4 Mar 2017

Service Interruption.

Sorry for the lack of postings. Her ladyship is rather unwell at the moment and in hospital. I will let you know as she progresses and hopefully won't be too long before she's back.

HD

27 Feb 2017

THREE SISTERS, THREE QUEENS.

THREE SISTERS, THREE QUEENS by PHILIPPA GREGORY.

INNER FRONT COVER BLURB: There is only one bond that I trust: between a woman and her sisters. We never take our eyes off each other. In love and in rivalry, we always think of each other.

When Katherine of Aragon is brought to the Tudor court as a young bride, the oldest princess, Margaret, takes her measure.  With one look, each knows the other for a rival, an ally, a pawn, destined – with Margaret’s younger sister Mary – to a sisterhood unique in all the world. The three sisters will become the queens of England, Scotland and France.

United by family loyalties and affections, the three queens find themselves set against each other. Katherine commands an army against Margaret and kills her husband, James IV of Scotland. But Margaret’s boy becomes heir to the Tudor throne when Katherine loses her son. Mary steals the widowed Margaret’s proposed husband, but when Mary is widowed it is her secret marriage for love that is the envy of the others.

As they experience betrayals, dangers, loss and passion, the three sisters find that the only constant in their perilous lives is their special bond, more powerful than any man, even a king.

FIRST SENTENCE {BAYNARD'S CASTLE, LONDON, ENGLAND, NOVEMBER 1501}: I am to wear white and green, as a Tudor princess.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {PAGE 295}: The horse bucks, its trappings flapping, its reins trailing; the knight lies still, obviously winded, perhaps worse. Grooms in their blue damask catch the horse, squires in their blue satin run to the knight. They open his visor, his head lolls.

SOURCE: A gift from Mr T purchased from BookPeople.

READ FOR:  2017 Mount TBR Reading Challenge (8th of 24 books read).

MY THOUGHTS: Though published recently, this is in fact the continuation of the Tudor Court* novels which began with The Constant Princess (first published 2005).

The first Philippa Gregory in a long while that I have truly enjoyed from start to finish. In Three Queens, Three Sisters the author weaves a complex and yet totally compelling story of the political and social life during the Tudor era in a way that I haven't savoured in in quite a while. 

Of course its historical fiction (and therefore open to poetical licence) which along with the fact that not many biographies exist of Margaret, sister of Henry VIII and Dowager Queen of Scotland, (whose story it firstly and foremostly is) makes it very difficult to know just how accurate the portrayal is BUT seemingly well researched, Margaret comes across as a remarkably strong if not particularly likeable woman.

Though full of jealousies (many of them petty) towards the other queens of the title, her younger sister, Mary and her sister-in-law, Katherine of Aragon (or Katherine of arrogant as she refers to her), often petulant, capable of changing loyalties at the drop of a hat and yet here portrayed as something of an early feminist, Margaret essentially comes across as a woman doing the best she could.

The only thing to put me off slightly. Not a fan of the 'letter' format of writing a book to begin with, printed in italics I struggled to read the correspondence written between the three sisters. 


* See the series explained here along with a review of the fifth book in the series, The Taming Of The Queen.

24 Feb 2017

(MISS PEREGRINE'S PECULIAR CHILDREN #2): HOLLOW CITY.

HOLLOW CITY by RANSOM RIGGS.

BACK COVER BLURB: September 3, 1940. Ten Peculiar Children flee an army of deadly monsters. And only one person can help them - bur she's trapped in the body of a bird. The extraordinary journey that began in Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children continues as Jacob Portman and his newfound friends journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. There they hope to find a cure for their beloved head-mistress, Miss Peregrine. But in this war-torn city, hideous surprises lurk around every corner. And before Jacob can deliver the peculiar children to safety, he must make an important decision about his love for Emma Bloom.

FIRST SENTENCE {PART ONE: CHAPTER ONE}: See my thoughts. TT 

MEMORABLE MOMENT {PAGE}: Do I have to pick? Please don't make me pick. OK then, how about the pipe smoking dog with a refined British accent on page 81? Or the chickens with rather unusual eggs on page 87? The list of possibilities goes on ... TT

SOURCE: A 2016 Christmas present.

READ FOR: Mount TBR Reading Challenge (7 of 24 books read).

MY THOUGHTS: A phenomenal success, I, along with just about every reader I knew, loved the first book in the series, Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children. The second book in the series, would Hollow City, could Hollow City be as good?

Nay ...

It was better.

'We rowed out through the harbor, past bobbing boats weeping rust from their seems, past juries of silent seabirds, roosting atop the barnacled remains of sunken docks, past fishermen who lowered their nets to stare frozenly as we slipped by, uncertain whether we were real or imagined; a procession of waterborne ghosts, or ghosts soon to be' ...

With this, the opening sentence, I was hooked in what turned out to be one of those books that presented that age old dilemma of do I read just one more chapter to find out what happens next OR do I stop reading for now knowing that if I don't it will only bring me a page, a chapter, closer to the inevitable ending of a book that I don't want to end?Ooh! Decisions, decisions.

Following straight on from where we last left Jacob and the other Peculiars, I found Hollow City... 

  • A faster paced read 
  • The London World War II setting fascinating. Wonderfully descriptive I felt myself there in a way I never quite did the island home of Miss Peregrine
  • The character development of the 'old' peculiars wonderful though I personally could have well done without the flourishing romance 
  • The introduction to other peculiars a sound move, the connection between them and the gypsies, both outcasts, wonderfully symbolic
  • Those pictures. Equally as bizarre as those featured in the first instalment. Please tell me I'm not the only adult to have had nightmares about them?
  • And as for that ending???? What can I say other than that I need a copy of the third (and final) book in the series, Library Of Souls, as soon as possible ... if not sooner.

22 Feb 2017

WWW: GUILTY AS CHARGED.

Welcome to another Wondrous Words Wednesday, the meme in which several of you, my fellow bloggers, join in with. See Yvonne @ Fiction Books December WWW post here.

 Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers: Page 80 ... STRAVAIGING: Wandering aimlessly. 

Accused of being this, jokingly .. I hope, by a friend ... SCURRYFUNGE: One who rushes around tidying/cleaning when guests are due.

Accused (rather more aptly I have to say) by yet another friend as being ... OMNILEGENT: reading everything/addicted to reading.