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Historical fiction and Biblical fiction, reviewing since 2008

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Nov 20, 2009

Friday Fill-In~ Today in History, Proclaimed King of England!

Friday Fill-In Fun Join in the Friday Fill-In Fun~ They provide the basics and we fill-in the blanks with whatever we want! So that means I get to use famous dead people or fave characters..

Who is this king?

1. We need to restore authority after the unstable reign of my father.

2. I was given a nickname for my height and it made me smile.

3. If you want to know, my son's (who shares my name) reign was not very stable after mine, thankfully my grandson's (who shares my name) was stronger.

4. I broke my truce because of my need for vengeance, and it started to give me the untrustworthy reputation.

5. Massachusetts has a proposed 5% sales tax on elective cosmetic surgery; I think that is seven hundred years in the future for me and I would certainly not let any doctors near my face in an effort to rearrange it!! Taxation on the other hand sounds like a great idea and I'm all for it..but what is Massachusetts?

6. Christmas celebrations have begun to spread north and it makes for a happy holiday.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to getting home from the crusade, tomorrow my plans include becoming King thereafter and Sunday, I want to reform my new government!

Take a guess at who this is!

Nov 19, 2009

Booking Through Thursday~ Posterity's Sake

Booking Through Thursday is hosted by Deb:

Today’s question was suggested by Barbara:
Do you think any current author is of the same caliber as Dickens, Austen, Bronte, or any of the classic authors? If so, who, and why do you think so? If not, why not? What books from this era might be read 100 years from now?

Some disagree as to the caliber of the above authors, and some will disagree on whatever authors we say could be a classic 100 years from now. I am of the opinion that the above authors are indeed fantastic authors, as well as ..wait for it.. Louisa May Alcott, Jean Plaidy, and Georgette Heyer.

Out of today's authors, those that I think will still be popular 100 years from now would include children's authors such as Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume and Sidney Sheldon.

In the adult areas I believe the likes of Stephen King, Michael Connelly, Ted Dekker and Dan Simmons would be those in the running to be around 100 years from now. My personal favorite authors who I hope would still be readily available would be Anna Elliott, Michelle Moran, and Sharon Kay Penman. I definitely believe Penman's work will go far (author of several historical fiction series such as The Welsh and Henry II and Eleanor).

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Nov 18, 2009


My Unfair Lady by Kathryne Kennedy
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages; Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (December 1, 2009)

Read my Review of My Unfair Lady. See below for giveaway details of this new title by Kathryne Kennedy.


Thank you so much for having me as your guest, Marie. As a lover of historicals, your blog is a treasure for me.

I want to discuss why I write historicals as opposed to another genre, and the answer is, of course, because I love history and all the pomp and beauty and sometimes downright wickedness of history. Medieval, Tudor, Victorian or Georgian, there’s something both elegant and mysterious about every era that draws me in.

Although my books are primarily romances and therefore much of the research I do doesn’t wind up in my books, I still have to really have a sense and a feel for the era. When I start researching I’m often drawn to new topics, and have to force myself to stick with the subject that I need an answer to, or I’d never finish my next book. And some of the information I find may be historically accurate, but if my readers aren’t familiar with the concept, or that particular development in technology, I don’t use it, although I do try to be as accurate as possible. There’s also a certain style when writing historicals that I adhere to. Whenever I run across a word that seems too modern, I check it as often as possible.

I admire historians because there’s so much conflicting information, even from one reference book to another. I often have to choose which fact seems more likely. In many instances it’s a matter of not enough information surviving for a historian to make a judgment on, and they’re forced to come up with the best theory. And it seems like the more research I do, the more I realize I don’t know.

There’s a particular research book I used for my upcoming Victorian romance, My Unfair Lady, that I think the readers of this blog might enjoy. Filled with gorgeous photos, it presents factual information in a lively and entertaining manner. It’s titled, To Marry an English Lord, by Gail MacColl and Carol McD. Wallace.

Although I’m currently writing a new fantasy series set in Georgian England, My Unfair Lady, takes place in the Victorian era. Inspired by Shaw’s Pygmalion, I wrote it in the same era, even though it’s an entirely different sort of story. The system of nobility makes for an even wider gulf between my hero and heroine. I set the story late in the Victorian era, when Mrs. Astor ruled New York society, and climbing the social ranks for the newly rich was near impossible. Not to be outdone, brave mama’s sent their daughters to London to marry a title, and England welcomed the new wealth they brought with them with open arms….except for the English ladies who found their marriage prospects rapidly reducing, and others like my hero, who abhorred the idea of purchasing titles.

In historicals you can have the uncertainty of an arranged marriage. Gentlemen were, for the most part, bound by morals and codes of conduct, a perfect recipe for dashing heroes. Ladies were raised to a certain standard of behavior, and women who rebelled or stepped out of this concept of what a woman should be make for an unusual heroine. Historicals provide the best setting for a Cinderella story (one of my favorite themes) where a poor woman can rise to the ranks of the rich. Or where, as in My Unfair Lady, a brash American woman can rise to the status of a lady.

And where else do you have such a plethora of nobility who make pleasure an art form? The balls, the fetes, the dinner parties. The elaborate clothing of silk and satin and gowns that transformed you into a princess. Tea and silver and crumpets and doilies. The horse races and garden parties and seaside resorts. Mansions glittering with gilt, marble floors, paintings of master artists, and sweeping staircases. There’s so such romance and elegance to the historical era that makes for great fantasy.

And when you’re writing what you love, and researching what fascinates you, it doesn’t feel like work.

So, why do you love reading historicals? I’ll be checking in all day for your comments, and look forward to your answers.

Wishing you all my very best,

My Unfair Lady by Kathryne Kennedy—in stores December 2009!
He created the perfect woman…
The impoverished Duke of Monchester despises the rich Americans who flock to London, seeking to buy their way into the ranks of the British peerage. So when railroad heiress Summer Wine Lee offers him a king’s ransom if he’ll teach her to become a proper lady, he’s prepared to rebuff her. But when he meets the petite beauty with the knife in her boot, it’s not her fortune he finds impossible to resist…

For the arms of another man
Frontier-bred Summer Wine Lee has no interest in winning over London society—it’s the New York bluebloods and her future mother-in-law she’s determined to impress. She knows the cost of smoothing her rough-and-tumble frontier edges will be high. But she never imagined it might cost her heart…

About the Author
Kathryne Kennedy is the author of the Relics of Merlin series, acclaimed for her world-building and best known for her historical paranormal romances. She has also written a fantasy romance and this Victorian historical romance. She has also published nearly a dozen short stories in the SFF/Romance genre, receiving Honorable Mention twice in the “Writers of the Future” contest. She has traveled a great deal and has lived in Guam, Okinawa, and several states in the U.S. She is a business owner and currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons. For more information, please visit

Giveaway Details: Open to USA & Canada (no PO Boxes) Ends Friday PM, November 27, 2009
1. Follow this blog publicly via google friend connect.
2. Comment with your E-mail Address.
3. 1 extra entry each for a Twitter, Blog Post or Sidebar Graphic Link, or Facebook Share, please provide links.
4. For an extra bonus +2 entries, read and comment on my review post at this link, come back here & comment that you did so.

