Tag Archives: Historical

Meanwhile at Shiny…

…I’ve had several reviews published recently. In the Name of the Family by Sarah Dunant Sarah Dunant’s latest novel chronicles the last year of Pope Alexander VI’s life. He was, of course, head of the Borgia family in Renaissance Italy. His mad and vicious soldier son Cesare, and daughter about to be thrice-married Lucrezia complete the trio, with Niccolo Macchiavelli… Read more »

Meanwhile, over at Shiny…

I have two reviews from the past couple of weeks, I haven’t shared here yet… The Fatal Tree by Jake Arnott Jake Arnott’s novels are moving back in time. He started in the 1960s and 1970s with his Long Firm trilogy, (the first of which I reviewed here), then he moved back to WWII followed by the early years of… Read more »

The story of a novel and how I got a quote inside it…

What If the Queen Should Die? by John-Paul Flintoff Today, my special subscriber’s copy of another Unbound book arrived. Unbound are a crowd-funding publisher – read my interview with them for Shiny New Books here to find out more. Once you’ve pledged to one book, it’s very tempting to pledge to another… and another. This is the fourth I’ve pledged to which have… Read more »

A Florentine treat

The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant I used to have all four of Sarah Dunant’s Italian Renaissance novels on my shelves. I liked the idea of them, as I love Italy, its art and architecture and so on but, I’m not a big reader of historical fiction, so they got forgotten and late last year I gave them away… Read more »

Losing myself in the Lymond Chronicles

The Game Of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett I reported on my experiences about reading the first half of The Game of Kings, the first volume in Dorothy Dunnett’s saga of 16th century life in the Scottish border country, here.  A month later I’ve finished the book and thus the first leg of my plans to read the series.  You’ll be glad to know… Read more »

The Game of Kings – Half-time thoughts

Phew! I’ve made it to the halfway point of reading my first Dorothy Dunnett book, The Game of Kings – volume one of the Lymond Chronicles.  At one stage, I wasn’t sure I’d make it in time for the dates I’d planned…  If you’re joining in, how did you do? Although I enjoyed the book right from the start, at… Read more »

Power Games in Puritan New England

The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent To be honest, I wanted to get this book out of the way. I didn’t warm to the cover at all, particularly as when you see it in a stack it stares at you; it gave me the willies one morning when I woke up to see it looking at me! The subject-matter of… Read more »

Richard III – Dastardly murderer or totally misunderstood?

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey  Most people if asked, including me, would think of Richard III as the hunchback who murdered the princes in the tower. Our information generally comes from Sir Thomas More’s hatchet-job of him by way of Shakespeare and Laurence Olivier or Anthony Sher with a crutch capering around the stage. Josephine Tey does her best… Read more »

She sells sea shells by the sea shore

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier This is the story of two women in the early 1800s – fossil hunters who played an important part in the beginnings of the evolutionary debate. Elizabeth Philpott and her younger sisters have to move after their brother marries; not being able to afford to live in Brighton, they choose Lyme Regis where the youngest… Read more »

Superstition and fear – Your worst enemies in Puritan times…

Witch Child by Celia Rees Right at the beginning of this remarkable novel, Mary’s grandmother is tortured, tried and dies for being branded a ‘witch’. Rees lets you know exactly what was in store for the poor women who as healers, herbalists and midwives, were routinely denounced as witches when something went wrong in the superstitious Puritan times. Mary is… Read more »

Vive le livre! Long live the book!

The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner is a dazzling historical novel for older children and young adults – and fair blew this forty-something adult away too. I absolutely loved it! This is the Paris of the late 1780s, just before the revolution. Yann, a gypsy youth who has second sight, assists his friend and mentor, the dwarf Tetu behind the… Read more »

Stevenson Under the Palm Trees by Alberto Manguel

An odd little novella about Robert Louis Stevenson; this edition is lushly produced with posh covers and illustrated with some of Stevenson’s own woodcuts (at 105 pages of big text it needs to justify its £7.99 price tag!). It’s a story based on Stevenson’s last days in Samoa as he is dying of tuberculosis. After his meeting with a newly… Read more »

The Sonnets by Warwick Collins

This is an ambitious novel. The author has taken Shakespeare’s sonnets and created a novel around them, selecting those that fit this narrative – 32 in all, reproduced in full within the text. Although I love Shakespeare’s plays, I’ve never read the sonnets, just knowing a couple of the famous quotes. This novel was a great way of getting to… Read more »

A sense of place

AnnaBookBel   October 21, 2008   No Comments on A sense of place

The Glassblower of Muranoby Marina Fiorato Novels with a strong sense of place are always attractive to me, and the most attractive of all are those set in Italy. I can’t get enough of them – the romance, the passion, the art and architecture, the food. But absolutely top of the list are those set in Venice at the trading… Read more »