Thursday, December 31, 2009

Upcoming Release: The Stolen Crown by Susan Higginbotham

Due to hit bookstores March 1st 201o
What a pretty pair of covers I love them both but the one on the left will be the official final cover. I can not wait to read this one I know I will love it I LOVED Hugh and Bess.

"On May Day, 1464, six-year-old Katherine Woodville, daughter of a duchess who has married a knight of modest means, awakes to find her gorgeous older sister, Elizabeth, in the midst of a secret marriage to King Edward IV. It changes everything—for Kate and for England.
Then King Edward dies unexpectedly. Richard III, Duke of Gloucester, is named protector of Edward and Elizabeth's two young princes, but Richard's own ambitions for the crown interfere with his duties...
Lancastrians against Yorkists: greed, power, murder, and war. As the story unfolds through the unique perspective of Kate Woodville, it soon becomes apparent that not everyone is wholly evil—or wholly good."

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Upcoming Release: Within The Hollow Crown by Margaret Campbell Barnes

Due to hit bookstores April 1st 2010

This is also another tasty read I want to get my hands on. I have been searching for a good read set in this period. Maybe this might satisfy my craving. Either way this is going to be my first read by Margaret Campbell Barnes and I am looking forward to it very much.
"Set against the backdrop of a country racked by revolt and class warfare, Within the Hollow Crown showcases the true spirit of a king at the end of one of the most glorious dynasties, who wants both England's heart and crown. Perhaps one of the most misunderstood of all English monarchs, the son of the Black Prince and grandson of Edward III has been portrayed in a dim light by history. But Margaret Campbell Barnes gives readers a different portrait of Richard II. Although his peace-loving ways set him apart from the war-mongering medieval world around him, Richard proved himself a true king by standing down a peasant revolt and outwitting the political schemes of his enemies. Struggling to uphold the valiant Plantagent dynasty, Richard and his queen, Anne of Bohemia, nonetheless manage to create an exquisite partnership, described as "one of the tenderest idylls of romance ever written."

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

In Book Stores today! The Queen's Dollmaker by Christine Trent

The day has finally come! This one I will be buying a finished copy of for my library collection, yes it was that good.

"On the brink of revolution, with a tide of hate turned against the decadent royal court, France is in turmoil - as is the life of one young woman forced to leave her beloved Paris. After a fire destroys her home and family, Claudette Laurent is struggling to survive in London. But one precious gift remains: her talent for creating exquisite dolls that Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France herself, cherishes. When the Queen requests a meeting, Claudette seizes the opportunity to promote her business, and to return home...Amid the violence and unrest, Claudette befriends the Queen, who bears no resemblance to the figurehead rapidly becoming the scapegoat of the Revolution. But when Claudette herself is lured into a web of deadly political intrigue, it becomes clear that friendship with France's most despised woman has grim consequences. Now, overshadowed by the spectre of Madame Guillotine, the Queen's dollmaker will face the ultimate test."
My review of this tasty Historical Fiction novel here.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Mailbox Mondays

Another wonderful Monday now that the holiday rush has finally simmered down a bit. Once again I am so lucky to have wonderful friends who always think of me. Arleigh over at Historical-Fiction sent me some wonderful books that I absolutely love. The coolest part is they are all books I have been dying to read.

From Arleigh:
The Loves of Charles II, Jean Plaidy
The Courts of Love, Jean Plaidy
Victoria Victorious, Jean Plaidy

The other ones that moseyed their way to the mail box are:
Virgin and The Crab by Robert Parry
Powder and Patch by Georgette Heyer
Cassandra, Lost by Joanna Catherine Scott

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sundays Art: Pre-Raphaelites The long Engagement 1853-59

Arthur Hughes 1832-1915

This painting actually is a remake. It originally was made to be an illustration for Shakespeare's play As you like it depicting Orlando in the Forest of Arden. It was rejected by the Royal Academy which led Hughes to paint Orlando out. He did keep the background but began his work on adding the lovers.

The lovers standing in the rejected forest, contemplating the financial obstacles that are preventing their wedding. The man is wearing clergy's mans clothes which lead him to look like he is humiliated in his inability to provide for a wife. To the point where he can not face her and his inabilities. She seems ever hopeful rallying his spirit with her devotion and love. Even her dog wants to love him too.

Her name is Amy and it is carved into the tree trunk but it has been there so long that the ivy has begun to cover it. Moss and Lichen are gradually growing up the tree suggesting the frailty and inevitability of time. The man stands in the shadow, his fiancee stands in the light with bright clothes and behind her flowers bloom symbolizing hope and new or renewed life.

The graphic of this does not do it justice. It actually is a very vibrant piece and has much more detail than shown here. This was the only image of it I could find and it took me some time just to find this one. The first time I saw this I was awh struck by the fiancee, Amy. I have much empathy for Amy in her hopeful love. I have seen that look before and not just in my life but the lives of others.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Upcoming Release: The Queen's Pawn by Christy English

Due to hit bookstores April 6th 2010

I am really hyped about this one it will be my first read set within Eleanore of Aquitaine times. I really have to hold back I am getting myself all worked up. I love the cover on it, I am fickle when it comes to the cover and matching the time period of the book. Christy nailed it and I love it.

" A historical novel of the legendary Eleanor of Aquitaine and the one person she loved more than power-her rival for the throne.

