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Jan 31, 2010

The Sunday Salon~ Emma, Part 2 Masterpiece Classic on PBS tonight!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Sunday

Did you see the PBS film adaptation of Emma by Jane Austen last Sunday? I did, and I really enjoyed it. I even followed along some with the Twitter Party that went along with it, there were 5 or 6 others that I follow that were there. There were even some giveaways but I didn't have the computer nearby to google the answers but it was still fun following along with my iPhone. Jane Austen would be impressed that she was the object of a twitter party via iPhone, I daresay! This PBS version seems to have annoyed traditional Emma lovers though, but as a newbie to the Emma story I enjoyed it. A fabulous way to spend my Sunday night, as opposed to the traditional moaning and groaning that Monday is coming! So, again, part two is on this Sunday, and the last part is on next Sunday.

If you miss it, Emma will be available for online viewing January 25 - March 9, 2010. This adaptation of Austen's Regency England classic stars Romola Garai as Emma, and she was a tad emotive which turned some off, but we'll see if she 'matures' and tones it down for part two. I have zero complaints on the whole thing, and I think that reading Emma by Austen will be that much more enjoyable when I get to it. And Jonny Lee Miller as Mr. Knightley. Now I understand. Va va voom. And I loved the costumes, the houses, the setting, the atmosphere... Splendid! Check out this interesting blog post at Jane Austen's World about the fashions in this version of Emma and other Austen films.

Sunday, January 24: Emma , part 1
Sunday, January 31: Emma , part 2
Sunday, February 7: Emma , part 3
Sunday, February 14: Northanger Abbey
Sunday, February 21: Persuasion

I broke down and couldn't help it: after watching Emma 2009 on PBS, I went to Amazon and purchased the boxed BBC set of the Austen movies of Sense & Sensibility / Emma / Persuasion / Mansfield Park / Pride & Prejudice / Northanger Abbey (see above). My hubby will not be as thrilled as I am. I haven't received it yet, but now I know what I am going to be doing on Saturday nights instead of the reading that I should be doing. I haven't seen any of these movies yet. SQUEEEEEEE! Have you seen these?

It has probably been beat into your head by now, but I must mention the Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table event this week for which I am a part of. I decided on creating a fun little article regarding my favorite Literary Lovers, and you can enter for a book giveaway on that post that I just published. I also reviewed Robin Maxwell's O, Juliet which is available for purchase 2/2/2010.

Follow along the rest of the Round Table events by visiting the main site which details all of the blog posts for this Round Table Event. It's been great fun, and I hope you were able to read some of the posts, I know there are A LOT of posts going on, so pick a few that pique your interest and you may find out something really interesting..

Like Arleigh's fun-loving romantic giveaways that do not include books. And Arleigh has saved her reviews of other Maxwell books for now as well, so you might want to check that out too! Susie from All Things Royal will finish up her three part article on The Life of William Shakespeare. Heather of The Maiden's Court will have her post on Lucrezia Tournabouni...

Allie at Hist-Fic Chick has posted about Romeo & Juliet artwork, and Lizzy at Historically Obsessed is a promising artist that was inspired by Maxwell's O, Juliet and created something special to share. And of course, everyone at the Round Table will have their own reviews posted as well. Even Robin herself has gotten into the fun and has some creative giveaways on her own blog! There are lots of OTHER things going on, so please check out the calendar.

And before I totally lose you, let me tell you.. I have a FANTASTIC interview with Ciji Ware coming February 2nd. She is the author of the book I am reviewing for you 2/1, Island of the Swans, about Jane Maxwell Gordon, Duchess of Gordon. I have mentioned this book before, and I repeat, this is awesome. Read, weep, read some more.. loved it!!!!!! The interview will feature a giveaway also =)

Of course I am supposed to tell you what I am reading, or have read this week.. I finished Susan Higginbotham's The Stolen Crown, which took me longer than I expected since I read Hugh & Bess in a day.. and now I have recently started Roses by Leila Meacham.. which of course I have spoken of here as well. It is one of those sweeping epic saga style novels that sucks you in, and I love love love it.

I am saving the Hugh & Bess review for Valentine's Day because it was a wonderfully historic love story. And The Stolen Crown will post later towards the publication date in early March. I will also have a guest post by Susan Higginbotham which I cannot wait to read, since I love her own blog posts very much. She is chock full of medieval information.

This week in author news, J.D. Salinger died at age 91. I honestly had no idea he was still alive, he was such a recluse. I wrote an article here for the Examiner which explains some more about him.

Have you made it this far? This is one little Sunday Salon that goes all over the place, doesn't it? To reward you for your efforts and keeping with me.. I am giving away my advance copy of The Lady in The Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn by Alison Weir. This giveaway is open only to my newsletter subscribers. Instructions to enter for this exclusive giveaway are in the newsletter (see the left sidebar under the google followers gadget to subscribe to future newsletters). Good luck! Don't forget the O, Juliet giveaway that's open to everyone everywhere!!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday, and enjoys Emma on Masterpiece Theater!!! I can't wait!

Jan 30, 2010

Giveaway: Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table: Tragic Romance in Literature

Saturday, January 30, 2010
O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell
After reading O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell (my book review), I had a wonderful feeling of love and romance that enveloped me. The story of Romeo and Juliet created by Shakespeare is very familiar, with the sudden and fervent love that blossomed between the two doomed teens, but of course their tragedy is not unique. What is it that makes their love a tragedy? Social forces tried to push Romeo and Juliet away from each other, but their love had hope to overcome society's boundaries. Juliet by John William WaterhouseThe reader has trusted their hearts to the story, blindly hoping for a blissful ending. But, in the end, the couple didn't live to enjoy their love and the reader is left with a sense of loss and we are bereft because of it. Here I chose several stories that are either true stories or the stuff of legend. Both types have inspired works of literature and artwork, such as this painting shown by John William Waterhouse, titled Juliet.

Paolo and Francesca is a true tale made famous by Dante's Inferno, Book One of the Divine Comedy, and is mentioned in Robin Maxwell's novel O, Juliet as well. Francesca da Rimini (1255 – 1285) was tricked into marrying someone else, which made the intended Paolo to be Francesca's brother-in-law instead of the husband she wanted him to be. They are reading the love story of Lancelot and Guenevere (pic at right) Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882) and become intimate and when they are caught, they are killed by Francesca's husband. Francesca thought Paolo had escaped the room but he was stuck by his jacket, yet Francesca let her husband through the door thinking he had safely escaped. Francesca was killed by the rapier as she tried to stop her husband from harming her precious Paolo. She died in vain.
Paolo & Francesca: A Tragedy in Four Acts was written by Stephen Phillips and was first performed in 1902.

Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle MoranLiterature has brought us several stories such as this, although perhaps none so widely known as Romeo and Juliet. A true story is Egypt's Cleopatra and Marc Antony, and is highlighted in Michelle Moran's recent novel, Cleopatra's Daughter.
It is stated somewhat simply that when the couple were fleeing the Roman Octavian, they committed suicide once they realized that they could never escape. Michelle Moran took this a step further and created a dramatic death scene in front of their twin children, and this was at the beginning of Moran's gripping novel which continued through the eyes of their daughter Selene which never did quite let go of your heart. What was so tragic between Cleopatra and Marc Antony? Marc was a Roman himself, Cleopatra was the Egyptian Queen, making quite a pair of attempting to unite countries and build a prosperous empire. As the author puts it, once Cleopatra learned that Marc was losing the battle, she sent word that they themselves were killed. She wanted Marc to save himself, and not risk his life any further by coming for his family. Of course Marc is heartbroken when he hears this news, and he stabs himself. The soldiers bring him back to his family where Selene watches her father die, and then her mother the Queen makes one last important decision as she poisons herself with an asp (poisonous reptile). A wonderfully told story and I doubt one will ever compare to Michelle's telling of this tragic and true story.

Arthurian legend is focused on the story of King Arthur and Guenevere, which was seemingly a love match. Author Rosalind Miles has written a series with these characters that begins with Guenevere: Queen of the Summer Country. The image of Arthur evokes images of knights in shining armor, and undying love. Yet, his lovely wife, Queen Guenevere, falls in love with Sir Lancelot and they were caught in the act, much like the previously mentioned Paolo and Francesca. Arthur condemns Guenevere to burn at the stake. In Miles' book, Morgan is Arthur's half-sister who has returned to claim her rights, which forces Arthur to make the choice between Morgan and Guenevere.

Twilight of Avalon, Book One, by Anna Elliott
A story that I have only just begun is the trilogy that is in the works by Anna Elliott. Her debut novel, Twilight of Avalon, (May 2009) focuses on the love that is forged between Tristan and Isolde. The second in the series releases May 2010 and is called Dark Moon of Avalon. An earlier telling of the love story is Tristan and Iseult by Joseph Bedier who retold the story as he contrived it through earlier French poems. How Elliott's telling will relate to the accepted legendary story remains to be seen, but the first story impressed me greatly so that I have purchased another author's trilogy regarding the couple of Tristan and Isolde, by Rosalind Miles.
In Anna Elliott's first book, the setting is much more understated and is not made to be a tragic romance from the start. Isolde is Modred and Guenevere's daughter; Modred being Arthur's son, and Guenevere being the same woman who was in love with Lancelot as depicted above. Elliott's story does have a thread of romantic undertones in the first book but it is just a factor of respect rather than the reknowned unrequited love between Isolde and Tristan. It definitely has the chivalric tones and the added magical elements with Morgan's scenes while it leaves out the legend of Lancelot. As the thing of legend goes, the very legend changes from source to source..Dark Moon of Avalon, Book Two

One is that Tristan and Isolde fall in love, but Isolde is wed to Mark of Cornwall. Tristan is banished, Isolde pines for him, and she is eventually sent for by Tristan because he is deathly ill. Tristan is married to Iseult by this time, who lies to Tristan and tells him that Isolde is not coming to him. He dies, and Isolde indeed comes. They both die of grief, yearning for the other.

The rumor is that Meaney Dee Morrison has written Iseult's story in its truest form in her case, although includes more sorcery. There was the movie (the heart stopping gorgeous James Franco is perfect in this as Tristan) that has Iseult married to Mark, and Tristan and Mark are close friends.
Tristan and Isolde, 2006 movie
Heloise & Abelard: A New Biography by James BurgeA true story comes to us via Heloise & Abelard: A New Biography by James Burge. Pierre (Peter) Abelard, (1079-1142) heard of the great beauty and wisdom of Heloise (1101-1164), whose uncle was Canon Fulbert. A story of religion and love, and tragic consequences, the two fell in love despite the 20 year age difference. The two have a son. The uncle was incensed when he discovered the affair, forced them apart, and ended up castrating Peter Abelard. The lovers corresponded through letters, and were forever after separated after being married to the church. Heloise gave up her son and was forced into a convent, although she did eventually become successful there. Author James Burge published his biography on the couple in 2004 using just recently translated letters between the two. There were a few letters throughout time that existed which kept the story alive, but with the 113 letters now released the legend came alive again. Among religion, duty, reproach and regret, the letters relate the hold of the power of love had on Heloise even at moments she was worshipping God.Abelard and Heloise French Scholar and Nun Embracing in the Scriptorium by Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale The once separated couple now rest eternally together, and even though they were buried together initially, they were moved several times throughout history until Josephine Bonaparte had their remains moved to a cemetery in Paris where their tomb is now an attraction for modern day lovers.

Love is what makes the world go round. It also makes it tremble, weep, and jump for joy. It inspires. The tragedies that come with love should teach us to never take anything for granted. And unfortunately, some of the tragic love stories cited above became tragic only because someone else said they should not love each other. The feuding family, the angry uncle.. but sometimes, it is just not in the stars for some. Romeo and Juliet shall always be here to inspire lovers, readers.. romantics.. along with these other lovers mentioned. And for that, I am grateful, as we also now have the first ever fictionalized account of the traditional Romeo & Juliet, with Robin Maxwell's newest novel, O, Juliet. All the world needs is love, love, love.
Ford Madox Brown: Romeo and Juliet, 1867.

This week has been the O, Juliet Tour.. please visit the main website for the Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table to see the other reviews and related posts for this event. There has also been some fabulous giveaways, so be sure to check out the calendar of events at the main HFBRT site.

Do you want your own copy of the book O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell?
To be entered for the random drawing you must do the following:

Enter your name and Email address here telling me who your favorite Literary Lovers are. (This is your primary entry which is mandatory)

It can be anyone of your choosing, either mentioned here or not.

Extra Entries: +1 Become a Follower (*current followers please tell me if you are)

+2 Post the Graphic link of the Book's Cover to this Giveaway post on your blog's sidebar

Giveaway ends February 12th. OPEN WORLDWIDE!!!!

Jan 29, 2010


Friday, January 29, 2010
You are invited to the Grand Event celebrating the upcoming release of O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell.
Join us at the Historical Fiction Blogger Round Table!

O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell
Read my review of O, Juliet here


TO WIN via The Burton Review:

Please come back tomorrow 1/30/2010 to see my creative post regarding Romeo and Juliet and other literary lovers that are my favorites! That is where I will be hosting my giveaway, & it's open worldwide!! My review is also posted, so be sure to check that out as well.

There is a chance to win at the Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table , and you enter for more chances to win at all of our blogs! There will be 9 winners of books! Arleigh at is also hosting several different "love" themed giveaways, so be sure to check out her site as well for some of her fabulous love themed giveaways.

Visit my fellow members of the Historical Fiction Round Table to find their giveaway posts that are upcoming:
Allie at Hist-Fic Chick
Amy at Passages to the Past
Arleigh at
Heather at The Maiden's Court
Lizzy at Historically Obsessed
Lucy at Enchanted by Josephine
Susie at All Things Royal

Reviews Posted thus far:
Lucy's Book Review
Amy's Book Review
Susie's Book Review
Arleigh's Book Review

There are also multiple creative posts to navigate through, check out the calendar for a list of those. Have fun, and see you at the Round Table!

