Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Saltergate Psalter - Chris Nickson ~ Never ever disappoints~

Riveting and sometimes even scary mystery set in Chesterfield in 1361, a time when mysteries and myths abound. The position of Coroner was established by King Richard before 1200 and had its origins even earlier perhaps in Saxon times. This period in Chesterfield illustrates a great deal of power in the office, as demonstrated by de Harville, which John the Carpenter had to work to overcome.

Some of his reluctance to not pursue an outcome had to do also with his own moral sense and curiosity about the events that were transpiring. Too many murders were happening without resolution and both John and the Coroner had their own family issues to attend to.

When Walter, John's brother in law goes missing and is found gravely injured, enough is enough.
An unexpected twist in the story is a nail-biter, or it was for me.

Chris Nickson is a fine historian and an even finer writer. His period detail is so accurate and descriptive that when his characters assume their own life, we are not surprised.

This is the third series I have read by this author, who never ever disappoints. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Daughter of Sand and Stone- Libbie Hawker- Fine historical



Definitely 4.5 stars,thanks to NetGalley for the ARC which was quite enjoyable.I adored much, or even most, of the book but thought the end was a bit rushed. It could have even been two books, possibly?

I knew nothing about Zenobia but very much enjoy Libbie Hawker's books.and this one was no exception. The young adulthood of Zenobia-bat-Zabbai was quite fascinating and exciting, her downfall a bit less so. Did she redeem herself at the end by sparing her people a revolt? I sort of think that she did. 

A complex and complicated time to be living for sure and good to read about at this time in our history. Palmyra, after all is part of modern day Syria, and was old in the period in this novel. There was a Neolithic settlement, as well as written evidence of a historic trading tribal settlement in the Bronze age. 

The author has  a fine author's note referencing this period known as the "Crisis of Third Century" referencing the Roman period. Although Rome had annexed many areas touching Palmyra in the pre Christian era, Palmyra was only dominated for 200+ years by Rome. Apparently that was enough for Odenathus who rebelled and was killed leaving Zenobia a widow.

I recommend the extremely fine period descriptions and scenic word pictures. This was and surely still is an amazing place with breathtaking historical import.





Sunday, December 13, 2015

Death Riddle-Maureen Ash- An Anglo-Norman mystery- Fine period detail and mystery - 5 Stars!




A very fine and enjoyable book by Maureen Ash which I hope will be the first of a series?

"It is 1088 and England has been under Norman domination since the successful invasion of William of Normandy twenty-two years before. But William’s recent death has once again plunged the island kingdom into war. The town of Rochester is at the centre of the conflict."

Godric, a young Englishman, is blamed for a crime and claims sanctuary. Estrid, his widowed mother,daughter of an English thegn killed at the Battle of Hastings is determined to exonerate him.

All of this is played out against Odo Earl of Kent's occupation of the town after his troops fell in battle against King William Rufus.

A fine thriller and even better period novel of the first few decades of Norman occupation.

I loved it! Just released and free on KindleUnlimited

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Holy Vengeance- Maureen Ash's fine outing!

In the newest Templar Knight Mystery, Bascot de Marins is called to investigate when a young woman is killed and villagers suspect evil forces are to blame.


 Medieval Lincoln is brought to life for me in the person of Nicolaa de la Haye who was the Castellan of Lincoln Castle for 30 years. It is a superb and strong series which I snatch up whenever one comes along.

Bascot de Marins and his young protégé Gianni deliver quite well, but I thought the relationship between Roget and the Perfumer really hit a high note.

It was a complex plot and the supernatural elements and their resolution made the book even more exciting. I thought the Templars riding in war apparel to support the Bishop and the faithful in the town was a tremendous touch that I could visualize.


Recommended for all Medieval and medieval mystery fans

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Land of Shadows- A Medieval Mystery- Priscilla Royal


"A royal birth, a nobleman s death, a scarlet woman's murder In March, 1279, Edward I takes a break from hammering the Welsh and bearing down on England's Jews to vacation in Gloucestershire. The royal party breaks the journey at Woodstock Manor. And there one life begins as Queen Eleanor labors to birth a new daughter, and one draws to an end when apoplexy fells Baron Adam Wynethorpe."


