Monday, May 20, 2013

The Constable of Leeds ~ Superb mystery

So very glad that I was able to review this book, it was a wonderful read. I have already downloaded another in the series and know how many are left.

Chris Nickson said on a blog that Leeds is in his DNA and I know exactly what he means by that. His whole persona was developed from those who came before him in that city and locale. Richard Nottingham's character is a tribute to the author's innate knowledge of 18th century Leeds and its citizens.

The children of Leeds, from that time period, grip the heart of Nottingham, the Constable of Leeds. He was one of them and the events make time stand still for him. That child lives within him and his cohorts.

He and they turn the city inside out to try to find "Gabriel", the man who promises anything to young orphans who barely eke out an existence. They are thwarted at every turn by the powers that be in the city who worship tradespeople or anyone with money and power. Their families are targeted and victimized.

The Constable's honor and principle keeps him on the high road. His co-workers are not bound by those same principles ..not this time!

Sons of the Wolf ~ An entrancing read!

What did I love best about this book? Always,always I appreciate historical detail and characters. Wulfhere of Horstede, a Saxon Thegn was an actual person and he and his neighbor/adversary Helghi are found in Domesday.

They had a life and lived and breathed and shared it with actual persons who were numbered in the census of the day, the Domesday Book. Paula Lofting did a terrific job of "creating a family and a life " for both of them. Their environment and their possessions breathed a life and personality into them that the author was able to discern.

Lofting's activities in the Regia Anglorum reenactment society has most likely aided her in the knowledge of what persons of the time said and did. Their societal roles dictate, surely, whether they are aggressive or passive in their relationships. The times were brutal and primitive and these characters play their roles very well.This period of history leading inexorably to the Norman Conquest is my very favorite to read about.

Were they appealing characters to me? Not with any consistency, but occasional glimpses of warmth and affection are admixed with the violence necessary to survive those times with success.

Other historical characters like William Malet, having more details known about them, are likeable although still true to the era. A gritty but oh so entertaining novel which very much shone for me.

I truly am holding my breath until the sequel when I can again visit with this group.So happy that it will not end.

This apparently was the first book I finished on my new kindle and I did not get my review posted until now. Countdown until Lofting's next book has begun

Friday, May 17, 2013

Fine Narrative of History ~ Bunker Hill


Nathaniel Philbrick's narrative took me into  Boston of 1775, surprisingly a small town where everyone knew everyone else by sight at least. I was entranced with that concept and enjoyed it immensely.
I saw a young John Quincy Adams and his mother nervously watching events from the window from a hill that no longer exists. John Adams was in Philadelphia with the other movers and shakers of our country's beginning.
I was there at the Boston Tea Party through the Battle of Bunker Hill and saw specific men dressed as Indians dump the tea in Boston Harbor. I watched it lay in messy drifts on the tidal flats and saw young boys trying to do damage control with what was left by scattering it with their feet..
Joseph Warren was everyone's physician, and friend to many likeSamuel Adams, whose protégé he was. Who knew that Warren dispatched Paul Revere to warn the countryside?
A fine inside look at Boston, small town and microcosm of the larger war for independence.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Mississauga - A Culture

Drawn to this book by an interest in the Ojibwe culture from my graduate anthropology degree, I was not to be disappointed. Donald Smith's 40 plus years of study has brought considerable insight to this population so these stories, and these persons will not be forgotten.
Although there was less about the addiction that has plagued this population and more about their religion or lack of it than I would have anticipated, nevertheless I was able to find reasons for both reliance on alcoholism and religiosity from their history. The Ojibwe were essentially robbed of many things and the roots of their culture was the most traumatic to them as a people.I was struck by how hard they worked to transfer their agricultural knowledge into what they were told were more acceptable European skills.
This well researched and splendidly written collection of portraits should be an asset to educational and cultural understanding of this populations and these families and people. I appreciated the opportunity to review Mississauga Portraits.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Death in Catte Street ~ Tim Shaw and Geoffrey Chaucer

An impressive first novel about a favorite character! Tim Shaw is a medievalist, a fine writer and an impeccable researcher. See his Blog   http://dailymedieval.blogspot.com/ which I am having a very good time following.I am thrilled that it has a sequel in the works, I cannot wait.

A young Geoffrey Chaucer awaits you in "A Death in Catte Street", new to his career as a courtier. He is retrospectively looking back at this event in his life and is critical of his youth and impulsiveness.

A young Geoffrey can be seen as well as the man he will become in his interaction with parents, authority figures, peers and casual acquaintances. He is impulsive and empathetic and a typical young man, albeit of a different age.

The mystery that unfolds as he is pushed into a murder investigation is intriguing.Geoffrey ends up a hero of sorts and a champion of those less fortunate.

Geoffrey's character as well as those who are in his sphere is very well developed. Crafted by a medieval scholar and historian it is a tale worth snatching up and reading.

I am very glad I did so.