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Nov 30, 2009

Giveaway & Interview with Julianne Lee, author of new release HER MOTHER'S DAUGHTER: A NOVEL OF QUEEN MARY TUDOR

The Burton Review is honored to have had the opportunity to ask author Julianne Lee a few questions regarding her newest novel, "HER MOTHER'S DAUGHTER: A NOVEL OF QUEEN MARY TUDOR". Keep reading for details on the giveaway sponsored by her publishers at Berkely!

In your previous novel, "A Question of Guilt: A Novel of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the Death of Henry Darnley", Mary Stuart was the focus of the plot as a 'vilified' queen. Your newest book, "Her Mother's Daughter: A Novel of Mary Tudor" also addresses the 'vilified' queen topic. What was it about these two Queens that inspired you to write their stories?

Well, there are several reasons for choosing these subjects. Initially, it was a fascination with Scottish history that drew me to Mary Stuart. But when I studied her story, I saw that she'd been at the mercy of the men around her, who just didn't know how to be led by a woman. Her situation was impossible, and the question of whether or not she was a good queen was unanswerable, because she'd not really been allowed to be queen at all. She was seen only as a prize, and secondary to the prize of the crown which everyone assumed would go to the man who married her.

Then when I read about Queen Mary Tudor, I realized I was actually identifying with her a little. Divorced parents, life expectations trashed, sense of safety destroyed...as I read, I had glimpses of the terrified woman she must have been. I felt compelled to write about her, and it was one of the most difficult books I've ever written.

Upon setting out to write these novels, was your ultimate goal to convince your readers that these Queens were indeed vilified for no reason?

Not really. As a former journalist, I prefer to just tell the story and let the reader draw her own conclusions. With Mary Stuart, I truly didn't see the ending until I wrote it. And even then I don't think the character of Janet decided anything hard and fast. With Mary Tudor, it was more complex. She may have been misunderstood by history, but at the end of the day we're left with the fact that she did order the burnings of nearly 300 people. My only wish was to examine the psychology and circumstances that led to her decisions, without coloring her as evil or psychotic.


For your historical research, did you have the opportunity to visit Europe ? (If so, please tell us your favorite landmark!)

Oh, yes! I've written many books set in historical Scotland , and have visited the U.K. three times since '99, and Germany once. I finished the last 6,000 words of my first novel at the Glenfinnan House Hotel, with a view of the Prince Charles monument, and Ben Nevis off down the glen. In '03 I spent a week on Skye, taking an immersion course in Scots Gaelic. In '05 I drove with a friend up to Lewis, then back down to Wales . On Lewis we visited some standing stones, and spotted an ancient tower just off the road just before sunset, and were able to stop and visit it in the quiet of the day. We could hear sheep bleating in the distance, and the peace was overwhelming. It was difficult to leave.

I'm a huge believer in hands-on research. When I couldn't quite picture how to use a drop-spindle, I found someone who knew how to do it and could teach me. When I needed to describe a Scottish festival, I went to one. When I had characters cooking with fire, I hung a pot hook in my own fireplace and learned to use it. I've taken fencing classes, karate, and a couple of years ago I took up quilting by hand.

While writing "Her Mother's Daughter", did the progression of any of your characters surprise you? Or did you try and stick to the tried-and-true of each character?

I'm not sure what "tried and true" means with characters. They do tend to think for themselves sometimes. With Queen Mary, it was a process of discovery more like peeling away layers than the sort of observation one does with fictional characters. Fictional characters sometimes just walk around on their own with no help from me. Mary was an onion, which I kept peeling down and down. I did rather like Simon Renard, who turned out a little more dashing than I'd pictured him at first. He's an historical figure, and when I found a portrait of him I went, "Hm...pretty."


Did you enjoy a particular supporting character more than the rest?

Nicolo Delarosa, the lute player, was adorable, I think. He's completely fictional, and as he developed I just liked him more and more. And I felt sorry for him. He's one of those sturdy, dependable guys who suffer quietly.

Mary's half-sister Elizabeth plays a very small role in your story. Was this because you felt that they did not spend a lot of time together in general, or was it for the purposes of the plot line in general?