Thanks for entering, and I wish you luck!

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Women on Wednesday!

Susan at Rocks n' Reads West of Mars hosts Women on Wednesday.

This is a new meme to spotlight favorite FEMALE authors, as Publisher's Weekly has recently published their Best Reads of 2009, without a single female writer on their list.

So now we get to give the Women a Weekly Meme!

Susan says:

"WOW — Women on Wednesday.
Every Wednesday, write about a book you loved that’s written by a woman. Celebrate a woman author whose books you love. Talk about a book you’re dying to read.

Well, everyone who knows me or my blog knows I love Georgette Heyer, Jean Plaidy, and Louisa May Alcott. But I wanted to spotlight someone who is alive, and who has the talent to be on the 2009 List.

Today I am going to pick Michelle Moran as a fabulous female author who had a fabulous book published in 2009.

She is beyond generous and helpful to the book blogging community, with promo bookmarks along with the books.. signed bookplates.. and even sending an authentic Roman coin as part of her promotion for her recent "Cleopatra's Daughter" novel. Despite all this wonderful marketing, her book itself could have been mediocre. But it wasn't. All the book bloggers who ran special posts and review Michelle's work seemed to be an unending adventure for awhile, and as the hype has died down, we all know that this author is a 'keeper'.

Her book was a wonderful read that I truly enjoyed, and I have not read one slightly lukewarm review of this book. She is definitely an author who belongs on my top ten of 2009 list.

Read my Michelle Moran related posts here.

Join in the Women on Wednesday Fun by linking to today's post

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Nov 16, 2009

Book Review: My Unfair Lady by Kathryne Kennedy

My Unfair Lady by Kathryne Kennedy
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (December 1, 2009)
Historical Romance
ISBN-10: 1402229909
Review copy from the publisher
The Burton Review Rating:3 stars

"A wild west heiress, Summer Wine Lee knows that she's not an acceptable bride for her fiance's knickerbocker family. She grew up in an Arizona mining town, cares more for critters than people, carries a knife under her skirts, and, worst of all, she has a highly improper secret from her past. But she also has high hopes that a real English Duke can teach her how to be a lady…
Were it not for his father's gambling debts, the Duke of Monchester would never have stooped to civilize Summer. But the more time he spends with her, and the more social scrapes he has to rescue her from, the more he finds it impossible to change her into a proper lady. How could he, when he's falling in love with her just the way she is?"

Remember that story "My Fair Lady" with Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins? This is the same concept with a blend of both America and England and a larger dash of a southern accent.This novel features Summer Wine Lee... a name that makes you blink.. as it did to the snooty English people she met. Immediately we are transported with her to England to fetch herself some manners, as I had no idea that Americans just didn't have any in those days. Summer's rich father was too busy to teach her any apparently, so she goes gallivanting to England to become the Duke of Monchester's protege of sorts. The book's cover features the mini blurb: "Who says a proper lady can't carry a knife?" and it is with this southern attitude that Summer Lee intrigued me as a reader. The Duke is utterly disgusted and yet thrilled by her odd ways, and I was laughing to myself during certain outrageous scenes that were chock full of mirth, knives, chihuahuas, monkeys, and fox pups. Yes, you'll find the word 'critters' more often then you would prefer to, but it added to the charm of Summer and her odd female companion as well.

Summer had her heart set on some old coot in New York, who in reality could care less if she returned to the States or not, and that was the frustration factor for me as a reader. Wake up, Summer! If that snobby Monte doesn't want you, throw him to the curb! Yet throughout the novel she continues to hold him up on a pedestal and repeats to herself "Monte Monte Monte" so that she remembers the purpose of her travels in England. She is deeply attracted to her instructor, the Duke, but refuses to admit to herself that he could possibly feel the same way. She is not the smartest apple in the basket, but still manages to figure out that there are murderers in their midst before the Duke admits to it himself. There was a small dose of a mystery with the attempts on their life that the two frequently encountered, but the author did not overly dramatize that fact which made the read a bit more satisfying. Instead it just felt like another day in Summer's world and I enjoyed learning more and more about her as the story progressed. Byron, aka the Duke, was also a pleasurable character and I knew from the start that he would fall in love with her just for the fact that she wasn't after him. Apparently the Duke was the toast of the town and was tired of being a sought after Duke. But he was a sensitive guy underneath it all, and somewhat close to perfect except for being a bit shorter than one would expect a handsome guy to be.

This is another romance issue from Sourcebooks Casablanca that I enjoyed although perhaps a bit predictable as romances normally are. It was a quick read that didn't have many sluggish moments and although you knew eventually the two main protagonists would come around and see the light (i.e. fall in love and live happily ever after) I had a lot of fun watching the charades. At 384 pages, I felt it was just the right length so that it wasn't drawn out and it wasn't just another stunted effort. I enjoyed the many events that occured along the way, and there were many.. I don't want to add spoilers but I must say there was more sexual content than was expected, so I feel I must warn you this should have a NC-17 rating. Although I am not used to that much 'imagination', I still enjoyed this one and you need to come back later this week (11/18/2009) to the blog to read the author Kathryne Kennedy's guest post titled "Why I write historical romance...or, why I love it!" and be entered for a giveaway of this new book.

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Mailbox Monday~ Back with a Bang

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. We share what books that we found in our mailboxes last week. And I am adding what I purchased, swapped, etc.

Okay, so last week I had gotten one book, which was a new Heyer, and now well I've gotten a few more.

I bought the following used books:
(All by Georgette Heyer)

The Black Moth
The Masqueraders
Royal Escape
Regency Buck
Friday’s Child
Faro’s Daughter (and a couple I already had, but it was sold in a lot)

I am definitely NOT in the mood to upload all the pertinent information on each of the above. I guess I am a bit lazy.. but you can see Georgette Heyer's Amazon page here.

But I am definitely excited to read some more Heyer! WOOHOO I love her Regency novels.
I am looking forward to Faro's Daughter (5 stars on Amazon) and Friday's Child which is supposed to be a "bright comedy":
"When the incomparable Miss Milbourne spurns the impetuous Lord Sherington's marriage proposal (she laughs at him-laughs!) he vows to marry the next female he encounters, who happens to be the young, penniless Miss Hero Wantage, who has adored him all her life. Whisking her off to London, Sherry discovers there is no end to the scrapes his young, green bride can get into, and she discovers the excitement and glamorous social scene of the ton. Not until a deep misunderstanding erupts and Sherry almost loses his bride, does he plumb the depths of his own heart, and surprises himself with the love he finds there."

