Sunday, January 31, 2010
Book Review: O' JULIET by Robin Maxwell
O, Juliet, oh oh Juliet. The passionate lovers tale of the greatest love story ever told. Robin's tale of O, Juliet was woven in the stars of time leaving a lasting impression on the heart of every book lover in comes into contact with. The devourer of books that I have become I found that I had to hold back on this read because I did not want it to end. Robin has more than breathed new life into a classic love story she exceeded my highest expectations in tackling this tale of Juliet and her lover Romeo. Hopefully this book will be able to inspire a whole new generation of Romeo and Juliet lovers.
Almost every breathing human being has at one point or another in their life heard the tragic story of Romeo and Juliet's romantic love affair. Even though we all know the eventual demise of the love stuck couple is inevitable. It is not the ending that matters it is how they get to the end that makes all the difference. After finishing I awoke the next morning my mind was a blaze with thoughts of Romeo and Juliet. A creativity whirlwind kicked up making to where the only way I could calm my thirst for more was to listen to the 1996 Romeo and Juliet soundtrack . In my listening I was drawn to pen and paper, furiously, more like frantically putting my thoughts to paper. At one point my husband, sitting across from me was waving his arms to get my attention. Lets just say he was at it for about ten minutes before I even looked up.
Juliet Capelletti a 18 year old poetic, heartfelt dreamer, her inspiration came from the formidable Dante himself. Ah but you say women were not typically educated in this time period? Fate would have it that her best friend Lucrezia (Lorenzo's mother from signora da vinci) was to be married to Piero De Medici, son of Cosimo De Medici. It has been said that Cosimo was the sole person responsible for the Renaissance that had swept the known world at the time. Believing in education, the fine arts, and since Lucrezia was to become a De Medici she had to be an educated upstanding lady. Lucrezia beseeches Cosimo to allow Juliet the same education . After their many years of education Juliet had found her one true passion in life was poetry, specializing in Dante's works. Keeping her talent for verse hidden deep with in her soul, Lucrezia was the only one who knew of her secret love affair with poetry.
To announce the engagement of Lucrezia to Piero there was to be a masked ball held at the De Medici household. The two girls donned their feather masks and made a grand entrance to the party. Proving to be an interesting gathering with Juliet's mother keeping close tabs on her and her fathers angry glare always searching for her. Juliet was not at all pleased about her soon to be betrothal to her fathers new business partner Jacob Strozzi. A despicable human he was, a man ruled by his tyrant mother, lacking in the belief of a woman's capabilities. At one point he even went so far as to state that Juliet's education had ruined her and given her wild thoughts of fancy. The nerve!
Romeo oh Romeo, he had made an uninvited appearance at the ball that night to petition Cosimo for peace between the waring houses Capelletti, and Monticecco. His mission was brought to an abrupt halt when his eyes took in the feast that was Juliet. Dancing with her girlfriends to the "Virgins Dance", she was radiantly lovely. Love at first sight, he donned his mask and pushed into the dancers for a chance to be her partner. Once she laid her eyes on him it became a instant mutual love at first sight. His pearly white teeth flashing from behind his mask, oops then a stumble in the group and Viola they were outside in the garden alone. Jesting of Dante and love the pair had an instant electric connection. A passion that between them was equal. Twin mirror souls that when they were together they became one. After being abruptly interrupted by her fathers calls; she fled back to the ball only to see Romeo speaking with in seconds to Cosimo. That did not last long before the Capelletti entourage became out raged by his presence. Romeo narrowly escaped their clutches with a little help from sneaky Juliet. To see that he had made it she ran to the balcony just in time to see him bolt on his beautiful white horse nearly running down the angry mob that had gathered to put him in his place.
The masquerade ball was just the beginning of the extraordinary love affair of Romeo and Juliet. Romeo would move heaven and earth to be with her. Fighting against hundred of years of blood feud was like fighting the incoming tide of the ocean. He succeeded in partially making peace and gave the love a thread of hope to hold onto for their future together. The one obstacle left could prove to be their undoing. A vindictive soon to be betrothed Jacob Strozzi had made his own scheme and Juliet was a pawn in a deadly game of chess. Romeo and Juliet on the light side playing for the good in love, Jacob Strozzi with his mother who held all the power on the dark side. Can love conquer all or would the fates play one after another cruel joke on the lovers. Leaving their future in the hands of destiny would the god of love be on their side or would he not hear them calling?
