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Jul 19, 2015

Sunday Salon: Summer Reading Plans

I haven't done a Sunday Salon in forever, plus there is a gap between reviews so here goes!

Now that the summer break is half over, it is time to take stock of what is left on my pile that I wanted to get to.

Jean Plaidy/Victoria Holt/Philippa Carr Goodreads Group! Our ninth read along!
Each summer I host a Goodreads Read Along which has mostly been between myself and MaryKate, and I'm fine with that. However, if you would like to participate, you are more than welcome to crash the party over on the discussion threads that are posted. We expect to start reading in August.

The summer read will be featuring The Passionate Enemies :

This is the third and final book in The Norman Trilogy and tells the story of the last days of the reign of Henry I. His son and wife are dead, and Henry hastily remarries a woman more than thirty years his junior in the hope of producing a male heir and securing the succession. If he fails, the throne will pass to Matilda, and Henry fears that his nobles will not willingly serve a woman. But after his death this feckless daughter becomes the focus of a line of would-be kings and soon the country is plunged into a bitter civil war that only a child can undo. 

More information can be found on Goodreads here regarding the read along.

I have a few review reads for the summer as well, these two reviews will be postponed till the fall due to a later publication date.

I just finished The Mistress of Tall Acre by Laura Frantz, and it was my first novel of hers that I'd read, though I've collected a few of her recent works. Very good inspirational historical fiction that the fans of the genre will just lap up, it's great stuff...especially since it deals with the American Revolution which seems to be poorly represented out there.

The American Revolution is finally over, and Sophie Menzies is starved for good news. When her nearest neighbor, General Seamus Ogilvy, finally comes home to Tall Acre, she hopes it is a sign of better days to come. But the general is now a widower with a small daughter in desperate need of a mother. Nearly destitute, Sophie agrees to marry Seamus and become the mistress of Tall Acre in what seems a safe, sensible arrangement. But when a woman from the general's past returns without warning, the ties that bind this fledgling family together will be strained to the utmost. When all is said and done, who will be the rightful mistress of Tall Acre?
Triumph and tragedy, loyalty and betrayal--readers find it all in the rich pages of this newest historical novel from the talented pen of Laura Frantz. Her careful historical details immerse the reader in the story world, and her emotional writing and finely tuned characters never cease to enchant fans both old and new.

I am halfway through The Memory Weaver by Jane Kirkpatrick, which is a book based on a true story of a pioneering missionary family who undergo tragedy and turmoil at the hands of Indians and the general hardship of their crude way of life. I loved Kirkpatrick's Where Lilacs Still Bloom so much that it was a favorite of 2012.

Eliza Spalding Warren was just a child when she was taken hostage by the Cayuse Indians during a massacre in 1847. Now the young mother of two children, Eliza faces a different kind of dislocation; her impulsive husband wants them to make a new start in another territory, which will mean leaving her beloved home and her departed mother's grave--and returning to the land of her captivity. Eliza longs to know how her mother, an early missionary to the Nez Perce Indians, dealt with the challenges of life with a sometimes difficult husband and with her daughter's captivity.
When Eliza is finally given her mother's diary, she is stunned to find that her own memories are not necessarily the whole story of what happened. Can she lay the dark past to rest and move on? Or will her childhood memories always hold her hostage?

Based on true events, The Memory Weaver is New York Times bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick's latest literary journey into the past, where threads of western landscapes, family, and faith weave a tapestry of hope inside every pioneering woman's heart. Readers will find themselves swept up in this emotional story of the memories that entangle us and the healing that awaits us when we bravely unravel the threads of the past.

And at some point after that I want to read Elizabeth Fremantle's Sisters of Treason which just released in paperback (my celebratory interview can be found here)

Early in Mary Tudor’s turbulent reign, Lady Catherine and Lady Mary Grey are reeling after the brutal execution of their elder seventeen-year-old sister, Lady Jane Grey, and the succession is by no means stable. Elizabeth Fremantle brings these young women to life in a spellbinding Tudor tale of love and politics.