Priscilla Royal's Medieval mysteries are many layered and complex and this one is no exception. Prioress Eleanor, Baron Adam's daughter with her entourage which includes Sister Anne and Brother Thomas are at Woodstock at her father's deathbed. Enter her brother Hugh and his son Richard who get enmeshed with a series of murders, involving the Jewish community and members of the King's household knights.

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley and it is a series so pay attention to spoiler alert.

Always a super read with mystery and injustice entwined for the principals to unravel. Recommended for all- 




Sunday, November 15, 2015

The King's Favourite - Marjorie Bowen ~ Recently reissued

I received this book from NetGalley for a fair review and see that it will be archived almost immediately. A republished book which needs a few editing corrections but essentially is a good read.I appreciate being able to read this book for NetGalley and perhaps 3.5 Stars will work for it, although I cannot do that here.

I actually knew nothing about Frances Howard and at first thought that SHE was "The King's Favorite" so I need to be even more careful with book choices. The book cover at Endeavor Press is nice but quite different than this one at Goodreads so I will use another picture for my blog.

Was Frances guilty?  Guilt of something surely but perhaps not murder? She was so very YOUNG after all! She was surely manipulated by a mother who used her for her own purposes and had her own histrionic issues. Frances was a child who was not only encouraged in, at least using her looks and personal attributes for personal and family gain, but in a liberated fashion. 

I was sorry for her and still unsure about what was or was not done to all of these people. Prince Henry's death? Goodness..for that I must read further books, although it seems to have been from Typhoid..

They had a daughter Anne who was born when her parents were imprisoned and who later married William Russell Earl of Bedford and they had 7 children, 6 of whom lived to adulthood.

I enjoyed the book and do recommend to those who like this period, which surely is  underrepresented in fiction.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Silence of Stones- Jeri Westerson ~ Medieval Noir #8 - Preorder this one now!

"London, 1388. When the mythical Stone of Destiny is stolen from the throne of England in Westminster Abbey, Crispin Guest, the Tracker, witnesses the dramatic disappearance for himself"

My first Crispin Guest and here it is book #8. Everyone else already knows Crispin and Jack,but in I jump with plenty of help from the author's fine afterword. 

Crispin had a lot to deal with, people were crawling out of the woodwork,literally wanting to help him (for a price of course) or for him to help them. He had an astonishing amount of acquaintances and friends!

Guess who one of them was? Katherine Swynford..what a treat! She is a favorite of mine and conducted herself with her usual elegance (if a bit sneaky to King Richard)

Speaking of King Richard, Crispin's apprentice Jack ends up having a bit more than a nodding acquaintanceship with his queen. She calls him..well you need to read about it yourself.. 

You can start with  Book #1 and preorder this one now. Enjoy!

Skin Like Silver- A Tom Harper Mystery - Chris Nickson ~ Always a Winner!

"Leeds, England. October, 1891. A fire during the night destroys half the railway station. The next day a woman's s body is found in the rubble."

An intricately complex mystery that is also completely intriguing and engrossing. Chris Nickson's characters have so much depth and presence that they seem to be alive. 

Tom Harper's world was gritty, dangerous and rife with political intrigue. More than the usual cast of suspects commit an astonishing amount of murders. Catherine Carr did not die in the fire but who killed her and why? 

Harper's wife Annabelle belonged to the same Suffragist Society as the murdered Catherine,but were the negative sexist politics to blame? Was the killer in the lineup of haters who jeered the women as they went into the lecture hall?

Catherine's brother escapes from the insane asylum and begins a reign of terror in Leeds. He has sympathetic supporters at first until the violence gets out of hand. 

Sgt. Billy Reed is recruited from the Fire Brigade because Catherine's brother is also an Afghanistan veteran trained in tracking and shooting. The Sergeant, now with a stable homelife, becomes torn between returning to the police force or returning to an investigator job with the Fire Brigade.

