Monday, June 21, 2010

Catherine Delors Grand Event is here! FOR THE KING...

Here is my review of Catherine Delors splendid novel:  For The King:
On Sale July 8th
Look at that gorgeous cover- The inside is even better! 
I have been excited about this book’s release ever since I first read mention of it on Delors’ Versailles and More blog, awhile back. What could be more appealing to me than a book set in France during the Revolution- with a sneak peak at both Josephine and Bonaparte, and involving characters such as Fouché- well-Obviously I couldn’t wait to devour this!
I was ready to escape to a time filled with intriguing history, some romance...the usual? No way!  This one involves a full-fledged mystery to boot! I was delighted by this unexpectedly captivating ride! Chief Inspector Miquel Roch is on a mission to uncover the truth behind the resulting massacre in the attempt to blow away First Consul himself, Bonaparte.  Who masterminded this failed operation?  The suspects are on the run, but the clues are numerous.  One mystery person works behind the scene to help move the whole operation forward...For The King....
Jacobites, Chouans, Royalists- typically anyone of these groups would have had motive to want do away with Napoloen, the Usurper...This is a mystery with more at stake than Inspector Roch could have ever imagined; For one, his father’s life depends on it.
Truth be told, no matter how good the mystery, I always need a heroine in my stories to keep me hooked.  And so, just to make it that more appealing, For The King, has a variety of entertaining French ladies; especially,  one particularly tempting Blanche, who happens to be keeper of quite a few heartbeats...literally.
For The King is an intriguing tale spun around actual history.  The time frame, setting, plotted assassination, the accused, as well as many of the characters encountered in this read- all real.  This made the story that more attractive to me.  Delors’ attention to detail and impeccable historical accuracy is remarkable.  I was truly delighted to embark in this unexpected mystery that fulfilled more than the promise of another entertaining French historical fiction.
If you are fascinated by the French Revolution and the tumultuous changes of the times, you will absolutely want to read this- it's so interesting!  Splendid!
Please NOTE:  There's a whole ton of stuff happening this week for this Grand Event.  Please check the Historical Fiction round Table CALENDAR on a daily basis to find out more.
And Now...I have a FOR THE KING GIVEAWAY for 1 of my Lucky Readers!!!  
Thank you Catherine Delors and Diane:)
To Enter:  You MUST be a follower.
Please leave a comment with your email address
2 extra chances every time you Tweet,FB, or blog about this and come back to leave me the link.
3 extra chances for posting this on your sidebar.
Winner will be picked on July 15th.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Book Review: THE PENDANT, by Mirella Patzer

 With the summer heat already upon us here, I thought I’d take a break from my usual historical  reads to something slightly different while still set within the delicious past.   I indulged in an historical romance where the setting and period brought me back in history without the worries of historical accuracy of real events or people.  I didn’t want to be bogged down in any way- except for pure pleasure reading.  And- if the story could be one set in Italy- then what could be more perfect for me?
In Mirella Patzer’s, The Pendant, I got all that and more!  Set in medieval Genoa, this is the story of Countess Morena, (last living heir of Umberto Monterossa) and her abducting(in a good way, believe it or not) beau, Amoro, Duke of Genoa. Sure this is a story of a grand romance, but within it all, there is a quest for a treasure, a mysterious pendant, a rival-brute, abductions, marriage by force, a conniving temptress, atrocious situations (most of which involve torture), murder, heart wrenching moments, and yes, lots of love (involving hot passion...).
Not only is Patzer’swriting style exquisite, the plot to this story is fantastic!  Patzer knows how to weave a tale that will keep you guessing.  Of course, when romance is involved, one usually knows where the story is headed- but in this case, due to the high level of adrenaline and excitement, I was often caught off-guard, and entertained from beginning to end.  I must admit, that even some of the more gruesome situations kept me hooked so that I could find relief in the transition of the outcome revealed.  This was a true surprise for me, because honestly, I’m really not one to stomach graphics of any kind- and there’s a bit more sex than I was prepared for - YET; all that is quite secondary in relation to how fascinating the storyline really is.
Countess Morena is not your regular frail, romance beauty; and Duke Amoro is not your typical tall-dark- handsome- win’em all kind of royal.  The trials and tribulations at the hands of the horrid Ernesto,  saw our main characters live through defeat, humiliation and more, in the name of love and loyalty.  There’s so much detail in this story that I believe touches relevant issues that also apply in the lives of today’s women, in terms of gender equality, morals and virtue, choices and more...In other words there’s alot to ponder here.  In its intensity, The Pendant locks a whole realm of substance and content within heartfelt romance.
Deeper than I thought- I really enjoyed this.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Letter M is for: Mistress of The Sun (ABC in History...)

Today, I have another review for The ABC in History Challenge hosted by Marg at Historical Tapestry

Have I mentioned how much I love this challenge?  Well the reason I like it so much is because first of all it's easy to play along; all I have to do is look up one of my past reviews or books I'm presently reading, and then just write a post about it.  But the next best thing is that I get to go back and relish these books.  By reading over my review and going back to browse the book, I get right bak into it flipping pages to my favourite going down memory lane if you will;)  I've been so busy lately that I've sort of passed on posting a couple of letters- but couldn't be kept away forever so I'm back today for:


And the book I chose today is one I really loved by favourite author Sandra Gulland.  