Neither sister is well suited to a dangerous life at court. Flirtatious Lady Catherine, thought to be the true heir, cannot control her compulsion to love and be loved. Her sister, clever Lady Mary, has a crooked spine and a tiny stature in an age when physical perfection equates to goodness -- and both girls have inherited the Tudor blood that is more curse than blessing. For either girl to marry without royal permission would be a potentially fatal political act. It is the royal portrait painter, Levina Teerlinc, who helps the girls survive these troubled times. She becomes their mentor and confidante. But when the Queen’s sister, the hot-headed Elizabeth, inherits the crown, life at court becomes increasingly treacherous for the surviving Grey sisters. Ultimately each young woman must decide how far she will go to defy her Queen, risk her life, and find the safety and love she longs for.

This summer's NetGalley book is Susanna Kearsley's reissue coming from Sourcebooks, Named of The Dragon. I really enjoy Kearsley's writing, which is saying a lot since half of the plots run along a contemporary story line. I am trying to limit the NetGalley eversions as I am just tired of the poor formatting which distracts from my reading pleasure. Hopefully this one is not horrendous, though I do recall the publisher having some wonky formatting issues before. Fingers crossed this isn't horrendous formatting.

The invitation to spend Christmas in Angle, on the Pembrokeshire coast, is one that Lyn Ravenshaw is only too happy to accept. To escape London and the pressures of her literary agency is temptation enough, but the prospect of meeting Booker Prize nominee James Swift - conveniently in search of an agent - is the deciding factor. On holiday she encounters the disturbing Elen Vaughan, recently widowed and with an eight-month-old son whose paternity is a subject for local gossip. Elen's baby arouses painful memories of Lyn's own dead child/ and strange, haunting dreams, in which a young woman in blue repeatedly tries to hand over her child to Lyn for safekeeping.
Who is the father of Elen's baby? What is the eerie, monstrous creature of Elen's dreams that tries to ensnare her son, and what makes her so sure that Lyn has been sent to protect him? As she begins to untangle the truth behind the stories, the secret she discovers leads Lyn to an encounter with the past that will change her life forever.
You can find my other Susanna Kearsley's posts here.

And last but not least, on the review pile will be another "auto buy" if not offered for review, Kimberley Freeman's upcoming release of Evergreen Falls. Yet another dual time period author that I love.

A long-forgotten secret, a scandalous attraction and a place where two women's lives are changed forever - Evergreen Falls is the captivating new novel from Kimberley Freeman.
1926: Violet Armstrong is one of the few remaining members of staff working at the grand Evergreen Spa Hotel as it closes down over winter. Only a handful of guests are left, including the heir to a rich grazing family, his sister and her suave suitor. When a snowstorm moves in, the hotel is cut off and they are all trapped. No one could have predicted what would unfold. When the storm clears they must all keep the devastating secrets hidden.
2014: After years of putting her sick brother's needs before her own, Lauren Beck leaves her home and takes a job at a Blue Mountains cafe, the first stage of the Evergreen Spa Hotel's renovations. There she meets Tomas, the Danish architect who is overseeing the project, and an attraction begins to grow. In a wing of the old hotel, Lauren finds a series of passionate love letters dated back to 1926, alluding to an affair - and a shocking secret.
If she can unravel this long-ago mystery, will it make Lauren brave enough to take a risk and change everything in her own life?

You can find my other reviews of Kimberley's books here.

I had wanted to get to Conn Iggulden's newest since I have had that since Christmas, and I also wanted to try Deborah Harkness's trilogy, but I fear I won't have enough time to get to those. School starts for the kiddos in late August, which means shopping and shopping and more drama with a thirteen year old and an eight year old. And then of course the Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts events start up again, and then the Church School where I love teaching the 2nd and 3rd graders..but the free time thing will be a distant memory.

Let's hope that I get to most of the books I pictured here before the madness begins again!
Look how big they've gotten!!