At only nine, Princess Alais of France is sent to live in England until she is of age to wed Prince Richard, son of King Henry II and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. Alais is an innocent pawn on the chessboard of dynastic marriage, her betrothal intended to broker an uneasy truce between the nations.

Estranged from her husband, Eleanor sees a kindred spirit in this determined young girl. She embraces Alais as a daughter, teaching the princess what it takes to be a woman of power in a world of men. But as Alais grows to maturity and develops ambitions of her own, Eleanor begins to see her as a threat-and their love for each other becomes overshadowed by their bitter rivalry, dark betrayals, conflicting passions, and a battle for revenge over the throne of England itself."

Friday, December 25, 2009

Bring Them Home Santa, Happy Holidays

Many may not have picked up on this but my brother has been on a tour of duty in Iraq for the past year and he is finally on his way home. They try to get them home before the holidays but he will not make it for Christmas. I had to post this video it brought me to tears when the little boy in class realizes it is his daddy coming into his class room in uniform.
We Wish You a Merry♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Christmas♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪We Wish You a Merry ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪Christmas ♥ ♥ ♥We Wish You A Merry ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪Christmas ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪...And A Happy New Year!♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪
Happy Holidays Everyone and to everyone who is trying to make it home to their families just make it home safe!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table Website

Announcing the new Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table website! Hooray I am so excited about the coming together of our group, it has turned out to be such a fun group. Be sure and check the site out and become a follower so that you will not miss any of our upcoming events. This is what is on the calender so far for 2010 new releases:

Kick off Event- Notorious Royal Marriages by Leslie Carroll January- O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell
February- The Secret of the Glass by
Donna Russo Morin
April- Claude & Camille by Stephanie Cowell
May- The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by
C.W. Gortner
June- For the King by
Catherine Delors

Charter Members of Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table:
...::: Allie of :::...
Hist-Fic Chick
...::: Amy of :::...
Passages to the Past
...::: Arleigh of :::...
...::: Heather of :::...
The Maiden's Court
...::: Me (Lizzy) of :::...
Historically Obsessed
...::: Lucy of :::...
Enchanted by Josephine
...::: Marie of :::...
The Burton Review
...::: Susie of :::...
All Things Royal

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My Reading Challenges 2010

I had to add this one hosted by Alaine at Royal Reviews. Since I am going to be reading my first Georgette Heyer novel very soon I figured I should add this one because I am pretty sure I will read more of them. I decided to go with:

– Read 3 Romance Fiction novels

My known reads so far will be Arabella and Powder and Patch both by G.H.

The Tudor book Challenge is hosted by Michelle at Benedictionary, a book worms blog. Tudor Book Challenge: From January 1st, 2010 to December 31st, 2010 The Tudor Book Challenge challenges you to read books about or inspired by the Tudor era of the English monarchy.

I choose Commoner – Your role in the kingdom is small but mighty. You are going to read at least 5 Tudor-related books. I am pretty sure I will end up reading more than that but just to be safe I picked a lower one. I plan on reading the Tudor related novels from my Arc's list and unread owned books list.
ARC's 2010
Arc Reading Challenge is hosted by Teddy Rose at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time.

Here is this list for 2010 so far...
  1. Georgette Heyer's Regency World by Jennifer Kloester 
  2. How To Mellify A Corpse by Vicki Leon 
  3. I Serve by Rosanne E Lortz
  4. The Confessions of Catherine De Medici by C.W. Gortner
  5. Watermark by Vanitha Sankaran
  6. The Queen's Pawn by Christy English
  7. Claude and Camille by Stephanie Cowell
  8. Within The Hollow Crown by Margaret Campbell Barnes 
  9. The Scarlet Lion by Elizabeth Chadwick
  10. The Secret of the Glass by Donna Russo Morin
  11. Powder and Patch by Georgette Heyer
  12. O' Juliet by Robin Maxwell
  13. Arabella by Georgette Heyer
  14. Notorious Royal Marraiges by Leslie Carroll
  15. The Harlot Progress by Peter Mottley
    Level Bronze: .a. All of us who have or will have less than 12 ARC's must read all of the ARC's we have. Note, that if you have 11 ARC's and then receive a 12th one you will be bumped up to a category

    Historical Fiction Reading Challenge is hosted by the ladies over at Royal Reviews. I chose Obsessed – Read 20 Historical Fiction novels. It is only fitting since the size of the owned unread books is over 50 novels all historical fiction.
    Hosted by MizB's Reading challenges Read Your Own Books and TBR (To Be Read). Both of these challenges I will be using my unread owned books list. I just want to get through as many of them as possible.