The major historical facts were accurate, as always, including a fire at the New Station in Leeds at that same year.A coroner's case involving a dead baby also was factual,as was the first electric tram in Leeds.

I love the period detail as well as the historical facts that the crime aspects of these stories are intertwine with. This 3rd Victorian Police Procedural is an extremely fine work and I heartily recommend it to all who appreciate historical mysteries




A Fatal Inheritance, A Sixteenth Century Burren Mystery ~ Cora Harrison ~ Masterful!

"In life, Clodagh O Lochlainn had been a disgrace to her clan, tormenting her former priestly lover, jeering at her husband, robbing her relatives.. Abandoning preparations for the celebration of her fiftieth birthday, Mara, Brehon of the Burren, takes up the task of solving the murder"


Satisfyingly complicated,with a poignancy that was arresting, a very fine tale by a talented author. Mara is a favorite character and this period in time is pivotal for many reasons.

English law was at odds with but parallel with Brehon law, in this place especially. Mara herself weighs the two constantly to see which is fairer or more humane. So very telling that in this case Mara is thinking about Thomas More's book Utopia, for more than one reason.

Education of all eventually plays a place in the dispensing of the verdicts fines. The reader can clearly see why Mara is thinking about which children should be educated and how as she watches Fachtnan with his daughter Orla.

The story ends with Mara thinking that this Utopian educational facility would be a memorial to Turlough Donn O'Brien someday.

To weave a satisfactory mystery in with the history of the O'Davoren clan of law scholars and the O'Briens of Thomand,Corcomroe and the Burren is masterful indeed. I recommend you start at the beginning of this fine series.Cora Harrison's historical detail and her perspective on the period never fails and the characters are vivid and memorable

The pre-order link is up for this one so put it on your Christmas Wish list. 

Ruins of the O'Davoren law school at Cahermacnaghten



Ballinalacken Castle

Thursday, November 5, 2015

A Vigil of Spies - Book Ten - Candace Robb ~ 5 stars and then some!

"Archbishop Thoresby of York,lies dying in his bed and agrees to a visit from Joan, Princess of Wales. His captain of the guard, Owen Archer,has no doubt that trouble will follow." 

Yes,all of that happened and then some. Owen was befriended by none other than Geoffrey Chaucer who helps him solve several mysteries. 
A very fine look at these important historical personages, especially Princess Joan.

The parts that were perhaps fictional were very delightful also, including previous relationships. So enjoyable to have all these exciting people folded into one novel. Hoping so that there is yet another book to come, Owen is not done yet by any means.Recommended to all! 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Guilt of Innocents, Owen Archer #9 - Candace Robb ~ Yay! On Kindle

It is very glorious to have Candace Robb's Owen Archer series on kindle! Now to figure out what is left for me to read and get the rest.So great too is that you can look at a kindle sample to make sure you get the correct ones.

Enough about Kindle and on to this absolutely amazing book which was  perfect in every way. I so did not want it to end and of course it did, but everyone was happy and well at the end. Lucie, Owen and Jasper's characters have such depth and the period details are superb,

" Winter in the year of our Lord 1372. A river pilot falls into the icy waters of the River Ouse during a skirmish between dockworkers and the boys of the minster school, which include Owen Archer’s adopted son Jasper...When another body is fished from the river upstream and Owen discovers that the boy Jasper sought to help has disappeared, Owen Archer convinces the archbishop that he must go in search of the boy. "

In an impeccable and thorough author's note, Candace Robb informs us that a real incident between the scholars and the Abbey bargemen did happen at that time. Nicholas Ferriby and his siblings are historical also and add so much with their foibles to this tale.

Not for one moment is the detail of the era forgotten  or do the principals feel too modern. I recommend this to all who love accurate Medieval novels and mysteries. Starting with the first one will work better than starting in the middle.





Monday, October 12, 2015

Dead man's Ransom- Ellis Peters - A Great Read!

