Saturday, 30 June 2012

Friday Recommends


Friday again, and it's time for my choice of book for Friday recommends...







This is an exciting book blog hop that book bloggers can take part in once a week to share with their followers, the books that they most recommend reading!

The rules for Friday Recommends are:

Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.
Pick a book that you've read, and have enjoyed enough to recommend to other readers. It can be a book you've read recently, or a book you read years ago - it's up to you - but make sure you tell us why you love the book (like a mini review). You make the post as long or as short as you like.
Visit the other blogs and enjoy!

My Friday Recommended read this week is

Shelter Me

by 

Juliette Fay


Shelter Me


My review 


Janie LaMarche needs to find enormous strength of spirit in order to bring up her two young children alone. With an abundance of warm and tender characters, Juliette Fay has explored the emotional and psychological needs of this young mother, and has created a memorable and tender story. Throughout the story, an abundance of warm and witty characters form the glue that keeps this family together, but there is also a dark side, with secrets that need to be explored and hidden demons that are better chased away. The story flows easily, and the author has a lovely way with words which convey a wise and witty, and ultimately tender story about love, loss and the power of redemption.Focusing on the minutiae of life with all its hopes and fears, Shelter Me is one of those stories that will remain with you long after the last page has been turned.



My thanks to my friends at the Outlander Book Club for suggesting this book.




~***~

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Review - Inside by Alix Ohlin


Inside
Quercus (7 Jun 2012)

My thanks to Newbooks Magazine for an early reading copy of this book to review.

Inside

by 

Alix Ohlin



My Review


Three protagonists, Grace, Anne and Mitch weave their story over a period of ten years. In 1996, Grace, a psychiatrist, rescues a man, John Tugwell, who has attempted suicide. In 2002, Annie, struggling as an actress in New York, takes a homeless girl into her apartment. In 2006, Mitch a divorced councillor uses other people’s troubles to alleviate his own.  These interconnected stories, told in separate strands, and with clever psychological insight, form the basis of this emotional and complex story. 

The author, Alix Ohlin, has with some skill woven together a story which is at times understated, but entirely absorbing as she manages to rationalise the bleakness of the narrative with a clever perception of the human psyche.

On a personal level, I found the story intriguing, the characterisation is well managed, and the story flows well. The separate strands of the narrative are well defined, and the pendulum movement of time passing is absorbed seamlessly into the narrative.

I enjoyed it, it’s different and thought provoking.



Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Wishlist Wednesday


I am delighted to be part of wishlist Wednesday which is hosted by Dani at pen to paper

The idea is to post about one book each week that has been on your wishlist for some time, or maybe just added.

So what do you need to do to join in?

Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.

Pick a book from your wishlist that you are dying to get to put on your shelves.

Do a post telling your readers about the book and why it's on your wishlist.

Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of her post.

Put a link back to pen to paper (http://vogue-pentopaper.blogspot.com) somewhere in your post.





Wishlist Wednesday




The History Room


Synopsis from Goodreads

After her soldier husband is seriously injured and her marriage begins to fall apart, Meredith Cordingley returns to teach at Letchford, the grand Cotswold private school run by her father, who outwardly appears to be a typically English headmaster. The setting provides Meredith with a tranquil refuge from her own heartache until one September afternoon, when a shocking discovery is made in the history room.

The police are called, but all is not what it seems. Meredith is determined to discover the culprit and becomes convinced that a manipulative member of staff is controlling the sinister goings-on at her beloved Letchford, and exerting a calculating influence on a vulnerable and troubled young student, but on her journey to untangle the truth Meredith risks her father’s reputation, as well as her own.

As the mystery unravels Meredith comes to discover that there is more than one person at Letchford School hiding a past filled with complicated secrets. What follows is a gripping mystery, a tale of war, grief, love and second chances.



I really enjoy Eliza Graham's books - she writes with real insight and compassion. The History Room is definitely a must read wish-lister.


