Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Book Review: LADY OF THE ROSES by Sandra Worth

A heart felt love story, filled with action. Set during the War of the Roses. I found myself having a hard time keeping up with all the titles, intertwined cousins, and nicknames. So many were lost in a series of battles it was hard to remember who did what to who. In the midst of civil war Isobel's courage to follow her heart led the reader on a dramatic Neville point of view of the war. A families struggle for loyalty, honor, and love. This is my first book I have read about the war of the roses, and Marguerite of Anjou. I enjoyed it but it was a tad too complicated for me on all the characters maybe it is just that war that is complicated. The love part of the story was moving and blurred the other characters details to where it did not really matter, what mattered was love. Defiantly a recommended read.

"During her short time as a ward in Queen Marguerite's Lancastrian court, fifteen-year-old Isobel has had many suitors ask for her hand, but the spirited beauty is blind to all but Yorkist Sir John Neville. It is nothing short of a miracle when the Queen allows Isobel's marriage to the enemy, albeit at a hefty price. All around Isobel and John rages a lawless war. It is only their passion that can see them through the bloody march on London by the Duke of Somerset, the violent madness of Queen Marguerite, and the devolution of Isobel's meek uncle into the Butcher of England. For theirs is an everlasting love that fears not the scratch of thorns, from either the Red Rose or the White. "

Top News, hidden face in famous Nefertiti bust

The associated press released today that a CT scan was performed on the famous Nefertiti bust in Germany. The scan which is the type used to find cancer masses came up with some very interesting results. It had been speculated that that the bust had a stone in the middle for support of the layers of stucco. A hidden more realistic stone head bust revealed itself. The stone bust revealed lines around the mouth and a bump on the nose in detail. These features were erased with the stucco. Maybe ordered changed no one will ever know for sure. Check out the photo's http://radiology.rsnajnls.org/

Monday, March 30, 2009

New Release, Mistress of the Revolution by Catherine Delors

March 31, 2009 Release

"In 1815 England, an exiled Frenchwoman, Gabrielle de Monserrat, begins a memoir of her days before and during the French Revolution. Gabrielle, the youngest daughter of a family of the impoverished nobility, recalls her journey through hardships and betrayals by three men in her life. A girl of quiet strength and startling beauty, a widow at seventeen with a young daughter, Gabrielle is released into the world of Paris nobility. Determined and inquisitive, with little money and few prospects, she strives to find her own freedom. Around her, the French people attempt to build a utopia based on the ideals of liberty and equality. Differing currents of thought clash over the fate of a nation as the Revolution takes an ever more violent turn. Yet Gabrielle survives, maintaining her humanity and sense of decency. On occasion, she glimpses her first love as he ascends from obscure patriot to one of the most passionate architects of the new order. At last she reaches for him and an impossible happiness. As Gabrielle writes on, twenty years later, political events again overtake her and she realizes that her tale is far more than an evocation of the past. It is the truth she owes her children."

Friday, March 27, 2009

Today in History, Happy Birthday King Louis XVII

Happy Birthday King Louis XVII of France! More well known as the "Lost Dauphin". Son of Marie Antoinette & Louis XVI born in the year of 1785. Who would have known the horrifying fate that lay before the royal family. During the families captivity by the french revolution government, he was taken from his mother by the french revolutionist. They taught him to curse and later used him to trump up charges against his mother for sexual abuse. As a part of his republican re-education, Louis-Charles was set to work as an assistant to a drunkard cobbler in the prison temple. At ten years old it is said that he died from infection but many had believed he escaped. As French customs go, His heart is now kept in a crystal vase at the royal crypt in the Saint Denis Basilica. Since the rumors of his escape, in 2000 two independent DNA test were performed on the heart comparing it to a hair from Marie Antoinette. They only tested was mitochondrial DNA which is inherited only from the mother. The test proved the heart had the same direct maternal ancestry but could not prove it belonged to a particular individual. Louis in 1792, portrait by Alexander Kucharsky

Thursday, March 26, 2009

New Release, The frozen Thames by Helen Humphreys

Releasing March 2009

In its long history, the river Thames has frozen solid forty times. These are the stories of that frozen river. So begins this breathtaking and original work, which contains forty vignettes based on events that actually took place each time the historic Thames froze solid. Spanning more than seven centuries—from 1142 to 1895—and illustrated with stunning full-color period art, The Frozen Thames is an achingly beautiful feat of the imagination…a work of fiction that transports us back through history to cast us as intimate observers of unforgettable moments in time.
Whether we’re viewing the magnificent spectacle of King Henry VIII riding across the ice highway (while plotting to rid himself of his second wife) or participating in a joyous Frost Fair on the ice, joining lovers meeting on the frozen river during the plague years or coming upon the sight of a massive ship frozen into the Thames…these unforgettable stories are a triumph of the imagination as well as a moving meditation on love, loss, and the transformative powers of nature.

