Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mailbox Mondays

The Heaven Tree Trilogy by Edith Pargeter
"British novelist Pargeter is better known as Edgar Award-winner Ellis Peters, creator of the popular Brother Cadfael mysteries and the Inspector Felse series. This reissue contains her early historical novels, long unavailable in U.S.: The Heaven Tree , The Green Branch and The Scarlet Seed . Written in 1960, 1962 and 1963, respectively, they are well plotted and proficiently detailed in their depictions of domesticity, history, architecture and warfare, but they may disappoint some Cadfael fans, for they lack the crisp, canny characterization and punchy action of Pargeter/Peters's craft at its most maturely honed. The setting of each is the raucous 13th century, when King John "Lackland" clashed with the Pope and the Welsh nobility. In The Heaven Tree , sensitive Harry Talvace's artistic vision drives him to design a great church on the Welsh/English border for imperious patron Ralf Isambard, but his compassionate impulses make him a misfit in harsh feudal society. Rivalry springs between Harry and Isambard over Madonna Benedetta, a statuesque, titian-haired ex-courtesan who lives with the lord but loves the artist. Isambard condemns her to die with Harry, but one of the intended victims escapes to resurface in The Green Branch , the trilogy's best read. Here, Harry's son grows up vowing to slay the hated Isambard and gets trapped in the villain's castle, while the Welsh subplot features an adulterous liaison and its brutal aftermath. The Scarlet Seed wraps up the action with revised relationships and gothic surprises. Although not quite up to the high standards of Pargeter's later work, these colorful narratives--which rousingly depict artistic, political and romantic passions--are nonetheless a treat for her fans".

Jane Austen: Blood Persuasion by Janet Mullany

"It is 1810, and the Damned are out of favor—banished from polite society. Jane Austen’s old undead friends have become new neighbors, raising hell in her tranquil village just in time to interrupt Jane’s work on what will be her masterpiece. Suddenly Jane’s niece is flirting dangerously with vampires, and a formerly respectable spinster friend has discovered the forbidden joys of intimate congress with the Damned (and is borrowing Jane’s precious silk stockings for her assignations). Writing is simply impossible now, with murderous creatures prowling the village’s once-peaceful lanes. And with the return of her vampire characteristics, a civil war looming between factions of the Damned, and a former lover who intends to spend eternity blaming her for his broken heart, Jane is facing a very busy year indeed".

Dracula In Love by Karen Essex
"This variation on Bram Stoker’s Dracula tells the story from Mina Murray Harker’s point of view. As a child, Wilhemina was given to strange dreams and sleepwalking, which so alarmed her parents that at age seven she was sent to a boarding school for young ladies to “learn to control herself and her urges.” And she did become a proper young lady, with a proper fiancé, a young solicitor named Jonathan Harker. But the bewildering dreams continue, and one summer, which she is spending in Yorkshire with her friend Lucy Westerna, she sees a mysterious shipwreck at Whitby. After that the dreams become more like memories, and a presence, which she cannot see, follows her. Essex, who has been praised for her historical novels, has drawn a detailed picture of England at the end of the nineteenth century, including some of the horrendous psychological practices introduced from Germany. Essex’s twist on Stoker’s plot is sufficiently original, and the quality of her writing makes this novel stand out among the vampire offerings".


  1. Enjoy all your new reads! Dracula in Love recieved rave reviews.

  2. Dracula in Love sounds really good. Not my genre but after reading one book about him, I think I like it very much!

  3. Mrs. Q I read it and LOVED it. I loved it so much I let my rude sister borrow it and of course she never gave it back even though I know she read it. I had to replace my lost copy. I gave it a 5 so so so good it is like a better adult version of Twilight with out the cheesy parts.

    Mystica, trust me this one DIL is more historical fiction than I thought it would be but really it i worth checking out. I loved it and had to have a copy for my collection.


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