Gulland writes a splendid story about Louise de Lavallière and Louis XIV (my favourite French king!)- romance, superstition, intrigue, deception, loyalty and faith- plus so much more in this one.  Louise's tender love and total devotion to the Sun King wrenched my heart. The whole essence of this book is magical and their love too wonderful to be true...This is a book that always stands out for me when I think about any part of Louis's life and the books written about him.  Loved it. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Book Review: No Will But His...

Just when I thought I’d read it all and had my fill on Kathryn Howard, comes a book to rekindle my heart. No Will But His, the title of this sublime read, was also Kathryn’s chosen motto... it couldn’t have been more perfect. Kathryn definitely had no say, from beginning to end- and that’s not only where Henry was concerned; Kathryn indulged everyone.

Caring too much about others while forsaking herself along the way, Kathryn dared not hurt or disappoint. Hoyt captures this essence completely, and I for one, am thankful for this most accurate and genuine portrayal of this sadly and misused, puppet queen.

Too many books have capitalized on making the young queen appear overly sexed, flighty, non-caring and downright stupid (these are probably the same people who’ve wrongly slotted Ann Boleyn as well). If you’re a Tudor buff, you know what I mean. Hoyt went the extra mile to really bring out Kathryn’s caring nature and almost self-sacrificial way to be.

What generally comes off as not too deep and rather silly, is in this book revealed as something that goes way deeper. There was much thought and reason brewing in that pretty head, and for the most of it, the conclusions sought were brought forth by the heart- and her fear.

True, Kathryn’s choices ultimately contributed to her tragedy, but when you consider the options...Giving Henry an heir would have solved everything- or so she thought.

The unravelling of her life through a fabrication of gossip would ultimately destroy her reputation and undo her totally. Her word, as much as her tragic death, meant nothing to no one.

For those who would love to get a feel for what Kathryn’s life was like prior to Henry, this book indulges the reader mostly in this part of her life. It’s only in the latter part of the book that Henry shows up for a brief time (very short marriage indeed...)

To understand how transparently genuine, innocent and harmless, this young queen really was, all you need to do is read the part when she meets Anne of Cleves...Her acceptance of the former queen is sublimely humble and quite touching- I loved that part.

Calling all Tudor buffs: You’ll enjoy No Will But His- for sure!

I will be entering this book as my first Challenge read for Marie’s Tudor Mania Challenge over at The Burton Review.

Tudor Mania Button

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Book Review: THE QUEEN'S PAWN...

What an incredibly different and refreshing take on the grand Queen Eleanor! This was the first time that I read anything in such detail about Eleanor that revolved around her life and that of Alais, the French Princess (daughter of King Louis- Eleanor’s first husband). Written in interchanging points of views, Eleanor’s and Alais’ personalities came through as though I were hearing their actual voice.
Not only do the style and language flow beautifully, the writing morphs reflective of Eleanor’s courts of love– this in itself is truly creative on English’s part.  There’s almost a poetic flow to the thoughts and words making the dialogs truly reflective of the times. Sensuous and descriptive, the language helped set the mood for this exquisite read.
As for the ladies themselves...this is one book that gets you right into their psyche.  I was amazed to read about Eleanor in this new light. Don’t get me wrong, Eleanor’s strength and scheming mind is present throughout and never diminished-what was different for me was to read about her genuine love for Alais; a daughter she loved as her own. Alais reciprocated this love in her own hungry way-Eleanor was her life- the mother she never had.
This was definitely Eleanor in a new role for that major historical period. Christy English focused mostly on what was happening ‘behind the scenes’- the reasons as to why the major historical figures might have reacted the way they did if circumstances had presented themselves in this way. By slightly altering the dates and consequently the meetings and relationship occurrences, English re-created an intense story of love, loyalty, and innocence versus revenge, to finally meet truce for an everlasting bond. 
There's also something to say abut the liaisons between the ladies and the main gents in this story; King Henry and Richard (Eleanor's favorite son). I loved reading about innocent love transformed into an about-face passion that caught me completely off guard.  To what extent would Alais give of herself to love?  To what extent would Eleanor go to insure the love remains hers (with all angles covered)?  Intricate indeed and sublimely well plotted- Bravo Christy English!
Ultimately, The Queen’s Pawn succeeded in reinforcing my admiration for Eleanor and elevating her to an even higher status (something I thought had reached its peak awhile ago).  As for Alais, here was a young woman that could stand her own; having learned the ropes from the very best- Eleanor.  But although I learned so much more about Alais, and recognized her hardship and almost sacrificial youth with something more to offer, her strengths could never come close to Aquitaine’s Queen. Eleanor is regal throughout this book.  She is unforgettable, unattainable and unmistakably supreme.
 Loved it!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Victoria GIVEAWAY Winner!!

The Winner of the two lovely books in honor of that wonderful Queen Victoria!


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