New Release, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

May 26Th 2009 paperback release

"A language kept a secret for a thousand years forms the backdrop for an unforgettable novel of two Chinese women whose friendship and love sustains them through their lives.This absorbing novel – with a storyline unlike anything Lisa See has written before – takes place in 19Th century China when girls had their feet bound, then spent the rest of their lives in seclusion with only a single window from which to see. Illiterate and isolated, they were not expected to think, be creative, or have emotions. But in one remote county, women developed their own secret code, nu shu – "women's writing" – the only gender-based written language to have been found in the world. Some girls were paired as "old-sames" in emotional matches that lasted throughout their lives. They painted letters on fans, embroidered messages on handkerchiefs, and composed stories, thereby reaching out of their windows to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments.An old woman tells of her relationship with her "old-same," their arranged marriages, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood—until a terrible misunderstanding written on their secret fan threatens to tear them apart. With the detail and emotional resonance of Memoirs of a Geisha , Snow Flower and the Secret Fan delves into one of the most mysterious and treasured relationships of all time—female friendship."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Today in History: Elizabeth I Parting in Sorrow

Parting is such sweet sorrow. Today 406 years ago Queen Elizabeth I parted from this world leaving her crown to James I of Scotland. Son of Mary of Scots. Elizabeth died The Virgin Queen, childless & unmarried. Her children were the people of England. The Golden Era her father struggled so hard for became her golden court of scholars, philosophers, & free thinking courtiers. In the 1590's William Shakespeare came to maturity under Queen Elizabeth Golden Era. The secret love she bore for Robert Dudley a man born from a long line of traitors to the crown. The people of England would not stand for it Dudley was too over the line. What can never be, can never be. In one line to a lost love poem I am always reminded of Elizabeth & Robert. In the end heaven will open its gates and love will say "Love has found a way to live by Dying". Gone but not forgotten.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Book Review: THE SECRET BRIDE by Diane Haeger

I decided to review this book today in Honor of Mary Tudors Birthday. Happy Birthday Mary! Though I finished it back in January I still find myself thinking about this book. Absolutely intriguing, Talk about growing up Tudor. I found it funny that Mary was very a aurny child. Especially when she was a snot to teen age Charles Brandon with herself being only a child. With her ever faithful childhood companion the french Jane Popyncourt by her side they emerge into the beginning days of the newly crowned Henry VII court. Mary witnesses Jane's trials of the heart and learns first hand a brutal life lesson about the ways of men. Mary was known as the most beautiful woman at court & her brothers absolute favorite. When Mary goes to France to marry the old King Louis, you know she has a secret plan for her real future. But you do not want her to go. Mary continually surprised me I have found myself thinking of this book when I read other books that tie to Mary. I would defiantly recommend this book. I love that this book is a swooney loves story, you want Mary to be happy. I just have to say Thank you to my husband for taking my "Xmas book list" to the book store and braving to stray from the list. It was a wonderful surprise. A must buy!

"Mary Tudor, the headstrong younger sister of the ruthless King Henry VIII, has always been her brother's favorite--- but now she is also an important political bargaining chip. When she is promised to elderly ailing King Louis of France, heartbroken Mary accepts her fate, but not before extracting a promise from her brother: When the old king dies, her next marriage shall be solely of her choosing."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

tbr (to be read) Challenge

Wish I had found this earlier. I will be getting a late start since I just discovered this challenge. The challenge is 12 books in 12 months. Here are my 12 plus a few alternatives. I have marked my current progress. Keep checking back.

To Be Read:
Courtesan, Diane Haeger p576
The King's Grace, Anne Easter Smith p608
The Wild Irish, Robin Maxwell p378
To hold the Crown, Jean Plaidy p398
We Two, Victoria and Albert, Gillian Gill p480
Margaret Pole, Countess of Shrewsbury, Hazel Pierce p192
Books I have completed from the list:
Lady of the Roses, Sandra Worth p404 3-31-09

The Secret life of Josephine, Carolly Erickson p352 4-19-09
The Other Queen, Philippa Gregory p448 5-5-09
The Perfect Royal Mistress, Diane Haeger p416 4-6-09
The Reluctant Queen, Jean Plaidy p294 4-15-2009
The Queens Secret, Jean Plaidy p416
Books That I did not find appealing:
Marie-Therese Child of Terror, Susan Nagel 448
I, Elizabeth, Rosalind Miles p630 A Secret Alchemy, Emma Darwin p448 Jane Boleyn, The infamous Lady Rochford, Julia Fox, p379

6 / 12 works. 50% done!