And another one I am really excited about is one that I didn't think I was going to be able to get very easily.
Alice This one is going to be an indulgence for when I really need it and I hope I enjoy it:

Alice Hartley's Happiness by Philippa Gregory (August 20, 2009)"Social mores come under bestselling author Philippa Gregory's acute scrutiny in this reissue of a long-unavailable novel of betrayal, revenge and liberation! Alice Hartley can no longer arouse the interest of her pompous husband, the adulterous professor. Despite her efforts, she still leaves him cold. Just as she is compelled to face this chilling truth, she meets Michael, a young student with an excessive libido. In Michael, Alice discovers an endless supply of all she has sought: revenge, sex and a large house suitable for conversion. Soon the house is thigh-deep with women joyfully casting off the shacles of their oppression. Sadly, some narrow-minded neigbours and numerous forces of the law seem completely impervious to all those healing vibrations!"

Her Mother's Daughter: A Novel of Queen Mary Tudor by Julianne Lee (December 1, 2009)
"Her name was Mary Tudor. First of the Tudor queens, she has gone down in history as Bloody Mary. But does she deserve her vicious reputation? She was the daughter of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon, and half-sister to Edward VI and Elizabeth I. Mary Tudor's life began as the sweetly innocent, pampered princess of Wales-until the age of eleven when the father she adored cast aside the mother she worshipped and declared Mary a bastard. Only after years of exile did Mary finally rise to the throne alongside the man who, aside from her father, was her greatest love-and her greatest betrayer. Told by Mary herself and the people around her, this grand-scale novel takes us back to the glittering court of sixteenth-century England, and tells the tragic story of a fascinating, largely misunderstood woman who withstood the treachery and passion around her only to become one of England's most vilified queens."

From the author to review:
The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni-Halevy (February 26, 2008)

"The richly imagined tale of Deborah, the courageous Biblical warrior who saved her people from certain destruction In ancient Israel, war is looming. Deborah, a highly respected leader, has coerced the warrior Barak into launching a strike against the neighboring Canaanites. Against all odds he succeeds, returning triumphantly with Asherah and Nogah, daughters of the Canaanite King, as his prisoners. But military victory is only the beginning of the turmoil, as a complex love triangle develops between Barak and the two princesses. Deborah, recently cast off by her husband, develops a surprising affinity for Barak. Yet she struggles to rebuild her existence on her own terms, while also groping her way toward the greatest triumph of her life. Filled with brilliantly vivid historical detail, The Triumph of Deborah is the absorbing and riveting tale of one of the most beloved figures in the Old Testament, and a tribute to feminine strength and independence."

From the publisher via Shelf Awareness request to review:
The Information Officer by Mark Mills (February 2, 2010)

"Summer 1942: Malta, a small windswept island in the Mediterranean, has become the most bombed patch of earth on the planet, worse even than London during the Blitz. The Maltese, a fiercely independent people, withstand the relentless Axis air raids.Max Chadwick is the British officer charged with manipulating the news on Malta to bolster the population's fragile esprit de corps. This is all, besides a few broken-down fighter planes, that stands in the face of Nazi occupation and perhaps even victory—for Malta is the stepping-stone the Germans need between Europe and North Africa.When Max learns of the brutal murder of a young island woman—along with evidence that the crime was committed by a British officer—he knows that the Maltese loyalty to the war effort could be instantly shattered. As the clock ticks down toward all-out invasion, Max must investigate the murder—beyond the gaze of his superiors, friends, and even the woman he loves."


And from the Hispanic Heritage Month Giveaway from Jo-Jo Loves to Read! I won the following: Zumba® By Beto Perez , Maggie Greenwood-Robinson "TIRED OF LOGGING HOURS AT THE GYM AND NOT GETTING RESULTS? WANT TO EAT DELICIOUS FOODS AND STILL LOSE WEIGHT? SHAKE THINGS UP AND SLIM DOWN WITH THE WEIGHT LOSS PHENOMENON THAT'S TAKING THE COUNTRY BY STORM...ZUMBA! ... more" (I don't know about this one, I am allergic to healthy food and exercise so we'll see.

These stories all look fantabulous!! I am very interested in these books because I have two Hispanic families on my block who are the sweetest people, and we have some hard working dependable Hispanic employees. This is a culture I would love to learn more about.

Evenings at the Argentine Club By Julia Amante "Victor and Jaqueline Torres imagined moving to the U.S. would bring happiness and prosperity-instead they found a world of frustration. While Victor put long hours into his restaurant business, Jaqui devoted her life to her daughters, until they grew up and moved on. Even their eldest, Victoria, is torn trying to reconcile being the perfect Argentine daughter and an independent American woman. Antonio and Lucia Orteli face the same realities, especially when their only son Eric leaves their close-knit Argentine community in pursuit of his own dreams.."

Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz By Belinda Acosta "All Ana Ruiz wanted was to have a traditional quincea├▒era for her daughter, Carmen. She wanted a nice way to mark this milestone year in her daughter's life. But Carmen was not interested in celebrating. Hurt and bitter over her father Esteban's departure, she blamed Ana for destroying their happy family, as did everyone else. A good man is hard to find, especially at your age Ana was told. Why not forgive his one indiscretion? Despite everything, Ana didn't want to tarnish Carmen's childlike devotion to her beloved father. ... more"

Tell Me Something True By Leila Cobo "Gabriella always loved the picture of her mother kneeling in front of a bed of roses, smiling, beautiful and impossibly happy. But then she learns that her late mother hated gardening; that she had never wanted the house in the Hollywood hills, the successful movie producer husband, and possibly, her only daughter. When Gabriella discovers a journal--a book that begins as a new mother's letters to her baby girl, but becomes a secret diary--the final entry leaves one question unanswered: the night her mother died, was she returning to Colombia to end an affair, or was she abandoning her family for good?"

Amigoland By Oscar Casares "In a small town on the Mexican border live two brothers, Don Fidencio and Don Celestino. Stubborn and independent, they now must face the facts: they are old, and they have let a family argument stand between them for too long. Don Celestino's good-natured housekeeper encourages him to make amends--while he still can. They secretly liberate Don Fidencio from his nursing home and travel into Mexico to solve the mystery at the heart of their dispute: the family legend of their grandfather's kidnapping. As the unlikely trio travels, the brothers learn it's never too late for a new beginning.With winsome prose and heartfelt humor, Oscar Casares's debut novel of family lost and found radiates with generosity and grace and confirms the arrival of a uniquely talented new writer."

For my Victoria Holt aka Jean Plaidy collection, I received from Paperbackswap:
The Devil on Horseback:

"From the moment that beautiful eighteen-year-old Minella Maddox saw Charles-Augueste, the haughty, arrogant Comte Fontaine Delibes, his satanic looks thrilled her with a sense of danger and excitement. The Comte, too, liked what he saw. He decided that he would marry Minella, and nothing would be allowed to stand in his way . . . not even his wife."