Jan 27, 2010

Book Review: O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell & Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010
O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: NAL Trade (February 2, 2010)
Historical Fiction
ISBN-10: 0451229150
Review Copy provided by publisher/author
Burton Book Review Rating:Five

"Before Juliet Capelletti lie two futures: a traditionally loveless marriage to her father's business partner, or the fulfillment of her poetic dreams, inspired by the great Dante. Unlike her beloved friend Lucrezia, who looks forward to her arranged marriage into the Medici dynasty, Juliet has a wild, romantic imagination that takes flight in the privacy of her bedchamber and on her garden balcony.

Her life and destiny are forever changed when Juliet meets Romeo Monticecco, a soulful young man seeking peace between their warring families. A dreamer himself, Romeo is unstoppable, once he determines to capture the heart of the remarkable woman foretold in his stars."

Oh.. my heart, my heart!! Sweet torment of love! This was a riveting story that had me on the edge of my seat, and still, it was a love story that we all think we know. I have learned that there are mixed feelings about this novel.. this is to be expected when this is a retelling of an age-old story, told many ways before... I agree that this story idea is not a new one, and perhaps Maxwell's writing is not what others would think of as five star material, but I am going with my gut instinct on this read, and awarding it the coveted five stars because of the way I felt when I was through reading it. I was not as disappointed as other reviewers were; I had no high expectations for this one; I couldn't put it down; I loved every word of it; I was emotionally drained after going through all of the tragic events; and I was still surprised and heartsick at the ending, which stayed with me in my heart for days after reading this novel. I am not a voracious romance reader, and this filled that void. So .. flog me.

Robin Maxwell has written successful novels focusing on Tudor England previously and has repeated her recent Signora Da Vinci setting and brought her readers into Italy; this time we are in Florence, even though traditional Romeo and Juliet fans would disagree on this location (LUCY!). Robin Maxwell rewrites Shakespeare's beloved Romeo and Juliet tale with her fabulously eloquent prose, allowing the average non-Shakespearean-expert to sit back and relish this story as Shakespeare meant it to be enjoyed. Even though these are the same characters, with the same idea of forbidden love, Maxwell writes a cohesively understandable story of two families: Cappelleti and Monticecco (as opposed to Shakespeare's Capulet and Montague) who each have two young members of the family who irrevocably fall in love with each other. Yes ~ it is the same story... rewritten in a modern sense, and those looking for some unknown insight into the original Shakespearean story may be disappointed.

Much like the original, there is a marriage celebration and masked dancing where Romeo and Juliet meet for the first time. They are immediately attracted to each other as the two star-crossed lovers share a love of words, especially Dante's poetic verse, and they banter back and forth with the elegant quotes. Their love springs eternal, and we are swept up immediately in this ardent romance as we hope and pray that they will not have a tragic ending that we know Shakespeare has written. Their love for each other even inspires Juliet to write poetically of thoughts of her Romeo, which was something unusual for a woman in her day. She is hopelessly caught between a family responsibility to solidify her father's silk business by marrying Jacopo Strozzi, her father's soon-to-be-partner. Of course, Juliet wants nothing of Jacopo, he is an older man with no qualities of virtue and is quite unattractive. Juliet realizes he is dangerous as well, especially as Jacopo also sees through the charades of Romeo and Juliet and recognizes their young love, yet he is still eager to marry Juliet so that he will become partner in Juliet's father's silk business.

"I propose that after a respectable period I will allow you to pay court to her. You may see her in private, share your...poetry"-he uttered the word with a distinct sneer. "You may lay your lovesick head upon her knee." He smiled and shook his head condescendingly. "Publicly adore her. Meanwhile, she will live in my mother's house, subservient and groveling. She will obey me and stay cloistered there except to go to confession. She will bear my children, as many as I can get on her. I will, of course, have my mistresses."

That is what Juliet hears Jacopo Strozzi tell Romeo, and Juliet is petrified of the future that her father has bestowed on her, dooming her fate if she marries Jacopo Strozzi. Yet there is hope, because her father does seem reluctant to let go of his daughter right away. As a reader, I was hoping that the betrothal would not happen, and that the tragic fate of Romeo and Juliet would be averted. There is hope for about a day, until a family tragedy occurs, which makes things even worse than they were before, spinning one tragedy into a domino effect of disasters.

There are poignant scenes involving Juliet's insecure thoughts, and touching balcony scenes, which are all written in a modern tone yet with the spirit of the original telling and the nuances of figs, gardens and olives wafting throughout. The imagery of the vegetation and the setting of Juliet's family are rewarding to our senses along with the expressive prose throughout the story, as is indicative by this book's gorgeous cover art. The characters are all well-developed and add their unique aura to the story.. and there are several, from brothers to friars to friends. Jacopo Strozzi and his mother are the perfect villains, Juliet's parents are the perfect see-no-evil parents, and Romeo and Juliet's character's are seemingly written to expand upon Shakespeare's sentiments.

I am not going to go further in my telling of this heart wrenching story of Romeo and Juliet, for this is such a fantastic read I am not going to give anything away. This was a predictable love story of course, yet with layers and layers of factors of social mores, religious beliefs and friendship. Robin Maxwell has turned the legend into something that everyone can relate to in such an elegant fashion that I believe that those with an open heart should add this to your to be read pile. Even the cover of this book has the allure of beauty with the abundant flowers and colors. The words inside the pretty cover touched my heart, my soul, left me with a lump in my throat, texted my husband its outcome..and now I am off to read some Dante.

Read some more reviews:
Lucy’s Book Review at Enchanted by Josephine
Amy’s Book Review at Passages to the Past

Jan 26, 2010

Teaser Tuesday~ The Stolen Crown by Susan Higginbotham

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

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 Stolen Crown: A Novel by Susan Higginbotham

"Kate was a grown woman, who'd not taken it all that amiss when the late king executed his own brother. Did she really expect Richard to show mercy to the men who had plotted against his own life- and perhaps mine?" ~ page 223

Jan 25, 2010

Mailbox Monday!

Monday, January 25, 2010

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.

After some rather large previous mailboxes, I've got just a small one this time to report.

But definitely some goodies!

The Founding by Cynthia Harrod Eagles. Another Reissue from Sourcebooks Casablanca, first published 1980.
"In the Morland Dynasty series, the majestic sweep of English history is richly and movingly portrayed through the fictional lives of the Morland family. It is 1434, and seeking power and prestige, ambitious Yorkshireman Edward Morland arranges a marriage between his meek son Robert and spirited Eleanor, young ward of the influential Beaufort family. Eleanor is appalled at being forced to marry a mere "sheep farmer;" she is, besides, secretly in love with Richard, Duke of York. Yet in time this apparently ill-matched union becomes both passionate and tender, the foundation of the Morland dynasty, and sustains them through bloody civil war which so often divides families, sets neighbor against neighbor, and brings tragedy close to home."

The Confessions of Catherine De Medici by the fabulous C.W. Gortner, and my fellow HF Bloggers and I cannot WAIT to sink our teeth into this May Round Table pick! It will be a fabulous event, to be sure!

The Confessions of Catherine De Medici
It's coming May 2010!