    Books Owned To Be Read
    1. Hammer of Scots, Jean Plaidy
    2. Red Rose of Anjou, Jean Plaidy
    3. Indiscretions of the Queen, Jean Plaidy
    4. The Courts of Love, Jean Plaidy
    5. Goddess of the Green Room, Jean Plaidy
    6. Williams Wife, Jean Plaidy
    7. The Third George, Jean Plaidy
    8. The Queen’s Confession, Victoria Holt aka Jean Plaidy
    9. To Hold the Crown, Jean Plaidy
    10. Lady in the Tower, Jean Plaidy
    11. Mary Queen of France, Jean Plaidy
    12. The Kings Grace, Anne Easter Smith
    13. Rose for A Crown, Anne Easter Smith
    14. Royal Harlot, Susan Holloway Scott
    15. The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, Lauren Willig
    16. The Mask of the Black Tulip, Lauren Willig
    17. The Deception of the Emerald Ring, Lauren Willig
    18. The Last Boleyn, Karen Harper
    19. Twilight Tower, Karen Harper
    20. The Poyson Garden, Karen Harper
    21. Through A Glass Darkly, Karleen Koen
    22. Dark Angels, Karleen Koen
    23. Guenevere Queen of the Summer Country, Rosalind Miles
    24. The Knight of the Sacred Lake, Rosalind Miles
    25. The Child of the Holy Grail, Rosalind Miles
    26. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
    27. Persuasions, Jane Austen
    28. Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen
    29. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Lisa See
    30. The Last Greatest Dance on Earth, Sandra Gulland
    31. The Memoirs of Cleopatra, Margaret George
    32. In the Shadow of the Sun King, Golden Keyes Parsons
    33. Courtesan, Diane Haeger
    34. Leonardo’s Swans, Karen Essex
    35. The Tea Rose, Jennifer Donnelly
    36. The Duchess of Milan, Michael Ennis
    37. Elizabeth the Great, Elizabeth Jenkins
    38. The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
    39. The Golden Nineties, Lisa Mason
    40. We Two, Gillian Gill
    41. Margaret Pole, Hazel Pierce
    42. Ovid, The Poetry Library
    43. Pandora, Anne Rice
    44. Merrick, Anne Rice
    45. Blood and Gold, Anne Rice
    46. Black Wood Farm, Anne Rice
    47. The Grand Sophy, Georgette Heyer
    48. The Nonsuch, Georgette Heyer
    49. Devil's Club, Georgette Heyer
    50. The Masqueraders, Georgette Heyer
    51. Faro's Daughter, Georgette Heyer
    52. The Black Moth, Georgette Heyer
    53. The Unfinished Clue, Georgette Heyer
    54. Cassandra, Lost, Joanna Catherine Scott

    Thank you to all the wonderful blogs that are hosting a reading challenge, it give me an excuse to read what I want to read.
    I will update my lists as a read them. Wish me luck because I am going to need it on these ones.

    Monday, December 21, 2009

    Mailbox Mondays, Catch up

    Wow it has been a loooong time since I have done one of these. I have only posted about mailbox Monday two other times in the past. I am very fortunate that I have wonderful friends who always think of me when it comes to historical fiction. Thank you for the wonderful books!

    Marie at The Burton Review was kind enough to send me quite a few Georgette Heyer novels. I told her I was curious about her novels and she sent me these beauties. Thank you Marie I love them!

    The Grand Sophy
    The None Such
    The Devil's Club
    The Masqueraders
    Faro's Daughter
    The Black Moth
    The Unfinished Clue

    Also in the mailbox:
    Notorious Royal Marriages by Leslie Carroll
    The Secret of The Glass by Donna Russo Morin
    The Botticelli Secret by Maria Florato
    Nine Rules To Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah Maclean
    Arabella by Georgette Heyer

    I have a few more en route but more on that probably next Monday!

    Sunday, December 20, 2009

    Sundays Art: Pre-Raphaelites Broken Vows 1857

    Philip Hermogenes Calderon 1833-1898

    This is yet another favorite Pre-Rapaelites of mine. It suggests that the young woman is suffering the agonies of betrayal as she overhears her lover flirting with another woman. Her black clothes suggest that their wedding has been postponed until the end of her mourning period. It seems like he just could not wait for her. The black dress is also indicative of the death of their love, and the dying flowers towards the bottom right.

    Anyone who has ever had a significant other betray them can sympathize with the pain the woman is feeling. Calderon gracefully conveys the pain that a body feels when its heart is breaking.

    Friday, December 18, 2009

    Booking Through Thursday: Speed

    12.17.2009 Speed
    Q:What do you think of speed-reading? Is it a good way to get through a lot of books, or does the speed-reader miss depth and nuance? Do you speed-read? Is some material better suited to speed-reading than others?

    A:As far as speed reading goes it takes me back to college. I took a speed reading class because it was the last reading class that I had not taken that the college offered. I distinctly remember the beginning of the class that the professor was going through what the most valuable tools of speed reading are. The best use for speed reading is text books, mostly educational. For various reasons one being that most students minds would zone out after reading so much that the brain was not really absorbing all of the valuable information. The key to speed reading is training your mind to scan the page and take in the key points: first photos and the side notes. Then briefly read over the page taking note of dates and key sentences. The trick is that you have to train your mind into not reading the side of the pages and exclude words such as: and, at, the etc. The basic words many people over read which slows you down. My professor had us take a timed test, scan the page then read as fast as we could. Immediately we would take a quiz on what we just read. Then calculate the words per a minute from that we would identify what was slowing the words per a minute down. I found for myself that I was over reading and reading the white part of the paper, the side portion. An easy trick for that was cover it up with a darker piece of paper. It kept my eyes from wandering there and focusing on the written words. I did find the skills I learned helpful with my later years studying but....I NEVER do it for my pleasure reads.

    What is the point of reading for pleasure if you do not enjoy every aspect of the book? If you speed read it you are retaining a skeleton of information not the actual full in depth details. I do feel though that what some might feel is their normal pace but is technically considered a "speed reader" is more than possible. My husband is one of "them" where he is a speed reader technically but if you can read that fast and comprehend to the fullest then I do not really see it as speed reading more like a speedy reader. Everyone one reads at different paces some novels I enjoy taking my time on because I will never be able to read it again for the first time. I want to enjoy and savor every word I read.