Also from Paperbackswap I received:

Portrait in Sepia by Isabel Allende, which is a sequel to her Daughter of Fortune.

"In nineteenth-century Chile, Aurora del Valle suffers a brutal trauma that erases all recollections of the first five years of her life. Raised by her regal and ambitious grandmother Paulina del Valle, Aurora grows up in a privileged environment, but is tormented by horrible nightmares. When she is forced to recognize her betrayal at the hands of the man she loves, and to cope with the resulting solitude, she explores the mystery of her past."

And, last but not least, I received from Paperbackswap, which is crazy because there are 58 members wishing and I had no idea I was so close to the beginning!
Nefertiti by Michelle Moran
"Nefertiti and her younger sister, Mutnodjmet, have been raised in a powerful family that has provided wives to the rulers of Egypt for centuries. Ambitious, charismatic, and beautiful, Nefertiti is destined to marry Amunhotep, an unstable young pharaoh. It is hoped by all that her strong personality will temper the young Amunhotep's heretical desire to forsake Egypt's ancient gods, overthrow the priests of Amun, and introduce a new sun god for all to worship.
From the moment of her arrival in Thebes, Nefertiti is beloved by the people. Her charisma is matched only by her husband's perceived generosity: Amunhotep showers his subjects with lofty promises. The love of the commoners will not be enough, however, if the royal couple is not able to conceive an heir, and as Nefertiti turns her attention to producing a son, she fails to see that the powerful priests, along with the military, are plotting against her husband's rule. The only person wise enough to recognize the shift in political winds—and brave enough to tell the queen—is her younger sister, Mutnodjmet.
Observant and contemplative, Mutnodjmet has never shared her sister's desire for power. She yearns for a quiet existence away from family duty and the intrigues of court. Her greatest hope is to share her life with the general who has won her heart. But as Nefertiti learns of the precariousness of her reign, she declares that her sister must remain at court and marry for political gain, not love. To achieve her independence, Mutnodjmet must defy her sister, the most powerful woman in Egypt—while also remaining loyal to the needs of her family. Love, betrayal, political unrest, plague, and religious conflict—Nefertiti brings ancient Egypt to life in vivid detail. Fast-paced and historically accurate, it is the dramatic story of two unforgettable women living through a remarkable period in history."
I have also received from my Amazon order that I spoke of in the previous Sunday Salon, which are going under the tree:
March by Geraldine Brooks and Eden's Outcast by John Matteson

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Nov 14, 2009

The Sunday Salon~ Books and Gifting

The Sunday

Happy glorious weekend, blogger babes! (If there are any guys reading this, then I apologize, but I don't think I've got any male readers. If you are here, speak up!!) Did you know it's mid-November already? Wasn't it just June? Apparently time is flying, just in time for the holiday hustle bustle to start. With two kiddos I've got twice as much Santa shopping to do. I didn't really try too hard last year, it was a difficult holiday season as my father had just passed away.. and my youngest was just 1.5 then so I knew I didn't need to go stir crazy with the gifting. Well at 2.5, I don't need to stir crazy now either and would prefer not to. The reality is that he now realizes that he should be entitled to the same stuff as his big sissy, so we need to be democratic in this endeavor. With the horrible economy, we can't afford to do a lot anyway, yet we always over spend. Always. No matter what.

In fact, we've already started our shopping. I, of course, have selected some books for my 7.5 year old that I enjoyed when I was a kid, and hope that she does too. She's a smarty and enjoys reading, but she enjoys her Nintendo DS more. But if I can somehow bestow the greatest gift of joyful books upon my daughter, and have her appreciate it and realize the joys of reading: that would be my greatest gift to myself as well. What are some of your favorite reads that you remember reading at a young age?

I remember Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume the most. I swear I must have read those books at least a dozen times each. The Anne of Green Gables series came after that, then Louisa May Alcott. The simpler chapter books I will have to stick with for this year, so I chose the Ramona Quimby series by Beverly Cleary and the Fudge boxed-set by Judy Blume. She has already read and owns many of the Jack and Annie Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osborne, so I don't want to go there and give her duplicates. She also has access to her school library and I always see her with a new Jack and Annie book from the library so I can't use that as an option anymore.

Speaking of gifts, I already ordered two books for myself for Christmas. This week, I posted a small article on Louisa May Alcott. That post really inpsired me..... to shop... So I ordered Susan Cheever's American Bloomsbury: Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller: 'this brilliant, controversial, and fascinating biography explores the lives and work of those who were, in the mid-19th century, the center of American thought and literature'; and I also ordered Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father by John Matteson: "Louisa May Alcott is known universally. Yet during Louisa's youth, the famous Alcott was her father, Bronson-an eminent teacher and a friend of Emerson and Thoreau. He desired perfection, for the world and from his family. Louisa challenged him with her mercurial moods and yearnings for money and fame. The other prize she deeply coveted-her father's understanding-seemed hardest to win. This story of Bronson and Louisa's tense yet loving relationship adds dimensions to Louisa's life, her work, and the relationships of fathers and daughters." This last one was a 2008 Pulitzer Prize winning biography.

I also ordered another Pulitzer Prize winner, March by Geraldine Brooks: "As the North reels under a series of unexpected defeats during the dark first year of the war, one man leaves behind his family to aid the Union cause. His experiences will utterly change his marriage and challenge his most ardently held beliefs. Riveting and elegant as it is meticulously researched, March is an extraordinary novel woven out of the lore of American history.

From Louisa May Alcott’s beloved classic Little Women, Geraldine Brooks has taken the character of the absent father, March, who has gone off to war, leaving his wife and daughters to make do in mean times. To evoke him, Brooks turned to the journals and letters of Bronson Alcott, Louisa May’s father—a friend and confidant of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. In her telling, March emerges as an idealistic chaplain in the little known backwaters of a war that will test his faith in himself and in the Union cause as he learns that his side, too, is capable of acts of barbarism and racism. As he recovers from a near mortal illness, he must reassemble his shattered mind and body and find a way to reconnect with a wife and daughters who have no idea of the ordeals he has been through.

Spanning the vibrant intellectual world of Concord and the sensuous antebellum South, March adds adult resonance to Alcott’s optimistic children’s tale to portray the moral complexity of war, and a marriage tested by the demands of extreme idealism—and by a dangerous and illicit attraction. A lushly written, wholly original tale steeped in the details of another time, March secures Geraldine Brooks’s place as an internationally renowned author of historical fiction."

In blogland, I finally posted my review of Georgette Heyer's Arabella last week, and it was a cute review!! You'll understand that cuteness when you visit the post.. but suffice it to say, again, I really enjoyed Arabella and it is on my favorite reads of 2009 list!

This week I also reviewed Diane Haeger's The Queen's Mistake: A Novel of Catherine Howard. Read my review here, and follow the link there to the recent author interview I posted as well.

