Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Book Review: REBEL QUEEN by Michelle Moran

India in the mid 19th century was an oppressive world for women. Sita had grown up in her small village of Barwa Sagar in purdah. Being in purdah for her whole life Sita was never allowed outside of her home and lived a very isolated life. When her mother tragically dies giving birth to her sister her evil grandmother tried to take her to a local temple to basically sell her into prostitution. Once her father found out he was livid and against grandmothers wishes her father decided the best thing for Sita was to train her to become one of the queen’s personal guards the durga dals.

Becoming a durga dal was an almost impossible goal. The women were some of the highest-ranking warriors in all of India. Their job was to be the best female warriors and to protect the queen rani at all costs including with their won lives. Her father and neighbor teamed up to give her the best training possible. Since the men were both retired solders they trained her every day from dusk to dawn. Over the years she perfected the use of a bow and learned how to ride a horse.  Years of training and word had come that one of the rani’s durga dal’s had retired. It was time for the trials to begin. For Sita the timing could not have been more perfect because she had just come of age.

Acing the trial that her whole village turned out to watch Sita was immediately taken to her new home, the palace in Jhansi. The palace was a new life for Sita, one that had she not become a durga dal she would never have been invited to be a part of. Finding her way in her new life was not easy. She made new friends and a new enemy with her new fellow female warriors. Excited about her new home Sita planed on raising enough money for her little sisters wedding dowry. Working to help give her sister a better life was her only ambition. In a turn of events at the palace Sita became one of the Rani’s favorites, the Rani trusted Sita and when the already established British troops decided they were to claim India for England it was Sita the Rani turned to for help to fight for her right to rule.

5/5 Another Moran hit! This novel is unlike any other novel I have ever read and I LOVED it. I finished it really fast because Moran just has a gift for making you live and breathe her characters. Excellent historical fiction novel that I highly recommend. It was exciting for its unique characters, time period and setting.

PG ~ 13 Rating for violence

FTC ~ this novel was sent to me by the publisher for review. I received no compensation for this review.
Amazon ~ REBEL QUEEN by Michelle Moran

S T A Y C O N N E C T E D W I T H M E :
S U B S C R I B E ~ T W I T T E R ~ F A C E B O O K ~ I N S T A G R A M ~ G O O G L E +
~L I Z Z I E~

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mailbox Monday: Margaret Campbell Barnes, Hermione Eyre, Marci Jefferson and Stieg Larsson

The Passionate Brood by Margaret Campbell Barnes
"In this compelling novel of love, loyalty, and lost chances, Margaret Campbell Barnes gives readers a new perspective on Richard the Lionheart's triumphs and tragedies. Drawing on folklore, Barnes explores what might have happened if King Richard's foster brother were none other than Robin Hood, a legendary figure more vibrant than most in authentic history. Thick as thieves as Richard builds a kingdom and marshals a crusade, the two clash when Robin Hood so provokes the king's white hot temper that Richard banishes him. The Passionate Brood is a tale of a man driven to win back the Holy Land, beset by the guilt of casting out his childhood friend, and shouldering the burden of being the lionhearted leader of the Plantagenets".

Viper Wine by Hermione Eyre
"At Whitehall Palace in 1632, the ladies at the court of Charles I are beginning to look suspiciously alike. Plump cheeks, dilated pupils, and a heightened sense of pleasure are the first signs that they have been drinking a potent new beauty tonic, Viper Wine, distilled and discreetly dispensed by the physician Lancelot Choice.
Famed beauty Venetia Stanley is so extravagantly dazzling she has inspired Ben Jonson to poetry and Van Dyck to painting, provoking adoration and emulation from the masses. But now she is married and her “mid-climacteric” approaches, all that adoration has curdled to scrutiny, and she fears her powers are waning. Her devoted husband, Sir Kenelm Digby – alchemist, explorer, philosopher, courtier, and time-traveller – believes he has the means to cure wounds from a distance, but he so loves his wife that he will not make her a beauty tonic, convinced she has no need of it.

From the whispering court at Whitehall, to the charlatan physicians of Eastcheap, here is a marriage in crisis, and a country on the brink of civil war. The novel takes us backstage at a glittering Inigo Jones court masque, inside a dour Puritan community, and into the Countess of Arundel's snail closet. We see a lost Rubens altarpiece and peer into Venetia’s black-wet obsidian scrying mirror. Based on real events, Viper Wine is 1632 rendered in Pop Art prose; a place to find alchemy, David Bowie, recipes for seventeenth-century beauty potions, a Borgesian unfinished library and a submarine that sails beneath the Thames.

