Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Swan Daughter by Carol McGrath ~ Cum Laude!

The Swan Daughter is a true 11th C tale of elopement and a love triangle by best-selling author of The Handfasted Wife, Carol McGrath. A marriage made in Heaven or Hell. 

1075 and Dowager Queen Edith has died. Gunnhild longs to leave Wilton Abbey but is her suitor Breton knight Count Alan of Richmond interested in her inheritance as the daughter of King Harold and Edith Swan-Neck or does he love her for herself? And is her own love for Count Alain an enduring love or has she made a mistake?

About this author

My first degree is in History and English from Queens University Belfast. I have a postgraduate MA in writing from Queens University and an Mphil in writing from The Royal Holloway ,University of London. My debut novel The Handfasted Wife is the first in a Trilogy The Daughters of Hastings. The first is the story of 1066 and its aftermath from the perspective of the noble women.

My Review
I hated to see this book end and tried to read ever more slowly, which is hard for me. Happily  when I reached the end I found the first chapter of The Betrothed Daughter, as well as a very fine collection of facts in the author's notes. This is my very favorite era to read about, for a variety of reasons, and a very favorite author as well.

Normans, and their castles, and their rationale as they tried to excuse their conquest of this land, may begin to explain what a poor husband Alan of Richmond was to Gunnhild daughter of Harold the vanquished King. A thousand years of mercenary soldiers in my personal family history intrigues me, and so of course I cannot wait for the next Carol McGrath book about this family.

Lovers of accurate Medieval history just have to read this book, a novel based on years of research and quite serious educated speculation.Cum Laude, what a great read!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Murderer's Tale ~ So missing Gail Frazer

So very glad that Margaret (Gail) Frazer's children have continued to market her books after her death. She was my very very favorite author and the first Medieval Mysteries I read. Her history and her managing both time and place were the very best. No one else comes close to her.

 A very few of her books were not in print earlier, although she did try to make them available. Kindle has helped that effort. Please check them out!!

 The Murderer's Tale was one of the best ones and I am happy that I was able to read it. I well remember Sister Frevisse's problems with Prioress Alys, which prompted she and Dame Claire to take this pilgrimage. A murderer was foiled and I got a wonderful look at Minster Lovell Hall and Oxfordshire recreated through this fine author's eyes. Lady Lovell plays a wonderful role also in helping solve a travesty and murder. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Do we not Bleed? ~ Patricia Finney

  A very well written book from the Elizabethan Era from a fine author who writes about the Henry Carey, Baron Hunsdon family. I really enjoyed it and am hoping that in another outing we might see Henry or one of his children. PF Chisholm/Patricia Finney does remarkable period history with vivid and engaging characters.

James Enys and his sister seem to be one person, a lawyer at the Inn of the courts and poet William Shakespeare is one of Portia's compatriots. London whores are being butchered, their "upright men" and their sisterhood rise up in their defense.A crime novel with a lot of twists and turns, you must try James Enys first time out.  So very satisfying!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Roan Rose ~ Juliet Waldron - A Fine Medieval Read

A very good book that I enjoyed immensely and recommend whole heartedly. A special purchase that I am glad I hear about and read until I was finished. Juliet Waldron's grasp of time and period history is superb and detailed. Her characters were well developed and sympathetic.

Historically, of course this did not happen but it COULD have as we know that Richard III had relationships in his early years, two at least that produced children. Period wise, such relationships were commonplace which made the book so plausible and delightful.

Rosealba's origins and her life story were fascinating, she represented everywoman of those harsh medieval times.As a back story to the life of Richard III it was flawless.

The ending gave me a bit of a pause, but eventually books end in some fashion. I recommend this book for historical fictions fans and especially for lovers of all Richard III era works. I will look up the author's other books right now 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Regulated for Murder ~ Suzanne Adair

                                                 A Michael Stoddard American Revolution Thriller
The Fourth of July was an appropriate day to finish reading this fine Revolutionary War historical mystery, so that's what I did! I now live in North Carolina and am a member of the DAR so was sort of aware of the Regulators and the Battle of Alamance. I now know about Hillsborough's pre Revolutionary War history and what might be the real build up to the War.

 The complicated politics of that time and place as well as a multi- layered crime scene made it into a thought provoking and engaging read. It was not light reading so be sure to take mental notes.

 The setting of Hillsborough and the juxtaposition between the Regulator uprising and the Revolution gave it a unique complexity. A murder which happened in the earlier period was layered onto a recent murder to add to the puzzle.

 Amazing to me was the amount of coexistence between loyalists and rebels and how the British Colonial authorities were still in power.This is a description of US history that is unknown to most and fascinating. Lt. Michael Stoddard is a British soldier and Cornwallis was still attempting to control this area of the state and the dynamics of the story are staggering.

 The characters were developed well, the dialogue took a bit for me to grasp which had to do with the hero being British and a Redcoat. Just fascinating and I recommend it for mystery as well as history fans.

About this author

Award-winning novelist Suzanne Adair is a Florida native who lives in a two hundred-year-old city at the edge of the North Carolina Piedmont, named for an English explorer who was beheaded. Her suspense and thrillers transport readers to the Southern theater of the Revolutionary War, where she brings historic towns, battles, and people to life. She fuels her creativity with Revolutionary War reenacting and visits to historic sites. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking, dancing, hiking, and spending time with her family.

Check her web site and blog for more information. Or hop over to her Facebook and Twitter pages to say “hi.”

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Mona Lisa - A Life Discovered

The Mona Lisa Timeline pulled the whole book together in a neat package for me at the end. Dianne Hales was passionate about this family and the heritage of Gherardini, and absolutely about the person we know as Mona Lisa.

Lisa Gherardini was born in 1465 in Renaissance Florence Italy and lived in a time in between medieval and the modern. She was descended from ancient nobility of that city and lived her life in that fashion. She lived through some unsettled times in Italy and she entered a convent after her husband's death.

The city then seemed to "forget" her for hundreds of years, except for her iconic portrait. The author has brought "Una Donna Vera" or the real woman,Lisa to our attention, at long last. Her life and times were impeccably researched and I recommend it to scholars of this period of history and this culture.