I may have ignored Elizabeth more than she deserved, and it was because there is so much written about her that I felt I didn't need to contribute to the enormous mass of it. The same is true about Anne Boleyn, who also doesn't figure largely in this story. I preferred to explore figures that were a little less known.

What are your assumptions regarding the relationship of Mary and each of her siblings?

When someone is your brother or sister, there's not much you can do about it. Even when your family is not close and loving, or when a member of your family behaves badly, they are still your family. During the sixteenth century, family was even more important to an individual than it is now, particularly for women. I think that Mary must have struggled with feelings for her brother and sister ranging from deep love to deep anger. I think she cared for her brother, but perhaps not so much for her sister. Of course, that is just opinion. Nobody can know for certain how Mary felt about Edward and Elizabeth at any given time.

What are your own thoughts on Mary's frequent illnesses and false pregnancies?

It seems to me that she had terrible psychosomatic problems. Possibly an ulcer. As much stress as she was under her entire life, it's no wonder her health was dodgy.

You also write historical fantasy novels; which genre do you prefer to write, and why?

I like to tell stories. To me, it's all good. One of the things I like best about writing historical fiction is that I get to show people that it's not all just dry names and dates.

Do you have any other historical fiction novels in progress?

My next project is about Jane Grey.

Besides the Tudor or Elizabethan eras, is there another time period that interests you more than others?

None more than others. I've done books set during the Jacobite Rebellions of the early eighteenth century, and the Wars of Independence in the early fourteenth century. I've done Glen Coe as well. One book that was published in Germany but not in the U.S. is set during the American Civil War. Though it was never published in North America, "Kindred Spirits" is now available on my website as a P.D.F. download. (http://www.julianneardianlee.com/kindredspiritsdownload.html)

For those wishing to read more on Mary Tudor, what books can you recommend to your readers that you used for your research?

Books about Mary Tudor herself tend to be a little spotty. There is some good information in Garrett Mattingly's book "Catherine of Aragon." Another book, "Bloody Mary's Martyrs" by Jasper Ridley is recklessly anti-Mary, but it has some excellent descriptions of the burnings and the victims. "Mary Tudor" by David Loades has some little-known nuggets, and of course Carolly Erickson's "Bloody Mary" gives a disctinctive perspective.

Thank you so much for your time!!!!

Thank you for your interest.

Julianne Lee
http://www.julianneardianlee.com/
"Her Mother's Daughter: A Novel of Queen Mary Tudor"
Berkley, Dec 1. 2009

And now a question for my readers!!
Who wants to win a copy of Julianne Lee's latest book, "Her Mother's Daughter: A Novel of Queen Mary Tudor" ?

Read my review here, comment on my review, come back to this post telling me you did so.

Also leave me an email address in case you win so I can contact you. I'll have TWO winners, USA only please.
Giveaway entries welcome until 12/11/2009.
GOOD LUCK!

Book Review: Her Mother's Daughter: A Novel of Mary Tudor by Julianne Lee


Her Mother's Daughter: A Novel of Mary Tudor by Julianne Lee
ISBN: 0-425-23008-2/978-0-425-23008-4
Publisher: Berkley, December 1, 2009
Paperback, Historical Fiction, 336 pages. Amazon page.
Review copy provided by publisher
The Burton Review Rating:Four Stars!

Synopsis:

"A new novel of sixteenth-century royalty from the author of A Question of Guilt:

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."

Julianne Lee attempts to bring to modern day readers the sympathetic view of Mary Tudor, the misunderstood queen of the sixteenth century. Queen Mary did not have an easy life, and the author immediately sets off to show her readers the myriad of different situations that she was placed in due to the fact that she was the daughter of King Henry VIII. Most Tudor era fans know the story of this Mary Tudor, who was otherwise known as Bloody Mary due to her excessive execution of heretics. She was the only surviving issue of Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII; at first treated as a princess should be until Henry divorced her mother. Yet, it is her younger half-sister, Elizabeth I, who gets the credit for being a strong female monarch in the sixteenth century.

