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Dec 23, 2012

It's Mailbox Monday this Christmas week! What Are You Eating, I mean Reading?!

Merry Christmas!

Firstly, the most important thing is that I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and any other holiday you may observe. It's Jesus' birthday at our house on Christmas, and we are starting a new tradition with a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas. Such fun! Best wishes and blessings to my fellow bloggers this week! And most especially to my commenters and visitors, I thank you all so much for putting up with me and my blog. I appreciate you!!

Mailbox Monday is a meme originally from Marcia's Mailbox and is being hosted at Suko's Notebook during December.

In the Mail....
From Paperbackswap, check out this chunky book that I won't be able to read until my neck/back issues are gone, it's so heavy..
June 28th 2011 by Random House (first published 2010)
A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War by Amanda Foreman

Acclaimed historian Amanda Foreman follows the phenomenal success of her New York Times bestseller Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire with her long-awaited second work of nonfiction: the fascinating story of the American Civil War and the major role played by Britain and its citizens in that epic struggle.

Even before the first rumblings of secession shook the halls of Congress, British involvement in the coming schism was inevitable. Britain was dependent on the South for cotton, and in turn the Confederacy relied almost exclusively on Britain for guns, bullets, and ships. The Union sought to block any diplomacy between the two and consistently teetered on the brink of war with Britain. For four years the complex web of relationships between the countries led to defeats and victories both minute and history-making. In A World on Fire, Amanda Foreman examines the fraught relations from multiple angles while she introduces characters both humble and grand, bringing them to vivid life over the course of her sweeping and brilliant narrative.

Between 1861 and 1865, thousands of British citizens volunteered for service on both sides of the Civil War. From the first cannon blasts on Fort Sumter to Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, they served as officers and infantrymen, sailors and nurses, blockade runners and spies. Through personal letters, diaries, and journals, Foreman has woven together their experiences to form a panoramic yet intimate view of the war on the front lines, in the prison camps, and in the great cities of both the Union and the Confederacy. Through the eyes of these brave volunteers we see the details of the struggle for life and the great and powerful forces that threatened to demolish a nation.

In the drawing rooms of London and the offices of Washington, on muddy fields and aboard packed ships, Foreman reveals the decisions made, the beliefs held and contested, and the personal triumphs and sacrifices that ultimately led to the reunification of America. A World on Fire is a complex and groundbreaking work that will surely cement Amanda Foreman’s position as one of the most influential historians of our time.

988 pages folks. I had no idea.
Ok, takes breath, moves on to the next book, a lovely surprise...
(first published 1952)  January 1st 2013 by Touchstone
The Italian Woman by Jean Plaidy (Catherine de Medici #2, comes after Madame Serpent)

I already have all of the vintage Jean Plaidy books, but it's nice to get the new ones too.

The second book in the classic Catherine de’ Medici trilogy from Jean Plaidy, the grande dame of historical fiction When Catherine de’ Medici was forced to marry Henry, Duke of Orleans, her heart was not the only one that was broken. Jeanne of Navarre once dreamed of marrying this same prince, but, like Catherine, she must comply with France’s political needs. And so both Catherine’s and Jeanne’s lives are set on unwanted paths, destined to cross in affairs of state, love, and faith, driving them to become deadly political rivals.

Years later Jeanne is happily married to the dashing but politically inept Antoine de Bourbon. But the widowed Catherine is now the ambitious mother of princes, and she will do anything to see her beloved second son, Henry, rule France. As civil war ravages the country and Jeanne fights for the Huguenot cause, Catherine advances along her unholy road, making enemies at every turn.

Here Burns My Candle (Here Burns My Candle #1) by Liz Curtis Higgs

A mother who cannot face her future. A daughter who cannot escape her past.
Lady Elisabeth Kerr is a keeper of secrets. A Highlander by birth and a Lowlander by marriage, she honors the auld ways, even as doubts and fears stir deep within her.
Her husband, Lord Donald, has secrets of his own, well hidden from the household, yet whispered among the town gossips.
His mother, the dowager Lady Marjory, hides gold beneath her floor and guilt inside her heart. Though her two abiding passions are maintaining her place in society and coddling her grown sons, Marjory’s many regrets, buried in Greyfriars Churchyard, continue to plague her.

One by one the Kerr family secrets begin to surface, even as bonny Prince Charlie and his rebel army ride into Edinburgh in September 1745, intent on capturing the crown.
A timeless story of love and betrayal, loss and redemption, flickering against the vivid backdrop of eighteenth-century Scotland, Here Burns My Candle illumines the dark side of human nature, even as hope, the brightest of tapers, lights the way home.

