Thursday, June 15, 2017

Beyond Absolution - Cora Harrison ~ Preorder this great mystery ~

So I stayed up late finishing it as I could tell it was going to end badly for some.."Noli respicere post tergum"  says Mother Aquinas.." Do not look back"..

It was a riveting book in so many ways for me..first I continually marvel that my great Uncle Patrick and family lived in that part of Cork at that exact time..well  Uncle Patrick died in 1907, his son in 1913 and his wife and daughter in 1921 but his granddaughters were still living at Little Cross Street. Secondly that so very many experienced those hardships that went on and on.. Great Uncle Patrick's  two older sons got themselves to New York and New Jersey well before that.

It was a complex but extremely interesting plot which slowly resolved itself, but not without some tragedy. A murder in the Confessional of a beloved priest had so very  many ramifications, which the fight for a Republic complicated, as did personal greed and ideology.

So now we readers and followers of Reverend Mother and her entourage will be waiting and wondering what will happen. Will Reverend Mother have a debilitating illness and she mentions her age? Will Inspector Patrick recover, and what role will Eileen be playing in future  and will they collaborate. I wish I knew but for sure you need to preorder this copy now.

Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC.

The Devil's Cup - A Hawkenlye Medieval Mystery - Alys Clare ~ Last of a successful series ~

"September, 1216. A foreign army has invaded England. The country is divided.King John summons Sir Josse d'Acquin to support him."

I received an ARC of this book from Severn House via NetGalley for a review. I have read all of the Hawkenlye Mysteries and review many. I give the book 4.5 stars and did very much enjoy it, although the mystery was a bit more contrived and slow than it maybe needed to be.

That being said, if this is the last Heloise mystery, it is wonderful that most of the characters are well and settled at the end. It was a good ending to a long series, if that is the case. 

"Sir Josse d'Aquin is summoned to assist the beleaguered King John in the 17th - and final - Hawkenlye mystery." 

Ah.. that is what it says..Maybe one more peek in a few years? How will Meggie do? How will Heloise and Josse do in their declining years? Who will join the family in the future - and importantly how will Hawkenlye Abbey fare?

 The book will be out in late July so you have lots of time to start reading other books in the series so that you too are able to really appreciate this final mystery. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Raven's Widow, A Novel of Jane Boleyn - Adrienne Dillard ~ Dramatic, Sympathetic, Well Done ~

What a great effort to reconstruct the historical facts available to us; Adrienne Dillard's fine research has made Jane Parker Boleyn a sympathetic as well as dramatic figure. I applaud her for that and totally agree; a 10 year marriage, where Jane cohabited with George Boleyn and lived in the court supports this hypothesis.

There are many people who were players in, and victims of, Henry VIII 's cruel narcissistic rampage through his reign who deserve our sympathies. Jane apparently was one such and I am sure that Mary Boleyn and her children were also. Adrienne's fine first novel "Cor Rotto" sheds light on Mary Boleyn's life after Henry though her daughter Catherine Carey Knollys. 

This novel has even more depth, character development as well as giving readers historical vignettes back and forth in time. A very fine Author's note take us through the known facts, including many that were unknown until fairly recently. 

Jane Boleyn was, and is, a tragic figure of course; who would not be who was executed in this time? What the author has done is to make her a vivid and believable heroine who was resilient for as long as she could be. I look for more by this fine author.

Recommended for fans of those affected by Henry VIII and other novels in this turbulent era. 5 Stars.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Catherine Carey - History In a Nutshell Series - Adrienne Dillard ~ Great Small Book ~

4.5 stars..A very nice small book by an author I follow now; I am also reading The Raven's Widow. I got right into this one and finished overnight, Mary Boleyn and her children are favorites of mine.

I am hopeful that Catherine, Henry and Mary 's lives were mostly good and this author does also. The Jane Boleyn book tells me that she is sympathetic to Henry VIII's victims and has searched for the good times of their lives to share. I am very hopeful that Adrienne Dillard continues with this effort and this family. Henry Carey's life would be wonderful to illustrate and I adore Robert Carey also.

There was a confusing part in the middle about the number of children. It seemed the author was going to list them after an ": " but then a narrative ensued, which did list them but not in a list. Other than that I have no complaints and am hoping for more.

Adrienne Dillard provides fine historical detail which backs up her hypotheses and I recommend this book for others who read about this troubled time. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Huntsman's Tale - Ann Swinfen - Book 3 is charming~

"Oxford, Late Summer 1353. 
Hearing that his cousin is short-handed for the harvest, Nicholas Elyot takes a group of friends back to the family farm to help. When a deer hunt ends in tragedy, suspicion is directed toward the huntsman, a friend of Nicholas."

This is a great series and the ending makes me hopeful that it will continue. A trifle slow perhaps in the beginning but it picked up speed and barreled towards the exciting ending.

Nicholas and his coterie are fun to read about and he seems to help them to be more "well-rounded" in their lives. Will Philip decide to make his family life permanent although it may impact on his life? Will Nicholas' workers continue to have their lives better?

Additionally this period of the 14th Century after the Black Death has been illuminated very well, and presented a prime setting for the crime that Nicholas and his friend Jordain encounter. It is very well documented historically and that perhaps is the best part.

Recommended to all lovers of historical novels, especially those in Medieval times. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Great Ladies:The Forgotten Witnesses to the Lives of Tudor Queens - Sylvia Barbara Soberton - Informative Read ~

This was a fine read, a bit heavy on Elizabeth I and known facts, but I enjoyed knowing about the interactions with Katherine Carey Knollys and others. Some little known interactions were mentioned which I appreciated reading about. 

There were other less remarked upon vignettes, such as the brief life of Mary Seymour daughter of Katherine Parr and Thomas Seymour, that were the reason I decided to read the book.

I definitely have noted the other books by this author and will be acquiring them also. I am giving it 4 + Stars and definitely will recommend it to others

Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Bear and the Wolf - Ruth Downie & S.J.A. Turney ~ Such a Treat ~

Very happily I stumbled upon this short novel by favorite author Ruth Downie and SJA (Simon) Turney while looking for some Anglo Saxon books. I did not realize there was such a book, but was very glad that she and Simon Turney had another collaboration. ( see " The Year of Ravens")

Here it is:"A short story of love and danger on the empire's most hostile frontier..from two acclaimed authors of Historical Fiction "
It read like a full length novel with depth of character and plot as well as very accurate historical detail. A quite marvelous authors' note tells of "Prince" Caracalla son of the Emperor Severus who was violent and without scruples.

The setting is Vindolanda on Hadrian's Wall, where Senna the main female character's tribe lived within a long day's walk. As a reader who has an anthropology degree and love this era, the landscape was meticulously described. "The Maeatae live next to the cross-wall ,which cuts the island in half", was how it has been explained, which suggests it is not the Antonine Wall .

Brigius, the main male character is Senna's man, of the Votadini tribe and a solider in the Second Nerviorum stationed at Vindolanda. There is a very intricate plot and a complex battle scene which I must reread now to get straight. ( I read too fast) I must also try to figure out which of Senna's family survive this event by rereading the battle.