Her other books are

Playing with the Moon
Playing with the moon(2007)

Restitution
Restitution(2008)


Jubilee
Jubilee (2010)
is one of Richard and Judy Summer reads 2012






Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Review - Pictures at an Exhibition by Camilla McPherson


Pictures at an Exhibition

My 4 **** review

A collection of wartime letters link the two main protagonists in this story.
In the present day, Claire is grieving following a tragedy which creates marital disharmony. Whilst in the 1940's Daisy Milton writes letters to her cousin Elizabeth, to tell her about life in wartime London, and about the paintings she loves to view every month in the National gallery. When Claire gains access to Daisy's letters,she becomes immersed in the past, and without realising gains hope for the future. The story gets off to a rather slow start, and at first it seems like nothing is happening, but gradually the story evolves into a nicely written dual time narrative.

I loved the idea of a painting a month and felt that this added extra interest to the story, particularly with the addition of QR codes at the start of each chapter, so that those with smart phones could use the QR app to view the paintings.

Noli Me Tangere by Titian is one of the first paintings featured in the story, and is so beautifully described, that even without the picture in front of you, you can visualise the scene between the risen Christ and Mary Magdalene.



In many ways  Pictures at an Exhibition reminded me of books by Margaret Mayhew, Elizabeth Edmondson,Margaret James.

This is Camilla Macpherson's debut novel published in paperback by Arrow (26 April 2012). I enjoyed reading it, and look forward to more of her books in the future.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Friday Recommends

Friday again, and it's time for my choice of book for Friday recommends...





This is an exciting book blog hop that book bloggers can take part in once a week to share with their followers, the books that they most recommend reading!


The rules for Friday Recommends are:

Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.
Pick a book that you've read, and have enjoyed enough to recommend to other readers. It can be a book you've read recently, or a book you read years ago - it's up to you - but make sure you tell us why you love the book (like a mini review). You make the post as long or as short as you like.
Visit the other blogs and enjoy!



My Friday Recommended Read 
 is 

A Place in the Country 

by 

Elizabeth Adler 

A Place in the Country
Published 19 June St Martin's Press

My 4 **** Review




Newly single Caroline, and her fifteen year old daughter Issy, enjoy a mother-daughter relationship, which is at times fraught with frustration and despair, and yet, inevitably they have a deep and abiding love for each another. After her marriage breakdown, Caroline must try to make a new life for herself and Issy. When forced to leave their home in Singapore, they travel to England, where they attempt to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. However, Issy is a tetchy and argumentative teenager, still coming to terms with being abandoned by the father she adores, and blames her mother for the breakdown of the marriage. Inevitably, Caroline, faced with the prospect of supporting the two of them, needs to find a way of making a living. They decide to settle in a quirky Cotswold village, and quickly immerse themselves in village life, where they begin to make friends, and set down some roots. However, with stability comes commitment, as both Caroline and Issy find their own way of dealing with the events that life throws at them.

A Place in the Country is a strong and emotional story which captures perfectly the mother-daughter relationship, and emphasises the need within us all for love and acceptance. Elizabeth Adler has brought to life the idiosyncrasies of English village life, and has combined this with an array of warm and witty characters. The additional mystery at the heart of the story adds a nice twist and serves to emphasise that life is never easy, and sometimes we have to deviate from our path, in order to get to where we are going.

Having never read any of Elizabeth Adler’s books before I was impressed with her style of writing and the way the story evolved effortlessly. This is one of those lovely books to get lost in – best read on a sunny afternoon in the garden.

I'm now going to search out Elizabeth Adler's other books. She has an extensive back catalogue - so I've many to choose. Don’t you just love it when a new ‘favourite’ author pops along!

My thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an advance digital copy to read and review.



Thursday, 21 June 2012

Review - One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf

My thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin (MIRA) for an advance e copy to read and review.