The author shows how Mary may have felt when she was told by her mother that her father was divorcing her, which jeopardized Mary's own status. She was stripped of her princess title, and simply became "Lady Mary." We see how Mary was indeed her mother's daughter, embracing the Catholic religion with zeal, as this was the only constant in her life. The story the author tells focuses on Mary's life and the major events that occurred around her, although we very quickly advance in the author's telling to Henry marrying Anne Boleyn, beheading her and taking Jane Seymour as a wife. Throughout this period we are privy to Mary's personal thoughts as she despises Anne, yet yearns for her place at her father's side. Henry is portrayed as unfeeling and callous towards his daughter Mary, but as doting on Elizabeth when she was a baby. Obviously for the sake of the story itself this works well in the author's favor for attempting to achieve sympathy for Mary. How much of this is factual is for another book.


We blink, and Henry is dead and his only sickly son, Edward is on the throne at age 9. I don't even recall the sixth wife being mentioned. With the bulk of the book being told in third person, we are privy to the council meetings and the thoughts that the council members had about Mary, being a Catholic twenty-four year old potential claimant to the throne, never mind the fact that she was a woman. Mary is shown as very insecure, very pious and of ill health. Whenever she was stressed, it put her in a dangerous state of illness. Mary had feared poison from the heretic Protestant factions, and was beginning to lose faith in her own father's loyalty and regard for family ties. She always felt he would never execute her because of the fact that she was his daughter, but Henry was a ruthless man and did not like being refused his requests. This request in question (which spanned the first half of the book) that Henry demanded of her was going against the very grain of Mary's Catholic faith, for Henry wanted Mary to recognize him as having authority over the church and the pope. Mary finally felt that she could no longer trust in her faith to keep her alive. It seems Mary's only friend was her imperial ambassador, Eustace Chapuys. He advised her in most things and she is shown as relying on him at critical times, just as he advised her to accept the Act of Supremacy, although with a helpful caveat. Upon doing so, Mary was finally allowed some peace, and was welcome at her father's court after this long battle. She failed in the very things she lived for, such as having children and restoring England to the Catholic faith, and perhaps it was this failure that distressed her so much that caused her illnesses. But even through these failures, she unknowingly taught Elizabeth what to do or not do once Elizabeth ruled.

What makes this novel unique is the way it opened up, with a modern day setting; and then the rest of the story is being told in an almost flashback fashion as Mary periodically appears as she explains what happens next. The chapter would open up with an italicized paragraph of Mary speaking her mind, and that chapter would tie itself into that foreshadowing opening paragraph. Also unique, are the "extras" to the novel. There are commoners, from thieves to family men that have their chance to their story in this novel as well. Through their eyes we get a broad scope of what the political and religious turmoils that the people in England were subject to, and this also helped keep the novel intriguing.

As a Tudor junkie, I enjoyed it. As a historical fiction reader, I loved it. There is nothing that I can say in hindsight that I think the author should have done differently. The writing flowed simply and I was entertained by the clever outline of the novel with the diary style entries by Mary and the outlooks from the commoners. This was a unique approach towards a story that has been told many times before, but truly gives a realistic touch towards the humanity of Bloody Mary. The author successfully portrayed Mary in a more favorable light as we begin to understand the depth of Mary's faith and the mechanisms behind it. As the story progresses, we are more empathetic towards Mary as we witness the accounts of the relationships that Mary had with her family and her controversial husband, Philip of Spain. For the many readers who like to focus on the Tudor era, this is a read that must be added to your library, both for its original storytelling and the unique approach with which the author utilizes to tell this compelling story of Mary Tudor. I enjoyed this new novel by Julianne Lee so much so that I will be looking for her previous historical fiction read A Question of Guilt: A Novel of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the Death of Henry Darnley (Oct 7, 2008) which focuses on another Queen Mary that I have not had a lot of sympathy for either. After reading Her Mother's Daughter: A Novel of Mary Tudor by Julianne Lee, I am definitely much more sympathetic to the views of Bloody Mary and more understanding of why she seemed a bit over the top. I recommend this one to those interested in the Tudor era and for historical fiction fans in general.

Mailbox Monday



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.