Brother Cadfael must intervene when a prisoner exchange is interrupted by love and murder

"In February of 1141, men march home from war to Shrewsbury, but the captured sheriff Gilbert Prestcote is not among them. Elis, a young Welsh prisoner, is delivered to the Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul to begin a tale that will test Brother Cadfael’s sense of justice—and his heart."


I had forgotten how much I enjoyed Brother Cadfael! Started back on this fine series with it's excellent dialogue and accurate period detail.

The Welsh were over the borders as King Stephen and Matilda the Empress were fighting their battles. Ellis Peters described the Welsh protagonists and who had or perhaps, may have had allegiances.


I recommend this for every one and especially people like myself wishing to understand some distant Welsh roots.  




Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Caveat Emptor- Medicus Book #5- Ruth Downie



A very historically correct Medicus mystery taking place in Londinium and Verulamium. Slow in some places but a good steady read with glimpses of relationships in Roman Britain.

Ruth Downie has great characters with depth and humor. So enjoyable.

Coinage and politics also come into play. If you like very early history, this one is for you..Loved the ending! looking forward to book 6 and then 7 is coming? For joy! 


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Laws in Conflict - A Burren Mystery -Cora Harrison..Finishing the Series ~




  What a fine fine book about Galway Ireland in the late 15th century. Cora Harrison is marvelous in her work. What really happened to Walter Lynch? Hmmm.. Sending this book on to my Irish cousin.. We have two Lynch great grandmothers, fortunately not from Galway.

"February, 1512. Mara, Brehon of the Burren, judge and lawgiver, has been invited to the magnificent city state of Galway, which is ruled by English laws and a royal charter originally granted by Richard III. Mara wonders whether she can use her legal knowledge to save the life of a man from the Burren who has been caught stealing a meat pie, but events soon take an even more dramatic turn when the mayor’s son is charged with a heinous crime. Sure there is more to the case than meets the eye, Mara investigates" 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Come the Fear - A Richard Nottingham Mystery- always superb!

"With the discovery of a young woman’s charred and blackened body, Richard Nottingham tackles his most disturbing case yet March, 1733." 

As always, this series is just superb, so very riveting  to read.  The period detail is fine and surely all the Leeds city history is perfect. As Chris Nickson says: "Why Leeds? It's where I was born and raised, and that puts a place in your bones."

He also says: "The books are about more than murder. They're about the people of Leeds and the way life was - which means full of grinding poverty for all but the wealthy."

I now have to skip back one book further to finish the series. That may be a good thing as Richard Nottingham had some bad things happen later in the series and I really like him. What wonderful character development! 

Recommended to all..


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Noble Outlaw - Bernard Knight- Crowner John is the best series

Renovations of a school in 12th-century Exeter are disrupted by the shocking discovery of a partially mummified corpse hidden in the rafters, and the county coroner Sir John de Wolfe is called in to investigate. Richard de Revelle, Sir John's brother-in-law and founder of the school, immediately blames Nicholas de Arundell, a young outlawed knight. As Sir John discovers, Nicholas has good reason to bear a grudge against the unscrupulous de Revelle. With the victim's identity unknown and the motive a mystery, however, the murder remains unsolved. But then comes news of a second violent death, and Sir John is forced to track down the culprit in order to find the answers.

My favorite series, as usual, such a great read. Two more left but I now have them all for rereading. Bernard Knight is a great writer and accurately depicts this era.

I especially like that Richard de Revelle, John de Wolfe's brother in law, was forced out of his Sheriff of Devon's role some time ago. He continues to try to conspire with Prince John and other cohorts for purposes of rebellion and what we might now call "White collar crime"


Recommended for all Medieval Mystery fans as well as early Plantagenet novels.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Betrothed Sister- Book Three -The Daughters of Hastings Trilogy - Carol McGrath ~ Magical!

A spectacular book that I read carefully and with relish. I am so sorry it is finished but I will now begin to reread the first book in the trilogy.( which I also loved) Carol McGrath is a marvelous historian and an even better writer. I wish there were more books in this series.