One Breath Away
Published by Harlequin (MIRA) 19 June 2012







My 4**** Review

“We’re always one breath away from something, living or dying, sometimes it just can’t be helped”


The town of Broken Branch, in Iowa, is a small town with a big heart. In the midst of a snowstorm, a man with a gun walks into the town’s only school, and takes a classroom of children hostage. The identity of the gunman is unknown, but as this appalling news reaches the wider community, people start to gather outside the school, and as the snow continues to fall, they are powerless to do anything but wait and watch. What then follows is a cleverly woven story, held together by five very different narrators; a mother, a grandfather, a child, a police officer and a school teacher, all blend their voices together, as piece by piece, the story unfolds.
One Breath Away is so much more than the story of a lone gunman. It is the story of a small town community bonded together by tragedy, but divided by secrets. With remarkable skill, Heather Gudenkauf has pieced together the fragmented heart of a community, and has with great sensitivity exposed the rawness of grief, the challenge of redemption and the power of justice.



This is the second book by Heather Gudenkauf I have read and enjoyed. Her other books are :


The Weight of Silence (2009)

The Weight of Silence


These Things Hidden (2011)

These Things Hidden


  

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Wishlist Wednesday


I am delighted to be part of wishlist Wednesday which is hosted by Dani at pen to paper

The idea is to post about one book each week that has been on your wishlist for some time, or maybe just added.

So what do you need to do to join in?

Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.

Pick a book from your wishlist that you are dying to get to put on your shelves.

Do a post telling your readers about the book and why it's on your wishlist.

Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of her post.

Put a link back to pen to paper (http://vogue-pentopaper.blogspot.com) somewhere in your post.



My wishlist Wednesday book is a Victorian melodrama

The Painted Bridge

by 

Wendy Wallace


The Painted Bridge
May 24th 2012 by Simon and Schuster


Synopsis from Goodreads

Outside London behind a stone wall stands Lake House, a private asylum for genteel women of a delicate nature. In the winter of 1859, recently-married Anna Palmer becomes its newest arrival, tricked by her husband into leaving home, incarcerated against her will and declared hysterical and unhinged. With no doubts as to her sanity, Anna is convinced that she will be released as soon as she can tell her story.
But Anna learns that liberty will not come easily. The longer she remains at Lake House, the more she realises that -- like the ethereal bridge over the asylum's lake -- nothing is as it appears. She begins to experience strange visions and memories that may lead her to the truth about her past, herself, and to freedom - or lead her so far into the recesses of her mind that she may never escape…
Set in Victorian England, as superstitions collide with a new psychological understanding, this elegant, emotionally suspenseful debut novel is a tale of self-discovery, secrets, and search for the truth in a world where the line between madness and sanity seems perilously fine.

I really like Victorian Gothic and this one has received some good reviews, the book's description reminds me of Sarah Water's Affinity

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Review - Tideline by Penny Hancock



Tideline




My Review 4****


Sonia lives in a beautiful house on the banks of the river Thames, yet is dissatisfied with her life and haunted by memories of her dysfunctional childhood spent on the river. When fifteen year old Jez visits the River House to borrow some music, Sonia invites him into her home, and then refuses to let him leave. At first Sonia’s intentions appear altruistic, but her behaviour becomes increasingly erratic, and she becomes deeper and deeper immersed in fantasy. What then follows is a chilling psychological suspense story as Sonia becomes submerged in her feelings for the boy. There is no doubt that Sonia has difficulty in separating fantasy from reality, she’s not a likeable character, but the skilful nature of the narrative weaves a magical thread and pulls you into a story that takes you to the very edge of human despair.

Penny Hancock’s undeniable skill at characterisation and her subtle attention to detail captures the very essence of danger. Beautifully descriptive, and often unpleasantly menacing, Tideline is a story about the disintegration of decent values, and the abandonment of moral belief.