I've received an interesting mix of topics this week. From an American favorite to a murderess, and the tried and true classics of Austen:

From Paperbackswap:


Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography by Jean H. Baker
"From Library Journal:
In the thriving cottage industry of Lin coln studies Baker's readable and sympathetic biography is easily the definitive account of the troubled former First Lady. Baker's principal contribution is in recognizing Mary Todd Lincoln on her own terms. Although we can never separate her from Abraham Lincoln, Mary Todd Lincoln's importance derives less from her marriage than from her personal suffering as a woman. Politics, tragedy, and poverty denied her the family comfort and identity she craved. Baker's chapters on her last years of alleged insanity and real loneliness reveal a jealous and proud 19th-century American woman trapped by the conventions of Victorian domesticity."

For Review, from the author:




The Secret of the Glass by Donna Russo Morin (February 2010)

"At the dawn of the 17th Century, the glassmakers of Murano are revered as master artisans, enjoying privileges far beyond their station, but they are forced to live in virtual imprisonment, contained by the greedy Venetian government who fears other countries will learn the intricacies of the craft…and reap the rewards.
Sophia Fiolario, the comely daughter of a glass making maestro, has no desire for marriage, finding her serenity in the love of her family and the beauty of the glass. She learns of its secrets at her father’s side, where a woman is forbidden to be. The life Sophia loves is threatened by the poor health of her father and the determined attentions of a nobleman who could and would never love her but seeks to possess her wealth and the privilege it affords. Thrust into the opulent world of the Venetian court, Sophia becomes embroiled in the scheming machinations of the courtiers’ lives. The beauty of Venice, the magnificence of the Doge’s Palace, are rivaled only by the intrigue and danger that festers behind their splendid facades. As she searches for an escape, she finds the arms of another, a man whose own desperate situation is yet another obstacle in their path.
Amidst political and religious intrigue, the scientific furor ignited by Galileo, and even murder, Sophia must do anything to protect herself, her family…and the secret of the glass."


From a giveaway win: A Savage Wisdom by Norman German


"An imaginative reconstruction of the life of the only woman executed in Louisiana's electric chair."


"Here is a powerful, page-turning account of crime and punishment, told in terms of the literary tradition of true crime stories that includes Capote’s In Cold Blood and Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song. Norman German has created a worthy companion to and version of this all-American genre." George Garrett, novelist and poet laureate of Virginia.


"Norman German’s novel follows the hard life and heinous crimes of Toni Jo Henry, the first and only woman to die in Louisiana’s infamous electric chair. The novel meets this bone-chilling story head-on, and it leaves the reader burning with the heartless brutality of the tale. Read A Savage Wisdom to see the darkness and comprehend its cold light." ~Dayne Sherman, author of Welcome to the Fallen Paradise.


From Bookmooch:
Northanger Abbey, Lady Susan, The Watsons, and Sanditon (The World's Classics) by Jane Austen


"This is the only edition of these four Jane Austen titles in one volume. 'Northanger Abbey' is the earliest comedy, making fun of the excesses of the Gothic novel. It combines literary burlesque with a tale of female enlightenment. 'Lady Susan' and 'The Watsons' were early compositions, reflecting many of the qualities of 'Northanger Abbey'. 'Sanditon' too is an incomplete novel written late in Austen's life, and indicating a new depth of comic insight."
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Nov 28, 2009

The Sunday Salon~ Thankful for you..

The Sunday Salon.com

(*Newsletter subscribers: You received a shorter version of this post.)

Hello friends! I hope that all of your Thanksgiving meals were AWESOME! I was blessed this Thanksgiving to have all the food I cooked turn out wonderfully edible. This is not counting the banana mush I made the night before Thanksgiving; that didn't turn out well at all and I am glad I tried it out beforehand so it didn't ruin the Thanksgiving meal and desserts. We chose to save the turkey until Christmas, for which I was very thankful for! =) Although it was a fairly simple meal, I cooked ham (pre-cooked), mashed potatoes from scratch, corn from the can, stuffing from a box, sweet candied yams from scratch, skillet baked apples, and I even slow-cooked the cranberries! Yum. This was the first time I made some of these and I was happy (thankful!)that everything was perfect, with a few extra trimmings and the pies, etc. And I even managed to clean up afterwards without cussing. A nice day was had with my family and my mum, and I even had time to play Playstation hockey. It is strange how my 7 year old daughter can catch on to everything technological. She masters all computer games and video games with ease. Which is fantastic of course in this digital age; I am proud of her (she beats me 9 out of 10 times!).