5+/5 LOVED IT! It all made sense to me that my favorite author was going in a new direction with her time periods and locations. I like where she has led us to. First "Signora Da Vinci" and now tackling the tale of Romeo and Juliet like no one else has been able to do. I among many had noticed that there really is not a historical fiction novel about Romeo and Juliet, a completely lacking area of void is out there on the tale. Robin being the genius that she is made me live and breath every word of this novel. I have never said this but I WILL be rereading this book. I never do it, never ever but I feel the need read it again and again. Tragically this novel is kicking Robin's other novel "Tower Born" off its number one spot in my favorite HF novels. My most highly recommended novel to date. Thank you Robin for sending me this wonderful book.
Be sure and enter the giveaway for your chance to win a copy of O, Juliet!
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Sundays Art: Pre-Raphaelites Romeo and Juliet 1867
This lovely beauty is by John William Waterhouse. I know there has been some debate on what makes a Pre-Raphaelite. From my research I have discovered it is not just who the painter was but it has to have a few other things to be considered a Pre-Raphaelite painting. One I do know is that it has to go with a written piece. But we will get more into that later I have a whole post coming up soon that has the Pre-Raphaelites guidelines.
I wish I could have found more on Waterhouse's Juliet but I had no luck with this one.
Ford Madox Brown 1821-1893
The model for Juliet was Brown's own wife Emma. Since she was past the age of early teen years it is felt that is the reason behind the indistinct faces. Not also to mention that at this time Ford and Emma's marriage was on the rocks. Emma's alcoholism was at a breaking point and Ford was in love with one of his pupils. I believe he was at a point where love in his life was just overwhelming.
It is also said that this piece was made in haste and was not given the full attention of Brown. More than likely because he needed to sell it for money.
Be Sure and Enter for your Chance to WIN a Copy of O, Juliet By Robin Maxwell, Giveaway Ends February 4th at 12 pm
Friday, January 29, 2010
O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell Giveaway!
Good luck all it is for one ARC paperback copy that is very gently used of O, Juliet. Open to all entries around the world. Be sure to enter with the other charter members of Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table. We are all hosting a giveaway for our event and there is also one on the group site also. We want to make sure that everyone gets as many chances to win as possible.
I will draw a winner on February 5th 2010 using Random.org, good luck to all who enter!
...::: Allie of :::... Hist-Fic Chick
...::: Amy of :::... Passages to the Past
...::: Arleigh of :::... Historical-Fiction.com
...::: Heather of :::... The Maiden's Court
...::: Lucy of :::... Enchanted by Josephine
...::: Marie of :::... The Burton Review
...::: Susie of :::... All Things Royal
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Romeo and Juliet in Art IV: The Duel
I thought all for the best.
Help me into some house, Benvolio,
Or I shall faint. A plague o' both your houses!
They have made worms' meat of me: I have it,
And soundly too: your houses!
Exeunt MERCUTIO and BENVOLIO
My very friend, hath got his mortal hurt
In my behalf; my reputation stain'd
With Tybalt's slander,--Tybalt, that an hour
Hath been my kinsman! O sweet Juliet,
Thy beauty hath made me effeminate
And in my temper soften'd valour's steel!
O Romeo, Romeo, brave Mercutio's dead!
That gallant spirit hath aspired the clouds,
Which too untimely here did scorn the earth.
This day's black fate on more days doth depend;
This but begins the woe, others must end.
Here comes the furious Tybalt back again.
Alive, in triumph! and Mercutio slain!
Away to heaven, respective lenity,
And fire-eyed fury be my conduct now!
Now, Tybalt, take the villain back again,
That late thou gavest me; for Mercutio's soul
Is but a little way above our heads,
Staying for thine to keep him company:
Either thou, or I, or both, must go with him.