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom (February 2, 2010)

"Gone with the Wind is turned inside out in this tragic, page-turning novel in which a white indentured servant girl lives and works with black slaves. When a white servant girl violates the order of plantation society, she unleashes a tragedy that exposes the worst and best in the people she has come to call her family.
Orphaned while onboard ship from Ireland, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Under the care of Belle, the master's illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family, though she is set apart from them by her white skin.
Eventually, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles opium addiction. Lavinia finds herself perilously straddling two very different worlds. When she is forced to make a choice, loyalties are brought into question, dangerous truths are laid bare, and lives are put at risk.
The Kitchen House is a tragic story of page-turning suspense, exploring the meaning of family, where love and loyalty prevail."

And I also snuck in this purchase.. don't be turned off by the description on the Amazon page that says Kindle version. This is just perfect for reading your regular hardback or paperback book when your hubby is snoring and keeping you awake.

Jan 24, 2010

French OhLaLa Challenge & Jean Plaidy 2010 Challenge

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The French Historical Challenge will run from January 1st to December 15th 2010.

This challenge is hosted by the fantabulous Lucy at Enchanted by Josephine.
All you have to do is read any Historical Fiction or Non-fiction books based on French history or French historical figures. Books can also overlap with other Challenges. (*Thank goodness!)

Reading Levels:

La Princesse: Read 3 books
La Dauphine: Read 6 books
La Reine: Read 9 books
L’Impératrice: More than 9 books
I'll probably go for the La Dauphine level =)
The other challenge I am joining is the Jean Plaidy 2010 Reading Challenge hosted by Royal Intrigue.

Challenge will begin January 15, 2010 and end on Dec. 15, 2010.
Ms. Carr: read 6 Books
Ms. Holt: read 8 Books
Grand Plaidy Lady: Over 12 books
I have my Plaidy List of books here where I own a great many Plaidy books, but sadly, I have not read very many of them. Such is the sad state of my life where I review new books and I cannot get cought up with old ones. But I will attempt to read one Plaidy/Carr/Holt book a month.. but I probably will be more like 8 books for the year so that's what my goal is: Ms. Holt level.
There are already many of my fellow Historical fiction book lovers who are signed up, so I hope to see you around the challenges!
I already posted about the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2010, over at Royal Reviews.
And that's it! I can't keep up! I've already given up on the Four Month Challenge part 2.
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The Sunday Salon~ EMMA on PBS TONIGHT! Jan. 24th!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Sunday

Just a quick one today folks, as it's still the birthday weekend for my eldest (8 years old already!) and there is still so much more to be done before the Build-A-Bear adventure.

I wanted to remind everyone that tonight a PBS film adaptation of Emma by Jane Austen will air at 8:00 pm CST (on KERA in Texas) and 9:00 pm EST. It will be 120 minutes tonight, and 60 minutes for the following two Sundays. I am looking forward to it! If you miss it, Emma will be available for online viewing January 25 - March 9, 2010. This adaptation of Austen's Regency England classic stars Romola Garai as Emma, and not Gwyneth Paltrow as she looks like in the advertisements.

Emma What's even more fun.. is there is a Emma Twitter Party With PBS and Jane Austen enthusiasts
with Vic of Jane Austen's World from 9 - 11 pm EST. Check out her post for more details, such as hash tag #emma_pbs. I am @BurtonReview on twitter, I might be there too!

Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton previews Masterpiece Classic's new "Emma" adaptation and talks about Austen's enduring legacy:

And onwards to another favorite era of mine.. which includes Anne Boleyn. I had recently read Alison Weir's newest book, The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn (my review), and I just found this new article online Arguing The Case For Anne Boleyn. Weir mentions here that she feels she has made an excellent case against Thomas Cromwell, and indeed I agree with her, as I came away from that book with a new loathing for him and was quite happy that he got what he deserved, which was execution.

I had a wonderful giveaway post which was part of the kickoff event of The Historical Fiction Round Table, celebrating the new release of Leslie Carroll's newest non-fiction work, titled "Notorious Royal Marriages: A Juicy Journey Through Nine Centuries of Dynasty, Destiny and Desire". It was a fantastic interview, and I have a winner to announce, as she will receive one brand new copy of the book. Congratulations to Rachel!! Send me your snail mail address ASAP! Thanks to everyone else who entered the giveaway here and at the other members of the Round Table.

And with that Event wrapped up, it's time to announce the next one!! The fabulous new release of O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell coming out on 2/2/2010 is to be celebrated this week by the members of the Historical Fiction Blogger Round Table. Check out the Calendar of Events as there will be creative posts and giveaways and of course, reviews! My book giveaway will post Saturday the 30th with my creative post which highlights some interesting literary lovers. Until then, have a great week!

Jan 20, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday~ By Fire By Water, by Mitchell James Kaplan

Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Sponsored by "Breaking the Spine". This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

By Fire, By Water
By Fire By Water, by Mitchell James Kaplan

Releases May 18, 2010

I am looking forward to this one.. my fellow HF Bloggers are also! This is a debut novel, and I have high hopes for it. I love the cover art!

I really enjoyed Jean Plaidy's "Castile for Isabella" and C.W. Gortner's "The Last Queen", but I don't think I've read much else for something set in Spain.

"Luis de Santángel, chancellor to the court and longtime friend of the lusty King Ferdinand, has had enough of the Spanish Inquisition. As the power of Inquisitor General Tomás deTorquemada grows, so does the brutality of the Spanish church and the suspicion and paranoia it inspires. When a dear friend’s demise brings the violence close to home, Santángel is enraged and takes retribution into his own hands. But he is from a family of conversos, and his Jewish heritage makes him an easy target. As Santángel witnesses the horrific persecution of his loved ones, he begins slowly to reconnect with the Jewish faith his family left behind. Feeding his curiosity about his past is his growing love for Judith Migdal, a clever and beautiful Jewish woman navigating the mounting tensions in Granada. While he struggles to decide what his reputation is worth and what he can sacrifice, one man offers him a chance he thought he’d lost…the chance to hope for a better world. Christopher Columbus has plans to discover a route to paradise, and only Luis de Santángel can help him.

Within the dramatic story lies a subtle, insightful examination of the crisis of faith at the heart of the Spanish Inquisition. Irresolvable conflict rages within the conversos in By Fire, By Water, torn between the religion they left behind and the conversion meant to ensure their safety. In this story of love, God, faith, and torture, fifteenth-century Spain comes to dazzling, engrossing life."

What are you waiting for this week?

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Jan 18, 2010

Book Review: Receive Me Falling by Erika Robuck

Monday, January 18, 2010
Receive Me Falling Receive Me Falling by Erika Robuck
Historical Fiction
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Elysian Fields Press (January 5, 2009)
ISBN-13: 978-0982229804
Review copy from author, via Bostick Communications
The Burton Review Rating:Four Stars!

"Every slave story is a ghost story. The haunting words of an historian and former cane worker on the Caribbean island of Nevis launch Meghan Owen on her quest to unlock the secrets of an abandoned sugar plantation and its ghosts. After Meg's parents die in a car accident on the night of her engagement party, she calls off her wedding, takes leave of her job in Annapolis, and travels to land she's inherited on Nevis.