Tideline is one of Richard and Judy's Summer reads 2012





Monday, 18 June 2012

Review - Mrs Robinson's Disgrace by Kate Summerscale

My thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury USA for an advance digital copy to read and review.






My Review 4****


Isabella Walker is a widow of thirty-one when she marries Henry Robinson in 1844, and whilst this marriage offers her protection, Isabella is dissatisfied with her relationship with her cold, and very often absent, husband. Isabella becomes infatuated with the husband of a close friend, and records her thoughts and feelings in a private journal. Over time, the diary entries become more obsessive and passionate, so that when her husband, Henry discovers this journal in 1858, he assumes that Isabella has been unfaithful. What then follows is an account of the divorce trial between Isabella and Henry, when all of Isabella’s fantasies are laid open to scrutiny, and salacious gossip.

Kate Summerscale has vividly recreated the Victorian world of hypocrisy and double standards and has woven together a story that is both shocking and scandalous. The Robinson's court proceedings highlights one of the first divorce trials in the United Kingdom, and gives a fascinating insight into the Victorian legal system. The very idea of a married Victorian woman defending her absolute right to record her innermost thoughts and feelings,without being seen as wanton or lacking in moral values, makes for compelling reading.

As with her previous book The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, Kate Summerscale has recreated the very essence of Victorian culture. In a time when women were seen and not heard and when to be beholden to domineering men was paramount to survival, Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace emphasises the scurrilous and profound gender differences in Victorian society.



Kate Summerscale is an English writer and journalist. She won the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non Fiction in 2008, with her book The Suspicions of Mr Whicher.




Sunday, 17 June 2012

Review - Beneath The Shadows by Sara Foster

My thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press / Minotaur for a pre-publication digital copy of this book to read and review.

Beneath The Shadows

by 

Sara Foster


Beneath the Shadows
Published 5 June 2012 St. Martin's Press

My Review 5*****


How do you begin to move on, if the past won’t let you go? 

Grace, Adam and their tiny daughter Millie, move from the hustle and bustle of London to an isolated cottage on the Yorkshire moors. Hawthorn Cottage, once belonged to Adam’s now deceased grandparents, and offers the young family, a refuge and a haven, but when Adam goes missing after just one week, and with no clues to his whereabouts, Grace must learn to live without him.
A year after her husband’s disappearance, Grace returns to the cottage, ostensibly to pack up their belongings before putting the cottage up sale, but the wild and windswept beauty of the moors acts as a backdrop to a story that abounds with superstition, suspicion and deadly secrets. And as the finger of the past starts to point at long forgotten memories, Grace suspects that somewhere in the village lies the truth about Adam’s disappearance.

This stunning psychological thriller grips from the very first page. Sara Foster has created a very believable story; she allows a skilful blend of words and reader imagination to help build the tension, and sustains a rollercoaster of emotions from start to finish.

This was a really easy book to get into, I found myself reading it almost in one sitting, and even several days after finishing the story, I still want to remember the details.

It's reminiscent of the style of Sophie Hannah or Rosamund Lupton.

I look forward to the publication of Sara Foster's next book in December 2012.


Friday, 15 June 2012

Friday Recommends..


Friday again, and it's time for my choice of book for Friday recommends...

This is an exciting book blog hop that book bloggers can take part in once a week to share with their followers, the books that they most recommend reading!

The rules for Friday Recommends are:

Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.
Pick a book that you've read, and have enjoyed enough to recommend to other readers. It can be a book you've read recently, or a book you read years ago - it's up to you - but make sure you tell us why you love the book (like a mini review). You make the post as long or as short as you like.

Visit the other blogs and enjoy!



My Friday recommended read 

This Perfect World 

by

Susan Bugler


This Perfect World
Pan November 2010 



My Review 5*****

I've come rather late to this book - it has been sitting on my shelf for at least a year, so I decided to make it my Just for Fun Read in June,  I enjoyed it so much, I wonder why it took me so long to get round to it !