The Girl on the Golden Coin: A novel of France Stuart by Marci Jefferson
"In 1660, the Restoration of Stuart Monarchy in England returns Frances Stuart and her family to favor. Frances discards threadbare gowns and goes to gilded Fontainebleau Palace, where she soon catches the Sun King's eye. But Frances is no ordinary court beauty-she has Stuart secrets to keep and her family to protect. King Louis XIV turns vengeful when she rejects his offer to become his Official Mistress. He sends her to England with orders to seduce King Charles II and help him form an alliance with England. The Queen Mother likewise orders Frances to become her son's mistress, in the interest of luring him away from the Protestant mistress he currently keeps. Armed in pearls and silks, Frances maneuvers the political turbulence of Whitehall Palace, but still can't afford to stir a scandal, determined to keep her family from shame. Her tactic to inspire King Charles to greatness captivates him, and the two embark on a tenuous relationship. Frances survives the Great Fire, the Great Plague, and the debauchery of the Restoration Court, yet loses her heart to the very king she must control. A startling discovery will leave her with no other choice but to break his heart, while the fate of England hangs in the balance. In the tradition of Philippa Gregory, Marci Jefferson brings to life a captivating woman whose beauty, compassion, and intellect impacted a king and a nation".

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
"Murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue combine into one satisfyingly complex and entertainingly atmospheric novel.
Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden's wealthiest families disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of unfathomable iniquity and astonishing corruption".

S T A Y C O N N E C T E D W I T H M E :
S U B S C R I B E ~ T W I T T E R  ~ F A C E B O O K ~ I N S T A G R A M ~ G O O G L E +
~L I Z Z I E~

Friday, May 08, 2015

Book Review: THE KING'S CONCUBINE by Anne O'Brien

Dumped off at the doorstep of a convent as an infant, Alice Perrers belonged to no one. As she grew it became obvious that a nun’s life was not meant for Alice. Her first taste of another life came when the Fair Maid Joan of Kent came for an extended visit to the nunnery. Hand picked for her ugliness because Joan could not stand anyone competing with her beauty, Alice waited on the royal guests every request. Alice was quick to discover not only was Joan a vain woman she was also cruel and much later in life she would also know the depth of her true malicious character. When Joan departed the nunnery Alice begged to be taken with her. It was her only chance at escaping taking her holy vows to become a nun. Cruelly refused Alice took Joan’s advice and pushed herself to excel at her studies until one day she was unexpectedly hauled off to the city to become a merchant’s servant.

The life of a servant at least was an escape from the convent and her vows. Fate had always been overly cruel to her but her new master decided to elevate to the status of wife. A sham of a marriage gave Alice her new name Perrer’s and the first gift she ever received, a bride’s gift in the form of a big fat purse of silver. Never owning anything of her own in her whole life Alice took a chance and turned her new wealth into an investment in property. She had a bit of help from one of her husband’s advisors that was a savvy businessman. Her good fortune had turned to ill fortune when her husband suddenly became ill and died. When he died she lost everything except her secret investment. With no other choice Alice returned to the convent.

Miserable to the core Alice waited for her opportunity to escape. Graced by an unexpected royal visit to the convent. Alice expected another woman like the cruel Joan of Kent instead it was the ailing queen Philippa.  Alice was once again chosen to serve the queen. She was kind where no one else had ever been and when she left Alice again begged to be taken with her but she was refused. Alice fell into a deep despair until a man suddenly appeared to fetch her and take her to the beloved Queen.

The Queen in her kindness had elevated Alice to a new position as companion to the queen. Alice from the beginning had questioned her good fortune but as time passed on it was apparent that the Queen’s motives in bringing her to court were not entirely as innocent as it seemed. King Edward III was regal and handsome in his mid years he was adored by everyone. He was the war hero that had many heirs and was especially loved by his wife. Alice though had caught the king’s eye and since his ailing wife was further more unable to do her bedroom duties the king sought a lover with his wife’s blessing. Alice was Philippa’s pick for position of the king’s liaison. It was a dangerous path to take. Full well knowing the dangers she could face. Alice realized from that moment on her only ambition was to live a better life and if that happened to be by being the king’s whore than so be it.

4/5 Enjoyed this one but I felt in some areas it dragged. This was a tumultuous novel on Alice Perrer’s life that was full of court intrigue and I have to admit O’Brien’s Joan of Kent sure was an evil witch to Alice through out the years. I enjoyed seeing Joan through another perspective that was not a lovesick man. I would recommend this novel to historical fiction lovers alike because nothing beats rags to riches historical fiction novel.

FTC ~ this novel is part of my personal collection

R ~ Rating for sexual references and language

S T A Y C O N N E C T E D W I T H M E :
S U B S C R I B E ~ T W I T T E R  ~ F A C E B O O K ~ I N S T A G R A M ~ G O O G L E +
~L I Z Z I E~
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