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Feb 15, 2010

Mailbox Monday~ mixing it up!

Mailbox MondayMailbox 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.

For review, from Sourcebooks:
A Cottage by the Sea by Ciji Ware
I LOVED her book Island by the Swans, (review here, interview here) I had to jump on the chance to review the next reissue.

"But after a scandalous Hollywood divorce, Blythe Stowe considered it damage control for body and soul. The pain, the humiliation, the daily tabloids shouting details as her famous husband dumped her for her own sister demanded a serious getaway: to the wild coast of Cornwall and a cottage by the sea that her Wyoming grandmother claimed had been home to her ancestors.

Some might call it chance . . .
But Blythe encountered more than just a quaint retreat nestled amid vivid skies and gorgeous ocean. And she had the odd sensation that her wickedly handsome neighbor Lucas Teague was more than a British gentleman going broke. He might be her destiny . . . "

From Paperbackswap:
Saraband for Two Sisters by Phillippa Carr (1976)
"Angelet and Bersaba Landor were born identical twins, but as they grew to adulthood, they found their likeness was purely physical. For while Angelet was outgoing with a sunny disposition, the passions that burned fiercely within Bersaba were of a different nature. Before she was seventeen Bersaba was convinced she was hopelessly in love with her handsome cousin, Bastian Casvellyn, and had undertaken to test that love.

It was the unexpected intrusion of the lovely Senara at the Casvellyn's ancestral Castle Paling, where once Senara's mother had arrived flung on the forbidding shores by a stormy sea, that brought an end to the Landor twin's pleasant, if bucolic, life. In short order Senara had usurped Bastian's devotion, discarded him and swept off to London to wed the dashing Sir Gervaise Pondersby, leaving chaos in her wake.
And when, shortly thereafter, Bersaba fell ill of the dreaded smallpox and Angelet was sent to the safety of London, life changed forever for the Landors. For among the teeming trading stalls of London's St. Paul's, Angelet encountered Richard Tolworthy, and almost before she could believe it found herself married to him -- a King's general, years her elder, whose first marriage had ended in tragedy -- and transported to preside over his considerable estates. Far Flamstead proved to be a handsome house, yet within it's walls, and outside them in the intriguing miniature "folly" castle, lurked a secret that was to threaten Angelet's happiness and, in course, her life itself.
At first there were days of happiness when it seemed Richard would have the heir he so desperately sought, and a terrible night after which he would not. Then a recovered Bersaba came to Far Flamstead to comfort her bereaved sister -- and met Angelet's husband. And so a swirl of dramatic events is set in motion, which sweep this romantic novel to its climax as battles flare, ghosts rise and the fate of a nation is settled."

Purchased from Roma's Books, Rockwall's only used bookstore with the sweetest owners:
"When Lucinda Greenham and her impetuous friend Annabelinda Denver leave London for finishing school in Europe, neither imagines the trouble to come. It takes many forms: Anabelinda's secret affair; the child born out of wedlock; and the German invasion of Belgium.

With the Germans one step behind, the girls flee across a stunned Europe on the brink of World War I, to arrive safely in England at last. Picking up the pieces of their lives, they consign Annabelinda's damaging past to secrecy, only to be faced with blackmail so severe it leads to murder. As the girls will learn too late, there is a time for truth and a time for silence."

The Tsarina's Daughter by Carolly Erickson
"Historical maven Erickson (The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette) delivers a top-notch narrative featuring beautiful and courageous Tatiana Romanov, daughter of Nicholas and Alexandra, during the final years of their reign. As life becomes increasingly bleak in pre-revolution Russia, Tatiana sneaks out of the palace and sees firsthand the poverty and violence pervading her country. With Communist rebels shouting for equality and enemy countries invading, Tatiana befriends a young and destitute pregnant woman whose fiancé has just been murdered by Cossacks, opening up her conscience in unexpected ways. But as the czar falters and the czarina takes refuge from her afflictions in the company of Father Gregory (better known as Rasputin), Tatiana finds solace in the arms of a fierce patriot. Erickson creates an entirely convincing historical backdrop, and her tale of a family's fall from power and a country in transition is both romantic and gripping."

From Swaptree:
The Exiled: A Novel by Posie Graeme-Evans  (2005)
"In this windswept story set in the lusty fifteenth century, the enchanting Anne faces the challenge of raising her child in exile. Always resourceful, she flourishes as a merchant and is able to support her household. But the local businessmen aren't pleased about competing with a woman and her foes are multiplying around her, desperate to put her back in what they believe is her rightful place.

Anne has a secret that her enemies could use to destroy her. Her beloved son is the product of a passionate affair with the king, Edward IV, who knows nothing of his existence. If this information were to fall into the wrong hands, it could prove lethal for Anne and her child. She struggles to find peace in a world of duplicity and suspicion, where adversaries masquerade as allies, and someone very powerful wants her dead. Yet, despite the pressure of her enemies, what pains Anne the most is that she is unsure when or if she will see her darling Edward again."

From Simon & Schuster, a surprise review copy:
Still Alice By Lisa Genova
"Alice Howland is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. A Harvard professor, she has a successful husband and three grown children. When she begins to grow forgetful, she dismisses it for as long as she can, but when she gets lost in her own neighbourhood she knows that something has gone terribly wrong. She finds herself in the rapidly downward spiral of Alzheimer's Disease. She is fifty years old.

Suddenly she has no classes to teach, no new research to conduct, no invited lectures to give. Ever again. Unable to work, read and, increasingly, take care of herself, Alice struggles to find meaning and purpose in her everyday life as her concept of self gradually slips away. But Alice is a remarkable woman, and her family, yoked by history and DNA and love, discover more about her and about each other, in their quest to keep the Alice they know for as long as possible.

Losing her yesterdays, her short-term memory hanging on by a couple of frayed threads, she is living in the moment, living for each day. But she is still Alice."
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