Thou, wretched boy, that didst consort him here,
Shalt with him hence.
This shall determine that.
They fight; TYBALT falls
Romeo, away, be gone!
The citizens are up, and Tybalt slain.
Stand not amazed: the prince will doom thee death,
If thou art taken: hence, be gone, away!
O, I am fortune's fool!
Why dost thou stay?
"Dictionary of Literary Biography on Edwin Austin Abbey At a time when the art of book and magazine illustration was at its zenith, Edwin Austin Abbey was recognized as one of its most distinguished masters. Perhaps the most popular and successful artist of his day, Abbey's genius as an illustrator, principally of William Shakespeare's works and English songs and tales, is derived from his crisp and refined pen-and-ink work and from his devotion to historical research and authenticity. "
Today In History, Henry VII and Henry VIII
This was the only piece of art I could find with both of them together. In the back it is Henry VII with Elizabeth of York. In the front it is Henry VIII and Jane Seymour.
Happy birthday Henry VII
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
O Juliet by Robin Maxwell Cover Art Comparison
The final cover art was not her first choice. C.W. Gortner himself did a mock up cover with the The Fisherman and the Syren. The first mock up of the book was taken to the London Book Fair with The Fisherman and the Syren and it was a big hit. It never made it to the final edition but I think both of them are to die for. Since I am one of the more risque people the nudity does not bother me on the Syren cover, I actually really like. What do you all think? Like or dislike? Reasons?
Painted by Frederic Leighton from 1856-1858
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Lizzy's O, Juliet
As you can see the first image is Juliet up close. What I did was scan it into the computer first. Then before I down sized it I cut out some of the picture for the close ups. The full image is below. Below you will also find more up close images I thought were appealing.
I have come into a phase of accepting my art creations with the help of some very wonderful blogger and commentators. In my past I always wanted to be like other people. Making realistic art, dresses and women, more like the Pre-Rapaelites. I have accepted that it just is not meant to be and have finally felt like I have grown into my own artist skin. I lean more towards the comic book style with a romantic flare. I felt that I had to do something new with this novel but what? After some excellent cheer leading from Allie I decided to broaden my horizons and go bigger. Normally I am not so great with backgrounds or men but these pieces blew me away when I had finished.
Medium you ask? For the balcony scene I laid down a pencil draft first, then a second, and a third. After finally getting the dimensions down I did a really funky thing rather than erasing my pencil I did one more draft. These draft were made by me holding it to a window for the best light. With the vague draft I then did every last inch of it in water color pencil. Leaving as little white on the paper as necessary and not adding any black. Once it reached my satisfaction level I then went to the water. The trees and flowers were more like a wash. After it was done and dried I went onto pens. I broke out the micro point pens and filled in the details like the bark on the tree still not adding black I used mostly brown to give it more of a soft feel. Then I added the black in the few areas it needed it. The crazy part is I had to iron it upside down because it had wrinkled. I changed my paper because in the last few pieces you could see the texture of the paper. Viola it was done.
The last one it very unique to me because I hardly ever use charcoal anymore. I made the sketch in charcoal and just went with it. I still felt it needed more and I went on to test my photoshop skills. Figures when I scanned it in I added a filter to the picture of water color. I then edited the hue to give it a purple ting. I had downloaded some new brushed and added the pink curls. The font was fun I really like my stuff to be full of color and I think I achieved my goal with both of these pieces. The size of the balcony scene is 11x15 and the other is smaller maybe half the size.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Today In History, Anne Boleyn Marries Henry VIII
There is not much out there on Anne as far as art work goes since Henry had everything of her destroyed after her execution but I did happen to find a letter from Henry to Anne. Can you make out any of it? The only part I could make out is towards the bottom right "gentyile home", scary right, him offering a gentle home?
For More on Anne and Henry:
Tudors on ShowtimeField of Cloth and Gold
Anne Crowned Queen
Anne Boleyn by Charles Knight
Henry Marries Jane Seymour
Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table: Marie Burton and Anne Boleyn
3:00 PM Update: Rosemary from Booking it Bus Style sent me this really cool article link about Alison Weir and her new Anne Boleyn book. Check out her cool Link!
