I love everything to do with Scotlandand the Highlands. It must be the romantic in me, but the vision of rolling hills, lochs and brawny Lairds makes me wish to visit. In Julia London’s, The Last Debutante, she takes us an adventure that is sure to satisfy all of us Scottish romantics. The last person Daria Babcock expects to find in her grandmother’s home is a brawny, naked Highlander. She doesn’t buy Mamie’s explanation about finding the poor man shot in the woods. Nor does she trust the gorgeous laird, who insists his own memory fails him. But Daria came to Scotland looking for adventure and romance, and after the intriguing stranger kidnaps her, she gets her wish. This is a lovely story of falling in love and the stumbles we all encounter.
Historical Fiction Archive
Many of you know Lauren’s work with the Pink Carnation series and perhaps you’ve had the opportunity to meet her. She has graciously come to the Warren-Newport Public Library twice and discussed her writing style and her works. Her newest,The Asford Affair, is due out April 2013, is a departure from her series. This stand alone novel is already getting great reviews and I am sure will garner many readers.
At thirty four, Clementine Evans thought she had everything she wanted until a series fo events proves her wrong. Her long hours while trying to make partner at her law firm has led to a broken engagement and she feels as though her life is crumbling around her. As her family comes together to share in her grandmother’s birthday, long -buried secrets are revealed. Clementine digs into the past and alters her future.
Lauren is a wonderful writer–and though I missed her humor from her Pink Carnation series, I loved this latest.
Fact based historical fiction has been more prevalent in the past few years. Most of us have read or heard about Philippa Gregory’s Henry VIII wives series. This new novel was recommended to me by my mother-in-law.
Skillfully interweaving historical fact with psychological insight and vivid imagination, Sharratt’s redemptive novel, Illuminations, brings to life one of the most extraordinary women of the Middle Ages: Hildegard von Bingen, Benedictine abbess, and visionary.
Offered to the Church at the age of eight, Hildegard was entombed in a small room where she was expected to live out her days in silent submission as the handmaiden of a renowned but disturbed young nun, Jutta von Sponheim. Instead, Hildegard rejected Jutta’s masochistic piety and found comfort and grace in studying books, growing herbs, and rejoicing in her own secret visions of the divine. When Jutta died some thirty years later, Hildegard broke out of her prison with the heavenly calling to speak and write about her visions and to liberate her sisters and herself from the soul-destroying anchorage. Riveting and utterly unforgettable, Illuminations is a deeply moving portrayal of a woman willing to risk everything for what she believed.
I found this a fascinating tale. A strong woman who conquered fear and tragedy all during a time where women were little thought of. I found it interesting how the church competed for young girls dowry to finance and promote themselves.
As a lover of words, language and imagery, I was completely entranced by this book. Though it is over 700 pages, I never wished it shorter or more fast-paced but revelled in the poetic expression. In fact, the writing often seems more poetry than prose. It is a love story, a love song to New York city, a war story and a portrait of life in the time immediately following World War II. The novel is so full of grace, courage and devotion that the reader is uplifted! And just as you are swept away by all of this, there is a sudden interjection of sparkling wit that feels like a splash of cold water. It is hard for me to understand how I missed reading Mr. Helprin before this, but I will enjoy continuing to correct that error.
(Guest Reviewer: Carolyn)
Bodine’s Bounty is a quick, easy read. It’s a typical historical romance set in the Old West (California-circa 1882). A young, rich heiress runs away from her arranged marriage to locate her outlaw father and to make on her own as a singer. Her grandmother hires a bounty hunter to find the girl and bring her back safely. Of course, there’s deception on both sides–Emma’s and Bodine’s–in traveling together and in such close contact and often in dangerous circumstances. How could they not fall in love? Read this book for the twists and turns–will Bodine bring her back “untouched” to her grandmother? Will Emma marry her betrothed? Will Bodine marry his twin brother’s widow?
It is a” happily ever afte”r with some interesting surprises!
(Guest Reviewer: Paula)
Sherlock Holmes has had a resurgence of interest the past few years–and one of the reasons is this excellent series by Laurie King. Her first, The BeeKeeper’s Apprentice introduced a young Mary Russell and the intrepid Sherlock Holmes.
In their newest and most thrilling adventure, Garment of Shadows, the couple is separated by a shocking circumstance in a perilous part of the world, each racing against time to prevent an explosive catastrophe that could clothe them both in shrouds.
In a strange room in Morocco, Mary Russell is trying to solve a pressing mystery: Who am I? She has awakened with shadows in her mind, blood on her hands, and soldiers pounding on the door. Out in the hivelike streets, she discovers herself strangely adept in the skills of the underworld, escaping through alleys and rooftops, picking pockets and locks. She is clothed like a man, and armed only with her wits and a scrap of paper containing a mysterious Arabic phrase. Overhead, warplanes pass ominously north.
Meanwhile, Holmes is pulled by two old friends and a distant relation into the growing war between France, Spain, and the Rif Revolt led by Emir Abd el-Krim—who may be a Robin Hood or a power mad tribesman. The shadows of war are drawing over the ancient city of Fez, and Holmes badly wants the wisdom and courage of his wife, whom he’s learned, to his horror, has gone missing. As Holmes searches for her, and Russell searches for herself, each tries to crack deadly parallel puzzles before it’s too late for them, for Africa, and for the peace of Europe.
Ms. King keeps the action moving throughout and the smells and heat of the middle east bares down on the reader until the last page.
I LOVE Eloisa James. Her writing is wonderful–her characters interesting and her plots are never what you expect. Her last few novels may be considered “bent” fairytales as they manage to have the bones of the original fairytale but the story is pure James.
When she discovers that her husband James, heir to the Duchy of Ashbrook, married her only for her dowry, Theodora Saxby, known throughout the ton as The Ugly Duchess, is devastated until James launches an amorous compaign to prove that he loves the duckling who blossomed into a swan. Theodora is a strong woman who has equally strong beliefs. She works to right wrongs. James had grown up with Theodora and married her for financial reasons–though secretly always had a longing for her. These two must deal with many misunderstanding and changes before they realize they are perfect together. A lovely story with (as usual) a happy ending.
This is the second in the All Souls Trilogy began by Harkness. The first, A Discovery of Witches, became an overnight bestseller and this will surely follow. Shadow of Night plunges Diana and Matthew into Elizabethan London, a world of spies, subterfuge, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the mysterious School of Night that includes Christopher Marlowe and Walter Raleigh. Here, Diana must locate a witch to tutor her in magic, Matthew is forced to confront a past he thought he had put to rest, and the mystery of Ashmole 782 deepens. As the net of Matthew’s past tightens around them they embark on a very different journey, one that takes them into heart of the 1,500 year old vampire’s shadowed history and secrets. For Matthew Clairmont, time travel is no simple matter; nor is Diana’s search for the key to understanding her legacy.
Shadow of Night brings us a rich and splendid tapestry of alchemy, magic, and history, taking us through the loop of time to deliver a deepening love story, a tale of blood, passion, and the knotted strands of the past.
This wonderful tale is filled with history, supernatural doings, famous historical persons and a love story for the ages.