A series of discoveries in an old plantation house on the property, Eden, set her on a search for the truth surrounding the shameful past of her ancestors, their slaves, and the tragedy that resulted in the fall of the plantation and its inhabitants. Through a crushing phone call with her lawyer, Meg learns that her father's estate was built on stolen money, and is being sued by multiple sources. She is faced with having to sell the land and plantation home, and deal with the betrayal she feels from her deceased father.

In alternating chapters, the historical drama of the Dall family unfolds. Upon the arrival of British abolitionists to the hedonistic 19th century plantation society, Catherine Dall is forced to choose between her lifestyle and the scandal of deserting her family. An angry confrontation with Catherine's slave, Leah, results in the girl's death, but was it murder or suicide?

Hidden texts, scandalous diaries, antique paintings, and confessional letters help Meghan Owen uncover the secrets of Eden and put the ghosts to rest."

This novel has a beautiful cover and the whole of it had intrigued me from the first moment I saw it. I then saw mixed reviews so I kept putting the reading of it off. There were reviewers that complained of the typos or small errors, but that happens when a self-published book goes to print. On the outside, this is the best looking self-published book I've seen. Yes, there are a few punctuation type errors on the inside, a couple spelling errors, but after reading many uncorrected advance reader's copies, these don't distract me very much any longer. If you get a sense of deja-vu, it's probably because you've seen this book in the blogosphere closer to its publication date last year. Now I'm doing catch up, and I am so glad I picked this one up to get lost in. And get lost in it I did; I didn't want it to end! With each turning page, I saw the ending coming closer, and as much as I wanted to know what would happen to these fantastic characters, I didn't want it to stop.

This is the fascinating story of Nevis, a small island in the Caribbeans that sounds amazingly beautiful. When Meghan visits it, she finds the old plantation that her father had owned in a shambles, but it exudes an aching sense of mystery that intrigues her. The walls are covered with vines and foliage, and they even reveal a fantastic mural on one wall which is one thread of the mystery within the plot. The estate is a place that was once called Eden, and her father had neglected to mention to her that this place had existed and belonged to their family. When Meghan's parents die, she goes to the island to appraise the property and take a few weeks off from real life at the same time. Meghan is a rich kid, used to living the high life, and likes to drink. But the reader still feels a bit sorry for her after the sudden loss of her parents. The romantic angle comes into play when Meghan postpones her marriage because of her parent's tragic death, and she left the fiance in the states while she went off to explore Nevis. It left the reader wondering what would ultimately happen in the relationship, but luckily the fiance doesn't give up on her.

And then we are introduced to the other side of the story, and that is the story of the Dall family, who were the last owners of the plantation of Eden, many generations before Meghan's visit. There is a hint that Meghan is somehow related to the Dalls and the plantation, but this does stay under wraps until towards the end of the book and it does not turn out as obvious as one would assume, and still ends a bit murky in that respect. The Dall family consists of a father and daughter running the sugar cane plantation, in the midst of slave uprisings and the British abolishing slavery. The novel flashes in between the two time periods which builds more suspense rather than irritates, and I was intrigued by the young Catherine Dall and her empathy for the slaves on her sugar plantation. There are ominous undertones of mystery when it is Catherine's turn in the story, as there are some men around Catherine who make you cringe when they appear. They oooze with the you-are-evil-factor.

The author did very well with the supporting characters, as there were plenty to read about in this story from both time periods. The modern-day Meghan met some interesting locals in Nevis, and the historical part of the novel included fictional but highly believable characters such as Albert and James Stilwell, who supported and led the way of the movement of abolition in the novel. Along with the mystery factor, there are also ghostly tendencies but I would hesitate to say it is of a paranormal leaning, but this factor was present along with folklore and I think the author did a good job of not overdoing it with this characteristic of the novel.

I had to do some research on my own to learn the background of Nevis, and of the slavery issues in the early 1800's, because the novel didn't tackle it fast enough for my impatient self. Once I did that little bit of outside googling, I felt better acquainted with the struggles that the farmers and plantation owners were facing at that time in history. The slavery issue was one of the main threads of the story and I commend the author for reminding us what it was like for the slaves during those times. I was intrigued and held in suspense for the majority of the novel and I really enjoyed the experience. Those readers who have read Katherine Howe's "The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane" which came out just after this novel, will recognize the similarity of the structure of the book; if you enjoyed that read, you will enjoy this historical read as well. I believe this novel is a fascinating and imaginative piece of work, and I look forward to her next novel which uses another beautiful setting of Key West. Erika also blogs at

Mailbox Monday ~ Fantastic Historicals for 2010!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

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.

As I have mentioned, 2010 is shaping up to be a fantabulous year for Historical Fiction.

How could I say 'no' to such promising reads?

I have completely and utterly FAILED at my New Year's Resolution for Less ARCs and More Marie Books. Well, I am certainly acquiring more Marie books, but I am rapidly acquiring many more ARCs.

But how fantastic is it, that in a recent review of mine for The Fall of Anne Boleyn: The Lady in the Tower by Alison Weir that I wished for the finished copy for the extras like photos, index and bibliography .. my wish was granted. I can't wait to re-peruse this finished copy, it was one of my favorite Anne Boleyn reads, as it doesn't go on and on and on about the many facts of Anne Boleyn but it rather is an excellent examination of the last four months in England when Anne was Queen. See my review here.

One whole shelf in one week See that picture of books? That entire shelf of books (plus two others) landed on my doorstep this week. WOW. No way in heck I am going to write them all out here in length. The left section shows and Ebay purchase of Philippa Carr and Victoria Holt titles for my collection of Marie Books:

Carr aka Holt aka PlaidyThe Miracle at St. Bruno's
The Black Swan
The Gossamer Cord
A Time for Silence
We'll Meet Again.. all by Philippa Carr (aka Victoria Holt aka Jean Plaidy)

Daughter of Deceit
The Shadow of the Lynx
Bride of Pendorric
Snare of Serpents
Lord of Far Island
The House of a Thousand Lanterns
The King of the Castle ..all by Victoria Holt (aka Philippa Carr aka Jean Plaidy)

The first book on the left in the photo above is Roses by Leila Meacham. I wrote of this in my Sunday Salon last week; and an article for the Examiner, as this is getting a lot of attention and I am meeting the author February 10th!

I received several Sourcebooks ARCs to review, a surprise for when I get caught up and want a fun read: Beautiful People by Wendy Holden (April 1, 2010) was accidentally shipped but I might sneak this one in when I want some extra fun stuff.
"A fabulous romantic romp revolving around the adventures of a struggling actress, a fame-crazed former film star, and a down-to-earth nanny, Beautiful People jets to London, Hollywood, and Italy at a frenzied pace. Holden crafts a tale wicked in its observations yet buoyant at its heart: a masterful return to the swashbuckling verve her adoring fans devour. A confection that's made for summer reading."

