May 28, 2012

Mailbox Monday

Happy Memorial Day! My thanks and my love to those who serve.

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme created by Marcia from A girl and her books (formerly The Printed Page) where book lovers share the titles they received for review, purchased, or otherwise obtained over the past week. Mailbox Monday is now on tour, and May's host is Martha @ Martha’s Bookshelf

The Queen's Vow, Blue Asylum & The Drop of The Dice
As seen on my facebook timeline, I received these three lovely gowned ladies/books..

The Queen's Vow: A Novel of Isabella of Castile (June 2012) by C.W. Gortner

No one believed I was destined for greatness. So begins Isabella’s story, in this evocative, vividly imagined novel about one of history’s most famous and controversial queens—the warrior who united a fractured country, the champion of the faith whose reign gave rise to the Inquisition, and the visionary who sent Columbus to discover a New World. Acclaimed author C. W. Gortner envisages the turbulent early years of a woman whose mythic rise to power would go on to transform a monarchy, a nation, and the world.
Young Isabella is barely a teenager when she and her brother are taken from their mother’s home to live under the watchful eye of their half-brother, King Enrique, and his sultry, conniving queen. There, Isabella is thrust into danger when she becomes an unwitting pawn in a plot to dethrone Enrique. Suspected of treason and held captive, she treads a perilous path, torn between loyalties, until at age seventeen she suddenly finds herself heiress of Castile, the largest kingdom in Spain. Plunged into a deadly conflict to secure her crown, she is determined to wed the one man she loves yet who is forbidden to her—Fernando, prince of Aragon.read more... at Goodreads

Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall (April 2012) I won this at Historical-Fiction.com

Amid the mayhem of the Civil War, Virginia plantation wife Iris Dunleavy is put on trial and convicted of madness. It is the only reasonable explanation the court can see for her willful behavior, so she is sent away to Sanibel Asylum to be restored to a good, compliant woman. Iris knows, though, that her husband is the true criminal; she is no lunatic, only guilty of disagreeing with him on notions of justice, cruelty, and property.
On this remote Florida island, cut off by swamps and seas and military blockades, Iris meets a wonderful collection of residents--some seemingly sane, some wrongly convinced they are crazy, some charmingly odd, some dangerously unstable. Which of these is Ambrose Weller, the war-haunted Confederate soldier whose memories terrorize him into wild fits that can only be calmed by the color blue, but whose gentleness and dark eyes beckon to Iris.
The institution calls itself modern, but Iris is skeptical of its methods, particularly the dreaded "water treatment." She must escape, but she has found new hope and love with Ambrose. Can she take him with her? If they make it out, will the war have left anything for them to make a life from, back home?
Blue Asylum is a vibrant, beautifully-imagined, absorbing story of the lines we all cross between sanity and madness. It is also the tale of a spirited woman, a wounded soldier, their impossible love, and the undeniable call of freedom. http://www.hmhbooks.com/blueasylum/

The Drop of the Dice (aka Will You Love Me in September) by Philippa Carr
I now have both since I didn't realize they were the same. (Daughters of England #8)
Philippa Carr is the pseudonym for Jean Plaidy/Victoria Holt.
This series begs to be read.. I hope to start the series sometime this summer as I now own all twenty of the books, it's on my Summer Bucket Reading List. The series starts with one family and then successive books go down the line featuring daughters of related families from what I can guess.

Clarissa Field:
Beautiful, spirited love child of a nobleman's dalliance with a tempestuous lady, Clarissa is only twelve when she first encounters the dashing officer, Lance Clavering. But she is not too young to fall in love, nor to become the pawn in a deadly game of power and passion which are both her heritage and her destiny. The time is 1715, the place an England rife with civil discontent threatening to explode into revolution. Clarissa is caught up in events which will alter England's history -- and lure her into a strange, shadow box future.
Is the dashing Lance what he pretends -- a heroic, charming lover -- or is he the agent of an evil cabal sworn to strip Clarissa of her fortune, her dignity . . . perhaps even her life?
Is the mysterious young rebel, Dickon Frenshaw -- first her jailer, then her salvation -- watching over her out of devotion . . . or spying on her for those who would see her destroyed?
As her dreams of romance and peace first seem to be realized in marriage, then ever more gravely thratened by that same marriage, with only herself to trust, Clarissa must penetrate the long-buried mysteries of her own legacy -- and risk a heartbreak more painful than betrayal.



And a special surprise with a sweet note from the author:
Hemingway's Girl by Erika Robuck (September 2012)
Hemingway's Girl

She remembered when Hemingway had planted a banyan at his house and told her its parasitic roots were like human desire. At the time she’d thought it romantic. She hadn’t understood his warning.”

In Depression-era Key West, Mariella Bennet, the daughter of an American fisherman and a Cuban woman, knows hunger. Her struggle to support her family following her father’s death leads her to a bar and bordello, where she bets on a risky boxing match...and attracts the interest of two men: world-famous writer, Ernest Hemingway, and Gavin Murray, one of the WWI veterans who are laboring to build the Overseas Highway.

When Mariella is hired as a maid by Hemingway’s second wife, Pauline, she enters a rarified world of lavish, celebrity-filled dinner parties and elaborate off-island excursions. As she becomes caught up in the tensions and excesses of the Hemingway household, the attentions of the larger-than-life writer become a dangerous temptation...even as the reliable Gavin Murray draws her back to what matters most. Will she cross an invisible line with the volatile Hemingway, or find a way to claim her own dreams? As a massive hurricane bears down on Key West, Mariella faces some harsh truths...and the possibility of losing everything she loves.