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Historically Obsessed Hits 200 Followers!
Grand Event: O, Juliet Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table Event
Allie @ Hist-fic Chick
Amy @ Passages to the Past
Arleigh @ Historical-fiction.com
Heather @ The Maiden's Court
Lizzy @ Historically Obsessed
Lucy @ Enchanted by Josephine
Marie @ The Burton Review
Susie @ All Things Royal
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Christine Trent Makes it big in The Washington Post!
The most interesting part is that it covers just how Christine went from book enthusiast to author of her own historical fiction novel. Click anyone of the links to get to the interview and enjoy it because it really is interesting.
"A signing for Christine Trent's book, "The Queen's Dollmaker," will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Jan. 23 at Bay Books in the Wildewood shopping center in California. Trent will participate in a discussion about her book at 7 p.m. March 1 at the Calvert Library in Prince Frederick, where she will also make an appearance dressed as Marie Antoinette at 7 p.m. March 22. Trent will also speak at the Friends of the Library annual dinner May 10 at Cafe des Artistes in Leonardtown."
Friday, January 22, 2010
Last Reading Challenge of 2010
I have to do this since I love anything about France.
Here is the Down Low from Lucy:
The reading Challenge will run from January 1st to December 15th 2010.
To join: Paste my French Historicals Oh-La-La! Challenge button on your sidebar- with a link to this page
Thank you Lucy for hosting this wonderful new challenge, I am going for La Reine: Read 9 books. Since I know of at least five that are French that I had already planned on reading I am going big this year.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Pope Joan Movie Brief Showing in DC
"Pope Joan Update Hi, Pope Joan Readers and Fans!
Still no definite news on a U.S. release for the movie version of Pope Joan. But there's a "trial balloon": a showing on January 27th at the Landmark E Street Cinema in Washington, D.C. This is a one-night event only! And it's important that it be well-attended, for U.S. distributors are still on the fence about the degree of interest in Joan's story here in the U.S.
I'll be there on the 27th, answering audience questions after the film and also signing books. Tickets are only $10 for this event ($7.50 for seniors and students)
If anyone you know in the D.C. area would like to attend, tickets may be purchased online:
|1.||Link to the purchase page and enter January 27 in the |
box titled "Select Show Date."
|2.||You will see the showing of Pope Joan.|
|3.||You can purchase your ticket from there.|
Thanks Alex Trebec!
Other news: to my utter delight, Pope Joan appeared on the TV show "Jeopardy"! Many observant readers wrote to tell me that my novel was the answer to a Jeopardy question on Thanksgiving Day. A wonderful holiday surprise! Link here to see the screenshots from the show.
And David Wenham, Too
Finally, a charming story about David Wenham, who plays Gerold in the film. During one of the premiere press conferences, he was asked, "How did it feel to kiss a woman with a tonsure?" (for Johanna Wokalek, the brilliant actress who plays Joan, had to shave the crown of her head like a monk to play this part!).
David's response: "Fantastic!" This drew a warm and appreciative laugh. Then he added, "Gerold fell in love with Joan for a lot of reasons, none of which had anything to do with her hair style." THAT brought the house down! Standing beside him at that moment, I hooted and applauded enthusiastically along with the rest of the audience.
Thanks to all for your support. Hope to see you in Washington January 27th!"
Donna Woolfolk Cross
Update 7:12 pm: The showing has completely sold out
"If you have not yet purchased a ticket, then you won't want to make the trip. Since the theater is sold out, no more tickets will be available. I'll be sorry not to see you there, but perhaps this sell-out performance will help increase the chances of an opening in your area.
[But I do have a request! If you were planning to attend, but had not yet purchased your tickets, will you shoot us a reply email and let us know how many might have attended? This will help the producers know more about the level of interest in a more expanded release in the United States.]"