Thanksgiving is over. Christmas is coming.. I am sure it will be here before we know it. I have all of the gifts wrapped, though there are a few more coming to be wrapped. But I am excited that the hardest parts are done... the tree is up and decorated too! I am hoping to relax this year and not rush the kiddos to bed on Christmas Eve in order to complete the wrapping chore. I am still trying to think of a fantastically thoughtful gift for my husband and mother. No luck. Marie of ZQuilts recommended a printout of my blog in book format, which is a wonderful idea, but not something my husband would really care about, as he frowns upon the amount of time I put into it in the first place.

Onwards to books for this week, and this will be quick! Bad Marie. I didn't get very far from my last Sunday Salon, due to the holiday preparations. I will finish up my review of Julianne Lee's "Her Mother's Daughter: A Novel of Queen Mary Tudor," and post that Monday. I am also going to host a giveaway for this book as soon as I have interview questions back from the author, so stay tuned for that giveaway opportunity. I have begun to read Alison Weir's newest book on Anne Boleyn, titled "The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn", which in essence covers the last four months of her life. In reality, it covers a lot more information and is much like a dictionary of that period, as it details all the facts surrounding Anne Boleyn with her family members, the factions, and the events that occur that all lead up to her ultimate downfall. It is not as simple as old King Henry getting tired of Anne's haughty attitude, and not the simple fact that he wanted a male heir. Weir discusses all of the political positions of the Catholic vs. Protestant parties and the outlook of the people of England as well. And I am just on page 40, (of small print) and reads much like a encyclopedia so far. Which is why I am only on to page 40. I even nodded off at lunchtime reading it.

With the holidays swiftly approaching, and the family obligations doubling, I am preparing to take a full step back from blogging, and the computer in general. I have pressing work obligations to pay attention to as well, with things starting to get very busy there for me. Therefore, I will not participate in all of the daily memes as I am accustomed to, and I won't be be visible elsewhere either. Don't be alarmed if you do not 'see me' around as much! It does take a lot of time to visit and comment on blogs (especially those with comment verification), as well as compose posts, and I appreciate all of the other bloggers who are as active as they are. But I promised myself to make this blog 'fun' for me, and I do not want to see this hobby as another obligation that I must attend to. The end of December makes this blog a year old, which is incredible for me. Especially since it didn't start out to be a book blog as much as it has turned out to be. I had no idea anyone would come and read my posts, or my reviews, or that I would receive books to review in the first place! It's been a wild ride, but it is very time consuming. Although it is rewarding, and I am grateful for the camaraderie, and the group of historical fiction bloggers that I have become a part of, but I still need to remember the most important thing, and that is: personal happiness.

Besides, with the holidays here for others as well, there is no sense in me busting my butt to compose meme-style posts when my regular readers are just as busy as I am, and therefore not reading as many blogs themselves. I do normally receive more traffic with the popular memes, for which I am thankful. This needs to be a book review blog, and I need to focus on reading books. The question is.. can I do that?! I have already become overwhelmed with the amount of review books in my pile. At last count there were 31 books in there. I average one a week, and that makes 31 weeks, more than SIX MONTHS worth of reading to do!!! But I spend so much time on the computer when I should be reading.. but I've been reading your blogs instead of my huge pile of books!! So I am going to force myself to sit back and relax, and read, and blog about it, which is why I started this blog in the first place. I appreciate all of my readers out there, and I love receiving comments and feedback. I thank those commenter's who are frequently in my top commenter's gadget. I know that everyone is as busy as I am, so the comments that I DO receive will be that much more special to me, and I am thankful to those readers that have always been supportive. (Ms. Lucy, JennyGirl, Celticlady, The Literary Omnivore..) I myself prefer to use the Google Reader feature on my iPhone, it loads so much faster than on the computer, and I will try to read all the posts of the blogs that I follow that way. So although you don't see me visit your blog, rest assured that I will be reading most of your posts on the reader, and the ones that I particularly enjoyed will be shared so that it is visible on the Google Reader Widget on my left sidebar.

