her time with introducing people.

Definitely a shift of gears from the prologue. The prologue really grabbed me. These first few actual chapters are a little boring.

Now I know what’s his name from the prologue has a beautiful face!

It’s looking as if I’ll still be working on this into September.


message 19: by Jan (new) - added it

Jan (jan130) | 1763 comments Yes! The prologue was good. But then it got bogged down. I'm at 7% now. Woohoo! *throws glitter* Go Jan, speed reader! This may take a while for me too. LOL.


message 20: by Andrea AKA Catsos Person (last edited Aug 15, 2018 07:01AM) (new) - added it

Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Jan,

Where are you in the book?

I finished ch 1-7 (end on page 138 @ 22%) of the first section called “Falling Shadows.”

I I wanted to comment after ch 3, but I wasn’t able to comment when I wanted to.

I have a lot to say about “Falling Shadows.” Please let me know where you are.

I don’t want to get too far ahead. This book is not easy in terms of the writing style, the niumber of characters and 101 diff sub-plots to keep track.


message 21: by Jan (new) - added it

Jan (jan130) | 1763 comments Ooh nice work, Andrea. I'm only up to 10% and struggling a bit. Yes you're right, it's not an easy read. I'll make more progress next week when I have more time, I hope. Anybody else in on this buddy read? If so, how's it going?


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Jan130 wrote: "Ooh nice work, Andrea. I'm only up to 10% and struggling a bit. Yes you're right, it's not an easy read. I'll make more progress next week when I have more time, I hope. Anybody else in on this bud..."

I’ll take a break from reading and prepare my comments since yr at the romance conference.

There is a lot going on. Not nail biting excitement, but a lot going on. I’ll hide behind spoilers when I post.


message 23: by Jan (new) - added it

Jan (jan130) | 1763 comments K will look forward to your thoughts.


message 24: by Jan (last edited Aug 20, 2018 09:55PM) (new) - added it

Jan (jan130) | 1763 comments I'm at 24% now and have finished Falling Shadows too. Once you get a few chapters in things start moving a bit and you start to get a feel for the characters. It's a book that takes patience and persistence, though. The first couple of chapters were a little difficult for me to parse. Who are all of these people (and do I care?)

But now I can see that I quite like Kate. Not sure what's going to happen with Celia and Eden. I'm a bit nervous about those two. As for Celia's mum! What a cheap bee-arch. I hope she gets what she deserves!

I like Toby and hope he does well in his chosen career. Amy seems a bit of a pain. As for Kate, well, there are two interesting men in her life. Kit is likeable, but our mysterious Italian is sexy and clever. Ooh. What will happen?????

The political plotting is a little too much info for me. I'm interested in the history of the period (or I wouldn't be reading this book), but it's rather detailed and veering towards a historical rather than (my preferred) HR. Give me more romance, please (although I'm not holding out too much hope on that front).


message 25: by Jan (new) - added it

Jan (jan130) | 1763 comments I'm struggling a bit with this one to tell you the truth Andrea. My motivation is starting to fizzle out. I've been sidetracked by Libertine's Kiss, which I'm already liking much better, I have to say.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Jan130 wrote: "I'm struggling a bit with this one to tell you the truth Andrea. My motivation is starting to fizzle out. I've been sidetracked by Libertine's Kiss, which I'm already liking much be..."

I’ve been very distracted myself. I still have started the second section.

Do you want to “table” this book?


message 27: by Jan (new) - added it

Jan (jan130) | 1763 comments OK. I might put it on my go-back-later shelf. I would actually like to finish it some time, but perhaps not this month. I'm happy to revisit this thread when I do get back to it. If you get it finished I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 1635 comments Jan130 wrote: "OK. I might put it on my go-back-later shelf. I would actually like to finish it some time, but perhaps not this month. I'm happy to revisit this thread when I do get back to it. If you get it fini..."

Ok. We’ll revisit. I think my “revisit” shelf is called “parking lot.”

I’ll get together, my thoughts about the first section that we both finished, we can discuss those while still fresh in our meeting nds, then come back to the book itself at a later date in the future.


message 29: by Jan (new) - added it

Jan (jan130) | 1763 comments OK sounds good.


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