I did request the sequel to Monica Fairview's The Other Mr Darcy, which is The Darcy Cousins (April 1, 2010). I loved her first one.
"One might reasonably expect that a young lady dispatched in disgrace across the Atlantic to England would strive to behave with decorum, but Mr. Darcy's incorrigible American cousin, Clarissa Darcy, manages to provoke Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Mr Collins, and the parishioners of Hunsford all in one morning! And there are more surprises in store for that bastion of tradition, Rosings Park, when the family gathers for their annual Easter visit. Georgiana Darcy, generally a shy model of propriety, decides to take a few lessons from her unconventional cousin. And Anne de Bourgh, encouraged to escape her "keeper," Mrs. Jenkinson, simply… vanishes.
In this tale of friendship, rebellion, and love, two young women entering Society forge a strong connection. A connection that is sorely tested when they both set out to win the heart of a most dashing—and dangerous— gentleman."

Within The Hollow Crown: Valiant King's Struggle to Save His Country, His Dynasty, and His Love by Margaret Campbell Barnes, a reissue (April 1, 2010)
"Set against the backdrop of a country racked by revolt and class warfare, Within the Hollow Crown showcases the true spirit of a king at the end of one of the most glorious dynasties, who wants both England's heart and crown. Perhaps one of the most misunderstood of all English monarchs, the son of the Black Prince and grandson of Edward III has been portrayed in a dim light by history. But Margaret Campbell Barnes gives readers a different portrait of Richard II. Although his peace-loving ways set him apart from the war-mongering medieval world around him, Richard proved himself a true king by standing down a peasant revolt and outwitting the political schemes of his enemies. Struggling to uphold the valiant Plantagenet dynasty, Richard and his queen, Anne of Bohemia, nonetheless manage to create an exquisite partnership, described as "one of the tenderest idylls of romance ever written."

Also from Sourcebooks but too late in the week to make it into the photo, was The Scarlet Lion by Elizabeth Chadwick which will be our March Historical Fiction Round Table read. The Botticelli Secret had to be replaced even after we had received confirmation for the event, and that publicist is one piece of work. The author didn't respond to our pleas for communication either. I'll say no more. So the wonderful Elizabeth Chadwick has saved March for us Round Tablers.
"A page-turning novel of honor, intrigue, treachery, and love, continuing the story of England's greatest knight of the Middle Ages, William Marshal. Bestselling author Elizabeth Chadwick, "an author who makes historical fiction come gloriously alive" (The Times of London), is known as a writer of uncommon historical integrity and accuracy.
By 1197 William Marshal's prowess with a sword and loyalty with his heart have been rewarded by the hand in marriage of Isabelle de Clare—heiress to great estates— and their brood is growing. But their contentment and security is shattered when King Richard dies. Forced down a precarious path by the royal injustices of the vindictive King John, the Marshals teeter on a razor-thin line of honor that threatens to tear apart the very heart of their family."

Next in the photo:
31 Bond Street: A Novel by Ellen Horan (Hardcover - Mar 30, 2010)
"The sensational murder of Dr. Harvey Burdell in his lower Manhattan townhouse was the biggest news story in the United States before the Civil War; “Who killed Dr. Burdell?” was the question that gripped the nation. Deftly interweaving fiction and fact, 31 Bond Street is a clever historical narrative that blends romance, politics, greed and sexual intrigue in a suspenseful drama.
When an errand boy discovers Burdell’s nearly decapitated body in the bedroom of his posh Bond Street home, there are no witnesses and virtually no clues. With the city up in arms over the vicious killing, District Attorney Abraham Oakey Hall immediately suspects Emma Cunningham, the striking young widow who has been living at 31 Bond Street with her two teen aged daughters, caring for Burdell’s home in exchange for a marriage proposal. But Burdell’s past is murky and his true intentions towards Emma Cunningham were questionable, leaving Emma with a plausible motive for murder. With the help of her defence attorney, Henry Clinton, Emma embarks on a legal drama to prove her innocence and spare herself from the gallows.
Set against the background of a bustling and corrupt New York City in 1857, 31 Bond Street is a fascinating archaeological dig, taking the reader through the minutiae of a buried past, only to uncover circumstances that are shockingly contemporary: a sensationalist press, burgeoning new wealth, a booming real estate market, and race and gender conflicts. Ellen Horan’s gripping novel vividly exposes a small slice of lost history as it explores New York City on the eve of the Civil War."

From Paperbackswap and Swaptree I received:

Midnight on Julia Street by Ciji Ware (Mass Market Paperback - May 29, 1999) "The sultry allure of New Orleans comes to dazzling life in this enthralling tale of passion and mystery that sweeps from the modern heart of the Big Easy back to the shimmering city of a century past. Reporter Corlis McCullough's passion for the truth has cost her more jobs than she cares to remember. She would like to keep this one . . . even if it means chasing a story involving historical preservationist King Duvallon, an adversary from her college years. After a decade, he still manages to incite her fury--and worse: a growing attraction as strong and unstoppable as the tides along the Delta. But as Corlis is swept one hundred fifty years into the past, she witnesses the yearning desires and daring passions of a drama that will be replayed nearly two centuries later. . . . "
The Masque of the Black Tulip by Lauren Willig (Paperback - Oct 31, 2006) "The author of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation continues her romantic adventures of England's greatest spy with a newly arrived adversary from France, the murderous Black Tulip."

The Garden of Ruth by Eva Etzioni-Halevy (Paperback - Dec 26, 2006)
"Sitting beneath a tree in ancient Bethlehem, Osnath, niece of the prophet Samuel, examines a dusty scrap of parchment she found hidden in her relative’s scroll room. Scrawled on the decaying page is an intriguing message addressed to Ruth the Moabite—great-grandmother of David, the future king of Israel. Compelled to discover the truth about Ruth’s life, Osnath begins searching for the identity of Ruth’s nameless lover and the secret that is cloaked behind his anonymity. But as she digs deeper into the past, she finds her inquiries blocked by David’s brother Eliab. What is the long-buried truth he fears will come to light? And what is the threat that Ruth’s story poses to his family’s vast inheritance?
Eva Etzioni-Halevy’s novel deftly interweaves history and fiction to create a compelling exploration of a prominent biblical figure. Told through the voices of both Osnath and Ruth herself, The Garden of Ruth transports readers into the ancient world—and offers a dramatic and thought-provoking new perspective on a well-known tale."

