Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Brotherly Love - Lorna Peel - a fine historical romance about 19th Century Ireland~

4.5 Stars ( which does not show so am making it 5)

I really enjoyed this book about rural Ireland and Lorna Peel's historical facts were excellent. I am not a romance reader although have made exceptions for historical romances, and am glad I did for this one.

I said this while reading:"an amazing read! I am of Irish descent and know about this period but not faction fighting etc. " and the book blog indicated:"Ireland, 1835. Faction fighting has left the parish of Doon divided between the followers of the Bradys and the Donnellans. Caitriona Brady is the widow of John, the Brady champion, killed two years ago. Matched with John aged eighteen, Caitriona didn’t love him and can’t mourn him. Now John’s mother is dead, too, and Caitriona is free to marry again.
Michael Warner is handsome, loves her, and he hasn’t allied himself with either faction. But what secret is he keeping from her? Is he too good to be true?"

Some of my ancestors in Tipperary were said to have been part of the 18th century "Whiteboys", a retaliatory movement  by the rural poor against an oppressive class structure. However my own immigrant ancestor  from that area was in the British Army and in a local Barracks charged with keeping the peace. The "Ribbonmen" in Peel's tale is the 19th century version and the Constabulary  who invaded were maybe similar to some of the local barracks charged with "peacekeeping".

I was thrilled to read this book and will hope there will be a sequel. The characters could use a bit more development, same for dialogue, but it was well done overall.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Queen's Midwife - Lozania Prole - Lives and Loves of the Royals 2 ~ Pleasant Read

Alice is a young girl of uncertain background, who was placed by her aunt in a noble home, to be a seamstress. Due to her aunt's occupation as a healer, Alice eventually becomes a young midwife in King Henry VIII's court. Henry's wives repeated failures to produce living children gives Alice a number of years of employment.

This is story which explores the reign of King Henry superimposed on Alice's life. It is a unique way to tell both the story of Henry's marital and personal failures and the life of Alice. The ending is a nice twist, which left this reader happy for the main character. I plan to read Book 1 now. Enjoy! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Lion Rampant - Bernard Knight ~ Wonderful find~ 5 Stars !

Bernard Knight being such a favorite author of mine I was thrilled to see this story of Nest of Wales available. My name being Carrow, Pembrokeshire and Carew Castle are very intriguing to me.

"Probably the most romantic, exciting and yet most tragic story in the history of medieval Wales. It is the true story of Princess Nest..daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr, ward and mistress of King Henry I"

Henry gave her in marriage to Gerald de Windsor, Castellan of Pembroke. According to this author, that marriage did not go very well and set the stage for Nest's abduction by her cousin. Subsequently, Nest was embroiled in various conflicts. and victimized, ending up with 8 or 9 children.

The fact that Nest was so resilient and rose above those circumstances is what I love the best. Her love for her children and their cohesion as family remains a tribute to her, all these many centuries later.Thank you Bernard Knight for a great book..on to Madoc !

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Beaufort Woman - Judith Arnopp ~ Satisfying read!!

First, I should say that Margaret Beaufort has not always been my favorite historical figure, but Judith Arnopp has made her character believable and almost engaging. I enjoyed Margaret coming to a comfortable place with Thomas Stanley, and her marriage, as well as her kindness and respect for both Elizabeth and Anne as queens and women.

I was able to envision her as a complicated person but for reasons that were understandable. I am convinced that she had decent relationships with her husbands, for the most part and always understood her obsession for her son Henry's heritage. It really is what she felt her life was about, that and being at court, which had was important to her. She was raised to respect her family heritage and her kinship.

I recommend it to others who enjoy Tudor and Plantagenet novels and history. I am waiting for this authors next novel. (Hint: Peaceweaver is my favorite) 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Reiver - David Pilling - Love the Era

4.5 stars. I enjoy the era and have read other books about that period in time. The Wardens of the Scottish Marches or "Debatable Lands" make very fine reading. I would have liked it to be a bit more upbeat, but it was the author's tale and he did a fine job.

Queen Elizabeth and some of the Marcher lords were not very engaging characters, but Richie Reade had a lot of depth. Hopefully that means we will see him in another outing? I am going to try another one of David Pilling's historical novels now.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Sister of the Lionheart - Novel from time of Crusades- Hilary Benford ~ Engrossing read!

I really enjoyed this book about Joanna who is my number two favorite Plantagenet, Eleanor being  number one. It was not a quick read, reason being that it had such historical depth , but it was very engrossing. There is not a great deal written about Joanna and her relationship with her parents, so this one was very much appreciated by me.

Hilary Benford wrote a fine novel, and I am excited that there will be a sequel. Very much appreciated was the excellent author's note, medieval glossary and genealogy of the royal families who were involved, as well as a great  map of 12th century France. I enjoy this period as my Norman Irish maternal line worked for the Norman kings beginning with John and his son Henry.

I feel pretty sure that the novel was very close to how things transpired. Joanna was very a sympathetic character  and held my attention to the end. Recommended to all who like medieval historical novels and this family and era.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Mists of Glen Strae - Highland Ballad Series Vol.2 - Kristin Gleeson- Out now!

Happily there will be another novel in the Highland Ballad Series in 2017. It was so very enjoyable, although it is about a very complicated time in Scotland's history,and the sequel may pull the pieces together for me.

Kristin Gleeson's fine Historical Note indicates that Queen Mary was only 14 at this time. I always need a refresher about her years in France and why the Scots were not united behind her when she returns. 

This period, when Mary Queen of Scots was 14, was very tumultuous and complex in both countries with England of course trying to intervene. The borders between Scotland and England, called "debatable lands" were always in upheaval, although I think that this was not where we find this part of the series situated. 

Religion seems to be becoming a divider and would continue to be between the clans as the years passed. My husband's parents were born and raised in Scotland, and came to the US and married, were Church of Scotland and Catholic and lowland vs. highland Scots. They never discussed either religion and his father was from Huntly the Gordon estate.

Consequently, the relationship between Ian, and Abby the heroine,was frowned upon. Abigail, a Gordon, although raised in France would not be expected to have dealings with certain clans and their followers. I suspect that the next book will have some mention of Huntly Aberdeenshire and I am greatly looking forward to it.

I was not a great fan of Diana Gabaldon but am very much a fan of Kristin Gleeson and her works.