 I knew little about Russia at any period, even less about this period. I had no idea that the society and the city of Kiev rivaled European capitals like Paris in sophistication. I am happy to realize that Thea/Gytha and Vladimir's descendants were rulers in England. Perhaps that is the part of the story that I like the best,and it is factual.

 What else? I do so enjoy reading about this period both before and after the Norman Conquest I am, therefore, quite pleased that this daughter of Hastings went on to have a marriage that was happy and satisfying, at least up until the time the author ends the narrative. Her quite excellent end notes tie all the loose ends that I would need to know so very succinctly.

 I received an ARC for this review but I would have purchased regardless as I did for the first two books. I am honored to have been able to read this fine novel and recommend it so very highly. Fine and scholarly research and riveting storytelling win every time!



Prepublication summary:""It is September 1068. Thea, also known as Gytha, the elder daughter of King Harold II, travels with her brothers and grandmother into exile carrying revenge in her heart. She is soon betrothed to a prince of Kiev. Will her betrothal and marriage bring her happiness, as she confronts enemies from inside and outside Russian territories? Will she prove herself the courageous princess she surely is, win her princely husband's respect and establish her independence in a society protective towards its women?"

Friday, September 4, 2015

Murder in Megara - John the Lord Chamberlain Mystery - Mary Reed and Eric Mayer


Very enjoyable visit with John and Cornelia as he returns to his boyhood hometown, Megara and actually takes up residence near his parent's farm. Adjacent to the farm is a monastery where some of the action takes place and the farm itself has a ruined temple.

These edifices will become important as will John's childhood friends.
His servants Hypatia and Peter play a large part as do innumerable laborers on his estate.

Since he is in actuality, exiled to this estate and since the citizens of the town land are less than thrilled about that fact, he becomes suspect in myriad crimes that are committed. One such crime is the death of his detested stepfather but John, of course is able to tie everything up in a neat bundle.

Recommended for those who enjoy this series and others about the Roman Empire. 




Monday, August 31, 2015

A Shadowed Evil : A Hawkenlye Mystery by Alys Clare

Sir Josse d’Acquin and Helewise are summoned to Southfire Hall, where Josse’s elderly uncle, Hugh, lies dying, surrounded by his children. But the pair soon discovers that Hugh’s ill health is not the only cause of distress in the house

I have read all of the Hawkenlye books that were available to me and this one is another unique one. Recently we have begun to see a familial relationship for Josse and Helewise.

This one was chilling, fast paced and so very intriguing.So glad that it got wrapped up so nicely at the end.

Recommended for all who appreciate a really good Medieval mystery which will hold your interest. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Taming of the Queen - Philippa Gregory- Perilous Times

3.5 stars or a bit more. I really liked much of the book but the true fictional parts as described by the author did not work for me. 

The scenes that I enjoyed the best were the naval battle with the Mary Rose and the interaction that Katherine surely had with Henry's younger children, Elizabeth and Edward. Was she that close with Mary? Perhaps.

Importantly the author describes how very sinister Henry VIII was and how perilous the times were under his himself and his children and even their successors. A New World sprang up thanks to this dynasty.

Recommended for Tudor fans and anyone who has read the rest of this series.Very engrossing! 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Figure of Hate- Bernard Knight- So love the series..

The Peverels of Sampford Peverell kept their manor as it had been in the time of the Conqueror, a very closed and violent place. Hugh Peverell was instrumental in his father's death and he and his brother planned to shorten his widow's life as well.

A series of crimes, each one worse than the one before kept kept Crowner John coming into their sphere with sometimes disastrous results. Bernard Knight gives excellent period detail to a stark
time to be alive, with laws just beginning to approach any type of justice.

This was one of the best ones I have read, the series just kept getting better. Crowner John and his retinue are vibrant characters. Three more to finish all 15 books, these sandwiched between others. I wholeheartedly recommend the series.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Witch Hunter - #8 of Crowner John great series ~ Bernard Knight

The first part was slow but it got quite exciting just past mid book..Happily for me! Crowner John's nemesis, the sheriff his brother in law has committed the final crime and he is now banished.

