Wednesday, March 30, 2016

In Praise of the Bees - Kristen Gleeson - 5 star glimpse into early Medieval Ireland ~ Glorious !

A wonderful glorious and unique story about 6th century Ireland, one that I am so glad I did not miss. Another reviewer said this:"I found the first strokes of paint on the .. mostly blank, canvas that is our image and perception of our Irish or Gaelic past" and I so agree.. Few books today describe this hidden era, and fewer still with such accuracy.

I followed Áine/Cuime from the ditch where she was found beaten and left for dead to the convent where the sisters who saved her lived. They worked very hard to save her life and she felt comfort there although she had no memory of the almost lethal attack she had suffered.

Colman, a legal worker and her late brother's foster-brother Óengus feature prominently in this fine tale with it's surprising twists and turns.

I thank Kristin Gleeson for shedding light into the dark ages for me- and in a place where my ancestors really lived. Recommended for all readers especially lovers of very early Medieval times which shed light on our humanity

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Beaufort Bride - Book one Beaufort Chronicles - Judith Arnopp - Available now!

"As King Henry VI slips into insanity and the realm of England teeters on the brink of civil war, a child is married to the mad king’s brother. Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond, takes his child bride into Wales where she discovers a land of strife and strangers."

What an incredibly interesting book about the early life of Margaret Beaufort, a novel of course, as not much is known about her early years. I had to tear myself away from it to do anything else besides read. Now I must wait for the next book in the chronicles to continue with this tale.

To date I had not thought Margaret was very likeable, having had sympathies with her daughter in law Elizabeth, but this representation changed how I perceived her. She did not have much of a childhood, and her twice widowed mother seems to have used her for personal gain.

Apparently she loved her St. John siblings, especially her sisters.. wondering when they got together over the years?? I think she did see her younger brother John Welles when her son was king. Hoping to discover that in the next volume which definitely indicates a huge interest in this complicated family group.
As I read I was struck anew by how very hard life could be for girls and women with nothing to look forward to except an arranged marriage and children. I do hope that the day to day activities of the rest of her life made up for this difficult beginning. She did have her beloved Henry to love although probably mostly from afar.

Definitely recommend this supposed glimpse of Margaret Beaufort's younger years to all who relish these times and this family. Just out so get your copy at once! Extraordinary! 5 Stars.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Mayflowers for November- The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn - Malyn Bromfield ~ Get a copy!

I received an ARC via NetGalley from Endeavor Press for this review and am glad that I was given that opportunity .

I very much enjoyed this unique but basically plausible tale of Anne Boleyn's story. Midwives were often felt to have a sixth sense I think, definitely about gestation, so nothing unusual about Avis' visions. The different "voices" the story was told in I think worked well, although took a bit of getting used to. I am not sure it might not have worked just as well to know that her husband was "Tom the Rat Boy" earlier on in the novel, but it is the author's prerogative.

Historically it was quite sound and I am really hoping that this is not the last book by this author. Anne and Mary Boleyn and the Careys are very much favorites of mine.( Not so much Henry and the other relationships)

Recommended to those who enjoy this era, other royal family tales and Tudor fans. The book is published now and quite reasonable. Quickly get a copy

Thursday, March 10, 2016

For The Love of Old Bones & other stories- Michael Jecks- Fine Work!

"Death and deceit stalk the bleak moorlands of medieval Devonshire in this captivating collection of short stories from the acclaimed author Michael Jecks."

A fine and enjoyable small collection of short stories which are easily read. "The Coroner's Tale","For the Love of Old Bones", "The Amorous Armorer" , "A Clerical Error" and "Dance of Death" are the titles. Your will have to choose your own favorite, I am still considering.

Michael Jecks is the author of the bestselling Knights Templar series, comprising thirty-two novels starring Baldwin de Furnshill who of course makes an appearance here. Other newer characters have appeared to enhance this great small volume, all written in this author's fine style.

I received an ARC from Netgalley courtesy of Endeavor Press for a review and am happy to do so. 

Saint Peter's Fair - Chronicles of Brother Cadfael - Ellis Peters ~ Always simply wonderful

5 Stars-  Another great read as I hopscotch around the Brother Cadfael books. I must confess that I may have read this one years ago, along with a few others but rereading is always a joy also!

What I possibly like the best is that the series is superimposed on a pivotal era in English history, and one that I love to read. The Civil Wars between the Empress Matilda and her cousin Stephen of Blois eventually gave birth to the Plantagenet Kings my very favorite group. 

In this tale a murderer does his crimes while supposedly helping this war effort. We know that a lot of evil flourished at this point , when "God and His Saints Slept. Cadfael and his great friend Hugh Beringer, at this time deputy Sheriff of Shrewsbury, finally assisted by Philip a merchant's son, solve a complicated series of murders.
Recommended highly