Today In History, Louis XVI Makes the long walk to the Madame Guillotine
"As Louis mounted the scaffold he appeared dignified and resigned. He attempted a speech in which he reasserted his innocence and pardoned those responsible for his death. He declared himself willing to die and prayed that the people of France would be spared a similar fate."
For more on Louis's family:
The Fate of his Son Louis XVII
Marie Antoinette's Execution
The Storming of the Tuilleries
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Today In History, The Eve of St. Anges
St. Anges is the patron saint of chastity, gardeners, girls, engaged couples, rape victims, and virgins. She died a 12 or 13 yr old virgin martyr in fourth century Rome. The eve being on the 20th of January followed by feast day on the 21st. Her birthday is also a feast day which is the 28th of January. Her name "Agnes" is actually derived from the feminine Greek adjective meaning "chaste, pure, sacred". She was a christian and of a noble family but her refusal to marry the prefect Sempronius son led to her being condemned to her death. She was a rich heiress and her Christan belief kept her from accepting the betrothal.
As the Roman law went virgins were not allow to be executed. "Sempronius had a naked Agnes dragged through the streets to a brothel. As she prayed, her hair grew and covered her body. It was also said that all of the men who attempted to rape her were immediately struck blind". When the time came for the execution she was to be burned at the stake but the wood would not light. A officer beheaded her in his frustrations. After her death a young girl named Emerentiana who claimed to be the child of Ange's nanny was found weeping at her tomb. She blasted them for killing her "foster sister" and she was stoned to death for it. She was also later canonized.
The Eve of St. Anges has been immortalized in a long poem by John Keats (1819)
"Keats based his poem on the superstition that a girl could see her future husband in a dream if she performed certain rites on the eve of St. Agnes; that is she would go to bed without any supper, undress herself so that she was completely naked and lie on her bed with her hands under the pillow and looking up to the heavens and not to look behind. Then the proposed husband would appear in her dream, kiss her, and feast with her."
"On a bitterly chill night, an ancient beadsman performs his penances while in the castle of Madeline's warlike family, a bibulous revel has begun. Madeline pines for the love of Porphyro, sworn enemy to her kin. The old dames have told her she may receive sweet dreams of love from him if on this night, St. Agnes' Eve, she retires to bed under the proper ritual of silence and supine receptiveness.
As we might expect, Porphyro makes his way to the castle and braves entry, seeking out Angela, an elderly woman friendly to his family, and importuning her to lead him to Madeline's room at night where he may but gaze upon her sleeping form. Angela is persuaded only with difficulty, saying she fears damnation if Porphyro does not afterward marry the girl.
Concealed in an ornate carven closet in Madeline's room, Porphyro watches as Madeline makes ready for bed, and then, beholding her full beauty in the moonlight, creeps forth to prepare for her a feast of rare delicacies. Madeline wakes and sees before her the same image she has seen in her dream, and thinking Porphyro part of it, receives him into her bed. Awakening in full and realizing her mistake, she tells Porphyro she cannot hate him for his deception since her heart is so much in his, but that if he goes now he leaves behind "A dove forlorn and lost / With sick unpruned wing".
Porphyro declares his love for Madeline and promises her a home with him over the southern moors. They escape the castle past insensate revelers, and flee into the night. The beadsman, "His thousand Aves told / For aye unsought-for slept among his ashes cold".
Robin Maxwell's O, Juliet Love Poetry Contest Opens!
"I'm thrilled to announce the most exciting event of "The O, JULIET Love Games" -- the Love Poetry Competition.When I initially made the decision that "my" Romeo and Juliet would not only be 15th century Dante freaks but amateur poets themselves, it didn't quite compute that they would both have to write love poetry...meaning I would have to write verse in both their voices. I must say, it gave me pause. In all the years I've been writing I'd only dabbled with poetry for fun (I didn't let anybody read it except my husband). But I decided to take the plunge and while of course it's not Shakespeare, it was a lot of fun. It didn't hurt that neither Romeo nor Juliet were themselves anything more than amateurs. But the experience got me thinking that readers might like to take a crack at writing poetry about everybody's favorite emotion. Thus, the O, JULIET Love Poetry Competition was born.Run through my blog, http://robinmaxwell.blogspot.com , there'll be two separate contests (and winners), one for adults, and one for young poets age 13-18. The winner in each category will receive a signed copy of O, JULIET, a Renaissance style leather-bound journal, and a leisurely phone conversation with me.
