Monday, November 12, 2012

Hot HF November and October

November 2012
11.6.2012 Royal Romances, Leslie Carroll
"More breathtaking than any fairy tale, here are seven scandalous, seductive centuries of all-for-love royal desire . . .
Elegant palaces, dazzling power plays, shimmering jewels, and the grandest of all-or-nothing gambles—nothing can top real-life love among the royalty. Louis XIV defied God and law, permitting his married mistress Madame de Montespan to usurp the role of Queen of France, then secretly wed her successor, Madame de Maintenon. Grigory Potemkin was a worthy equal in Catherine the Great’s bed as well as in Russia’s political arena. Dashing Count Axel von Fersen risked everything to save Marie Antoinette’s life more than once—and may have returned her passion. The unshakable devotion of the beloved late “Queen Mum” helped King George VI triumph over his, and England’s, darkest hours. And the unpretentious, timelessly glamorous—even relatable—union of Prince William and the former Kate Middleton continues to enthrall the world.

Full of marvelous tales, unforgettable scandals, and bedazzled nobles who refused to rule their hearts, this delightfully insightful book is what the sweetest royal dreams are made of..."

From nineteenth-century London’s elegant ballrooms to its darkest slums, a spirited young woman and a nobleman investigating for the Crown unmask a plot by Napoleon to bleed England of its gold. Chance led to Charlotte Raven’s transformation from chimney sweep to wealthy, educated noblewoman, but she still walks a delicate tightrope between two worlds, unable to turn her back on the ruthless crime lord who was once her childhood protector.

When Lord Edward Durnham is tapped to solve the mystery of England’s rapidly disappearing gold, his search leads him to the stews of London, and Charlotte becomes his intriguing guide to the city’s dark, forbidding underworld. But as her involvement brings Charlotte to the attention of men who have no qualms about who they hurt, and as Edward forges a grudging alliance with the dangerous ghosts of Charlotte’s former life, she faces a choice: to continue living in limbo, or to close the door on the past and risk her heart and her happiness on an unpredictable future".
11.27.2012 The Gilded Lily, Deborah Swift
"England, 1660. Ella Appleby believes she is destined for better things than slaving as a housemaid and dodging the blows of her drunken father. When her employer dies suddenly, she seizes her chance--taking his valuables and fleeing the countryside with her sister for the golden prospects of London. But London may not be the promised land she expects. Work is hard to find, until Ella takes up with a dashing and dubious gentleman with ties to the London underworld. Meanwhile, her old employer's twin brother is in hot pursuit of the sisters.

Set in a London of atmospheric coffee houses, gilded mansions, and shady pawnshops hidden from rich men’s view, Deborah Swift's The Gilded Lilyis a dazzling novel of historical adventure".

October 2012

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Book Review: THE COUNTESS by Rebecca Johns

A compelling case would be a gross understatement. “The Countess” tells Elizabeth Bathory’s side of the story like no one else can; from her own mouth she will tell you the truth. This novel brings to light a whole new prospective, a very unexpected one that will leave you aching to do your own research on histories most notorious woman serial killer.  Elizabeth in the past has been made out to be one of the darkest characters. I also heard that The Brothers Grimm was so compelled by Elizabeth and her wicked ways that they based the Evil Queen in Snow White after her. This book is different from the stereotypical stories of Elizabeth. In this one it explores the fact that maybe just maybe a woman who becomes so powerful in her own right that everyone might turn on her like a pack of jackals in the jungle. They all had their motives but was Elizabeth really that bloody thirsty maniac in a corset or a woman that needed to be brought to head because she could undo everything the men did not want her to be a part of.  After all men ruled the world and women too back then.