Laura Hamley has everything - a perfect life, good husband, beautiful children and supportive friends, but old memories are reopened when she receives an unexpected phone call  from the mother of a girl she once bullied at school. Laura has managed to successfully block from her life all the unpleasantness which was associated with her unusual relationship with Heddy Partridge, but when Heddy's mother asks for Laura's help in getting Heddy released from hospital, Laura must face the hidden demons which have plagued her life for so long.

This is a strange book to enjoy, on the surface it's a rather unpleasant tale of abject misery brought about by the insecurities of life, and yet it is also one of those stories which compels you to keep reading 'just a little bit more'. The characterisation is excellent - I didn't like Laura, she is remarkably flawed, and yet there is an underlying insecurity which reveals itself as the story evolves. Heddy is a strange and enigmatic character,who lies in isolated splendour in a hospital bed, gloriously obese and incredibly vulnerable.
Mrs Partridge reminded me forcibly of the Dickens character Uriah Heep,on the surface meek and mild and yet creepily manipulative.

Piece by piece the story of Laura and Heddy's childhood relationship is explored, until long buried secrets are revealed.



Suzanne Bugler is a talented and skilful writer, I look forward to more of her books.


The Child Inside
Published by Pan 5 January 2012





Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Wishlist Wednesday


I am delighted to be part of wishlist Wednesday which is hosted by Dani at pen to paper

 




The idea is to post about one book each week that has been on your wishlist for some time, or maybe just added.

So what do you need to do to join in?

Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.

Pick a book from your wishlist that you are dying to get to put on your shelves.

Do a post telling your readers about the book and why it's on your wishlist.

Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of her post.

Put a link back to pen to paper (http://vogue-pentopaper.blogspot.com) somewhere in your post.


My Wishlist Wednesday book is the soon to be published book from one of my favourite authors.


River of Destiny 

by 


River of Destiny
Published Harper Collins 5 July 2012

From Goodreads

From the bestselling author of Time's Legacy and Lady of Hay comes a thrilling new novel, River of Destiny, whose epic story spans Anglo Saxon Britain, Victorian Suffolk and the present day. On the banks of the River Deben in Suffolk lies a set of barns dating back to the Anglo Saxons, within their walls secrets have laid buried for centuries. Zoe and Ken have just moved into one of the barns, ready to start a new life away from the hustle and bustle of the city. To the outside world they seem like an ordinary couple, but underneath they are growing more distant by the day. And when Zoe becomes close to local recluse, Leo, she finds her attraction to him undeniable. Whilst farmers are ploughing the land surrounding the barns, sets of human bones are found and when the police arrive it becomes clear that the bones are much older than first suspected! From an ancient burial ground to a Victorian murder, Erskine will have you gripped as the mystery unfolds across the ages.


There are novelists whose books I eagerly await.  Barbara Erskine is one of the few authors whose work I buy in hard cover, simply because I know I will read them more than once, and they look very attractive on the bookshelf. The covers are always eerily atmospheric and draw the reader into the story before you have turned the first page.

Barbara Erskine has been one of my favourite authors for the last 26 years. Her first novel Lady of Hay has sold over 2 million copies worldwide. In 2011 Lady of  Hay celebrated 25 years of being continuously in print.

My friends who enjoy the time travel series Outlander by Diana Gabaldon will most certainly enjoy Barbara Erskine's time travel / dual time narratives.



Publication date 5 July 2012 is very much marked onto my book calendar -  I know this book won't remain on my wishlist for very long !



~***~





Sunday, 10 June 2012

Review- The Reckoning by Jane Casey

I have been an interested follower of the crime/ thriller series of books by the author Jane Casey from the publication of her first book The Missing in 2010


The Reckoning





I have read all of Jane Casey's books and I think that this is my favourite book so far.