    Thursday, December 17, 2009

    Booking Through Thursday: Biggest Catch Up Ever!

    I know I have so fallen behind on this it is not even funny. With the move and all I had to cut back on a bunch of posts and this one I just did not have the time to get to until now. I have many weeks that I missed the questions on so here we go!

    12.10.2009 Mark the Spot

    What items have you ever used as a bookmark? What is the most unusual item you’ve ever used or seen used?
    Cards that books come with have become a norm for me. But my favorite has become a "trading card" that was made for the release of "Royal Affairs: A Lusty Romp Through the Extramarital Adventures that Rocked the British Monarch". On one side it has the books details and the other it is king Charles II. The part I find interesting is the details: his nick name, birthday, death, vital statistics, and my favorite part that he Ennobled 17 of his illegitimate children. It makes me snicker to myself every time with out fail when I open my current read. He was such a bad boy I swear like a historical Hugh Hefner.

    12.3.2009 But, What About Me?
    But enough about you, what about ME?
    Today’s question? What’s your favorite part of Booking Through Thursday? Why do you participate (or not)?
    I find it enjoyable that it give me a way to reach out more to others in the reading community. Every once in awhile it draws it a new person or two that might choose a different genre because of a recommendation here. I just enjoy getting feedback as far as what others are reading and posting about the book responses. There is an abundance of variety in the group as a whole. Which is very enjoyable, thank you for hosting it!

    11.26.2009 Thankful Thursday
    It’s Thanksgiving in the U.S.A. today, so I know at least some of you are going to be as busy with turkey and family as I will be, so this week’s question is a simple one: What books and authors are you particularly thankful for this year?
    I am thank full that our family was able to purchase our first home this year. We love our new home and it has changed our lives. Living in our old home we were very unhappy with the situation. So much so that it began to affect our daily lives. I just thank goodness that I do not have to wake up every morning to the stupid old neighbor behind us, her 4 dogs 3 being basset hounds would howl all day long because she left them outside. Starting at 7 am everyday for years. I think that was enough to stress out any normal human being. In the first week of the new house every morning my husband would say to me laying in bed, "Do you hear dogs". No more barking dogs or howling dogs here.

    11.19.2009 Posterity
    Today’s question was suggested by Barbara: Do you think any current author is of the same caliber as Dickens, Austen, Bronte, or any of the classic authors? If so, who, and why do you think so? If not, why not? What books from this era might be read 100 years from now?
    Well I am unsure I think if I had to pick any author that was of that caliber it would have to be Jean Plaidy. Just because she has written so many novels and every single one of them I have read they not only are logical but historically logical. I still have not finished Pride and Prejudice, I am having issues with finishing it. My brain just can not comprehend what they are saying, it is like my dyslexia kicks into over drive with her.

    11.12.2009 Too Short?
    Suggested by JM: “Life is too short to read bad books.” I’d always heard that, but I still read books through until the end no matter how bad they were because I had this sense of obligation.That is, until this week when I tried (really tried) to read a book that is utterly boring and unrealistic. I had to stop reading. Do you read everything all the way through or do you feel life really is too short to read bad books?
    I give up on them because after reading other people responses to worst book ever I will never again force myself to finish a novel. If it is that bad then i just call it a wash and move on there are way too many other books I want to read that I do not have time to waste on bad ones.

    11.5.2009 It's All About Me
    Which do you prefer? Biographies written about someone? Or Autobiographies written by the actual person?
    Depends on how good it is I would have to say biographies because if I wanted to read it from their point of view I would rather read a fiction one because then it gives the emotion behind the actions.

    10.29.2009 Blurb
    Suggested by Jennysbooks: Something I’ve been thinking about lately: “What words/phrases in a blurb make a book irresistible? What words/phrases will make you put the book back down immediately?”
    I know but I am going to have to do it! There is just one word that I just can not stand in a book that always really pushes me away instantly. You say what is the word? Well it is crude and can be considered a bad word even to date. The more modern version of this word is very explicit. So I will try to lay it out with out being too nasty. It starts with a C next is U then two N's and you can guess the last letter. I have just found that authors that feel a need to use this word are just not to my taste. I think it is a waste of a word.

    Tuesday, December 15, 2009

    Finally hitting the States "The Young Victoria"

    I have been waiting for this hoping it would make it here just like the Pope Joan Movie. Now I just have to find someone to go with me.

    (starring Emily Blunt), a film that chronicles Queen Victoria's ascension to the throne, focusing on the early turbulent years of her reign and her legendary romance and marriage to Prince Albert. Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, written by Academy Award Winner Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park), and produced by a team including Graham King (The
    Departed), Martin Scorsese, Tim Headington and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York - the film has already received international acclaim. The Young Victoria opens in select theaters across the US beginning Friday of this week (12/18)."

    Saturday, December 12, 2009

    Sundays Art: Pre-Raphaelites Briar Rose Series 1884-90

    Painted by Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones 1833-1898
    The fourth and final panel is a Pre-Rapaelite I am uncertain if the whole series is but it does meet the nature aspect of the Pre-Raphaelites brother hood. Burne-Jones also received his inspiration from a written work. Charles Perrault's classic fairy tale "The Sleeping Beauty" was the literary link for what has been deemed his most important work. After looking at all of them together and closely: I would have to say they all qualify as a Pre-Rapaelites.