The Courtier's Secret by Donna Russo Morin (Paperback - Feb 1, 2009) "France, 1680. Louis XIV, the Sun King, is at the height of his power. The court at Versailles is a paradise for privileged young women. Jeanne Yvette Mas Du Bois is unlike most other courtiers. Her thirst for knowledge often incurs her father's brutal wrath. But her uncle encourages Jeanne's independence, secretly teaching her fencing in the palace's labyrinthine basement. . .
When two of the king's Musketeers are beset by criminals who are mere feet from Jeanne's fencing lesson, she intervenes, saving one of the Musketeers' lives. Hidden behind her mask, Jeanne is mistaken for a man. As "Jean Luc," Jeanne is admitted to an inner circle where she learns of an assassination plot against the Queen. As Jean Luc, she is permitted to bring her intelligence and swordsmanship to bear. And as Jean Luc, she is free to love the man of her choosing. . .even if she can never have him. Now, with the Queen in jeopardy, and her own double life making her privy to the tangled intrigues at court, Jeanne is in a powerful yet increasingly perilous position.
Brimming with lush period detail and vivid, unforgettable characters, The Courtier's Secret takes readers into a fascinating, intriguing world of pageantry, adventure, betrayals, and secrets."
The Knight of the Sacred Lake (The Guenevere Novels Number 2) by Rosalind Miles (Paperback - Jun 12, 2001)
"Last in a line of proud queens elected to rule the fertile lands of the West, true owner of the legendary Round Table, guardian of the Great Goddess herself . . . a woman whose story has never been told--until now.
As High King and Queen, Arthur and Guenevere reign supreme across the many kingdoms of Great Britain. Still, Guenevere secretly mourns the loss of her beloved Lancelot, who has returned to the Sacred Lake of his boyhood, hoping to restore his faith in chivalry in the place where he learned to be a knight. In a glittering Pentecost ceremony, new knights are sworn to the Round Table, including Arthur's nephews, Agravain and Gawain. After many years of strife, peace is restored to Guenevere's realm.
But betrayal, jealousy, and ancient blood feuds fester unseen. Morgan Le Fay, now the mother of Arthur's only son, Mordred, has become the focus of Merlin's age-old quest to ensure the survival of the house of Pendragon. From the east comes the shattering news that Guenevere may have a rival for Lancelot's love. A bleak shadow falls again across Camelot--and across the sacred isle of Avalon, where Roman priests threaten the life of the Lady herself. At the center of the storm is Guenevere, torn between her love for her husband, her people, and Sir Lancelot of the Lake. With rare and intuitive magic, Rosalind Miles brings to life a legendary woman's bravery and passion, and all the pageantry, heartbreak, violence, and beauty of an age gone by."

Are you still here?? Tired yet??

Finally, I ordered from Amazon, and is shown as the last book on the right, above:
To Dance with Kings: A Novel by Rosalind Laker (Paperback - May 22, 2007)
"On a May morning in 1664, in the small village of Versailles, as hundreds of young aristocrats are coming to pay court to King Louis XIV, a peasant fan-maker gives birth to her first and only child, Marguerite. Determined to give her daughter a better life than the one she herself has lived, the young mother vows to break the newborn’s bonds of poverty and ensure that she fulfills her destiny—to dance with kings. Purely by chance, a drunken nobleman witnesses the birth and makes a reckless promise to return for Marguerite in seventeen years. With those fateful words, events are set into motion that will span three monarchies, affecting the lives of four generations of women.
Marguerite becomes part of the royal court of the Sun King, but her fairy-tale existence is torn out from under her by a change of political winds. Jasmin, Marguerite’s daughter, is born to the life of privilege her grandmother dreamed of, but tempts fate by daring to catch the eye of the king. Violette, Marguerite’s granddaughter, is drawn to the nefarious side of life among the nobles at Versailles. And Rose, Violette’s daughter, becomes a lady-in-waiting and confidante to Marie Antoinette. Through Rose, a love lost generations before will come full circle, even as the ground beneath Versailles begins to rumble with the chaos of the coming revolution.
An epic generational tale of loves lost, promises kept, dreams broken, and monarchies shattered, To Dance with Kings is a story of passion and privilege, humble beginnings and limitless ambition."

Where oh where do I begin?!
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Jan 17, 2010

The Sunday Salon~ I Love Books.

Sunday, January 17, 2010
The Sunday

First a little housekeeping... My one year Blogiversary Giveaway has been won by Barb. She has won two of my ARC's and she has been emailed & has responded warmly.

The two winners for Abigail Reynold's "Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World". My daughter picked two numbers and they were 9 & 28. So Celticlady and Sandee61 are winners. If you see this post before I email you, then please send me your snail mail address! Congratulations!

I still have the giveaway going on for the lovely Leslie Carroll's newest release, "Notorious Royal Marriages". Visit the interview for your chance to enter.
The 5th Hallway bookcase was being constructed by a little helper You can never instill values too early in the young men. Bookcases before dinner!! Or NO dinner!
Toddler Wielding Hammer!!
I finally got that new bookcase I was batting my eyelashes for! As I rearranged my bookcases once the fifth hallway bookcase was constructed this week, I was contemplating what to read next. So many books line my hallway, and more seem to show up at my door step at a rapid pace. The wonderful part of it is that I have not read a 'bad' book in a very very long time, and for that I am feeling lucky. This week, I finished reading the reissue by Ciji Ware, Island of the Swans, which is the story of Jane Maxwell, the 4th Duchess of Gordon and also a rival of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. This was a fabulous read for me, I let the story envelope me and I felt completely immersed in the story. It was a little over a week that I let myself sink into the depths of Scotland with the sometimes heartbreaking story. I needed a reprieve after I let that finished book sit within my soul for a day or two after.

Saturday came, and I needed a housework-diversion. What to read? After feeling somewhat emotionally plowed through due to The Island of The Swans, I finally decided on Hugh and Bess by Susan Higginbotham. I had missed receiving the book for the blog tour last August, and once I did receive it, I had too many other committed books suddenly and I just kept skipping it. It's moment had passed.

Well, I picked Hugh and Bess up Saturday morning, and did a bit of work around the house to get the old bones moving again, went back to the book.. and finished it. Kaboom. Suffice it to say, it was a quick read. I obviously enjoyed that one too.

I have been so extremely spoiled lately. I have had such awesome books to read, and many of them have been Sourcebooks Publishers related. I think I need to move to Illinois and get a job there. Or they need to relocate to Dallas.

Sourcebook Landmark and Sourcebooks Casablanca have reissued some new favorites, such as Georgette Heyer and Daphne Du Maurier, and then they have these fantastic historicals. Such as Susan Higginbotham, Helen Hollick and Elizabeth Hardwick. I really wish I could work there somehow.

I am ignoring the kiddos tear up the house for the umpteenth time today as I write this. Just as when I read devoured Hugh and Bess today. I love the escapism, the whole new worlds (*hear The Little Mermaid in the background?), the fact that I glean tidbits of historical facts that otherwise would never have entered my thick brain, by feasting my eyes upon a book. Dear books, how I love you.. Dear writers.. keep writing... and I will keep reading. As far as bookcases are concerned, if you build it, they will come.

Jan 13, 2010

The Georgette Heyer List with Links to My Reviews

Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Ebay is a great place to search for Heyers!Pictured above are various editions of Georgette Heyer's novels on my shelf.

Georgette Heyer is touted as the Queen of Regency. And it is no wonder. Often compared to the caliber of Jane Austen, Heyer's writing is much more witty and she was much more prolific. She wrote about 40 Georgian/Regency novels, and several mysteries. Her elegant but comical style of writing won me over from the first read, and I feel so blessed to have finally discovered her, 35 years after her death in 1974. Picking up one of her books gives me great pleasure, and I have enjoyed reading about "dashing rakes" and her strong feminine characters are perfect heroines. Her romances are so fun, and everyone loves a good romantic romp from time to time, but Heyer does it with such grace and zero sex that they read like a diamond in the rough. If you have not read a book written by Georgette Heyer, and you either enjoy romance, or mysteries, Regency or Georgian eras, you are totally missing out.