My Review 4****

When DC Maeve Kerrigan is called upon to assist in the investigation into the violent deaths of several known paedophiles, she is immersed in a shady and sordid world of corruption and vice. Working alongside her new colleague DI Josh Derwent is never going to be easy , as Derwent's alpha male characteristics are more of an irritation than a help. Nevertheless, Maeve and her colleagues get drawn into a dark and dangerous world, where they need to keep one step ahead of the killer, but time is running out...

I think that Jane Casey got the characterisation in this novel absolutely spot on, there was enough graphic detail to satisfy the most prurient of observers, and yet there was an underlying tenderness in the relationship between Kerrigan, and her on-off love relationship with a fellow colleague, DC Rob Langton.

I found that I really couldn't put this book down, the twists and turns of the plot were nicely explored and the ending when it came took me completely by surprise.



The Missing

The Burning

The Last Girl
The Reckoning
       









Saturday, 9 June 2012

Review - A Secret Wish by Barbara Freethy

My thanks to NetGalley and Barbara Freethy for an e-copy to read and review.

A

Secret Wish

by

 Barbara Freethy


A Secret Wish (Wish, #1)
Published December 8th 2011



Three women, three birthdays and one unforgettable night that will change their lives forever.

My Review 4****

Three women celebrate their birthdays in very different circumstances, and yet each of them significantly begins to take stock of their lives. They each realise that their hope for the future is entirely in their own hands, but as ever the fickle finger of fate has a habit of intervening, and by a series of events it is revealed that life is about choices, and if heartbreak comes along, than equally love and happiness can also be found, if you are prepared to go out and find it.

This is a short novella, and is easy to read in one sitting. I enjoyed Barbara Freethy’s easy style of writing and spent an enjoyable afternoon in the company of Liz, Angela and Carole. There is a little bit of every woman in these three characters, we are shown that there are lessons we can all learn, and that ultimately there is a secret wish hidden away in all of us.

I enjoyed reading it.


I have book 2 in the wish series to be read -my  review will be posted so keep watching !!



Just A Wish Away 

Published by Barbara Freethy 

Just A Wish Away (Wish, #2)


Published March 2012

Friday, 8 June 2012

Friday Recommended Read...


Friday again, and it's time for my choice of book for Friday recommends...







This is an exciting book blog hop that book bloggers can take part in once a week to share with their followers, the books that they most recommend reading!

The rules for Friday Recommends are:

Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.
Pick a book that you've read, and have enjoyed enough to recommend to other readers. It can be a book you've read recently, or a book you read years ago - it's up to you - but make sure you tell us why you love the book (like a mini review). You make the post as long or as short as you like.
Visit the other blogs and enjoy!

My Friday recommended read is the third book in the Crowther / Westerman series of Gothic suspense novels from Imogen Robertson. 

My thanks to Real Readers for supplying a copy of this book to review


by


Island of Bones
Headline Review (29 Mar 2012) 




My Review

Against the backdrop of the glorious English Lake District, reclusive anatomist, Gabriel Crowther and his companion, Harriet Westerman meet again in a gothic story of intrigue, mystery and long dead secrets. The Island of Bones is the third book in the Crowther/ Westerman series of Gothic suspense novels, and is a fast and furious blend of history, deception and danger.

When an extra body is discovered in an ancient grave on the aptly named Island of Bones, Gabriel Crowther and Harriet Westerman are called upon to travel to Derwent Water, Cumberland, in order to investigate the mystery surrounding this unknown body. With added poignancy, Gabriel must return to what was once his family home in Keswick, which he abandoned during a scandal many years ago. The wild and untamed beauty of the area is richly juxtaposed alongside a story of disloyalty, disgrace and discredited honour. There are some really nice touches; Imogen Robertson has a nice way of writing, her characterisation is excellent, and her stunning description of the landscape, and superstition surrounding the Island of Bones, makes for interesting reading. The late Georgian era is captured to perfection, and the suspicion and superstition associated with this small Cumberland town is well explored.