On to the fun stuff.. I hosted a book giveaway for the Victorian Romance "My Unfair Lady" by Kathryne Kennedy, courtesy of Sourcebooks. The winner was chosen via Random.org and that person is:

BusyBee!

Congrats to BusyBee, an email requesting your mailing address will be going out shortly! I wanted to thank everyone for entering, and remember we will have some more giveaways coming up, as well as some exclusive newsletter-subscriber-only giveaways! (*I just sent out the newsletter, & on it were the details for the first ever exclusive giveaway, in honor of my upcoming Blogoversary. This one is for two ARC's The Highland Rebel, and Wild Highland Magic. One lucky winner will be announced next week! You must be a newsletter subscriber, and the entry instructions are in the Newsletter.)

See the left sidebar, under the Google Friends Connect/Follower Gadget, to subscribe to The Burton Review Newsletter. And be sure to check YOUR SPAM box, the newsletters invariably get delivered there!

I am off to compose a Mailbox Monday post. I will see you all around the blogs.. perhaps less so.. but I will be there! Take care! Happy holidays!

Nov 25, 2009

Women on Wednesday~ Thank you, Judy Blume!

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.
"


Last week I picked Michelle Moran as a fabulous female author who had a fabulous book published in 2009.

This week I am going to go to a tried-and-true favorite author of my childhood, Judy Blume. I read most of her children's books at least a dozen times. She always had wonderful characters, and ones that appealed to me. She also brought up subjects that may have been over my head at age 7, but after the dozenth time of reading them as I got older, I began to thoroughly appreciate the messages she set forth in some of her work. She had some fun books like the Super Fudge series, Flubber and Freckle Juice.



By my favorites became the ones that focused on young girls:

Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself "It's 1947 and Sally Freedman is full of wild ideas. She's got her eye on handsome Peter Hornstein, the Latin lover of her dreams – on Mr. Zavodsky, who looks suspiciously like Hitler in disguise – and on her father, who Sally misses terribly. Whatever happens, 5th grade in Miami Beach will definitely be different. It might even be a real life adventure."

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret "Are you there God? It's me, Margaret. I can't wait until two o'clock God. That's when our dance starts. Do you think I'll get Philip Leroy for a partner? It's not so much that I like him as a person God, but as a boy he's very handsome. And I'd love to dance with him... just once or twice. Thank you God."
A move from the city to the suburbs, sixth grade in a different school, a new group of friends. But Margaret handles it...in her own funny, endearing way
."



Then Again, Maybe I Won't "Ever since his dad got rich from an invention and his family moved to a wealthy neighborhood on Long Island, Tony Miglione's life has been tumed upside down. For starters, there's his new friend Joel, who shoplifts. Then there's Joel's sixteen-year-old sister, Lisa, who gets undressed every night without pulling down her shades. And there's Grandma, who won't come down from her bedroom. On top of all his other worries, Tony has questions about growing up.... Why couldn't things have stayed the same?"


I am thankful to have had these books by Judy Blume while I was growing up. I read them with a flashlight under the covers, I read them outside under a tree and in a tree. I read them at the bus stop and then on the bus. I read them when I sat in the class waiting for class to start. These books were my best friends at most times. She also wrote young adult novels that taught me something about being a girl. Thank you, Judy Blume.


On Judy's blog, she has this photo of herself with a fan... and my goodness she looks awesome for being 71!
WOW

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

Nov 24, 2009

Teaser Tuesday~ Her Mother's Daughter by Julianne Lee

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!


Her Mother's Daughter: A Novel of Queen Mary Tudor by Julianne Lee:

"My father, then my brother, had sway over my body and my behavior regarding worldly matters, but nobody, nothing, could ever take my faith from me or cause me to betray God. As much as I loved my dresses and jewels, as much as I loved my father and my brother, they were never so dear to me as my faith, for it was as myself." ~page 132

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Nov 22, 2009

Mailbox Monday!