My blog is also hosting the third and last of my "Love Game Giveaways," the prize a solid silver, hand-crafted heart necklace."
Monday, January 18, 2010
Book Review: EVE by Elissa Elliott
The story of Adam and Eve harks back to the very beginning of time. "Elohim" created Adam and Eve in his image. They were his children since he had given them the spark of life. Being adult children: the two lovers spent their days free from care and harmonious in the Garden of Eden. Sheltered from the outside world and protected by Elohim himself. Their days in the garden were numbered but they did have a choice. Elohim asked of them one thing, not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eve was lured by Lucifer to question why she was not allowed to eat from the tree. She had decided she was going to eat it with Adam. The consequences were to be enormous, banishment from the only home they ever knew and the only parent love they ever had.
Life was bitter outside of the garden. Adam and Eve were forced into becoming nomads after banishment. Banishment from a place that I imagined to be an unfathomably beautiful place. The garden would over shadow the rest of their lives, nothing would ever compare to its beauty. Eve and Adams existence after the garden was excruciating, always looking to the past and not to the future. With the eating of the fruit it was impossible to get back what they had lost, their "lightness" was gone. Elohim who had spent time with them from the beginning became a question of a dream world that might not have existed. Were they really in the garden with Elohim or was it just a fading dream?
Eve and Adam’s children were all born outside of the garden. First Cain, then Able, Naava, Aya, Jacan, and Dara. All of the children were very unique individuals. Cain was an explosive, abusive, schizophrenic personality type brimming with anger. His personality was a constant thorn in the novel. Naava the oldest girl was narcissistic, and evil as Cain was, just not in a physical sense. I was drawn to Aya second to Eve because she was "cripple" as they saw it but she was the smartest and hardest working of the family. Aya the "bird" who would fly with Elohim in her dreams and hear his whispers in the wind. She was my favorite all though she was very vengeful at times. This novel was distinctly about a family in crisis, a dysfunctional home that might not be repairable. Sibling rivalry reached murderous proportions. From poisoning to incest there was no emotional plot left untouched.
This review has been hard for me because I still am undecided on how I feel about the book. It did have brutal moments but then again in my mind it compensates for the times. Biblical times were not the prettiest of times. I became really attached to Eve but she was living in the past until something so horrific happened it shook her out of the dream world and into her reality that she was with with out the garden. Through out the book I felt that there was a much deeper meaning behind what I was reading. I found myself constantly questioning what was really going on. I did like the book but I did not love it. How can you love something that is so brutal? I would recommend this book to anyone who is open minded about religion. It is a tender subject and some might view this book as heretical. I decided that I cannot rate this book. Why? I am still very undecided about my true feelings on it. I feel I need time to process it all before I can give it a fair rating.
Today In History, Henry VI marries Elizabeth of York
This was the only picture I could find of them together and it was made in the 18th century which means it more than likely is not very accurate.
For more on Elizabeth:
The Tower Born by Robin Maxwell
New Release: The Tudor Rose by Margaret Campbell Barnes
Sunday, January 17, 2010
From the Lovely Christine Trent I got a finished copy of The Queens Dollmaker signed personally for me. Thank you Christine the final book is breath taking I will cherish it forever.
From the Enchanting Robin Maxwell I received a final copy of O, Juliet and it is amazing. It has a special full color glossy page for the very first page with the romantic balcony scene. Thank you Robin it is such a beautiful cover. Be sure and check out Robin's giveaway at her new blog.
I have been a Source Books hog lately and have received from them ARC's of:
Within The Hollow Crown by Margaret Campbell Barnes
The Stolen Crown by Susan Higginbotham, the first cover with the apple
The Scarlet Lion by Elizabeth Chadwich for Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table
From Simon and Schuster
The Time Travelers Guide To Medieval England by Ian Mortimer
Into Suez by Stevie Davies