Monday, December 29, 2014

The Blood of the Fifth Knight- E.M. Powell ~ Get your copy now- links are posted!

 I did not read the first book so who was who was a bit of a catch up. Novelists can add characters and E.M Powell did so, in an interesting fashion. After I bumped my head on who Theodosia was, and was she actually a daughter of Henry II ( I copiously read about this family), I went on and enjoyed it.

"The Blood of the Fifth Knight is an intricate medieval murder mystery and a worthy follow-on to E.M. Powell’s acclaimed historical thriller The Fifth Knight." Cross genre actually, and energetic and exciting.

Sir Benedict Palmer, the tale goes is greatly esteemed by King Henry and rightly so. He is less enamored of Rosamund Clifford than we would imagine and that part was very entertaining, towers and fires and other younger men than Henry!

All does end well with some serious twists and turns which involves a putative sister of Benedict, Joan, who muddies the waters a lot. If you love medieval mysteries, this historical thriller will surely work!
The pre-order links are posted so get this one as soon as you can! 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Orphan Train - Christina Baker Kline ~ Must Read !

It was a great and historically accurate book, made all the more poignant by the fact that I have had DNA cousin matches who had been on one of the Orphan Trains out of New York. Donegal cousins as best as I can tell.

It was written as a novel but some of the experiences were drawn from a variety of train riders experiences.I am so fortunate that I knew my grandparents and lived in the same small town and did not leave New Jersey until I was 57, so this is not my story. 

"Well I was born in a small town
 And I can breathe in a small town
 Gonna die in this small town
 And that's prob'ly where they'll bury me " 

Over 200,000 children rode these orphan trains to the West or Mid West to a new life nad for sure many did not have good experiences. May all of these children now be in a better place where the sun is always shining.

Recommended to all, not just those who like accurate historical portraits,such is history! I got this book on my Kindle as a library download, thanks to Perquimans Library.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Eye of the Law - Cora Harrison ~ Possibly my favorite?

Is it possible that this is my favorite Burren mystery, or do I always say that? For sure this one was superb with visits by Mara and the King to the Aran Islands as well as Galway and just all over her neighborhood in the Burren.

Mara is expecting her son in this book and I know how all that will come out. Nula gets situated for her life here as does everyone, actually.

A very fine book with lots of the Brehon Law spelled out for us and a terrific mystery. If you have not read this one yet, you surely need to do so. Cora Harrison's Irish history as it relates to the Burren and Brehon law is always accurate. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Chaucer's Tale - 1386 and the Road to Canterbury

Paul Strohm is a fine historian and Medieval scholar with a wealth of information on Geoffrey Chaucer. I very much wanted to read this book via NetGalley and only received it yesterday with an archive date of today, so I rushed through the reading.

I very much enjoyed the first half of the book but the rest sort of lagged a bit. Was that the result of Chaucer's life and how it played out perhaps, or was it the writing? I must explore and add to what I do already know and what might be fanciful.

It was excellent in its depiction of what Medieval London was like, and even what Chaucer's grace and favor small lodging would have looked like. Less satisfactory was the flow of the material into more of a narrative. I could have just been rushed by the one day I had to read it, an oversight I hope.

Terrific endnote and references and grasp of the times. Recommended to Medievalists and Chaucer buffs. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Remarkable Creatures - Tracy Chevalier ~ Great read via my local library digital loan

A very fine book, by a celebrated author, that I enjoyed tremendously. I borrowed this one on my Kindle courtesy of Perquimans Library's participation in Overdrive. I am beyond thrilled by this endeavor on their part.

Tracy Chevalier is an author I have long admired and followed. This is an very fine historical novel that opened up new vistas for me. I knew very little, even next to nothing about fossils in the Jurassic era, although I am involved in exploring ancient DNA. My Masters degree was partly in Anthropology( Education) so perhaps I come by that interest naturally.

The Dorset Coast of England was the world's first natural World History site. Who knew? Apparently Tracy Chevalier, a fine historian as well as novelist. Mary Anning was a young girl from a working class but poor family in Lyme Regis when the Philpot sisters, spinsters, were gently relocated there by their brother prior to his marriage. Their mutual pastime, which became their life's work and calling, shed a light on prehistoric to a world that in the 1820s was unwilling to consider evolution.

The early 19th Century was also unwilling to consider female scientists, or females with any 
profession to speak of. Enter Mary Anning who found "monsters" and Elizabeth Philpot who found fossilized fish and changed history. This is their story and done in a masterful way.

Recommended for anyone who loves historical novels and good history of any type

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Dragon of Handale - Hildegard of Meaux - Cassandra Clark ~ A unique medieval mystery

A series I follow, this is Abbess of Meaux Mystery #5( Now called Hildegard of Meaux) and Hildegard returned from pilgrimage to Compostela. She has been sent to a very remote priory, deep in the woods in the North of England after reporting into her own. Somewhere and somehow I missed one of her relationships, although she is not terribly Abbess-like at this point.

Towers in the woods, dragons and complex plotting and character changes abound here, as all good Medieval mysteries will have. For Mystery #6 will Hildegard or "Mistress York" as she is now called end up with Ulf? What will happen to his estranged wife and my goodness, what happens to the Abbott? 

A must read for historical mystery and medieval fans and followers of this versatile series.