And then, check out these kindle freebies, just a few of the good looking ones I snagged:

The Unveiling (Age of Faith) by Tamara Leigh
12th century England: Two men vie for the throne: King Stephen the usurper and young Duke Henry the rightful heir. Amid civil and private wars, alliances are forged, loyalties are betrayed, families are divided, and marriages are made.
For four years, Lady Annyn Bretanne has trained at arms with one end in mind—to avenge her brother’s murder as God has not deemed it worthy to do. Disguised as a squire, she sets off to exact revenge on a man known only by his surname, Wulfrith. But when she holds his fate in her hands, her will wavers and her heart whispers that her enemy may not be an enemy after all.
Baron Wulfrith, renowned trainer of knights, allows no women within his walls for the distraction they breed. What he never expects is that the impetuous young man sent to train under him is a woman who seeks his death—nor that her unveiling will test his faith and distract the warrior from his purpose.

The Gentle Wind's Caress by Anne Brear
Halifax, 1876. On the death of her mother and sister, Isabelle Gibson is left to fend for herself and her brother in a privately-run workhouse. After the matron's son attempts to rape her, Isabelle decides to escape him and a life of drudgery by agreeing to marry a moorland farmer she has never met. But this man, Farrell, is a drunkard and a bully in constant feud with his landlord, Ethan Harrington. When Farrell bungles a robbery and deserts her, Isabelle and Ethan are thrown together as she struggles to save the farm. Both are married and must hide their growing love. But despite the secrecy, Isabelle draws strength from Ethan as faces from the past return to haunt her and a tragedy is set to strike that will change all of their lives forever.

What are you Reading?

The What Are You Reading meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where we keep track of what we are currently reading and plan to read:

October 2012 by Bethany House Publishers
Ok so pretty much the same as last week.... I spent some time catching up on reading Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden, and it is really an intriguing story. There is faith in it, but I love how it is portrayed here so it is not preachy or counteractive to the story line. There is actually an unexpected sinister twist to the story so this would be a great read for those who like a bit of chilly suspense with their reads. It is taking me a bit longer to read because I simply have not been able to pick it up. I've been spending a lot of time with the Bible since it's that time of year and it is also a goal to finish it by May.
In case you missed it, I posted my Best of 2012 list, and then I posted a 2012 Wrap up post/2013 Goal post. Evil grin.

And upcoming will also be the 2012 Year End Survey, cuz, ya know, I'm bored at work and I'm having fun answering some questions. You can link up too at the Perpetual Page Turner.

Next up on the to be read and reviewed pile is The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen by Syrie James.

And then it will be 2013 (!!) so I will be choosing from my only challenge post of the year, the 2013 TBR Challenge list. I think it will be Shadows and Strongholds by Elizabeth Chadwick so I can get my review in before all the Sourcebooks reviewers get their hands on the reissue :)

November 2005 by St. Martin's Press (first published July 2004) 

Shadows and Strongholds by Elizabeth Chadwick:

A medieval tale of pride and strife, of coming-of-age in a world where chivalry is a luxury seldom afforded, especially by men of power.

England, 1148---ten-year-old Brunin FitzWarin is an awkward misfit in his own family. A quiet child, he is tormented by his brothers and loathed by his powerful and autocratic grandmother. In an attempt to encourage Brunin's development, his father sends him to be fostered in the household of Joscelin de Dinan, Lord of Ludlow. Here Brunin will learn knightly arts, but before he can succeed, he must overcome the deep-seated doubts that hold him back.

Hawise, the youngest daughter of Lord Joscelin, soon forms a strong friendship with Brunin. Family loyalties mean that her father, with the young Brunin as his squire, must aid Prince Henry of Anjou in his battle with King Stephen for the English crown. Meanwhile, Ludlow itself comes under threat from Joscelin's rival, Gilbert de Lacy. As the war for the crown rages, and de Lacy becomes more assertive in his claims for Ludlow, Brunin and Hawise are drawn into each other's arms.

Now Brunin must defeat the shadows of his childhood and put to use all that he has learned. As the pressure on Ludlow intensifies and a new Welsh threat emerges against his own family's lands, Brunin must confront the future head on, or fail on all counts....

Happy holidays everyone!!! I hope everyone gets a few days off to enjoy themselves, and to read!!