Friday, June 22, 2012

Book Review: BY THE KING'S DESIGN by Christine Trent

In the past I mentioned that Christine Trent has sometimes been referred to as a “fluffy” author. I would have to completely disagree with that statement but I will be the first to admit that I enjoy and really love a good fluffy novel because sometimes you just need one. I found “By the King’s Design” easy to read and love the woman empowerment that all of Christine’s novels focus on. In truth what woman reader would not enjoy a novel that has a courageous heroine with an unusual trade that is seeking to find herself while he is trapped in a world dominated by men. Tragedy, love, and the prospect of a revolution always make for some dang good reads in my mind. It is one of the many reasons I enjoy Christine’s novels so much.

Annabelle Stirling, Yorkshire sweetheart with the courage of a man thought she had life all planned out. After her parents suddenly passed away she took over the family draper business with her brother Wesley as a helpmate of sorts. The plan was to married to her brother’s best friend. But life never goes as planed and sometimes people make bad hurtful choices that you cannot go back from. Sort of like when you throw a rock in a pond it make ripples across the whole surface Annabelle’s life was in the ripple effect. It was then that she realized she had made the worst choice ever and that her to be husband was just the man she did not need in her life. He tried to take from “Bell” the one thing she cherished most and he almost succeeded in destroying her business. In truth he wanted to control her. But the pistol toting Annabelle had other plans for her future after she had her awakening she realized there was nothing left for her in Yorkshire and it was time to move on.

She would walk all the way to London and there she would demand parliament compensate her for the Luddites aka now ex fiancee who tried to destroy her shop. Since she had the meanest suborn streak imaginable Annabelle was not going to back down until some type of action was taken. Parliament of course took her as a joke because she was a woman and she defiantly did not get the results she was looking for. Instead she attracted the attention of the Prince Regent himself and that could result in negative consequences or maybe some positive ones.

The Prince Regent soon to be George IV found Annabelle’s fiery spark a curiosity and decided she would be perfect for the commission of supplying the fabrics for his at the moment big project the new Royal Pavilion. London became Belle’s new home and with it came her fabric and her brother Wesley from Yorkshire. Life in London was good. Things were looking up for the siblings but Belle was completely caught off her guard by the hot cabinetmaker Put. But Belle had made up her mind back in Yorkshire that she would never giver herself to a man because she would never let anyone rule over her. If she did it was possible that she could stand to loose everything that she worked so hard to build. She came so close to loosing it all back in Yorkshire she would never take the same chance again. Her vow to never let that happen again could cost her everything with Put, Her King, and her brother Wesley.

4.5/5 This novel was very different from Christine’s other novels but this one is her only novel that is leaning way more toward a regency novel period. It shows that Christine is not afraid to evolve as a writer and grow from each work. Progress is good and Christine really did a wonderful job on this novel. For some reason Regency novels are not my top pick but this was the perfect amount of George IV because I really can not handle too much of George. I love that Trent added in an appearance by Jane Austen, Princess Caroline, and the parade of women that were George’s past and present mistresses. I found this one to be an excellent fictional Regency novel that packs the perfect amount of girl power and tragedy that all adds up to a great novel. Highly recommended.


Monday, June 04, 2012

Mailbox Monday

Four Sisters. All Queens by Sherry Jones
Releasing 5.8.2012
Rich in intrigue and scheming, love and lust, Sherry Jones’s vibrant historical novel follows four women destined to sway the fate of nations and the hearts of kings. . . .

Amid the lush valleys and fragrant wildflowers of Provence, Marguerite, Eléonore, Sanchia, and Beatrice have learned to charm, hunt, dance, and debate under the careful tutelage of their ambitious mother—and to abide by the countess’s motto: “Family comes first.”

With Provence under constant attack, their legacy and safety depend upon powerful alliances. Marguerite’s illustrious match with the young King Louis IX makes her Queen of France. Soon Eléonore—independent and daring—is betrothed to Henry III of England. In turn, shy, devout Sanchia and tempestuous Beatrice wed noblemen who will also make them queens.

Yet a crown is no guarantee of protection. Enemies are everywhere, from Marguerite’s duplicitous mother-in-law to vengeful lovers and land-hungry barons. Then there are the dangers that come from within, as loyalty succumbs to bitter sibling rivalry, and sister is pitted against sister for the prize each believes is rightfully hers—Provence itself.

From the treacherous courts of France and England, to the bloody tumult of the Crusades, Sherry Jones traces the extraordinary true story of four fascinating sisters whose passions, conquests, and progeny shaped the course of history.

