Monday, March 20, 2017

Enemies of Versailles by Sally Christie

The court of the Sun King evolves after the death of much hated Madame de Pompdour. Adelaide, eldest unmarried daughter of the king is determined to become her father's companion. Louis has other ideas and is introduced to Jeanne, the Countess du Barry. Jeanne comes to court and becomes Louis' mistress. The women vie over control of the king, court and the newly welcomed dauphine. 

I really enjoyed this finale. This book focuses on the lives of the court women leading up to the French Revolution. The book is narrated by Louis' daughter and his mistress, Jeanne. I enjoyed Jeanne's voice much more, but she could be very frivolous. I also liked seeing the revolution from different views other than Marie Antoinette's. A very good book to end the series with.
Thank you to the publisher for a review copy.

Friday, March 17, 2017

In the name of the Family by Sarah Dunant

While Rodrigo Borgia founded a dynasty drenched in corruption, womanizing and excess, it is his children that tell the full story. Lucrezia, twice married, is reeling from the loss of her second husband. She is quickly married to Ferrara's Duke Elect. Her infamous brother is suffering from the scourge of the pox, but is determined to bring all of Italy under his heel. The Florentine ambassador Niccolo Machiavelli watches Cesare's reign of terror with fascination and admiration. But all things must end.
Dunant's books are amazing. Instantly, you are transported to the calm and serene Corpus Domini nunnery or the boisterous inner chamber of Pope Alexander VI. The scenes are studded with realism, both in scenery and actions. The characters, even the minor ones are thoroughly explored. I am surprised at how I connected with Machiavelli and even Micholetto. I loved this book, but that's no surprise as one of her early books, The Birth of Venus, made me fall in love with reading again. Dunant doesn't let the readers down. A phenomenal read. 
Thank you to the publishers for a review copy.

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Risen by David Anthony Durham

Spartacus  is rebelling against Rome. But his rebellion is more than just a rebellion. Members of the rebellion are trying to rebuild their lives. This book follows the struggle for freedom and the stories that revolve around it. 

This book was really touching. The stories start with Spartacus, but branch out. The different characters are wonderful and each have their own wants and desires, but are working towards a group goal. The plot was nicely done, working history in with fiction. The book was really good. 

Thank you to the publisher for a review copy.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen by Alison Weir

Young Catalina of Aragon is betrothed to Arthur, the Prince of Wales. Their young marriage quickly turns tragic after Arthur dies. Katherine, who also falls ill, is left without a future, a pawn between her father and father in law. Her pain becomes pleasure when she marries Henry, Arthur's young and affectionate brother. But their life together is not without pain. Soon Katherine is fighting for her husband, her crown and her future.

I have always enjoyed Alison Weir's books, but this one was of her best. Katherine is brought to life and the reader sees her as a young girl, instead of the queen she became. The love that develops between Katherine & Henry seems short lived, but is very well written. I think Weir captures the whole story in this book and I can't wait to see how the next books in this awesome series will turn out.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Confessions of a Young Nero by Margaret George

Tomorrow, Margaret George's newest book The Confessions of Young Nero is released.

The Confessions of Young Nero takes readers through the early life of Rome’s infamous Nero. Through the machinations of his mother, Agrippina the Younger, Nero became emperor at the age of sixteen, the last of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. But the road was a frightening one. The young boy, an intelligent, sensitive and watchful child, had a series of psychological shocks from an early age. His cruel uncle Caligula and his scheming cousin Messalina threatened his life, and his domineering and ambitious mother Agrippina married and poisoned two men en route to securing the throne for her son. Agrippina viewed Nero’s power as an extension of her own will. But once on the throne—like the teenage boy he was—Nero did not want to take orders from his mother. Soon the world was not big enough for the two of them. Thereafter he was remembered as a hedonist and tyrant who “fiddled” while his people burned. But the truth behind the caricature, revealed here, shows Nero to be instead a product of his mother’s relentless ambition, and the incest, violence, luxury, and intrigue that have gripped Rome’s seat of power for generations.

This book is wonderful. I am a bit embarrassed to admit that it's my first Margaret George book, though I have plenty on my shelf. I loved diving the life of Nero, and all the details that the are included in this book. George wraps fiction, history and myth into a wonderful package. The book is very descriptive and I enjoyed feeling like I got to know the real Nero, not the Nero history remembers. I also was pleased that Margaret makes the complicated Roman "Royal" line easier to navigate and understand. The plot isn't action packed, but rather intrigue packed. The book is amazing and I can't wait to finish my other Margaret George books.


Margaret George is the author of the bestselling Autobiography of Henry VIII; Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles; The Memoirs of Cleopatra; and Mary, Called Magdalene.

Thank you to the publisher for a copy.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Secret Language of Stones by MJ Rose

Opaline Duplessi, a young woman in Paris during World War I, works as a jeweler creating mourning jewelry  in a fantastic Russian jewelry store. Descended from  La Lune, one of sixteenth century Paris’s most famous courtesans, Opaline has a gift that makes the stones speak to her, passing on messages from soldiers who have passed on. Then one day, the stones speak to her. Opaline is grief stricken and fascinated by the voice talking to her from beyond. As she reaches out for his family, danger quickly presents itself.

I've read a lot of MJ Rose's books and this one was by far the most magical for me. I loved the jewelry making and Opaline is a great narrator. The reader is quickly pulled into her world. The plot is twisty, which kept me on my toes. Its a really great read. Highly recommended.

Thank you to the publisher for a review copy.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Medicis Daughter by Sophie Perinot

Margot, a Princess of France, is summoned to her mother's court in 1564. At court, her widowed mother, Catherine de Medicis, rules over a country divided by religion. Margot easily makes friends of her mother's women spies, but finds that she must follow a different set of rules. Margot easily falls in love with the Duc de Guise, leader of the Catholic faction at court, but is betrothed to Henri of Navarre, her uncouth cousin to seal a truce. Margot sees behind the illusion of peace and begs her brother, King Charles, to spare her husband. The night that follows sets France and Margot's family into a path of chaos and destruction.  

This book was amazing. Margot is a perfect character. She is smart, caring and a little bit stubborn. I loved her evolution from a fresh convent girl to a Princess of France. Her family dynamics were captured with amazing clarity, even down to the most minuscule detail. Catherine's rule was far stretching and absolute, but Margot challenges her. Pick up this perfect book. I knew I'd love it as much as I loved Perinot's first book, Sister Queens

Thank you to the publisher for a review copy.