Today in History: Happy St Patricks Day

Today In History
1337: Edward the Black Prince becomes Duke of Cornwall, the first ever British 'Duke'
1649: Cromwell abolishes the monarchy and declares England a Commonwealth

Monday, March 16, 2009

Book Review: THE PLEASURE PALACE by Kate Emerson

My first introduction to lady Jane Popyncourt was in my reading "The Secret Bride" by Diane Haeger. After finishing I was curious about Jane Popyncourt given she was the long time companion to the lady Mary Tudor (Henry VIII sister). It would be only natural for me to enjoy a follow up novel centered around Jane and boy did Kate Emerson come through.

I could not put it down, I devoured this novel with its leading lady the mysterious Jane.
Diane had portrayed Jane in the light of more as the naive girl who got her heart trampled on repeatedly. I loved Kate's vision of Jane much more for the fact that Jane was the survivalist, who had a backbone who could act quickly on her feet. The story really began with her pondering how she became the kings ward. How did she of all people end up to be growing up with the royal children?

The questions that surround her mysterious past
in France went unanswered. When She began seeking answers for her questions that were left unresolved. She finds that they are deeply hidden within the Tudor court. A mystery of royal proportions filled with deceit, bad blood, twisting, & turning at every corner. It will keep you guessing almost to the very end. With a twist you never saw coming.

I own this one so obviously I would recommend it to buy. Any reader who loves a good Tudor mystery tying into the French court will love this novel. This one gets a 5 out of 5 muses for being so thrilling with such a unique character.

"Beautiful. Seductive. Innocent. Jane Popyncourt was brought to the court as a child to be ward of the king and a companion to his daughters -- the princesses Margaret and Mary. With no money of her own, Jane could not hope for a powerful marriage, or perhaps even marriage at all. But as she grows into a lovely young woman, she still receives flattering attention from the virile young men flocking to serve the handsome new king, Henry VIII, who has recently married Catherine of Aragon. Then a dashing French prisoner of war, cousin to the king of France, is brought to London, and Jane finds she cannot help giving some of her heart -- and more -- to a man she can never marry. But the Tudor court is filled with dangers as well as seductions, and there are mysteries surrounding Jane's birth that have made her deadly enemies. Can she cultivate her beauty and her amorous wiles to guide her along a perilous path and bring her at last to happiness?"

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Welcome! Historically Obsessed

" When young Anne Boleyn is sent to French court with her father and sister Mary, she believes she's going for an innocent adventure. But when the ambitious Ambassador Thomas Boleyn leads them into the highly sophisticated and sexually permissive court of Francois I, Anne quickly learns that they are merely pawns to be used for their father's own political purpose. Since all good English girls are expected to do their father's bidding, Mary becomes mistress to the outrageous French king and is ultimately seduced into his dangerous world by the luxuries of court. But Anne has a different fate in mind. Anne is younger, cleverer, and stronger willed than her elder sister, and with the guidance of chosen, powerful allies and unlikely friends, such as Leonardo da Vinci, she learns how to navigate the challenges, passions and betrayals of court. As she grows into a beautiful young woman, Anne undergoes her own sexual awakening, each daring exploit taking her one step closer to the life that is her destiny."

Welcome all to my historical book blog. I have always been Historically Obsessed. My latest obsession was triggered with a book that found me and it was meant to be, Mademoiselle Boleyn by Robin Maxwell. Robin brought me into a new beautiful world of Anne Boleyn in France. It light a fire in my mind. Lucky for me Mademoiselle Boleyn was only the beginning part of Anne's story. I loved every word of this book, the intricate details were amazing.This book is a must buy.

I immediately went on to read The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn also by Robin Maxwell. Since I now was on a furious crusade for the rest of Anne Boleyn's story. What I did not expect was it was her daughter Elizabeth who is reading the diary. Instead you get two intertwined stories that take place in totally different time periods. This book opened my eyes to what Anne could have been thinking realistically. I have come to view her more in what others would view as "sympathetic". Torn from her real love Henry Percy. Forced by family ambition to love the pursuing king. Anne had no chance. She realized the unattainable demands she made in trying to rebuff the king would entice
the great Henry into moving the heavens and earth to be with her. But at the price of civil unrest, separation from Rome, and abruptly her own head.

"Anne was the second of Henry's six wives, doomed to be beloved, betrayed and beheaded. When Henry fell madly in love with her upon her return from an education at the lascivious French court, he was already a married man. While his passion for Anne was great enough to rock the foundation of England and of all Christendom, in the end he forsook her for another love, schemed against her, and ultimately had her sentenced to death. But unbeknownst to the king, Anne had kept a diary.
At the beginning of Elizabeth 's reign, it is pressed into her hands. In reading it, the young queen discovers a great deal about her much-maligned mother: Anne's fierce determination, her hard-won knowledge about being a woman in a world ruled by despotic men, and her deep-seated love for the infant daughter taken from her shortly after her birth. In journal's pages, Elizabeth finds an echo of her own dramatic life as a passionate young woman at the center of England 's powerful male establishment, and with the knowledge gained from them, makes a resolution that will change the course of history."

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