    "The Council Chamber"

    "The Garden Court"

    "The Briar Rose"

    Tuesday, December 08, 2009

    Today In History, Happy Birthday Mary Queen of Scots

    Happy birthday Mary I promise I did not forget it. Today is the 467Th and yet you still fascinate many. The picture below is alleged to be painted by the French court painter at the time Mary was 16 years old. To me it looks more like an engraving or a etching but I could be wrong.

    For more on Mary check out theses links to previous posts:
    Book Review of The Other Queen by Philipha Gregory
    Book Review of The Memoirs of Mary Queen of Scots by Carrolly Erickson
    Today in History, Wedding Bells for Mary
    My own Mary art work of Mary
    The Video that made Mary Talk featuring the lovely Leslie Carroll
    Mary Queen of Scots Last Letter goes on display

    Sunday, December 06, 2009

    Sundays Art: Pre-Raphaelites Flaming June 1895

    Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830-1896)

    What had first begun as a motif to adorn a marble bath in one of Leighton's other works, Summer Slumber, it turned out that he became attached to the design and decided to create it as a painting in its own right.

    This is number one on my list of the Pre Raphaelites, I have it on a journal and buy it every time I see it on anything. I have always dreamed her to be a sleeping goddess on mount Olympus, slumbering in a paradise on the clouds. I am in shock it was to be a "adornment" at first and was not originally created as a main piece.

    Saturday, December 05, 2009

    Book Review: THE HARLOTS PROGRESS by Peter Mottley

    Naive seventeen year old Yorkshire Molly Huckerby left her home town behind for the hope of becoming her cousin Tom's respectable wife. Already she was an orphan having only a few sparse family members. Tom was her hope of a new life in the exciting city of London. Stepping off the wagon into the cold cruel world that was London in the 19Th century it was sending the lamb to slaughter.

    Unbeknown to her at the time Molly had walked right into the lions den. She knew London could be dangerous but why was it dangerous? Being caught unaware in the midst's of predators, stalking their prey waiting for the next "Innocent" to take down. Feasting on the still living flesh was daily life in London at the times. It was kill or be killed , survival of the most primitive nature.

    Molly had taken one step off the wagon and was approached by a woman she would come to know as "mother" Wickham. The woman was no nurturing mother more like the devils whore house regulator. Mother Wickham "marked" Moll and moved in for the kill right if as on cue. Offering a small refreshment inside her "fine" establishment known to the whole town as The Bell. Molly it just so happened was dropped off the wagon before it took her to her final destination (Toms house). She had her trunk and no idea how to get to Tom's carrying it. Nervously she accepted the offer. Still hesitant she went into the bell, a virgin.

    A lost evening and the last thing she could remember was sitting with one of the bells other patrons, the colonel. She would never be the same after making his acquaintance. Awaking in a strange room was not the first thing she noticed. Her full nakedness, a smear of blood on her thigh, and a few guineas on the table? It all did not make sense. Not until mother Wickham paraded in stating "I always let my girls keep there first purse". Mortified Moll realized she had been set up. Tricked, partially drugged and her maiden head was gone forever. She was now a harlot. A abused possession that could be bought and sold at any time. There was no way out for her the bell had to be her home. After she had tracked her cousin down and he refused to acknowledge her as family she had no other choice. Her innocence stolen from her in the night she could never forget or forgive. Could she ever escape being forced into harlotry? With the vile and abusive colonel hot on her there was no chance of escape, her owned her. She was his to do with as he pleased until the tide had turned or an unlikely escape became apparent.

    3/5 I do have to state that there should be some kind of disclaimer on this book. Brutal to the extreme, graphic rapes scenes, violent fights, and at one point graphic dominatrix acts bordering on soft porn. You ask why did I read it then? Besides the mystery of what would really happen to Moll at the Bell. I have come to the conclusion that it was like watching a train wreck. Yes it is a terrible thing to see but you can not look away. I found myself seeking time to read more and more because it was so utterly compelling. Molly the soft sweetheart abused repeatably my heart broke for her. The loss of her life with her cousin Tom was so brutal that I completely sympathized with her. I wanted her to make it and find her own place and for once be safe. Sometimes we all need a reminder of why we like other periods or people in novels. I like kings and queen because of the glamor and glitz. Poor Moll possessed none of the glitz but she did have a courageous good heart and for that I related to her. I would recommend this book if you are on the gutsy side and can stomach the violence. As for me I am looking forward to reading the next one "Annie's Quest". It did open a window to a prospective I had never ventured to see before and for that it was a good "brutal" read.

    For more information on Peter Mottley read this. If you would like to see the book trailer, check it out. If you can not wait to get your hands on a copy follow one of the links below.

    Tuesday, December 01, 2009

    The HF Community BEWARE

    "Swiper NO Swiping" Do we not remember what our mothers told us growing up that "stealing is morally wrong."

    I originally started this blog as a means to be able to "meet" other people who loved historical fiction as much as me. People I could talk to and enjoy covering new reads and past reads. I have been fortunate to meet some of the most amazing people which I greatly appreciate making their acquaintance. My mother always told me "With any group of people the more volume you have the more chance there is that there will be a rotten apple in the group".