Coming up this week, I've got a review and guest post with giveaway scheduled for My Unfair Lady by Kathryne Kennedy. This is a fun Victorian romance and is worth your time when you are in the mood for some light-hearted romance. If you are a newsletter subscriber, you will be eligible to win this later on this year.

I'll also have a big Mailbox Monday to report to you, there are lots of fun finds there so get your pencils ready for your wishlists!

I've got another award under my belt, this time from Robin at The Lady Gwyn's Kingdom. She got it from Kathleen at Celticlady's Ramblings which she just renamed Book Blog o' The Irish.

I also received this award from Heather at The Maiden's Court, (which she also received from Kathleen); thank you so much for including me in the fun!!

Here are the rules:

1. Post the award on your blog, with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.

2. Pass the award to 5 other blogs that you particularly like. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

I'm passing this on to the most aesthetic blogs I regularly visit & think they look great too:

Arleigh at
Lucy at Enchanted By Josephine
Allie at Hist-Fic Chick
Aimee at My Fluttering Heart
Susie at All Things Royal
Thanks to these awesome blogging babes with some awesome looking blogs to go with their awesome content!

OH, and back to the Gifts topic.. I have ordered some fun items to go with the exclusive newsletter giveaways coming up... mum's the word.. but this will be right around the end of the year so make sure you are signed up!

Repeating last week's IMPORTANT NEWS ALERT!!
Please subscribe to my NEWSLETTER!! Using the Google Friend Connect Follower gadget you can update your preferences there. There is also another Newsletter Gadget right below the Follower gadget on the left sidebar to update your email preferences. I will not spam you. I will not use the newsletter to announce posts or reviews. I will instead simply send out my Sunday Salon posts early to you and have special newsletter-only-giveaways. You must subscribe to the newsletter to be eligible. You will have to verify your email address from the physical email that it will automatically send you. (Check your spam account!) This is not the same as just following the blog!

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Nov 12, 2009

Book Review: The Queen's Mistake by Diane Haeger; The Story of Catherine Howard

The Queen's Mistake: In the Court of Henry VIII by Diane Haeger
Published October 6, 2009
NAL Penguin Historical Novel
ISBN-13: 9780451228000; 397 pages
The Burton Review Rating:3 Stars
Review copy provided by the publisher
See my Author Interview here

"When the young and beautiful Catherine Howard becomes the fifth wife of the fifty-year-old King Henry VIII, she seems to be on top of the world. Yet her reign is destined to be brief and heartbreaking, as she is forced to do battle with enemies far more powerful and calculating than she could have ever anticipated in a court where one wrong move could mean her undoing. Wanting only love, Catherine is compelled to deny her heart's desire in favor of her family's ambition. But in so doing, she unwittingly gives those who sought to bring her down a most effective weapon—her own romantic past.
The Queen's Mistake is the tragic tale of one passionate and idealistic woman who struggles to negotiate the intrigue of the court and the yearnings of her heart."

Catherine Howard is well known as Henry VIII's youngest and unwisest queen. Being the fifth queen, Henry was older, he had his heir already, and now wanted a young and beautiful but most of all, dutiful wife who could provide backup heirs. Unbeknownst to Catherine, she was strategically placed right under his nose at the exact moment that Henry was looking to legally dispose of his fourth wife, who was Anne of Cleves, otherwise known as the "flanders mare".

The novel begins with the young Catherine cavorting around her family home at Horsham, as she flirts with her music teacher Henry Manox, and then Francis Dereham. Catherine was an orphan, losing her parents at an early age, but the author gives Catherine a sympathetic air when Catherine lovingly remembers her mother Joyce. Agnes was her guardian and grandmother, the Dowager Duchess who is portrayed as having every intention of providing Catherine with this unclean environment, though Agnes saw it as a training ground for Catherine: to learn to utilize her feminine wiles as preparation for court. And soon enough, the Duke of Norfolk, Catherine's uncle Thomas Howard, comes along and invites Catherine to court coincidentally at that time in 1540 that Queen Anne of Cleves is barely hanging on to her position.

The political charades are written out as exchanges between Thomas Cromwell and his son, George; and then as the Duke of Norfolk scheming with Stephen Gardiner to help Henry VIII find another way out of yet another disastrous marriage. The Cromwell versus Howard political battle is well-played out in the novel giving the reader an accurate sense of the tumultuous period of Protestant vs. Catholic and the ever changing needs and wants of the king. The battles for being a strategically placed family within the courts of Henry VIII are also present with the many jealous ladies at court vying for their own power. The memory of Anne Boleyn, Catherine's own cousin who was Henry's second wife and swiftly beheaded is also used as a constant reminder for Catherine to watch herself, yet she does not heed the subliminal warnings.

The Duke of Norfolk is quite pleased with his niece's beauty and feigned innocence, especially as Henry begins to notice her himself. Unfortunately for Catherine, Henry is now rather fat and unattractive in his eating habits and his leg ulcer getting worse with infection. Catherine's heart lies with Thomas Culpeper whom she meets as she enters the court as Queen Anne's lady in waiting. Thomas Culpeper is a favorite of Henry's, and naive Catherine beds Thomas and falls in love with him. Although in reality, we cannot be sure when Culpeper and Catherine began their affair, the author Haeger writes of it happening rather immediately upon Catherine's arrival at court.

King Henry must always have his way, and if he want to have the rose without a thorn, as he believes Catherine to be, then that is what he shall have. Cromwell meets his demise, Cranmer gets upset that the naive Catholic girl becomes Queen especially since he hates the Howards. Norfolk, Agnes, Culpeper and Lady Rochford feature a lot in Haeger's telling, which makes me hunger for the actual reality of the situation. We know Catherine's fate, but how is it that Norfolk strays from Henry's mad grasp and is not executed along with Catherine? Cromwell was executed because he suggested Anne of Cleves as Henry's fourth wife, so I would have assumed the same would hold true for the Duke of Norfolk, but he successfully untangled himself from the mess that he helped to create. His son, Henry Howard, the Earl of Surrey, was also a supporting character in this telling, and I have a feeling there is also more to his story. I've had a book titled "Henry VIII's Last Victim" by Jessie Childs which concerns this Henry Howard, and I now have the eagerness to pick that one up.

Catherine's greatest love is portrayed as Culpeper, although she remained faithful to Henry, she still visited Culpeper with the aid of Lady Jane Rochford. Culpeper, Dereham, Rochford and Catherine are all executed. While reading the story of Catherine, I found the title of "The Queen's Mistake" to be quite fitting. Throughout this novel, I had the sensation of shaking my head at Catherine's silly and naive actions. How could she not have learned from her own cousin's downfall, Queen Anne Boleyn, who was executed by her husband Henry in 1536? It was still fresh on the courts' minds as the realized they were having another Boleyn/Howard relation come to the throne. It had to have been on Catherine's mind at some point, but obviously she did not take heed of the silent warning. Catherine employed her prior betrothed, Frances Dereham, as her secretary, and let several other previous acquaintances from Horsham into her court: another mistake. All Cranmer had to do to seal Catherine's fate was to get the jealous girls to spill all they could about Catherine's behavior.

