Friday, March 27, 2015

A Man's Word ( The Kings's Hounds #3) - Martin Jensen ~ A new favorite series

 "The crime-solving duo known as the King’s Hounds—Halfdan and his master, Winston—are investigating a possible plot against King Cnut by onetime enemy-turned-ally Jarl Thorkell. Joined on the arduous journey by Winston’s woman, Alfilda, and Atheling, his cranky mule, they venture to the markets in Thetford to gather information."

Really enjoyable book which I sincerely hope is going to continue as a series. I compare it to the Crowner John series which also is a favorite and like both of them a great deal. Especially interesting is the early time period of King Cnut, one of my very favorites.

Recommended for historical mystery fans as well as medieval of this particular time period.4.5 stars.The pace is a tad slow, but it does truly get there!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Reed In The Wind- Joanna Plantagenet,Queen of Sicily- Rachel Byrd - A truly fine read..

"A Reed in the Wind " follows the eventful life of Joanna, daughter of Henry II of England and his queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine.  This book is the third in Rachel Bard's trilogy about Plantagenet queens. The heroine of the first, "Queen Without a Country," was Berengaria, wed to Richard the Lionheart. The second, "Isabella: Queen Without a Conscience," examines the beauteous, controversial Isabella of Angouleme, queen of King John, Joanna's younger brother"

Joanna of Sicily and England had a complicated life with high and low periods interspersed through it. I knew about her life as well as others in her family, my favorite one of all time. I believe that she made a difference to her time and place and was not merely "a reed in the wind".
A poignant ending to her life at a relatively young age, nonetheless left me with a feeling that she had accomplished a lot of what she had hoped to. Recommended for the fine historical  research as well as a gentle but compelling narrative.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Tapestry - Nancy Bilyeau ~ Very fast paced!

From the Publisher~ "The next page-turner in the award-winning Joanna Stafford series takes place in the heart of the Tudor court, as the gutsy former novice risks everything to defy the most powerful men of her era.

After her priory in Dartford is closed—collateral damage in tyrannical King Henry VIII’s quest to overthrow the Catholic Church—Joanna resolves to live a quiet and honorable life weaving tapestries, shunning dangerous quests and conspiracies. Until she is summoned to Whitehall Palace, where her tapestry weaving has drawn the King’s attention. "

The first two were my favorite books of the series, so far, although all are terrific reads. An energetic and extremely fast moving look at a troubling time in English history. I felt  it was definitely a  bit more complex, as well as less plausible, than either the Crown or The Chalice. Am sure that would  not be the case for many or even most readers of this era, just my own thoughts about pace.

Joanna Stafford is invited to attend the King, at Whitehall Palace, as he  wishes to commission a one of her tapestries. Such a lot happens in a few short months! Such a lot has happened in the two years since The Crown! What a great ending to a swift moving tale of intrigue and oppression!

Friday, March 20, 2015

A Song of Sixpence- Judith Arnopp ~ Poignant ~

Although Elizabeth of York's story is known to me, it is always poignant and sad. The author's telling of the Pretender (or Richard)'s story alternately with Elizabeth's was a different interpretation and worked well. A strong feeling of there being no "winners", on either side from the Wars of the Roses is accurate, I believe.

Judith Arnopp is a fine storyteller and always recommended to everyone who enjoys accurate historical fiction. Get your copy now! 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Price of Blood- A Novel by Patricia Bracewell~ Love Emma of Normandy!

 How I love reading about Emma of Normandy and what a superb book this was! How can I wait until the next in the trilogy  and could I hope that there are 4 instead of 3?

I must admit that Shadow on the Crown unsettled me as "my Emma" was not in love with Athelstan,.however I was not there and they are novels.  The author stated in her afterward " The passion taht I have imagined between Athelstan and Emma, I admit, is pure fiction".

This one, though, was just so very satisfying. When Emma said" Do not kill my son" in Danish, I was enthralled.That event, of course, in this version would complicate Emma's life.She was so very brave and that bravery I am sure is not fiction.

Was she a wonderful wife and mother? Probably she was not. Did she make a lot of mistakes? I am sure she did. Was she self serving? Most likely, although that may have been a great survival mechanism. A very fine work and highly recommended.

                                                          Emma and her sons                        

                Her Epigraph ~ Emma, a gem more splendid through the splendors of her merits

Monday, March 9, 2015

Crowner's Crusade- A welcome prequel to this series by Bernard Knight

  I was so thrilled to discover this one was on kindle at my library and jumped right on it. I adored this very good prequel, which I think was written I 2 parts and put together as I noted an out of time incident or two. 

The first part of the book was slow but definitely speeded up when John returned to Devon.I agree that it is a thrilling prequel and am hoping to read through the series one by one ( on book 4 now).

Bernard Knight's period detail is superb as is the forensic and medical aspects of his being a "Coroner". Recommended for anyone who is interested in this medieval period when Prince John wreaked havoc on parts of England