    Recently in the HF blogosphere, there has been some discrepancies in regards to "swiping." The lovely Leslie Carroll was the first victim with her review of "Wolf Hall". Leslie being the stand up lady that she is called B.S. on this, and somewhat resolved the issue, and the review was changed to exclude the swiped portion of her review of Wolf Hall. The next victim was Allie from Hist-Chic with her very informative post on Coco Channel, it was stated that someone else would also be covering this at a later point. Hum, I wonder where she got that idea could it be that she spends her day trolling other Historical Fiction blogs looking for ideas on what to post herself? Or is it that she is so uncreative she can not muster a good enough post to get attention?

    I have kept a close eye on the events that had transpired not only because these wonderful women have become my friends but because I needed to make sure the same did not happen to me. Low and behold I discovered yesterday that had been "swiped" of one of my ideas.

    I know many of you have been thoroughly enjoying my Sunday's Art posts on the Pre-Raphalites and I have had so much fun doing them. I have really enjoyed the fire storm of comments and debates on what the hidden symbolism's mean. With that being said I have to state that I normally love a good collaboration and I do not mind if my ideas are recycled as far as format, widgets, and anything else. What I will not tolerate is someone swiping my idea's as far as posts go. I work very hard to bring original posts to light for all my readers, for there enjoyment only. I genuinely want to know what other my readers think once they read my thoughts.

    What I can not stand about this is I know she read my post but did not leave a comment. Then barely a week after my post miraculously her post went up titled "Pre-Raphaelites in Love: Millias, Effie Gray and John Ruskin". Original post I think not: sorry but it has already been done and you are ridding other peoples creative coat tails. Sad I know, that someone would have a blog but can not come up with an original post and instead has to swipe it from someone else. I am normally very open minded but this has pushed me over the edge. Maybe next time find someone more obscure to steal from maybe then you will not get caught.

    You be the judge, Here is my post dated November 22nd, Here is her post dated November 30th. If you would like to see another random blog that also caught wind with a detailed description Leslie's review of Wolf Hall go here, it is very amusing to see what the outraged responses to it were.

    Sunday, November 29, 2009

    Sundays Art: Pre-Raphaelites April Love 1855

    Arthur Hughes (1832-1915)

    "The scene is set after a lovers' quarrel: the girl's eyes are spilling tears while, behind her, barely indistinguishable in form and color from the wood around them, sits, her lover, head in hands."

    I have always admired this painting and recently discover the lover in the background. I am not sure if it is just me but I have been looking at this picture for years and never saw him or the tears. My favorite part is the dress and the color scheme he chose, the purple is balanced with the greenery to perfection.

    At its first showing Hughes accompanied the painting with an extract from Tennyson's poem "The Miller's Daughter":
    Love is hurt with jar and fret,
    Love is made a vague regret,
    Eyes with idle tears are set,
    Idle habit links us yet;
    What is Love? For we forget.
    Ah no, no.

    Sunday, November 22, 2009

    Sundays Art: Pre-Raphaelites The Order of Release 1853

    Painted by Sir John Everett Millais (1829-1896), one of the only paintings in history that actually needed its own personal body guards to shield it from the adoring fans.

    I am profoundly moved by this painting it has struck something so deep inside me that I can feel the emotion represented. One would think that after receiving the order for release from prison a family reunion would be a happy moment. The symbolism is distressing to me because I am a mother but before I was a mother I was a wife. I love my husband so deeply with every fiber of my being that the emotion portrayed in her expression tears at a part of my soul.

    "The picture tells of a Scottish Highlander's release from prison during one of the many wars waged between the Highlanders and the English army. The determined, resigned facial expression of his wife suggests that his order of release was obtained at the expense of her honor; the husband humiliated, defeated stance suggest he knows the sacrifice she made. The model for the soldier's wife was Scottish Effie Ruskin; later to become Effie Millais. It was during the painting of this picture that she and Millais fell in love and she confided to him the travesty of her marriage to Ruskin".
    Essential Pre-Raphaelites

    "The subject is simply that of a wife, with child in her arms, coming with an order of release for her husband, who has been taken in the Civil Wars. The husband, overcome with emotions, and weak from a recent wound (his arm is in a sling), can but fall upon her neck and weep; moan, "firm of purpose," sheds no tear; she has none to shed; but her eye is red and heavy with weeping and waking; and she looks at the stern and unconcerned gaoler with a proud look, expressing that she has won the reward for all her trouble past. The colouring, the textural execution, are marvellous (for these degenerate days)".
    Illustrated London News

    Sunday, November 15, 2009

    Sundays Art: Pre-Raphaelites Ophelia 1894

    Inspired by Shakespeare, John William Waterhouse (1849-1917) recreates Hamlet's Opehelia as she is descending into madness: capturing her last moments before drowning.

    I recently discovered some of the more hidden meaning with in this piece. The wet stringy hair is a mirror of an "unbalanced state or a wandering mind". The blood red flowers are for her imminent death, white are for her chastity. A flower crown, her ties to the royal house of Denmark.

    Saturday, November 14, 2009

    Book Review: THE QUEEN'S DOLLMAKER by Christine Trent

    Due to hit bookstores December 29Th 2009.

    Paris 1765 Claudette Renee Laurient, daughter of a well known French doll maker suffered the tragic loss of her parents during a devastating fire. The fire not only took her parents but her home, her fathers doll shop, and her child hood sweetheart. Having nowhere to go she haphazardly wandered aimlessly looking for a hint of a recognizable face. Sweetheart Jean-Philippe and his family were nowhere to be found but maybe they had fled by boat. At the ship docks there was no sign of him or his family but she did cross another mans path. The man was seeking eligible women who wanted to work in England. Other elegant women waiting patiently to board and Claudette decided to take a chance and set sail across the channel.

