Bookends | 20.04.18

Malice by John GwynneSpring is finally here and the pretty, pretty sunshine and blue skies are making my days far more joyful than the constant grey clouds. Although, with the pretty sunshine, my reading has suffered. I’ve been enjoying walking outside during my lunch breaks and evenings rather than settling in with my books.

That said, I do have a few to chat about. The weekend was gloomy after all…  Continue reading “Bookends | 20.04.18”

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Autumn Recommendations: Historical Fiction

As an historian, it is no surprise that I love historical fiction. I love how easy it is to learn about the past and the life it gives to well known characters of our past. I particularly enjoy reading about periods I know little about as once I have finished I will go and look up the actual events and learn more. It is safe to say I’m happiest when reading stories set in the past, even when reading fantasy I prefer it to be set in some feudal land. I love Kings and Queens, and battles with swords/axes/arrows, not guns and cannons. Here are a three I have really enjoyed in the past year. Continue reading “Autumn Recommendations: Historical Fiction”

Giordano Bruno Series by SJ Parris – A Review

Published by Harper

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

NB: This picture is missing the first novel in this series, Heresy, but my review stands for all of them. 

Set in Elizabethan England, Giordano Bruno is an ex-Dominican Monk who was excommunicated for reading Erasmus and his controversial beliefs such as stating that the Earth orbits the sun. Handsome and charming, Bruno is soon taken under Elizabeth I’s spycatcher Sir Francis Walsingham’s wing as he has a penchant for finding trouble, and discovering the gruesome truth behind it.

Continue reading “Giordano Bruno Series by SJ Parris – A Review”

The Winter Crown by Elizabeth Chadwick – A Review

 

Published in 2014, 483 pp, Sphere 

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

The second installment of Elizabeth Chadwick’s Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy, The Winter Crown opens in the winter of 1154. Eleanor is married to the young Henry FitzEmpress, son of Geoffrey of Anjou, the father of the Plantagenet dynasty, and Empress Matilda, heiress of the English throne, and is playing the part of child bearer well. Whilst Chadwick’s first novel, The Summer Queen,  focuses on young Eleanor, this one portrays Eleanor the woman. We have seen her overcome many hardships and flee from an unhappy marriage for the love of a young, feisty suitor. However, not long after the honeymoon period wears off, we see that young Henry is a force to be reckoned with. He has the Plantagenet temper and refuses to share power. He is desperate to claim his birth right; the English throne, and will do whatever it takes to get it. This leaves Eleanor alone to raise the children she bears him and to stew over the fact she is no longer in her homeland the Duchy of Aquitaine.

Continue reading “The Winter Crown by Elizabeth Chadwick – A Review”

Labyrinth by Kate Mosse – A Review

Published in 2015, 694pp, Orion 

Rating:  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 

I’ve been eyeing this up all year and I finally took the plunge. The story is set in Carcassonne in 1209 and in 2005, intertwining the lives of Alais Pelletier du Mas and Alice Tanner. Normally, I avoid books set across multiple time periods as I tend to find them poorly linked and unbelievable, but this one *thankfully* is utterly breathtaking – and I am so glad I finally picked it up.

Beautifully written, the narrative slips between the lives of the two heroines, one life echoing the other. Alais’ story begins in Carcassonne, an impressive fortress city in the south of France on the cusp of the Fourth Crusade. Continue reading “Labyrinth by Kate Mosse – A Review”

Monarch Series: Empress Dowager Cixi

Fact File

 

  • Name: Empress Dowager Cixi
  • DOB: 29th November 1835
  • DOD: 15th November 1908
  • Reign: 1861-1908 China – Qing dynasty

 

Rise to Royalty

At just 16 Cixi was chosen to become a concubine for Emperor Xianfeng. She started as a third-grade concubine but rose to secondary consort to the Emperor after the son she bore him turned one – she was the only concubine that bore him a male heir. At the age of thirty, Emperor Xianfeng died and Cixi’s five year old son became Emperor Tongzhi.

On his deathbed, Xianfeng had set up an eight-man regency group to rule China after his death. It is believed this is due to his mistrust of Cixi and his belief that she would meddle in affairs of state. If this is true, he had every right to be wary. Continue reading “Monarch Series: Empress Dowager Cixi”

Versatile Blogger Award

Versatile Blogger AwardHello everyone! Hope you are all enjoying your Sunday. I’m just trying to relax and recover after completing the Cambridge Half Marathon this morning! I still can’t believe I did it, and we managed to raise over £1000 for Cancer Research UK which is of course, fantastic.

Anyway, I have been nominated for The Versatile Blogger award by Continue reading “Versatile Blogger Award”