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.


From Paperbackswap:


DaphneDaphne: A Novel by Justine Picardie

"It is 1957. The author Daphne du Maurier, beautiful, famous, despairing as her marriage falls apart, finds herself haunted by Rebecca, the heroine of her most famous novel, written twenty years earlier. Resolving to write herself out of her misery, Daphne becomes passionately interested in Branwell, the reprobate brother of the Bronte sisters, and begins a correspondence with the enigmatic bibliophile Alex Symington as she researches a biography. But behind Symington's respectable scholarly surface is a slippery character with much to hide, and soon truth and fiction have become indistinguishable.

In present-day London, a lonely young woman, newly married after a fleeting courtship with a man considerably older than her, struggles with her PhD thesis. Her husband, still seemingly in thrall to his brilliant, charismatic first wife, is frequently distant and mysterious, and she can't find a way to make this large, imposing house in Hampstead feel like her own. Retreating instead into the comfort of her library, she begins to become absorbed in a fifty-year-old literary mystery.

The last untold Bronte story, "Daphne" is a tale of obsession and possession; of stolen manuscripts and forged signatures; of love lost, and love found. It is a beautiful, original novel from the acclaimed author of Wish I May."

From a Giveaway win:

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
The Historian

"Breathtakingly suspenseful and beautifully written, The Historian is the story of a young woman plunged into a labyrinth where the secrets of her family's past connect to an inconceivable evil: the dark fifteenth-century reign of Vlad the Impaler and a time-defying pact that may have kept his awful work alive through the ages. The search for the truth becomes an adventure of monumental proportions, taking us from monasteries and dusty libraries to the capitals of Eastern Europe - in a feat of storytelling so rich, so hypnotic, so exciting that it has enthralled readers around the world."

From a weak moment and requested from Shelf Awareness..
(I must I must stop requesting books..) but this looks really really good:
The Kingdom of Ohio by Matthew Flaming (Dec. 31, 2009)



"An incredibly original, intelligent novel-a love story set against New York City at the dawn of the mechanical age, featuring Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, and J. P. Morgan.
After discovering an old photograph, an elderly antiques dealer living in present-day Los Angeles is forced to revisit the history he has struggled to deny. The photograph depicts a man and a woman. The man is Peter Force, a young frontier adventurer who comes to New York City in 1901 and quickly lands a job digging the first subway tunnels beneath the metropolis. The woman is Cheri- Anne Toledo, a beautiful mathematical prodigy whose memories appear to come from another world. They meet seemingly by chance, and initially Peter dismisses her as crazy. But as they are drawn into a tangle of overlapping intrigues, Peter must reexamine Cheri-Anne's fantastic story. Could it be that she is telling the truth and that she has stumbled onto the most dangerous secret imaginable: the key to traveling through time?
Set against the mazelike streets of New York at the dawn of the mechanical age, Peter and Cheri-Anne find themselves wrestling with the nature of history, technology, and the unfolding of time itself."

Nov 21, 2009

The Sunday Salon~ Happy Thanksgiving.. WTF?!

The Sunday Salon.com

Wow. This will be the last Sunday Salon before Thanksgiving comes.. that was fast! I can't decide if this week went so fast because I was so busy, or perhaps my brain is just fried. It is probably for both reasons I feel so scatter-brained. This Thanksgiving will mark the first anniversary of my father's death. Despite the grief in my heart, I am going to try and celebrate the fact that I have a loving husband and two healthy kids. Christmas presents have been bought for the kiddos, I just need some ideas for my mom and my husband, the other important people in my life. I am drawing a blank. A big zero on the creativity scale. Sure, there are gifty type items I can just run and buy for them, but I want to do something "from the heart", but the heart is not speaking to my brain right now. HELP!