    Aboard she would befriend her life long best friend Beatrice. She had a timid personality and was more than likely because of the loss of her husband. Beatrice did have little Marguerite her shining star. A vibrant young child who was instantly drawn to Claudette. Besides meeting Beatrice she also met and befriended Lizbit. A loud fashionably dressed woman who I found myself imagining her talking wildly with her hands as she told lavish tales of her travels abroad. Prior to their arrival the men on board demanded that they all sign a document and Claudette being one of the few who could read realized they wanted to take almost half of her earned wages. My favorite part of the arrival was when all the women were all paraded out on the docks while future "employers" looked eagerly at them. Leave it to Lizbit to sound the alarm with "Ladies they mean to spoil your virtue"! Women scattered, yelling while Claudette and her new friends made a break for it. The recruiters hench men ran after them nipping at their heels. Luckily they out maneuvered the men and lost them.

    With no where to go the two women and the child went to the church for help while Lizbit returned home to her rich aunt. Forced by hunger and lack of shelter the women went into the service of a nasty social climber Maude Ashby. Forever wishing to raise her families status she was an in home tyrant. Not to mention that the other servants would not mingle with the French girls and there was a deep animosity between them. Claudette had no other choice but to find the means to leave the oppressive tyrants home. The idea occurred to her why not make her own dolls? She was after all her fathers apprentice. Luckily in her escape from Paris she was able to salvage some items from the doll shop. With the help from her loyal friends and a few others seeking to better their lives she was able to make a dramatic exit from Maude Ashby's service and move up in status to become a tradeswoman.

    Claudette was a rags to riches kind of girl with one exception, she made her own riches. Her talent and handy work spoke for themselves. She became successful in her own right. She was obviously lacking in the love department. I found Claudette's antics amusing. The longing for her lost love in Paris had faded over time and the handsome lord William Greycliffe "occupied a small portion of her heart she did not want him to have". She had first met him in her service days at the Ashby's home. Later her hopes were destroyed when she discovered he was married, but somethings do not last forever.

    Pouring her heart and soul into creating intricately beautiful French dolls. Eventually caught the eye of the glittering queen of France, Marie Antoinette herself. The queen requested Claudette to pay a visit to the French court. Upon her arrival she was stunned and overjoyed to be reunited with her childhood sweetheart Jean-Philippe. Jean had entered the guard service for the queen and she was presented to the queen by him. Marie Antoinette had called upon her to make a special doll, one to be made like no other. Made with the exact likeness of the queens notorious favorite the beautiful Princesse de Lambelle.

    At the queens request Claudette's every waking thought was about the "Lambelle doll". Her loyalty to the queen was unwavering in a time when the queens "frivolous" ways were severely scrutinized. Claudette found herself at one point torn between England and France. William or Jean? Both men loved her, but where was home and her heart? Her choice could affect so many that there was bound to be someone left disgruntled. Approaching the dangerous times of the French revolution her loyalties to the queen could put her in a perilous situation. Claudette could easily be swallowed up by the whirling vortex of chaos and terror that had taken full grip on all of France. Or could England become her safe haven?

    4/5 One unique aspect of the novel that I immensely enjoyed was the details of the doll making. The carving, wax working, dressing, and designing were all very interesting. I noticed that it was a process just like any other creative process of trial and error. This read did give me a temporary fix for my thirst of a novel on France. Giving an outsiders prospective to the merchant side of England and the French court give a different appeal that was much needed for me at this point in my readings. I highly recommend this novel because I did enjoy Claudette and her two worlds. It was like she was living in two completely different worlds. Eventually she would have to choose but which one?

    Update 12-30-2009: I decided to change my rating for this novel because I was on the fence when I finished reading it about whether to give it a four or a five. One of my ways for deciding how to rate a book is off of my immediate feelings about the book. How I decide if a book is my favorite is if it leaves a lingering thought in my mind for some time. This novel really has stuck with me and I really felt like I gave it a four because I was actually disappointed that it ended. Now that some time has passed I feel differently one because I think about this book at least once a week randomly, two being that I really did love this book and it does deserve a 5 muses because I have now added it my favorites.

    Monday, November 09, 2009

    Giveaway The Untamed Bride by Stephanie Laurens

    The first book in a brand-new series, The Black Cobra Quartet, from New York Times and USA Today: bestselling romance author. The Untamed Bride by Stephanie Laurens

    This is an INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY and it is for a paperback copy. Contest starts November 10Th and ends the 17Th at midnight. Good luck all!

    * For 1 entry leave me a comment with a way to contact you.
    * For 2 entries follow my blog. If you already do, thanks, and please let me know in the comments. You're eligible for the extra entry as well.
    * For 3 entries blog or tweet this giveaway to spread the word.

