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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Tudor blood, a beheaded sister who was queen, and art history. An interesting book.

SISTERS OF TREASON,  by Jane Fremantle, has as a backdrop a familar story, the short reign of Lady Jane Grey. The book, however, goes a step beyond other historical fiction books and gives us a look at Jane's two sisters, both somewhere in line for the crown. In addition, the court artist figures prominently in thier story.

As usual, with the Tudors, this is a tale of politics, family, love, and loss. We get to know Jane's sisters, Catherine and Mary. Catherine was impulsive and given to making unwise decisions, usually in the name of love. Lady Mary, on the other hand, seems the most suited to any type of high rank but is burdened with a crooked spine and a tiny stature almost as a dwarf.

Both girls have inherited the cursed Tudor blood that puts them, or at least Catherine, in line for the Queen's distrust. Mary excapes by being the Queen's "pet", treated almost as a pet monkey would be treated. She hates it, but endures it.
The girls are under the loving and watchful eye of the court painter Levina Teerlinc. She becomes not just a trusted advisor, but a mother figure to the girls. From Levina's viewpoint, we see life at court from another point of view.

The book covers the reigns of both Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. Family feuds, royal blood, and religious upheaveal cloud the girls' everyday existance. This is an interesting sideline to the Tudor history and art history of the time. I enjoyed the book.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Jojo Moyes' Ship of Brides....

Let me say it at the very beginning, I wanted something more from the book. I have been urged by numerious friends to read a Jojo Moyes. They are devoted to her as are thousands of other readers. So when his book became available through Netgalley, I jumped at the chance to read it.

I was disappointed. The story of a ship of war brides, based upon historical fact, is an interesting idea. I did not find it presented in an interesting way. The problem for me was that the characters were not fleshed out enough. For about 3/4's of the way through the book, I really didn't care what happened to any of them. Finally, and a reader should not have to wait this long, I began to care, somewhat, about two of the characters, Margaret and Frances. Frances moreso than Margaret for I thought Margaret's outcome was exactly as expected. Frances' outcome posed more suspense.

I feel that I cared more for Frances, for as the novel progressed, she was the character who developed into someone more than the original single diminsion character who was first presented. The others did not. She became real and interesting.  The other main characters did not. There were several secondary characters and they, too, needed more substance.

I enjoy WWII history and was looking forward to this book. It did not live up to hopes.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Carpinello's Writing Pages: Meet YA Author Traci McDonald

Meet YA Author Traci McDonald. She is an inspiritaion for her blindness does not stop her. Read about her and her first book on a fellow blogger's blog: Go to Carpinello's Writing Pages: Meet YA Author Traci McDonald: Carpinello's Writing Pages welcomes author Traci McDonald and her book Burning Bridger . Traci's blindness hasn't kept her down....

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Losing St. Christopher: Second book in the Cherokee Triology now available for lovers of Native American history.

Earlier I reviewed David-Michael Harding's first book in his Cherokee Nation history triology, The Cherokee Talisman. The second book, Losing St. Christopher is now available and lovers of Cherokee history, earlly American history, and Native American history should grab a copy as soon as possible. 
In this second book, Totsuwah,  the  shamanof the Cherokee Nation, struggles against the assimilation of his people into the white man's world.  The colonists,  along with Cherokee who are trying to bridge both worlds, see him as a  threat.  When his  visions show him the future, his heart is troubled.  Chancellor, his son, takes a white wife. Totsuwah's fears seem realized. Cultural and family conflicts  erupt when Totsuhwa’s only grandchild is forced onto the Trail of Tears. What follows is heart wrentching as love fights for survival.
Losing St. Christopher will educate readers while entertaining them.This is a story  of culture, inner conflict and the evolution of a nation. With vivid descriptions and engaging characters, I highly recommend this book. It is not an easy read. It is not a quick reak, but it is a powerful read.                  
From the Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation comes this: 
Cherokee Talisman brings to life characters from our history and through a flare for fiction and historical research, Harding tells their story. Cherokees that might be painted by racist misconceptions as blood thirsty savages are humanized by Harding, making them heroes of a very real time. History is written by the victorious, but when almost forgotten historical characters are brought to life they are preserved for the ages, and in this preservation David-Michael Harding has succeeded.” - Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker

Now Available at bookstores and online outlets.