The novel included several important characters as mentioned, but the writing seemed a bit juvenile to me. I had trouble getting into the story from the beginning, especially because of the immorality of Catherine that was evident immediately. I have read Catherine's main events of her life as a queen before, and I had hoped for some insight or to gain a better understanding of her character through the writing of Diane Haeger. By the time this novel was done, I did not feel as sympathetic for her as I would have thought, feeling perhaps that the ends justified the means. I did however appreciate the way that Haeger chose to write the end of this story, and wish the same dramatic feel could have been used more liberally throughout the preceding pages. This is an easy to read fictional account of Catherine's days at court and would be enjoyed by those who do not know the story already. Haeger demonstrates how Catherine made many mistakes, yet I would still like to know more of the facts surrounding her swift downfall and the relationships that she had at that time. Haeger successfully intrigued me on the characters of Thomas Howard, Thomas Culpeper and Lady Jane Rochford so much so that I am going to dig up some non-fiction material to quench the thirst for more. Somehow, the Tudor era continues to beckon my soul, no matter how many books I read concerning these eccentric courtiers.

Culpeper Letter (The surviving letter from Catherine Howard to Thomas Culpeper)

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Booking Through Thursday~Life is too Short to read Bad Books

Booking Through Thursday is hosted by Deb:
Suggested by JM:

“Life is too short to read bad books.” I’d always heard that, but I still read books through until the end no matter how bad they were because I had this sense of obligation.

That is, until this week when I tried (really tried) to read a book that is utterly boring and unrealistic. I had to stop reading.

Do you read everything all the way through or do you feel life really is too short to read bad books?

I try very very hard to finish a book. There is one book that I did not finish this year, and I really tried. I wanted to like "The Wish Maker" by Ali Sethi, and it had a lot of promise. But I just could not fathom spending any more time on it as it was completely dull and I knew I would not get a thing out of it except disappointment and mild disgust.

As suggested, it is through this sense of obligation that we have as a reviewer that prods me to follow through. Luckily I have not read a bad book since, I have learned to not accept review books that have not already garnered attention, or I make sure it is of a subject I am very interested in, such as the Tudor era. Out of 58 books reviewed this year, I had that one "did-not-finish" book. Which seems like a great record to me.

Have you had to "put down books" before? Does your reading habit change due to expectations for reviews? I am not referring to the topic of writing an honest, and even a negative review, I believe mostly every one writes honest reviews; I am wondering if you had not had a certain DULL book for review, if it was just a random read, would you be more or less hesitant to put it down? I know if it was a read-for-leisure book, I would be more likely to give it up quicker. I read somewhere that is was suggested that you take your age, multiply by 3, and read that many pages of a book before you put it down.

I also would agree pretty much with the “Life is too short to read bad books", but if you did read a bad book it makes the next one SO MUCH BETTER!!!
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Nov 11, 2009

Louisa May Alcott Publishes Her First Story!!

On November 11, 1852, Louisa May Alcott published "The Rival Painters: A Story of Rome" in the Saturday Evening Gazette per some sources, others say it is The Olive Branch that it first appeared in. She had previously published a poem, Sunlight (under pseudonym Flora Fairfield), but this was her first story that was published. She had written this tale for her sisters when she was sixteen, and she duplicates the scene of reading the Rival Painters aloud for the first time to her sisters in her later novel Little Women. The story involves two painters who were in love with the same woman, and she was paid $5.00 for it.
Most of us recognize Louisa May Alcott as the author of the infamous classic Little Women (1868), of which I own at least three copies of. Before this success she wrote her first book Flower Fables (1854), and lived to write many more poems, short stories and novels. In 1858 her sister Elizabeth (Betty) passed away, another family event she duplicated later in Little Women with Beth. Louisa May Alcott herself was a tragic and heroic figure which came through in her writings.

Alcott remembered her personal sadness with her sister in November 1857:
"Twenty-five this month. I feel my quarter of a century rather heavy on my shoulders just now. I lead two lives. One seems gay with plays, etc., the other very sad, in Betty's room; for though she wishes us to act, and loves to see us get ready, the shadow is there, and Mother and I see it. Betty loves to have me with her; and I am with her at night, for Mother needs rest. Betty says she feels " strong" when I am near. So glad to be of use."
"January, 1858. Lizzie much worse; Dr. G. says there is no hope. A hard thing to hear; but if she is only to suffer, I pray she may go soon. She was glad to know she was to "get well," as she called it, and we tried to bear it bravely for her sake. We gave up plays; Father came home; and Anna took the housekeeping, so that Mother and I could devote ourselves to her. Sad, quiet."
"My dear Beth died at three in the morning after two years of patient pain. Last week she put her work away, saying the needle was too heavy ... Saturday she slept, and at midnight became unconscious, quietly breathing her life away till three; then, with one last look of her beautiful eyes, she was gone."
(this quote Retrieved from "")
Betty died March 14, 1858, was the basis for the character Beth in Little Women, and perhaps because of her kind, timid and soulful ways, she was my favorite character. Another sister Anna was the basis for Meg, Louisa herself was Jo, and Abigail May was the basis for Amy.

Louisa May Alcott was one of my very first favorite authors. It was first Judy Blume, then her. When I was ten years old, I first read Little Women, and then I read Little Men, and then Jo's Boys, and I re-read them over and over. I remember sitting at the bus stop reading them, and I also remember penning several book reports featuring either Little Women or Louisa May Alcott. I will always mention her as a favorite author, as she helped to hone my dislikes and likes for certain books as my tastes changed as I grew older, yet Alcott would always have a hold on my heart.

Her appeal to me was the way that she depicted the family of the Marches of Little Women. They were seemingly destitute, yet they found peace within the love that they shared for each other and their neighbors. I can see that she drew from her own experiences as a sister and a daughter and used them in her stories. It is interesting to learn now that Alcott did not really sit down and think of the story of Little Women as a story that begged to be told. A publisher approached her with the request that she write a book for girls, and Alcott was reluctant to do so. She had previously established herself as a serious literary writer when she wrote of her memories of being a civil war nurse in Hospital Sketches in 1863. She had also written under the pseudonym A. M. Barnard a set of stories that were quite contrary to the calm and tender tales we would equate Alcott with. Louisa May Alcott satisfied herself writing her stories to help support her impoverished family and never married.

My 6 Book set from Doubleday that I've had since I was a kid

The books shown above are the Doubleday reprints that feature illustrations within. They are Under the Lilacs, Little Men, Jack and Jill, Eight Cousins, Jo's Boys, Little Women, received as gift from my late father, probably in the early 80's.