Those poor women who were victimized  as witches were the downside, however that was the times and such a harsh era.

Four more of the series left to read. I just love this author and this series.


Friday, August 14, 2015

Person Non Grata - Ruth Downie ~ Just the greatest series~


Ruth Downie is an excellent author who makes these characters come to life. She writes with humor as well as with historical correctness. 

Roman era Britain and Gaul comes to life in this series which I am going to complete, hopefully before the 7th book is released. 

Currently reading my 4th and recommend them heartily to all. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Rise of the Wolf - Steven McKay~ Great job!






  I was quite pleasantly surprised to find the author remembered that I had asked for more "family time" for the characters. I likely meant more character depth and I happily felt that was the case in book 3. Series often are like that, the readers grow and the characters grow.

 The last chapter had a bit more violent deaths than I like but that was the times for sure. The book ended on a good and hopeful note for the family groups.

 I will be expecting the sequel and perhaps the book about Friar Tuck.Great job!  

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Winter Crown - Eleanor of Aquitaine by Elizabeth Chadwick ~ Riveting and Remarkable - Order now!


It is the winter of 1154 and Eleanor, Queen of England, is biding her time. While her husband King Henry II battles for land across the channel, Eleanor fulfils her duty as acting ruler and bearer of royal children. But she wants to be more than this - if only Henry would let her.



Eleanor has always been my alter ego I think, and this book was absolutely riveting to me. I gasped aloud when Henry had Raymond of Toulouse give him homage instead of Eleanor and Richard.

It is always a huge understatement to say that I so hated for the book to end..but still...

Just wonderful, poignant and sometimes quite sad and we left off at Sarum. We will resume there with The Autumn Throne.."Dusk had fallen early on this chilly September evening. A rain-spattered wind was hammering against the shutters like a fist on a sanctuary door, and Alienor was glad of the fire in her chamber, and the fresh batch of wax candles that had arrived earlier that day."

This one is a must read as is the before and the next. Preorder it!

A Shameful Murder - A Reverend Mother Mystery - Cora Harrison - Remarkable Read!

"Introducing the Reverend Mother Aquinas in the first of a brand-new historical mystery series."

I am so sorry this book has ended, it was very wonderful and I loved it. Cora Harrison, of course is a gifted writer and a fine historian. She can surely tell a story- although perhaps Reverend Mother Aquinas of Cork was doing that.

Two aging cousins, both with importance in Cork in 1923, as the Irish War for Independence ground on, had input into the "back story" of this mystery. Mother Aquinas, who was Dorothea to her cousin Lucy, at 70+, had a body of a young girl wash up with the flooded river at the convent.

Who was she, who killed her and finally was she really dead were just some of the questions that Reverend Mother and two of her former students and close friend who was a physician had to solve.

I really identified with these two first cousins, looking back on life as it was and what it had become. Perhaps because I am very Irish and I have such a cousin. Recommended for anyone who likes a fine mystery. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Sister Queens by Julia Fox ~ Fine read about Katherine and Juana

A fine and extremely well researched book by an author who cared about the subjects that were written about.

Juana of Castile and Katherine of Aragon really did have tragic lives and very few happy times. Did it have anything to do with the "Spanish Madness" experienced first by their grandmother Isabella of Portugal, or was it just the lot of Medieval Princesses?

I have my thoughts,as does the author so I recommend reading it!  

 


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Chorus of Innocents- P.F.Chisholm ~ Preorder now!

Robert Carey the historical man had such an interesting life and this series about him is everything I might wish to read. It is important to know that I put aside all my other ARCs to finish this book.