In my little book world this week, a Facebook friend wondered if I ought to create a new Facebook profile in order to separate out my book news from my personal status updates. Aside from being a little affronted.. I told her most of my Facebook friends were fellow book fiends like me so that I felt that wasn't necessary. Anyway, all anyone has to do on the Facebook news feed is to set different settings for different people. Like one guy kept posting to the news feed all the almost pornographic quizzes he would take, and it was one after the other for hours. I found the little 'options' link in the top right corner of each quiz post and I was able to modify the settings so that he would be hidden. So, if you want to hide my bookish posts on Facebook, you can do that to me too, and I would be none the wiser. I only have like two posts a day I would think on my Facebook profile, which is why I was a little shocked at my friend's request. Quite frankly, I think my bookish posts would be so much more intelligent than my every other day status updates of whatever frustrations I am having at that time. So now that Facebook friend has set her settings so that she will only see that the toddler got milk on the carpet today, (BORING!) as opposed to seeing perhaps a Book Review or various book meme posts etc. But a drawback to being my Facebook friend this week was I hit by a spam/hacker/someone who has nothing better to do, and my "profile" spit out lots of spam by making stupid wall posts on many of my Facebook friend's walls. Mighty frustrating and I apologize again. I changed my password and it stopped. Twitter is another social utility that is frequently hit by these useless people who like sending out fake direct messages from unsuspecting users.

In case you are not my Facebook friend (find me at marie.burton) and you missed my totally annoying bookish posts, this week I spotlighted Kathryne Kennedy, author of the December 1 release My Unfair Lady. If you are in the mood for a Victorian romance, enter for your chance to win your very own copy of this book, sponsored by Sourcebooks. And don't forget to stop by my review of My Unfair Lady.

I finished reading O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell, and I really loved it! You will be privy to a flurry a reviews this January in preparation for its February release, so you'll just have to wait for more information until then. This selection will be our first event at the new website Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table, which will be the new central meeting point for these spotlight events. We had a lot of fun for our September event which coincided with BBAW, and our lovely group of Historical Fiction bloggers have all agreed to move this party forward into 2010 with a spotlight a month for our favorite Historical Fiction authors who are lucky enough to have a new book coming out. Check out the new website, but keep in mind it is still in the organizing stages, but it already has a list of the books we have scheduled to spotlight in 2010! See some of my posts from the previous event so you know what kind of historical madness is in store.

I have begun to read Her Mother's Daughter: A Novel of Queen Mary Tudor by Julianne Lee, which releases December 1. This is a novel of Mary Tudor, King Henry VIII's eldest daughter, who was also known as Bloody Mary. As the book jacket states, Mary was England's most 'vilified' queen. I have never had much sympathy for her, but I have not yet a read a fictional account focused on her, so perhaps I can be swayed with this new read. Time will tell!

How are you doing on your Christmas shopping? Are you buying books? If so, check out my Amazon store! In the top left corner you will see different categories, so that you can see selections of other genres by clicking the corresponding links in that corner.

And one more shameless plug, I wrote a little article for the Examiner concerning the newest awards given out this week. Check that out here!

Onwards to a news topic of this week. Kathryn aka Alianore of the fabulous Edward II blog has written a heartfelt but informative post about her hometown of Cumbria. Kathryn stated on her Facebook status "..after the heaviest rain EVER recorded in Britain. The Environment Agency is calling the rainfall and floods a once in a thousand year event. Thank God both my parents live on high ground and are OK, but thousands of people are not, and lots more heavy rain is forecast over the next few days. Thinking of you all xxxx". I second her sentiments, I hope all ends well, and my prayers are with the people in Cumbria. Visit Kathryn's post for some great photos.

That's all folks! See you in blogland, and I am off to stir the pot! (I mean the chili that I'm simmering!) Don't forget to subscribe to the newsletter for your chance at the December Blogoversary giveaways.

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

GIVEAWAY & GUEST AUTHOR: KATHRYNE KENNEDY, HISTORICAL ROMANCE


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.


Please welcome KATHRYNE KENNEDY, HISTORICAL ROMANCE AUTHOR:

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,
Kathryne

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 http://www.kathrynekennedy.com/

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

Synopsis:
"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 quinceaƱera 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 Salon.com

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 Historical-fiction.com
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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