See the Heyer List

Visit my other Georgette Heyer labeled posts which include teasers and reviews here at The Burton Review.
You can see other bloggers' reviews and my reviews also at Georgette Heyer Challenge blog.

This is Georgette Heyer's work in chronological order of original publication. She wrote historicals, regency romances and mysteries. Thankfully, there have been many reissues from various publishers over the years, but most recently Sourcebooks has reissued some beautiful editions.

The books that I own are in red, the ones I have reviewed here will also be linked to the actual review and will be in bold red. I will continue to update this post with new reviews or acquisitions. You can find this post by clicking on the green 'Heyer' graphic button at the top menu bar.

The Black Moth (1921)
A Proposal to Cicely (short fiction) (1922)
The Great Roxhythe (1923)
Instead of the Thorn (1923)
The Transformation of Philip Jettan (Powder and Patch) (1923)
Simon the Coldheart (1925)
These Old Shades (1926)
Helen (1928)
Masqueraders (1928) 3.5 stars
Beauvallet (1929)
The Horned Beast of Africa (non-fiction) (1929)
Pastel (1929)
Barren Corn (1930)
The Conqueror (1931)
Devil's Cub (1932)4.5 Stars
Footsteps in the Dark (1932)
Why Shoot a Butler? (1933)
The Convenient Marriage (1934) 4 stars
The Unfinished Clue (1934) 3.5 stars
Regency Buck (1935)
Death in the Stocks (Merely Murder) (1935)
The Talisman Ring (1936)
Runaway Match (1936)
Behold, Here's Poison (1936)
An Infamous Army (1937)
They Found Him Dead (1937)
Royal Escape (1938)
A Blunt Instrument (1938)
No Wind of Blame (1939)
Pursuit (short fiction) (1939)(available online here)
The Corinthian (Beau Wyndham) (1940)
The Spanish Bride (1940)
Faro's Daughter (1941)
Envious Casca (1941)
Penhallow (1942)
Friday's Child (1944)
The Reluctant Widow (1946)
The Foundling (1948)
Arabella (1949) 5 stars
The Grand Sophy (1950)
The Quiet Gentleman (1951) 4.5 stars
Duplicate Death (1951)
Cotillion (1953)
Detection Unlimited (1953)
The Toll-Gate (1954)
Books about the Brontes (non-fiction) (1954)
How to Be a Literary Critic (non-fiction) (1954)
Bath Tangle (1955) 3.5 stars
Sprig Muslin (1956)
Sylvester (The Wicked Uncle) (1957)
April Lady (1957)
Venetia (1958)
The Unknown Ajax (1959)
Pistols for Two: And Other Stories (1960)
A Civil Contract (1961)
The Nonesuch (1962) 4 stars
False Colours (1963)
Frederica (1965)
Black Sheep (1966)
Cousin Kate (1968)
Charity Girl (1970)
Lady of Quality (1972)
My Lord John (1975) 2 stars

Jan 12, 2010

Teaser Tuesday ~ The Kingdom of Ohio by Matthew Flaming

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

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 Kingdom of Ohio
The Kingdom of Ohio by Matthew Flaming

"Abrupty she imagines a landscape of bridges melting away underfoot and buildings changing shape, whole cities unmaking themselves as their past is rewritten. The vision of a destroyed world, populated with orphans like herself, each tormented by doubt and struggling to find a home in the alien present." ~ page 202

See my review, below or here.

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Jan 11, 2010

Book Review: The Kingdom of Ohio by Matthew Flaming

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Kingdom of Ohio by Matthew Flaming
Hardcover: 336 pages
Science Fiction/Alternate History/Historical
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam; 1st edition (December 31, 2009)
ISBN-13: 978-0399155604
Review copy from the Publisher
The Burton Review Rating:3.5 stars

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.

This is one of those books where a simple review like this one is not going to do it justice. And the plot! Amazing weavings of intricacies, fact and fiction, and how much to divulge here? It is such a refreshingly unique story, and so unexpected as well. It was one of those glorious times where I had to scour the Internet to find more details, and more proof.. of the lost Kingdom of Ohio. Of course I was disappointed, because it is all made up, otherwise known as an alternate history. It was so odd because of the footnotes at the bottom, the references to 'real' documents.. it was really quite ingenious.

Yes indeed folks.. the same time the USA was declaring their independence from England in 1776, Henri Latoledan was writing his own declaration, as an owner of his colony in Ohio, a Free Estate amid the new world.. the government decides that it would be for the greater good to obliterate the Kingdom..Was it true? It is at the heart of Cheri-Anne Toledo's very existence, though, so we can't just ignore it. Cheri-Anne meets Peter Force around 1901, and slowly explains her story of a portal and how she came from the royal family of The Kingdom of Ohio. Sounds simple?

Confusing and mind boggling it was.. narrated by an elderly man who is not having much success at getting to the point of the story. "What is this story about?" went through my mind for several pages. The narrator tells us his story, then comes back talking about himself and whether he opened up his antique shop that week.. then he goes back to Peter Force.
The elderly man is writing his story because "there is nothing else he can do" about Peter Force who reached New York in 1901 to work on the construction of the new subway lines, and we witness what it was like to be caught between the olden ways and the new mechanical age. Peter befriends a co-worker, Paolo, who had once helped build the recent Brooklyn Bridge. Paolo becomes invaluable when it is a race against time for Peter and Cheri.

Cheri-Anne is in search of her past, and is believed to hold pertinent knowledge as to the existence of time travel. She meets with J.P. Morgan and Thomas Edison, and Nikola Tesla in regards to the possibilities of time travel, even while Peter is doubtful of her origins. The building of the new subway tunnels could be a portal.. and Peter is caught in the middle. Along with the mentions of several historical figures, the author blends smidgens of romance, suspense and history into a strangely intermingling web that traps you within its story, although you still cannot make sense of the truth of reality.

And if she is rational, he tells himself, there should be some set of words that will make everything come clear. But what those words might be, he can't begin to guess.
"But people don't travel through time." He shakes his head. "Have you thought maybe you're wrong about all this? That maybe you imagined it?"
"Of course." She looks away, wondering why his disbelief -exactly what she herself would feel in his place - still wounds her.

The novel is full of twists and turns, starts and stops, but is full of promise. It seemed to climb towards a climax but instead it simply plateaued, and sort of just hung there. It held my interest though it did not deliver completely, and I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. I hope that this author, Matthew Flaming, writes another novel that is perhaps not so hard to keep up with, and I will definitely read his next work to see what conspiracies and webs he has woven again. Minus the many confusing multiple mysteries of plot and characters involved here, I enjoyed the way the author wrote the story, but the ending does not tie anything up and we are still left unknowing. But it kept me intrigued the whole way there.
For those readers more interested in Nikola Tesla, please see my review and spotlight post on The Invention of Everything Else, by Samantha Hunt.