From the Publisher: "Thursday, 12th October, 1592. Eighteen days after the action closes in An Air of Treason, courtier Sir Robert Carey and Carey’s surly, larcenous, and loyal henchman Henry Dodd, Land Sergeant of Gilsland, are back in Carlisle and the Debateable Lands, the Border country, the Wild North, the land of the hot trod where the thieving, feuding reiver clans are “English when it suited, and Scots at their pleasure."
A Chorus of Innocents ushers forward Lady Elizabeth Widdrington, the married woman whom Carey adoresbut respects. It opens when a very pregnant young woman rides to Lady Widdrington’s tower crying that
her minister husband has been murdered and she herself has been raped."....

You have to preorder this book to get ready to learn the rest. I very sincerely recommend it!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Two Bronze Pennies- Chris Nickson- ~ Pre-order this awesome book now! ~

"D.I. Tom Harper is looking forward to a long winter’s nap on this Christmas Eve in Leeds in 1890; unfortunately, he’s not going to get it. The stabbing death of a young man in the poverty-stricken Jewish district is causing quite a stir"


Wow, what a read, which I put it down once with effort as I did not want to finish it! Chris Nickson's mysteries never fail to enthrall and have the perfect mix of fine character development, intriguing criminal activity and policing, whichever era they are set it. This one of course is late 19th century Leeds with the advent of heavy industrialization on a small city.

What is going to happen the next time out between Tom and his friend Billy Reed, now a triumvirate with new Det. Ash? Well I have to be there and everyone needs to grab this book now to get up to speed.

A great glimpse back into a time when power and politics ALMOST always trumped truth and justice.

Link is up now for the hardcover, preorder now to be sure to get yours.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Elixir of Death - Crowner John #10 - Bernard Knight ~ So great!

County Coroner Sir John de Wolfe investigates a series of brutal murders in 12th-century England. The discovery of the murdered crew from a shipwreck…is just the first in a string of atrocities. The captain was the husband of Sir John's former mistress, Hilda, and his investigation troubles both his shrewish wife Matilda and his current mistress



I absolutely adore Crowner John as a character and Bernard Knight as an author, and am happy reading this series. This mystery was a bit farfetched so gave it 4.5 stars only.

The period  detail is impeccable and historically correct as always and the characters have depth and are believable. I am on to the next one.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

There Was a Little Girl - Brooke Shields- Interesting read..


Actress and author of the New York Times bestseller Down Came the Rain, Brooke Shields, explores her relationship with her unforgettable mother, Teri, in her new memoir. 


Thought provoking and enjoyable read, especially for those understanding this type of family constellation. Brooke Shields has a good grasp of most things she remembers herself, however some things that were related to her seem a bit distorted.

I did like it and think she did a good job with both her book and her accomplishments. Borrowed from my library and recommended.  

Monday, June 22, 2015

Coming of Age- Book Two of Crown in Conflict by Jan Foxall ~ Tremendous read!

"‘Crown in Conflict’ is a series of six novels telling the story of the ruling houses of England and Normandy over a period of half a century before and after the Norman Conquest.This historical novel covers events between 1035 to 1047. " BE STILL,My heart!.. I cannot wait.. 


Often I say I wish the book would not end and this time was not an exception. It was superb and a very fine read. The history was accurate and period detail right on as well. I really admire Jan Foxall as a writer.

I truly felt at times that I was in the same room as the and feeling their emotion. If I had to say why, it must have been the character development as well as the author's great perspective on these people in this time.

I recommend this series as well as her series on John Plantagenet. Foxall indicates that these are her own perspectives but this one is so on target and John is very good also. The Arthur series has not yet gripped me in the same way but I think that Jan Foxall is a terrific author.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Nightfall till Daybreak- Jayne Castel ~ Just wonderful~





               
















A young woman taken as a king's slave. An ambitious warrior in search of a new life in Britannia - and love that must endure duty, treachery and war. It is the spring of 629 A.D. and the Kingdom of the East Angles is in turmoil. 

An astonishingly good series about an ancient line of rulers of East Anglia, well written and researched ( important to me).I read for pleasure but also for edification and these books have thrilled me. I am now checking my ancestral roots as well as my DNA for hoped for East Anglian ancestral ties.

