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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The Irish Princess- Elizabeth Chadwick- A "Must Read"~ 5 Stars~

What a fascinating historical novel about a pivotal time for many people. Elizabeth Chadwick is a favorite author, of course, but the supporting characters in addition to Richard de Clare are known to me ancestrally.

My maternal ancestors are from Ireland, Faunt from Limerick (13th century castle), who came in the retinue of the Norman Kings.They were knights and mercenaries, from the very south of France along the Mediterranean. In addition, my father's Kirwans were from the Wexford border and his mother a Carrow, (Raymond le Gros was born in Carew Castle) from The Welsh Marches. I am a lot Irish but mostly Norman Irish (per DNA results also). I have Pendergast cousins still in County Wexford, (characters Maurice Pendergast and his family.

The history here was superb, I knew little about Aoife and her parents but a good bit about Isabelle who married William, Henry, John and Henry III's marshal both in Wales and Ireland.It was delightful to read about how the Normans came to Ireland initially and what they did there (not all of it savory by any means).My Great Grandfather was Patrick Faunt born in Limerick to a Soldier in the British army in 1865( yes, they stayed as military people and "nailers" or blacksmiths in the armies over the centuries.

I loved this book for many reasons, not the least that it was so carefully written with extraordinarily vivid characters who, I feel were true to what they were in life. Recommended to many, including my Irish relatives.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Servant of Death - Sarah Hawkswood- The First Bradecote and Catchpoll Mystery- Great read!

Book # 1 of Bradecote and Catchpoll did not disappoint, it was a great read! I started the series with Book # 4 which is Hostage to Fortune which I got as an ARC at NetGalley. I plan to review all of them there and also at Edelweiss.

Hugh Bradecote is performing some obligatory rounding up of a lawless band for his overlord the Sheriff of Worcester. They stop for the night at Pershore Abbey,to find the Sheriff was to be sent for as Eudo, clerk of the Bishop of Winchester had been murdered.

The Sheriff quickly deputizes Bradecote as Undersheriff to fill a temporary vacancy and leaves him and Serjeant Catchpoll to solve the mystery. A rough five days ensues with all suspects kept in the Abbey, where murders kept happening.

A great entry into this series, which leaves Hugh as permanent Undersheriff to fill a now permanent vacancy, thereby yoking he and the Serjeant together.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Vale of Tears- Sarah Hawkswood- Bradecote and Catchpoll # 5 - Well written series !!

My first book finished in 2020 ( well shortly before 2020 actually)

I reviewed book #4 for NetGalley and liked it a lot, but as it was a bit violent, this next book was almost perfect. Vale of Tears, Book #5 was all about a complicated mystery which happily was resolved.This Bradecote and Catchpoll mystery brings Walkelin, "sergeant-in-training" right into the very good mystery and puts him in danger.

There were a lot of deaths, solved and mostly solved all of which lead to a lord of the manor of Harvington, whose wife was recently deceased and her brother's body found floating in a mill leat. This of course takes them only to river Avon communities starting in Fladbury and ending at the Sheriff's Castle in Worcester.

Agatha and Leofwine reuniting after many years as friends after being bereaved brings a more hopeful ending to this story. Sarah Hawkswood is a very fine author and I am n on to the next in the series.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Hostage to Fortune - Bradcote and Catchpoll Mystery ~ Sarah Hawkswood~ Fine period mystery~

"January 1144. Hugh Bradecote does not want his betrothed heading off on pilgrimage to the shrine of St Edgyth "..and then.. The entourage of important monks and Christina, Hugh's betrothed, are in very grave danger by a renegade knight who loves to kill.

This is my first Bradecote and Catchpoll book but it surely won't be the last ! I do love the era ( Similar to Crowner John, Ella of Salisbury etc) and the history of that important point in time.It was a bit bloody but the main characters came out fine and the ending was very satisfactory.

The author does a fine job with well developed and engaging characters, who fit their times with some added more up-to-date humor. My only worry is do I order book #1 or proceed to book 5 and see where the newly married couple take me.

Recommended for Medieval Historical Mystery fans, like myself.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Jessica Fellowes - Bright Young Dead - The Mitford Murders #3 - So Enjoyable!

"As the glamour of the Bright Young Things crashes into the world of the Mitford sisters, their maid Louisa Cannon finds herself at the scene of a gripping murder mystery."

I've read and reviewed books #1 and #3 for NetGalley in this series and I am SOOO hoping there will be more..Louisa Cannon and Guy Sullivan are endearing and entertaining. The mystery was a good one with historical events that happened although not to the named characters in the book Sgt. Sullivan with Louisa's assistance ( and connivance as well) solves this mystery in a page turner ending.

Some portions of police procedure seems a bit off, but then maybe it's that way in Britain or was in the 1920s. Alice Diamond and her gang were actual characters as were others, just not the friends of the Mitford sisters who were involved.
Very enjoyable!! 

Monday, December 16, 2019

#Death Comes to the Nursery ~ Catherine LLoyd ~ #NetGalley Pre-order now as Christmas gift!

#DeathComestotheNursery #NetGalley Pre-order now as Christmas gift!
Catherine Lloyd's Kurland St. Mary series is a winner, this 7th book so far might be the best as the mystery was so eventful. ( I did figure out that Bert was Flora's brother) Very fast paced with added suspects, more than one intended victim bringing in most of Lucy's extended family.

OH! When the last book ended Lucy's was expecting the couple's first child; as this book opens that child, Ned, the apple of everyone's eye is almost 3 years old. Lucy is interviewing a prospective assistant nursery maid, and tells her husband of another expected child.

Their joy turns to anxiety with the new hire, who is very beautiful but looks nothing like her cousin Agnes the current nanny. The beautiful Polly is a flirt and soon has multiple men flocking around her which causes staff and family problems. The biggest problem occurs when Polly ends up deceased in a neighboring field and Lucy and Robert Kurland learn that she was not Agnes cousin but an impostor.

Polly-who- was -not-Polly's death happened early in the book, and a series of crimes, violence and murders continue until the very end. So very enjoyable and recommended to all historical mystery fans.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Sharon Kay Penman- The Land Beyond The Sea ~ long awaited novel~ Pre-order yours now!

I was delighted to obtain an ARC from Edelweiss of Sharon Kay Penman's long awaited novel on Outremer, or the Kingdom of Jerusalem. This "Land Beyond the Sea"began to be settled in 1099 with the First Crusade.

A very fine historical representation of an era and point in time very different from what was happening in France, Normandy and England at that time. Baldwin IV , who has been called the "Leper King" was son of the King of Jerusalem Amalric I, and was educated by William, Archbishop of Tyre.

Baldwin had childhood symptoms of his disease before puberty and when his father died in 1174 he divulged it to his Curia Regis on his deathbed. Kingship of Jerusalem was partially hereditary and partially who approved Baldwin, who diagnosis was unclear at that time to be crowned at 13.

As he was not expected to live long, due to his illness the Barons who guided him and his Regents jockeyed for power of him and his sister Sybilla and half sister Isabella. He served valiantly for more years than expected and died in 1185.

He had married his sister to Guy of Lusignan, who was crowned king and later deposed, giving succession to Baldwin V his nephew. When that child king died Guy and Sybilla came to power.

Although not a time period I understand or always enjoy reading about, it was a fine read.