But my most favorite edition, another gift from my father, is my "The Works of Louisa May Alcott" by Longmeadow Press, in 1986 (ISBN 9780681400344) a Full-Leather bound book complete and unabridged, where the soft cover boards are maroon genuine bonded leather, accented with pink flowers with gilt lettering and design on front and spine, and the pages are gilded with gold! This book contains Little Women, Little Men, and 24 short stories. At 787 beautiful pages, this book is a treasure.

Favorite Fact: She has a crater on Venus named after her.

Louisa May Alcott (November 29, 1832 – March 6, 1888) died from the effects of mercury poisoning at the age of 55 and is buried with her adored father, Bronson, who had passed away two days earlier, in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Massachusetts. She rests with her family and friends and mentors, who include Thoreau, Emerson and Hawthorne.
Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father was a 2008 Pulitzer Prize biography by John Matteson that I've got on my wish list, and I just received The Glory Cloak by Patricia O'Brien which features Louisa May Alcott as well.

You can download selected works at the Internet Archive Search.
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Nov 10, 2009

Teaser Tuesday ~ The Queen's Mistake by Diane Haeger

TEASER TUESDAYS is hosted by ShouldBeReading and asks you to:
♠Grab your current read.
♠Let the book fall open to a random page.
♠Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page.
♠You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!

The Queen's Mistake
She greeted the king and his new wife with the most genuine smile Catherine had ever seen, and she shocked everyone when she, the woman who had worn England's crown less than three months ago, fell into a deep and reverent curtsy before the new queen. Anne lowered her head, which was covered in a traditional gabled hood, to her successor for what felt like an awkwardly long time.~page 317

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Nov 9, 2009

Book Review: Arabella by Georgette Heyer; The Regency Romance Queen

Arabella by Georgette Heyer
Arabella by Georgette Heyer
Product ISBN: 9781402219467
Price: $13.99
BookDepository has this for $9.99 FREE SHIPPING
Sourcebooks Publication Date: August 2009
The Burton Review Rating:Five Stars!!


"One Little White Lie . . .
Armed with beauty, virtue and a benevolent godmother, the impetuous but impoverished Arabella Tallant embarked on her first London season with her mother's wish in mind: snare a rich husband. But when fate cast her in the path of arrogant, socially prominent Robert Beaumaris, who accused her of being another petty female after his wealth, the proud, headstrong ingenue made a most startling claim -- she was an heiress! Suddenly Arabella found herself the talk of the ton and pursued by every amorous fortune hunter in London. But would her deceitful charade destroy her one chance for true love . . . ? "

Georgette Heyer is a prolific writer of Regency fiction, writing both romances and mysteries with some historical novels also thrown in. Out of the few Regency style novels of Heyer's that I have read so far, Arabella is my absolute favorite. I was completely wrapped up in the story from the very beginning as I was sucked in by Heyer's seemingly unending witty and charming writing style. I feel like I read this book at the most opportune time for me where I needed a light-hearted but not silly and redundant romance. The story of Arabella was a charm in itself that I would be happy to re-read it in the future.

The main protagonist is Arabella who is the eldest daughter among a merchant family and is sent off to London to her godmother to be put out on the town for all the socialites to see. The goal is for Arabella to make a suitably wealthy marriage match which would in turn open doors for the rest of her siblings. Quite to the contrary, Arabella disturbs these chances when she meets the most eligible bachelor in town, Mr. Robert Beaumaris, the epitome of the male fashion in England. Not having a clue as to who he is or what his status is as the veritable nonpareil, the rookie Arabella is provoked into telling a silly white lie that she herself is a wealthy heiress.. and the Heyer madness begins!

Robert of course is intrigued by Arabella's innocent nature and is not fooled for a moment by her little charade, but indeed helps to spin it into web that is quickly out of control of Arabella's naive hands. Her aunt has no idea why so many bachelors have thus come to court Arabella, and it is quickly apparent that everyone in town believes Arabella to be the wealthy heiress that she is definitely not.

One of the endearing scenes features Arabella taking pity on a young chimney sweep who was being misused by old Grimsby. The moment Arabella meets the boy she cleans him up and foists him on Robert to give him a proper life, much to the chagrin of Robert's friend, Fleetwood:

'It ain't that I'm a coward!' protested his lordship. 'But we shall have all the fools in London staring after us! I can't think what's come over you, Robert! You're never going to keep this brat in Mount Street! If it leaks out, and it's bound to, I suppose you know everyone will think it's a by-blow of yours?'
'The possibility had crossed my mind,' agreed Mr Beaumaris. 'I am sure I ought not to let it weigh with me: Miss Tallant certainly would not.'
'Well, damn it, I think that prosy fool, Bridlington, was right for once in his life! You've gone stark, staring mad!'
'Very true, I have known it this half-hour and more.'
Lord Fleetwood looked at him in some concern. 'you know, Robert, if you're not careful you'll find yourself walking to the altar before you're much older!' he said.
'No, she has the poorest opinion of me,' replied Mr Beaumaris. 'I perceive that my next step must be to pursue the individual known to us as "ole Grimsby".'

The most charming part about this story is Arabella's kind nature. She is sweet, kind to animals (and chimney sweepers), and absolutely hilarious when dealing with Robert Beaumaris. Her brother Bertram is a fine chap as well who also goes to London and gets himself into major gambling scrapes. Poor Bertram and Arabella each have their own potentially disastrous secrets and as expected, Beaumaris comes to the rescue in the end, but he lets them each suffer long enough to wreak havoc on their personal lives.

Heyer's writing is superb in this one, I breezed through this read with ease, and was so sad to be done with the story. The characterizations of Arabella's family, friends and the London scenes made me want to transport myself back in time, although I certainly would want to distance myself from some of the fortune hunters that we meet in Arabella's story. I would not hesitate to recommend this novel to Regency enthusiasts, Austen fans, romance readers and, of course, Heyer fans. I have many more Heyer reads to go, but I wonder if they could hold a candle to this one, I was laughing out loud during some of the adventures of Arabella. Her sympathy for others was a delight to behold, for both the reader and for Robert Beaumaris, although Robert was caught up in her sympathies more often than he intended. He was quite the knight in shining armor but not so much that we despised the characterization. This is easily one of my absolute favorite reads of 2009.

See my other Georgette Heyer related posts here.
This is how much I ADORED ARABELLA:
My son with Arabella!
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Mailbox Monday~Another Georgette Heyer

Mailbox Monday Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. We share what books that we found in our mailboxes last week. And I am adding what I purchased, swapped, etc.

Not a big mailbox week for me, which is fine! Certainly the Quality could not be better, however.