Days of Splendor, days of Sorrow by Juliet Grey
Releasing 5.15.2012

"A captivating novel of rich spectacle and royal scandal, Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow spans fifteen years in the fateful reign of Marie Antoinette, France’s most legendary and notorious queen.
Paris, 1774. At the tender age of eighteen, Marie Antoinette ascends to the French throne alongside her husband, Louis XVI. But behind the extravagance of the young queen’s elaborate silk gowns and dizzyingly high coiffures, she harbors deeper fears for her future and that of the Bourbon dynasty.

From the early growing pains of marriage to the joy of conceiving a child, from her passion for Swedish military attaché Axel von Fersen to the devastating Affair of the Diamond Necklace, Marie Antoinette tries to rise above the gossip and rivalries that encircle her. But as revolution blossoms in America, a much larger threat looms beyond the gilded gates of Versailles—one that could sweep away the French monarchy forever".

The King's Mistress, Emma Campion

"When had I choice to be other than I was? From childhood Alice Salisbury has learnt obedience in all things and at fourteen, dutifully marries the man her father has chosen for her - at the cost of losing the love of her mother forever and the family she holds dear. But merchant Janyn Perrers is a good and loving husband and Alice soon learns to enjoy her marriage. Until a messenger brings news of his disappearance and she discovers that her husband had many secrets, secrets he didn't want her to know - but which have now put a price on her own head and that of her beloved daughter.Brought under the protection of King Edward III and Queen Philippa, she must dutifully embrace her fate once more - as a virtual prisoner at Court. And when the king singles her out for more than just royal patronage, she knows she has little choice but to accept his advances. But obeying the king brings with it many burdens as well as pleasures, as she forfeits her good name to keep her daughter free from hurt. Still a young woman and guided by her intellect and good business sense, she learns to use her gifts as wisely as she can. But as one of the king's favourites, she brings jealousy and hatred in her wake and some will stop at nothing to see her fall from grace".

Lady of the Hay by Barbara Erskine

So well researched and so well written that it is almost impossible to put down. The novel has everything that readers of racy fiction could ask for: beautiful characters, exotic settings, passion...and situations and characters that are so completely convincing that they come to life.

With a mesmerizing, wrenching story set both in the present day and the 12th century, Lady of Hay explores how Joanna, a journalist investigating hypnotic regression, plunges into the life of Matilda, Lady of Hay—who lived 800 years earlier. As she learns of Matilda’s unhappy marriage, her love for Richard de Clare, and the brutal treatment she receives from King John, it seems that Jo’s past and present are hopelessly entwined and that, centuries later, a story of secret passion and unspeakable treachery is about to begin again—and she has no choice but to brave both lives if she wants to shake the iron grip of history

Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James

When literature student Anastasia Steele is drafted to interview the successful young entrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, she finds him attractive, enigmatic and intimidating. Convinced their meeting went badly, she tries to put Grey out of her mind - until he happens to turn up at the out-of-town hardware store where she works part-time.

The unworldly, innocent Ana is shocked to realize she wants this man, and when he warns her to keep her distance it only makes her more desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her - but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey's singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success – his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving adoptive family – Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a passionate, physical and daring affair, Ana learns more about her own dark desires, as well as the Christian Grey hidden away from public scrutiny.

Can their relationship transcend physical passion? Will Ana find it in herself to submit to the self-indulgent Master? And if she does, will she still love what she finds?

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.
Fifty Shades Darker by E L James

Daunted by the singular sexual tastes and dark secrets of the beautiful, tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with a Seattle publishing house.

But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought, and when he proposes a new arrangement, Anastasia cannot resist. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and Anastasia learns more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven and demanding Fifty Shades.

While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her, and make the most important decision of her life.

Fifty Shades Freed by E L James

When unworldly student Ana Steele first encountered the driven, damaged young entrepreneur Christian Grey it sparked a sensual affair that changed both their lives irrevocably. Shocked, intrigued, and ultimately repelled by Christian’s singular sexual tastes, Ana demanded a deeper commitment; determined to keep her, Christian agreed.

Now, together, they have more – love, passion, intimacy, and a world of infinite possibilities. But Ana always knew that loving her Fifty Shades would not be easy, and being together poses challenges neither of them ever anticipated. Ana must somehow learn to share Christian’s opulent lifestyle without sacrificing her own integrity, identity or independence; Christian must somehow overcome his compulsion to control, and lay to rest the horrors that blighted his past and haunt his present.

Just when it seems that together their love can conquer any obstacle, misfortune, malice and fate combine to make Ana’s worst nightmares come true. Alone and desperate, she must face down the poisoned legacy of Christian’s past.

Seductive, shocking, sad and funny, Fifty Shades Freed is the compelling final volume in the Fifty Shades trilogy..~Lizzie~
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