With no prior knowledge of the previous two books in the series, it took me a little while to warm to the central characters, but once I understood a little more of their distinctive personalities, I found the narrative flowed very well, and I then became absorbed in the story. I particularly enjoyed reading the parts which involved Harriet’s young son Stephen, his relationship with the eccentric Casper Grace was by far my favourite part of the novel.

Overall, I thought that this was a fascinating and suspenseful murder mystery. I’m always happy to find a new author to follow, and it is now my intention to read the previous two books in the Crowther/ Westerman series.

4 ****

The previous Crowther / Westerman books by Imogen Robertson
Instruments of Darkness (2009)
Anatomy of Murder (2010)
Island of Bones (2011)
Circle of Shadows (due in 2012)


Instruments of Darkness Anatomy of Murder Island of Bones Circle of Shadows




Thursday, 7 June 2012

Review - The Secret Keeper by Sandra Byrd

My thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster / Howard Books for a pre-publication e-copy to read and review.


The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr

by

Sandra Byrd

(Ladies in waiting -Book Two )





The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr
Published June 5th 2012 by Howard Books

My Review

The story of Henry VIII’s courtship and marriage to his last Queen, Katherine Parr, is well documented. This fictional version, told by one of Kateryn’s maids of honour, Juliana St John, is an interesting interpretation, and continues the long held belief that Kateryn was a wise, intelligent and generous woman, who was bound in marriage to a belligerent and irascible old man.
Juliana is a thoughtful narrator; her allegiance to her queen is exemplary, and yet when this commitment to duty is combined with Juliana’s unique gift of prophecy, her loyalty is put to the test. The Tudor court is portrayed as a scheming hotchpotch of rivalry and intrigue, in a time when religious and political mania was rife.
Sandra Byrd has captured the fundamental spirit of the Tudor court; her apparent knowledge of the Tudor period is evident throughout the story, as she seamlessly blends fact and fiction. Overall, I enjoyed this account of the latter years of Henry’s reign, and it was interesting to see Kateryn’s story continue into her ill- fated marriage to Thomas Seymour. There is an underlying gentleness to the story but this doesn't detract from the portrayal of the Tudor court with all its faults and failings.

If you enjoy historical romance in the style of  Ella March Chase, Diane Haeger, Emily Purdy, Darcey Bonnette, and Anne O'Brien then I am sure you won't be disappointed.





Sandra Byrd is the author of several historical romance books.


Published August 9th 2011 by Howard Books 




 A Novel of Anne Boleyn
 is 
Book One in the Ladies in Waiting series



A Novel of Elizabeth I

is due to be published in 2013


Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Wishlist Wednesday..


 I am delighted to be part of wishlist Wednesday which is hosted by Dani at pen to paper

 




The idea is to post about one book each week that has been on your wishlist for some time, or maybe just added.

So what do you need to do to join in?

Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.

Pick a book from your wishlist that you are dying to get to put on your shelves.

Do a post telling your readers about the book and why it's on your wishlist.

Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of her post.

Put a link back to pen to paper (http://vogue-pentopaper.blogspot.com) somewhere in your post.

I


My wishlist Wednesday book this week is a much anticipated historical novel by one of my favourite authors.




by



A Dangerous Inheritance
Hutchinson (21 Jun 2012) 


Synopsis from Goodreads

England's Tower of London was the terrifying last stop for generations of English political prisoners. A Dangerous Inheritance weaves together the lives and fates of four of its youngest and most blameless: Lady Katherine Grey, Lady Jane's younger sister; Kate Plantagenet, an English princess who lived nearly a century before her; and Edward and Richard, the boy princes imprisoned by their ruthless uncle, Richard III, never to be heard from again. Across the years, these four young royals shared the same small rooms in their dark prison, as all four shared the unfortunate role of being perceived as threats to the reigning monarch.


