Showing posts from October, 2014

(Review) The Secrets of Mary Bowser by Lois Leveen

Publisher: William Morrow, May 12, 2012.
Genre: Historical fiction, slavery, Civil War, abolition movement.
Format: Deckle edge paperback.
Pages: 496.
Rating: 5 stars for excellent.
Source: Self-purchase.

Available at Amazon

Further links to read more about the real Mary Bowser.
American Civil War Story,
African American Registry,
How True is the Secrets of Mary Bowser by Lois Leveen,
W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute at the Hutchins Center.

Mary Bowser was born a slave in Richmond, Virginia. She is the only child of Lewis and Minerva. They are owned by the Van Lew family. At an early age, Minerva realizes her daughter Mary is gifted with intelligence. Bet Van Lew is an independent minded young woman. Her parents are the slave owners of Mary and her parents. Bet offers to send Mary to Philadelphia for schooling and freedom. Mary is a pre-teen when she leaves her beloved parents and moves to a large busy city. An education blossoms Mary. She returns to Virginia just before the …

(Review) Juliet's Nurse by Lois Leveen, Plus a Giveaway

Publisher: Simon and Schuster/Atria/Emily Bestler Books, September 23, 2014.
Genre: Historical fiction, Verona, Italy, Romeo and Juliet.
Format: Hardcover.
Pages: 416.
Rating: 5 Stars for excellent.
Source: Free copy from Italy Book Tours and Emily Bestler Books in exchange for a review.

1360, Verona, Italy.
Angelica and Pietro have been married thirty years. Their last child, born in mid-life, is a precious daughter they name Susanna. Susanna's life ends before it begins. Angelica is summoned to be a wet-nurse to another new born precious baby girl. The baby's name is Juliet Cappelletti. Angelica misses her beloved Pietro, but the bond with Juliet is strong.
The story begins in 1360 and ends in 1375.
Angelica is the voice/narrator of the story.
Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy/play written by William Shakespeare. The following link will give the ability to read the tragedy in its entirety: Romeo and Juliet.
The tragedy was written in possibly 1591 to 1597. It was publis…

(Review) Tristan and Iseult: A Story of Promise The Legend of Love by J.D. Smith

Publisher: Quinn Publications, January 21, 2014.
Genre: Myth, medieval story, romance.
Format: ebook.
Pages: 220.
Rating: 4 stars for very good.
Source: purchased item.

Available as an ebook at Amazon. 

Further links on the mythical story:
Myths Encylopedia
Timeless Myths (includes the original full-length tale).
The story at Project Gutenberg.

Tristan and Iseult: A Story of Promise The Legend of Love is a twist on the traditional tale. Tristan is a young battle hardened man. He defends Briton from the Saxon invaders and an Irish tyrant named Morholt. Tristan's king and uncle is Mark. Mark is the king of Kernow. Beautiful Iseult from Ireland regards Morholt with fear and disdain; nevertheless, she must obey Morholt. They travel to Briton and a skirmish erupts changing the course of lives.

My Thoughts:
I loved the story and read it in one day. It is a romantic story that rustles with passion just below the surface. The characters of Tristan and Iseult are lovers before they …

(Review) England, Arise: The People, the King and the Great Revolt of 1381 by Juliet Barker

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group, October 27, 2014.
Genre: Non-fiction, British History, British History Reading Challenge 2014, Peasant's Revolt.
Format: Hardcover.
Pages: 384.
Rating: 5 Stars for excellent.
Source: Free copy from Little, Brown Book Group in exchange for a review.

The book is available at Amazon. 

Link to read an excerpt from the book: England, Arise. 

Contact links for Juliet Barker:

Further links to read on the history of the Peasant's Revolt:
The History Learning Site
Britannia History
BBC Radio 4

King Edward III of England died June 21, 1377. His heir had been Edward the Black Prince. The Black Prince died in 1376. Edward's heir became his grandson the future Richard II. At Richard's coronation he was age ten. While Richard was a boy-king, he had a council of thirteen to "assist" him in ruling. A truce between England and France ended. A war with France required money. Taxes were a way to …

(Review) The Love Letters of Abelard and Heloise by an Anonymous Translator

The Love Letters of Abelard and Heloise were written in about 1128 or 1132. They were published in Paris 1616. I found three links to read the letters, the ebook may be purchased at Amazon for $1.50. The print length is 384 pages.
Link for online source of letters: The Love Letters of Abelard and Heloise.
Link for ebook at Amazon: The Love Letters of Abelard and Heloise. 
Link from Gutenberg: The Letters of Abelard and Heloise.
Link for resource information from Sherry Jones, author of The Sharp Hook of Love. 