From Sourcebooks to review, I recieved:

Devil's Cub by Heyer

Devil's Cub by Georgette Heyer

First issue date: 1932 Heinemann, London

US Publisher: Dutton, New York, 1966

2009 Reissue from Sourcebooks

I have been thrilled with all of Heyer's Regency reads, and even though I am so totally swamped I jumped on the chance to review this one as well for December. I am so glad that Sourcebooks has been reissuing Georgette Heyer's reads. I have decided to begin collecting them along with Jean Plaidy's reads.

Synopsis for Devils' Cub:

Devil's Cub is one of Georgette Heyer's most famous and memorable novels, featuring a dashing and wild young nobleman and the gently bred young lady in whom he finally meets his match…

Like father, like son…
Dominic Alistair, Marquis of Vidal and fiery son of the notorious Duke of Avon, has established a rakish reputation that rivals his father's, living a life of excess and indulgence. Banished to the Continent after wounding his opponent in a duel, Vidal schemes to abduct the silly aristocrat bent on seducing him into marriage and make her his mistress instead. In his rush, however, he seems to have taken the wrong woman…

A young lady of remarkable fortitude…
Determined to save her sister from ruin, virtuous Mary Challoner intercepts the Marquis's advances and throws herself into his path, hoping Vidal will release her upon realizing his error. But as the two become irrevocably entangled, Mary's reputation and future lie in the hands of a devilish rake, who finds her more fascinating every day…

Read an excerpt here

This reissue is available now for purchase on Amazon:

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Nov 7, 2009

The Sunday Salon~ Winners, Pics, Updates, Important News!

The Sunday

Happy Sunday everyone! This week I published a review for India Edghill's newest book that comes out in a few weeks: Delilah. India has written a couple of previous biblical fiction reads that have gotten fabulous reviews; her newest was no different, and is one I highly recommend, and I would love for you to stop by my review. Biblical fiction is a new genre for me, and as a Catholic I wondered what my reaction would be to reading about certain biblical themes. I have enjoyed both of the books that I have read so far, and I also want to read India's previous works as well. The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni-Halevy is one on my list to read as well, along with another titled Pilate's Wife which is by Antoinette May, and The Red Tent: A Novel by Anita Diamant.

I had another wonderful read this week with the reissue of Georgette Heyer's Arabella. I am so glad to have been introduced to Heyer; if Sourcebooks hadn't been reissuing her works it is very likely that I would have missed her altogether. I now have officially put Heyer up there on my list of favorite classic authors along Jean Plaidy (Victoria Holt) and Louisa May Alcott.

This week I updated my Jean Plaidy list by putting my collection online for all the world to see. I will continue to update that post with whatever new Plaidy/Holt/Carr books I buy and then link to the review. There are about 6 reviews linked to it now. The Plaidy list can be found here, and there is a new button up in the navigation bar for the post as well. I will also begin to compose a Georgette Heyer list as well.


Please subscribe to my NEWSLETTER!! Using the Google Friend Connect Follower gadget you can update your preferences there. There is also another Newsletter Gadget right below the Follower gadget on the left sidebar to update your email preferences. I will not spam you. I will not use the newsletter to announce posts or reviews. I will instead simply send out my Sunday Salon posts early to you and have special newsletter-only-giveaways. You must subscribe to the newsletter to be eligible. You will have to verify your email address from the physical email that it will automatically send you. (Check your spam account!) This is not the same as just following the blog!

With Christmas coming up, and my first Blogiversary around the corner as well, I will use the CURRENT newsletter subscribers only for the exclusive giveaways I host around that time. So get on that early bird Newsletter list and don't miss out, as you will have to be on that Newsletter list to know what is going on!! How lucky are you to be the FIRST TO KNOW!!!

I had a busy week last week with Halloween adventures so I didn't do a Sunday Salon post. Sheri missed me because she wanted to see a pic of the kiddos in costume. In honor of Sheri at A Novel Menagerie, this is for you:

Oliver as The Cowardly Lion

Morgan as Wonder Woman
I also promised to update my Salon post with mention of an Award I received. Susie from All Things Royal awarded me with The Super Scribbler award, which I received at one point before but forgot to mention it. Thank you Susie! All Things Royal is an awesome book blog but she has the honor of being a real life true descendant of those royals that I love to read about!
Here are the rules :

■ Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.

■ Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.

■ Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.

■ Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we’ll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor! (*I'm #1201!!)

■ Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

This one has been going around the blogosphere so I apologize if you have already gotten this one already, but I would like to pass this award to the following people/blogs, in no particular order:
Jenny Girl of Jenny Loves to Read
Lucy and Arleigh of Royal Intrigue
Kathleen of Celticlady's Ramblings
Laurel Ann of Austenprose
Erin at The Courtier's Book

These are great bloggers, you need to check them out if you haven't already.

Award Number 2 from Heather at The Maiden's Court, thank you again!

This Honest Scrap Award is for those bloggers who write from the heart. The rules are:

Pass it on to 7 deserving bloggers and write 10 honest things about yourself.

Ten Honest Things That Are Sure To Bore You (A.KA. Things you never really wanted to know):

1.I despise most of my extended family (on one side in particular) & am obviously not ashamed to admit it. Trust me, they deserve it and they could care less anyway.
2.On the other hand, I am truly blessed with a wonderful immediate family. (check out those adorable pics above! And I write this as my toddler is dribbling spittle on my foot from his toy flute.)
3.I love kitty kats but will probably never own one again, not after the last two tore apart my house with their claws and poo.
4.I really hate my job. I have officially sucked at math all my life, and now I am a bookkeeper.
5.I will always regret not finishing college. Not that I had the chance to.
6.I prefer things neat and organized but I hate housecleaning and do not do much of it.
7.I have a large collection of Porcelain dolls, Barbie Dolls, Precious Moments and other porcelain figurines, stamps, scissors, papers, and of course books...collectomaniac?
8.I can still name at least 85% of the 1986 New York Mets Roster. Don't get me started.
9.I now cannot name a single current New York Mets player.
10.I have crayon scribbles on my walls which really bother me. But if I fix them they will just reappear so I'll wait till he grows out of the scribble stage.

The bloggers I would like to pass this on to are: (Heather has already picked a bunch I would have picked so I have to really think on this one.)

Sheri of A Novel Menagerie
Kathleen of
Celticlady's Ramblings
Laurel Ann of
Erin at
The Courtier's Book
Melisende of
Women of History
Virginie of Virginie Says...
HappyHelen of

And all these awardees may do with as you like with these awards, I realize they are cumbersome to acknowledge at times. But you are all well-deserving of them, so enjoy the notoriety at your leisure!

The Giveaway for The Queen's Mistake by Diane Haeger is now over (which I have just started to read). If you missed the interview I had with Diane, see it here. I really loved having that opportunity to converse with her on Catherine Howard.

The Winners are:

Heatherzilla and Sheila! Congratulations! If they have already found this book elsewhere, then Michelle and Carol are next in line.

That concludes my recent round of giveaways, stay tuned for a giveaway of My Unfair Lady by Kathryne Kennedy coming 11/18/09.

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