Elizabeth Bathory lived a privileged life from the beginning. Her parents were both of the highborn nobility of Hungary. Just like the norm of the times she was married off you to a rich heir, Ference Nadasdy. She was sent to Ference’s household years before the actual wedding as per request of Elizabeth’s future mother in law. She was to learn the Nadasdy way of running a household. After Ference and Elizabeth’s wedding the previously strained relationship did not get any better. It was noticeable even by the servants that their relationship was defiantly not all blushing roses. The couple finally had a breakthrough. By chance the two had bonded over the punishment of the servants. Violence reared it ugly beginning here. But it was able to break down Elizabeth and Ference walls and they became a real husband and wife to each other. Life took a very positive turn at that moment. Their relationship blossomed and they added three girls and two boys to the family household. 

It came across to me that Elizabeth’s cruelty to her servant girls started out as a kind of legitimate thing. There is a reason why they still use the saying “medieval punishment”. It was not exactly backed by human rights groups back then. I fear as things rapidly spiraled out of control when Elizabeth lost Ference. It was very suddenly that he passed and she had not made plans for a life with out him. Twenty-nine years of marriage had taken a toll on Elizabeth and she was not exactly young anymore. She was nearing her fifties and Ference had wished for her to remarry. Not just to anyone but his closest boon companion Gyorgy Thurzo.

Elizabeth did pursue Thurzo but she also attempted to collect a very large debt she inherited from her husband. At the time she thought she was doing the right thing but all it did was bring attention to her. She found her relationship with Thurzo satisfying. But her continued confrontations with her ladies and servants were escalating even more on a daily basis.  Elizabeth’s life was intense and living as a strong independent widow in a world ruled by men she was an anomaly.  The bad part for her was many of them were in debt to her. Elizabeth was cruel but it was a cruel world and she just wanted to survive it.

4.5/5 Really compelling it really opened my eyes to maybe there be another side of this monster of history. I dare anyone not to read this book and not look it up on the Internet when you are done. The only other book I can remotely relate this one to is “The Last Queen” by C.W. Gortner. This book really was not as violent as I thought it would be but it does have a few nasty scenes. I would highly recommend this book on Elizabeth Bathory  because it is an excellent take on an old story that maybe we all miss understood…or maybe it is all the delusions of a demented violent woman.
  • FTC- Book was sent to me for review.
  • Rated R-Violence


Saturday, November 03, 2012

Lady Washington’s Reception by Daniel Huntington

The Republican Court: Lady Washington's Reception Day by Daniel Huntington (c. 1861). This fanciful painting depicts the Macomb House. The Alexander Macomb House at 39-41 Broadway in Manhattan served as the second Presidential Mansion. President George Washington occupied it from February 23 to August 30, 1790, during New York City's two-year term as the national capital.
The Republican Court (Lady Washington's Reception Day) containing sixty-four careful portraits.
 Daniel Huntington 1816-1906
Date 1861
Medium: oil on canvas
Dimensions 167.7 cm (66 x 109.1 in)
Current location Brooklyn Museum
Signed bottom left: D. Huntington / New York 1861

Sketch for the Republican Court
Between 1859 and 1863
Oil on canvas
Current location Brooklyn Museum
Signed bottom left DH

"He studied at Yale with Samuel F.B. Morse, and later with Henry Inman (painter). From 1833 to 1835 he transferred to Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, where he met Charles Loring Elliott, who encouraged him to become an artist. He first exhibited his work at the National Academy of Design in 1836. Subsequently he painted some landscapes in the tradition of the Hudson River School. Huntington made several trips to Europe, the first in 1839 traveling to England, RomeFlorence and Paris with his friend and pupil Henry Peters Gray. On his return to America in 1840, he painted his allegorical painting "Mercy's Dream", which brought him fame and confirmed his interest in inspirational subjects. He also painted portraits and began the illustration of The Pilgrim's Progress. In 1844, he went back toRome. Returning to New York around 1846, he devoted his time chiefly to portrait-painting, although he painted many genre, religious and historical subjects. From 1851 to 1859 he was in England. He was president of the National Academy of Design from 1862 to 1870, and again in 1877-1890. He was also vice president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art".
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