    New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens presents a brash, bold new series.
    They're battle-hardened, sinfully wealthy, completely unstoppable—and all male: Four officers of the Crown, fighting against a deadly foe known only as the Black Cobra.
    He is a man who has faced peril without flinching, determined to fight for king and country.
    She is a bold, beautiful woman with a scandalous past, destined to become an untamed bride.
    Together they must vanquish the ruthless enemy, while confronting the dangers of the heart

    For more information, Order your copy, An interview with Stephanie

    Monday, November 02, 2009


    Kate Emerson's "Between Two Queens" is due to hit book stores January 1st 2010. Many of you are probably wondering how I managed to get my hands on this tasty treat. I was lucky enough to be one of the few book reviewers who got an advanced readers copy. I did my first author interview with the lovely Kate Emerson on "Pleasure Palace" not too long ago. Which just made me love her even more. Kate was gracious enough to bring me into her circle on the release of "Between Two Queens". Thank you Kate for everything it has been a pleasure!

    "Pleasure Palace" was the first installment of this delightful series Secrets of The Tudor Court. When I first picked it up I was just starting to become obsessed with historical fiction. Of all the places to find books Target was never top on my list. Many of you might not know this but Target actually has a historical fiction section, which no other book store I have ever been in has. That is how I discovered Kate Emerson and it helped that I am a sucker for a beautiful cover. At that time there was no blog in my life and I later found out it was to be a series. It was fate that I was drawn to Kate's novels.

    "Between To Queen" had me pondering from the beginning, what two queens, and what is between them? My first thought was Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. That bitter rivalry has been a focal point of many historical fiction novels. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the first queen was Jane Seymour and later her predecessors, Anna of Cleves, and both Catherine's. Living up to my high expectations that I developed from "Pleasure Palace", Kate once again pick a view point that I had never even considered. The lady in waiting Anne Bassett aka Nan.

    Zealously ambitious Nan Bassett was the daughter of Sir Thomas Bassett and Honor Grenville. When Sir John passed away Honor later remarried Arthur Plantagenet, Viscount Lisle and deputy of Calais. Honor herself was a renowned beauty in her prime, considering she was one of Anne Boleyn's beautiful ladies. It was only natural that Nan would be like her mother and become a beautiful lady herself. Pretty enough to draw King Henry VIII attention.
    "She Thought of Love as a Game, but Catching the eye of King Henry VIII could be Deadly Serious"
    In the beginning she is embarks by ship with her sister Catherine aka Cat from Calais to hopefully become a lady in waiting to the pregnant Queen Jane. On the ship her stepfather sent his man to watch over the girls and make sure they made a safe arrival, Ned. Upon the sisters safe arrival to court they were to be examined by the queen Jane, sadly the queen would only pick one girl to become part of the ladies in waiting. Nan and her sister waited on bended knee for the queens approval but it was a long time coming until Nan though she saw a man lurking behind the queen's screen, watching. It was a game to the royals to see who would crack first and Nan was not going to give in she wanted it so bad she could taste it. When Henry vamped out from behind the queen Nan was memorized to the point that she could not pry her eyes from the king, which he enjoyed.

    Queen Jane defiantly did not like it but she had no choice in the matter Henry had already made up his mind on the prettier sister Nan. Selecting the prettier of the sister would cause a rift between them for some time. To be mean Cat squashed Nan's idea's of the glitz and glamor of court when the realization that Queen Jane was about to go into seclusion to give birth to the future heir to the throne. Nan was not happy about it and as the time passed on Jane took her frustrations out on Nan. The only reason being that the king chose her because she was a pretty girl.

    After finally seeing the light of day away from the dark dungeon they called a birthing chamber, something caught Nan's attention. it could be none other than the handsome man that had brought her there, Ned. There was something about him, maybe it was the pheromone's she first smelt on him back on the ship. Nan was developing feelings for him but he was a man of no means and that was not what she signed up for. She had plainly stated her intentions of going to court to Ned on the ride over. Her goal was to snag herself a rich and titled husband. Ned was a constant support to Nan even though she continued to deny her feelings for him. He would have died if it meant to save her.

    After Queen Jane's sudden passing her household was disbanded and with no queen to serve Nan was sent packing to her cousins house. While at her cousins house Nan's feelings for Ned grew stronger than what she liked. She became secretive and guarded with her feelings until she could no longer deny them. Would she be able to love Ned unconditionally or would her ambition ruin her own feelings? Divided by her long time ambitions and love for Ned she knew she had to stay on her path to find the target she was looking to hit. There are always repercussions to choices and did she make the right choices? Her heart told her she did but really was it what was best for her? Was she on target or did the target change to the biggest one of them all?

    As painful as it was to read about Nan and how she was shuffled from house to house, queen to queen, the professional life of a courtier was not an easy one. Nan from the beginning was not a strong ethical woman. Her ambition over rid her ethics which opened the door to other possibilities for her like mistress to the king or maybe just a mistress. In the Tudor court there are secrets and even Nan had something to hide. Her goals for finding herself a rich husband all came crashing down on her abruptly when her family was thrown into to tower for conspiring against the king. She became the traitors daughter. Her target had changed to finding a way to save her family and most importantly someone she secretly cared for. Would all be lost family, friends and even her prospects? Could she soothe her ambition or would it get the better of her and eat her alive?

    5/5 Muses, loved every word of it. The fresh prospective of Nan Bassett was really interesting. To see what it was like as a lady in waiting during Henry's rein was a really worth while read, it gave much needed insight. Plus who could pass up a juicy novel with infidelities, lies, and plotting. This a new favorite of mine now especially with Kate's fresh approach on Catherine Howard. A highly recommended read. I can not wait for the next one "By Royal Decree" which is about Bess Brooke.
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