While reading the love letters I came to understand the couple's reflections on their affair. Abelard and Heloise are older, in a different stage in their life, and they are able to reflect. Powerful feelings that once swept them away are replaced with intense nostalgia, reflection, and guilt. I cannot help but feel sorry for their plight. It is bittersweet.
The letters are tender, evocative, and haunting.
The appendix holds a poem written by Alexander Pope in 1717.
An addi…

(Review and Giveaway) The Sharp Hook of Love by Sherry Jones

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon and Schuster, October 7, 2014.
Genre: Historical Fiction, biographical, literary fiction.
Format: Advanced Reader Copy. Paperback.
ISBN: 978-1451684797
Pages: 384.
Rating: 5 Stars for excellent.
Source: Free copy from Simon and Schuster and France Book Tours in exchange for a review.
France Book Tours is managed by Emma at Words and Peace.

SHERRY JONESis also the author of Four Sisters, All Queens;
The Sword of Medina;
and her controversial, internationally bestselling debut, The Jewel of Medina. She lives in Spokane, Washington. Visit her website. Follow her on FacebookTwitter , Google +Pinterest, and Linked In Subscribe to her newsletter.  Send her an email: sherry [at] authorsherryjones [dott com Buy the book:S&S  |  Amazon  |  B&N  |  BAM  | IndieBound  | Kindle   | iBookstore  | Nook The Sharp Hook of Love at Goodreads.
The giveaway link is located here @ The Sharp Hook of Love.  It’s open internationally
We will have 1

(Review) The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O'Connor McNees

Publication: Amy Einhorn Books/G. P. Putnam's Sons a member of Penguin Group USA, April 1, 2010.
Genre: Historical Fiction.
Format: Hardcover.
Pages: 352.
Rating: 4 Stars for Very Good.
Source: I won a hardcover copy of the book. It has been in my to be read pile such a long time I don't remember who sent me the book.

The book is available at Amazon.

The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott, is loosely based on the life of the private author Louisa May Alcott. The time period of the story is July to November 1855. However, the story begins and ends with Alcott as a 48 year old woman reflecting on her life.
Louisa is the second daughter in a family of four daughters. Her oldest sister is sensible Anna. The younger sisters are Lizzie and May. Their hardworking and long-suffering mother is named Marmee. Their head-in-the-clouds father is Bronson.
The Alcott family lives in financial poverty. They depend on "charity" from family and friends. The family has recently …

Edward II Blog Tour, October 28th-November 4th, 2014

An Edward II blog tour is scheduled for October 28th through November 4th, 2014.  Edward II: The Unconventional King by Kathryn Warner is available to purchase through the following links. Amberley BooksAmazon Waterstones Barnes and Noble
The hosts for the tour: October 28---Christy at Rooting for Ancestors October 29---Peter at Medieval News October 30---Susan Higginbotham October 31---Gareth at Confessions of a Ci-Devant November 1---Jen at Piers Gaveston Blog November 2---Annette at Impressions In Ink November 3---Becky at The Medieval World November 4---Olga at Nerdalicious
Kathryn Warner can be found at the following links: Google Blog Facebook

(Review) The Anglo-Saxons, General Editor James Campbell

Publisher: Penguin Books 1991.
Genre: Non-fiction, Anglo-Saxon, England.
Format: Paperback.
Page: 272.
Rating: 5 Stars for excellent.
Source: Self-purchase.

The link to see inside the book: Amazon. 

The Anglo-Saxons is not available in an ebook. I don't feel an ebook would ever do justice to its vivid photographs. The paperback size is 8.2 x 10.9.  

Link to purchase at Amazon. 
Three historians have compiled an in-depth chronicle of the Anglo-Saxon era. James Campbell, Patrick Wormald, and Eric John began with the Roman rule in Britain, and ended with the Battle of Hastings. Specific studies of Christianity, German settlers, reigns of kings, manuscripts, Vikings, warfare, and key battles are all explored.
The Anglo-Saxons is a large glossy paperback. A must-have for all readers of British history, especially those keen on the Anglo-Saxon era.  