Combining historical and fictive characters is a marvelous way to weave a tale and Jayne Castel has done just that. Sigeberht who became a saint was not a very good king, so it is a good thing that the author's story-line collapsed his reign. When Penda of Mercia invaded, Sigeberht was taken against his will from his monastery in hopes of rallying the troops.

The fictional characters here, Aidan from Connacht and Freya who was an East Anglian could have well existed in some form in this place and time. 


The next book, which I purchased already, will deal with Sigeberht's successor, his step cousin Annan. Will this line begin to merge with the Mercians, their enemies? Find out yourself by getting a copy at Amazon. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Night Shadows - A Novella - Jayne Castel



..a series of historical romance novels set in 7th Century Anglo-Saxon East Anglia.

  4.5 stars for this short novella which I really enjoyed. The author has done a great job with her work on the Wuffinga East Anglian dynasty, which I am now learning a lot about. I have read the first book which ends with the death of Raedwald. I will now start on Nightfall till Daybeark which is book 2.

I recommend these books for all who love peeks at Dark Age Britain where, "In the early seventh century, King Raedwald of East Anglia “held sway over all the provinces south of the Humber,” according to the Venerable Bede. Just great! 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Phoenix Rising: A Novel of Anne Boleyn- Hunter S. Jones

The last hour of Anne Boleyn's life... Love, hate, loyalty and betrayal come together in a single dramatic moment... the execution of a queen. The history of England will be changed for ever. 




Really captivating and entertaining, I give it 4.5 stars and my only problem with it is that some of the letters from minor players in this account were a bit dry or unclear.

An excellent way to tell the story of someone whose life ended tragically. I might suggest Harry Duke of Buckingham and/or his wife Katherine Woodville for an alternative history of this type.

I am looking forward to whatever Hunter Jones will be working on next.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Dark Under Cover of Knight - Jayne Castel - Terrific view of people and places shrouded in time ~






 A terrific book about a line of East Anglians I knew little to nothing about, but plan to learn more. There are 2 more books in this series, and I plan to get them, immediately.

Recommended for all who enjoy traveling back to a dark and mostly invisible past. Rædwald and his successors, his son Eorpwald and stepson Sigeberht lived and ruled in the 7th century. Reading this tale and looking through Bede and the Anglo Saxon Chronicle has made them come alive, again, at least for me.The heroine, Raedwyn, is timeless.

"A.D. 617. This year was Ethelfrith, king of the Northumbrians, slain by Redwald, king of the East-Angles; and A.D. 632. This year was Orpwald baptized. " 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Naked- A Novel of Lady Godiva - Eliza Redgold ~ Wonderful~ Preorder now!


          We know her name. We know of her naked ride. We don’t know her true story.

A wonderful retelling of the tale of Lady Godiva's ride through Coventry by an excellent writer. Sometimes poetic in it's prose, which I had to get used to but nicely done and quite historical.

The author's endnotes were superb - check them first- (my basic kindle can be awkward to flip back and forth). Redgold's historical premises were quite accurate and the storyline very plausible.

Understanding who were Saxons and where they were situated in England at that time did a great deal for my understanding of what may have transpired. That Godiva and Leofric were historical people is a given.

Recommended for the many, like myself, who love the pre-Norman period as reading material.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Watch the Lady- Elizabeth Fremantle - Enthralling ~

 This was the best Elizabeth Fremantle book so far and I truly hated for it to end. I did not know much ( or anything actually) about Penelope Devereux and just a bit about her brother, Essex. Written about one of my favorite families, the children and grandchildren of Mary Boleyn.

Fascinating and well done history( yes I looked things up)about a family who events forced to live in normalcy for the most part. They were Elizabeth Tudor's support team,with little credit for it from a shrewish woman who vacillated emotionally throughout her life.

In Queen's Gambit, the heroine was lackluster but Penelope was anything but that. She learned to have an emotionally satisfying life while not coming to a tragic end like most people who surrounded the Tudors. I recommend it to all and enjoyed in immensely.