Wednesday, 25 November 2009

The Virgin's Daughters: In the Court of Elizabeth I by Jeane Westin

The daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I was profoundly aware of the dangers of mixing power and sex. Torn between opposing needs—to fulfill her destiny as a strong monarch and to follow her own sensual yearnings—she was fated never to experience true love…and became determined to thwart the romantic desires of all around her. Now, Elizabeth’s story is told as never before—through the eyes of two ladies-in-waiting who were closest to her…

The story is about 2 women who served Elizabeth I, the story covers Lady Katherine Grey's passion for Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford in 1562, and Mistress Mary Roger's affection for Elizabeth's godson, Sir John Harington, in 1599.It is 1562 and Elizabeth is approaching 30.

Katherine Grey is the sister of the ill fated Lady Jane Grey, Edward is an old flame and taking him back without the permission of her Queen could be fatal for Katherine. Mary Rogers grandfarther cared for Katherine in her older years.

Overall a good read I much preferred reading about Katherine than I did Mary, the characters are quite different inhow they came to serve Elizabeth, I love reading anything set in Elizabeths reign and have yet to find something I have not enjoyed, another brilliant Tudor story.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Tavern in the Morning by Alys Clare

At the end of a dark and dreary market day, Goody Anne's inn at Tonbridge is finally settling down for the night. But while Anne's serving maid and boy finish up their chores, a man lies dying in the guest chamber-poisoned by a piece of pie made by Goody Anne herself. Josse d'Acquin, a knight with a knack for solving mysteries, is troubled by the news of the stranger's death. Josse has been a regular visitor to Goody Anne's, and he hates to think that Anne-or her fine cooking-has fallen suspect. He rides off to the scene of the crime and starts his own investigation.
When Josse discovers wolf's bane in the remnants of the pie, he knows that someone must have tampered with Anne's cooking. And when he learns that a charming, handsome nobleman ordered a piece of that very pie, Josse is convinced that the poison was meant for this upper-class guest, and not for the poor stranger who died alone in Anne's guest chamber.

After failing to persuade the Sheriff that the death was suspicious, Josse turns to his old friend, the formidable Abbess Helewise. Weakened from a severe bout of fever, the Abbess nonetheless provides a thread of common sense as Josse follows the trail of murder into the ancient, mysterious Wealden Forest, and finds something there that will change his life forever . . . .


This was a big improvement on the previous books and started out well, I find towards the middle to the end I was getting a little bored as it seems to follow the same path as the others. They aren't massively big books at only about 200 pages or so, so to have boring parts in such a short book is quite disappointing.

Theres not much to add to the synopsis except to say its all rather predictable, I'm only sorry I have most of the other books but, will read them one day and hopefully they will improve as they go along, not overly impressed thus far.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Ashes of the Elements by Alys Clare

A grove of huge oak trees in the Wealden forest is felled. And, as if some ancient curse is being unleashed, the man who wielded the axe meets with a violent end. Abbess Helewise teams up with Josse d'Acquin to discover what really lies inside the darkness of the ancient forest.

Much similar to Fortune Like The Moon but, this was better as we have got to know the characters more of the story can develop. This is not what I would call a edge of your seat thriller more like a sit back and enjoy!

Again we see the brilliant Sir Josse and Abbess Hellewise join together to investigate who the axe murderer is. A little more Paganism in this one as there are Forest People who still meet there when the moon is full to practise their dark magic! But, are they responsible for the murder.

This is more a cozy type of thriller if your into magical goings on with a little murder mixed in and something not too taxing on the brain then you will love it!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Fortune Like The Moon by Alys Clare

Shortly before his unexpected coronation, King Richard passed a law letting all of England's prisoners go free. Shortly afterwards a young nun is found, gruesomely murdered. Richard swiftly employs an old military colleague of his, Josse d'Acquin, to unravel this hideous mystery. Who could have wanted to kill this innocent young novice, and, more worryingly, why?

Josse goes to Hawkenlye Abbey to find out the answers to these questions. He is having little success until meets the Abbess Helewise, a woman who quickly proves herself to be his equal, both as an amateur sleuth, and as a figure the community can rely on during this turbulent time for England.

This duo have to find the murderer, and find him quickly, or they'll have the King of England to answer to...

This was a great read very easy to follow, one of the reasons I read this was I heard some of the stories were pagan inspired, there wasn't a lot of that going on here IMO but, it was still a great read. Also its great to read fiction books set near where you live, I live about 30 minutes from where these books are based.

But, the story is a good one a nice whodunnit, based around Richard the Lionheart and his decision to release prisoners, everyone thinks its one of the recently released prisoners committing the murders but, is it?

The characters are great Sir Josse and Abbess Hellewise are brilliant central characters apparently the historical accuracy is good but, I'm not too knowledgable on this period so not too sure on that.

Great for a little transportation back in time.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Dragonspell: The Southern Sea by Katherine Kerr

CAUGHT IN A WEB OF PASSION, DESTINY AND MAGIC For years the provinces of Deverry have been in turmoil, but the conflict escalates to new heights with the kidnapping of Rhodry, heir to the throne of Aberwyn. Intent on rescuing him, his beloved Jill and the elven wizard Salamander infiltrate the distant land of Bardek, where Rhodry is held captive.
Tied to Deverry by bonds of obligation, the immortal wizard Nevyn begins to see that all its problems originate from a single source - his ancient enemy, a master of dark magics, backed by a network of evil that stretches across the sea. With this realization, Nevyn understands that he too is being lured to Bardek, and into a subtle and deadly trap...

Katharine Kerr's novels of the Kingdom of Deverry unfold in a world of stunning richness and depth, portrayed with unequalled imagination and realism. Now, with Dragonspell, she returns to this enchanted kingdom for the most powerful story yet in this epic series.


The final in the first segment of the Deverry series. Overall the series is extremely well written and I loved the first three books I will say though I did not enjoy this as much as the first three but, as I read them back to back that could just be overload.

This one was slightly easier to follow than the previous books as the whole book is set in the present day, as with all the others it is a slow journey to the heart of the book but, I love books like that as you get such a descriptive image of how things are happening and the characters etc.

Like I said it was the least favourite of the four but, still a must read if you intend on reading the whole series (which I do).