My Thoughts:
I love this book. I repeat, I love this book! I'm giddy, and this is an unusual response from a gal who is re…

Review: The Plantagenets, The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England by Dan Jones

Publisher: Viking, April 18, 2013.
Genre: Non-fiction, House of Plantagenet, Kings and Queens of England, medieval history.
Format: Hardcover.
Pages: 560.
Rating: 5 Stars for excellent.
Source: Self-purchase.

Available @
Barnes and Noble

A second book has recently been released, The Wars of the Roses. The book was published October 14, 2014.

The highlighted link will pronounce the word Plantagenet correctly.

The Plantagenets, is a precise chronicle of their rule in England, from Henry II to Richard II. Dan Jones, began by giving an account of Henry I, and the "ship-wreck" that ended the life of his son and heir, William Aetheling in 1120. Henry II, born in 1133, was the son of Matilda, the daughter of Henry I, and her second husband Geoffrey Plantagenet of Anjou. After Henry I died, Stephen of Blois, staked his claim to the throne. There was a power struggle between Stephen and Matilda, and their armies clashed. "Eventually, in 1148, Matilda lef…

Review: The Prodigal Son (The Graham Saga, Book 3) by Anna Belfrage

Publisher: Matador/Troubador Publishing, 2013. The book is currently published by SilverWood.
Genre: Historical Fiction, Scotland, Charles II, 17th Century.
Format: Paperback.
Pages: 390.
Rating: 4 Stars for very good.
Source: I won a free copy from The Review Group in December 2013.
The link for the posted giveaway, which includes a review by Lisl's Bits and Bobs.

Link for the website of Anna Belfrage.

The series is available at Amazon:
The Graham Saga
A Rip in the Veil Book 1
Like Chaff in the Wind Book 2
The Prodigal Son Book 3
A Newfound Land Book 4
Serpents in the Garden Book 5
Revenge and Retribution Book 6
Whither Thou Goest Book 7---will be released in November.

Website of Anna Belfrage.

In the third Graham Saga book, Matthew Graham has recently returned to the lowlands of Scotland, from the British colony in North America, Virginia. Matthew and his time-traveling wife Alexandra have several children. Matthew has a son from a previous marriage named Ian. Charles II (1630…

Review: The Lewis Man, The Lewis Trilogy by Peter May

Publisher: Quercus/Hachette Book Group, September 2, 2014.
A reprint edition.
Genre: Fiction, murder mystery. The Lewis trilogy of detective Fin Macleod.
Format: Hardcover.
Page: 368.
Rating: 5 Stars.
Source: Free copy from Hachette Book Group in exchange for a review. All reviews expressed are from my own opinion.

Book is available @

The first book in the trilogy is The Blackhouse. My review of The Blackhouse.
The Lewis Man is the second book.
The third book is The Chessman, available in February 2015.
A hardcover edition showcasing photography of the Hebrides is available through Amazon. 

The Outer Hebrides are islands off the northwest coast of Scotland. The Isle of Lewis is where detective Fin Macleod was born and raised. He has moved back to the island after cutting ties with his previous life in Edinburgh, Scotland. A young man's body has been found in the peat bog. The salt from the bog has preserved the body. Macleod becomes involved in the case whe…

The Classics Club: October is Poetry Month

I have always loved poetry. Sadly, I do not read enough poetry. I go through periods of time when I do read poetry, but it is often pushed aside for books.
When I was in middle school I wrote poetry. I  have kept the notebook tucked away in my mahogany chest. I was a romantic youth living in a home with quiet and serious parents. Feeling stifled, I wrote my feelings in a notebook, never revealing them to anyone else.

The poems (some are defined as quotes) I've posted below are my favorites. I have a small notebook kept near my desk that holds these favorite quotes and poems.

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." Albert Camus. From Brainy Quote.

"Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day."
Emily Bronte. From the Poetry Founda…

The Classics Club: Poetry

"October meme question for the Classics Club in October. 
Let’s talk about classic poetry! Have you got a favorite classic poem? Do you read poetry? Why or why not? // You could also feature a poet or a book of poetry, rather than a poem."

Today is also National Poetry Day-October 2, 2014.
National Poetry Month from

"I SAW old Autumn in the misty mornStand shadowless like Silence, listeningTo silence, for no lonely bird would singInto his hollow ear from woods forlorn,Nor lowly hedge nor solitary thorn;—Shaking his languid locks all dewy brightWith tangled gossamer that fell by night,  Pearling his coronet of golden corn."
Thomas Hood 1798-1845
To read the rest of the poem visit Bartelby.