This is a stand- alone sequel to the story about the Grey family which began in Innocent Traitor ( 2007)

Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey




Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Review - Jasmine Nights by Julia Gregson

My thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster / Touchstone for a pre-publication e-copy to read and review.

Jasmine Nights: A Novel
Published June 5th 2012 by Touchstone




My Review

Brought up in Tiger Bay with a domineering Turkish father, Saba Tarcan uses her exceptional skill as a singer to escape the narrow confines of home. Drafted into ENSA, the wartime entertainment troop, Saba becomes part of a group of singers sent out to the Middle East to entertain the troops stationed out there.

Dom Benson is a young fighter pilot, who suffers severe injuries in a wartime incident, he never forgets the beautiful young singer who added a touch of magic to his convalescence. Against all adversity, he is determined to get back to flying his beloved aeroplanes, and his strength of character shines throughout the story.

Overall, I thought that this was an entertaining love story / adventure story. The book gets off to an initial slow start, but once the action moves to the Middle East, the story really starts to build up. The added suspense of Saba’s involvement in undercover operations helps to make the action all the more interesting.

Julia Gregson has created a rich and dramatic story of wartime, the underlying theme of living life to its fullest is expertly explored.

I enjoyed it.


Julia Gregson has now written three novels:

East of the Sun
The Water Horse
Jasmine Nights

  
Jasmine NightsThe Water Horse    East of the Sun 

Monday, 4 June 2012

Review - Lord of The Black Isle by Elaine Coffman


My thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Casablana for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Lord of the Black Isle (Black Douglas, #3)
Sourcebooks Casablanca June 5 2012


My  Review

Lord of the Black Isle is the third book in the Mackinnon-Douglas series, and continues with a time travel theme. Elisabeth Douglas is a doctor in her own time, and yet when she is lured to Scotland in the 1500’s, by the ghost of Lord James Douglas, her medical skills are looked upon with suspicion, but Elisabeth is determined to make her own way. David Murray, Laird of Kinloss is a brave warrior and yet has no-one to share his life with, he cares deeply for his clan, and when he needs the assistance of a healer to help his community, he is stunned by the arrival of Elisabeth, whose knowledge of medicine surpasses all expectations. The attraction between the David and Elisabeth is apparent from their first meeting, but before they can acknowledge their feelings for each other, they both suffer agonies of indecision, and encounter many obstacles along their journey to eventual happiness.

Overall, this is a pleasant love story which happens to be set in sixteenth century Scotland. There is the ubiquitous, sexy, but troubled hero, combined with a feisty, opinionated, modern woman, all set against a back ground of warring clans, and spectacular Scottish scenery. The inclusion of a mysterious, ghostly figure that appears to guide Elisabeth through the most troubled parts of her life adds a light hearted touch, and explains parts of the story the reader may have missed by not reading the earlier books. My biggest criticism is the inclusion of Shakespearean quotes, which I felt add nothing to the narrative, and are perhaps more of a hindrance than a help.

Lord of the Black Isle
can work as a standalone story; however, I am sure that reader enjoyment will be greater, if the series is read sequentially.



Time travel novels set in Scotland are one of my guilty pleasures


Sunday, 3 June 2012

Jubilee Reading...




My themed reading for this weekend of  Jubilee celebrations 

is 

Jubilee

by 

Eliza Graham


Jubilee
Synopsis from Good Reads


During celebrations for the Queen's Golden Jubilee, Rachel watches her aunt Evie as she scrutinizes the crowds enjoying themselves on the village green. The scene is idyllic, but for Rachel and Evie the day can never be an innocent pleasure. They both remember what happened exactly twenty-five years ago. On that day, Evie's young daughter Jessamy vanished. She hasn't been seen since. 

 



and also downloaded free onto my iPad from iTunes

Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee


This is a pictorial look at Queen Elizabeth's 60 year reign throughout the decades from the 1950's to the present day.


screenshot 1