Thursday, December 30, 2010

2011 Jean Plaidy & Victoria Holt Reading Challenge

Alright, so I promised I would host one more reading challenge and I came up with the perfect one! I'm so excited about this one! I have decided to host a Jean Plaidy & Victoria Holt 2011 reading challenge! Jean Plaidy is my all time favorite author and her real name is Eleanor Alice Burford Hibbert and she wrote under many pseudonyms. Since work under the pseudonyms Jean Plaidy and Victoria Holt are my two favorites I've decided that this challenge should include her works under both names. Feel free to join in the fun and the more the merrier!

Rules:
1. The books must be written under the pseudonyms Jean Plaidy and/or Victoria Holt. Feel free to mix and match!

2. You must read at least 3 books but if your as crazy about her as I am I guarantee 3 won't be enough!

3. If you want to participate in this challenge and you have a blog please post the challenge button somewhere on your blog and make sure to link it back to this page so others can join in the reading fun.

4. As with all my other reading challenges, a review is not mandatory but it would be nice to see what you thought about the books you read for this challenge.

5. To sign up please leave your name, a link to your site so others can read what you are reading for this challenge, and also how many books you plan to read. If you aren't quite sure that's okay because you can always add to your list later.

(You don't have to have a blog to participate just let me know if you want to participate and feel free to comment about what you read in the comments below and on other participants blogs)

My Plaidy & Holt Reading List:
1. The Three Crowns by Jean Plaidy
2. The Queen's Secret by Jean Plaidy
3. My Enemy the Queen by Victoria Holt
4. The Loves of Charles II by Jean Plaidy
5. The Captive Queen of Scots by Jean Plaidy
6. Lord of the Far Island by Victoria Holt

This is a tentative list. I may add or reduce this list depending on how busy I get this year. Hope you enjoy your Plaidy and Holt reading extravaganza!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Review: Victoria Victorious by Jean Plaidy

Victoria Victorious by Jean Plaidy
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Setting: It’s 1837 and Queen Victoria has just inherited the English throne from her Uncle William and for the first time in her life she feels a since of freedom.
  

Synopsis:
Ever since Victoria was a little girl she was constantly watched and never allowed to be a lone for a second. Her mother, the Duchess of Kent, saw Victoria as her ticket to becoming the Regent of England and ruling until Victoria became of age to rule England herself. Victoria felt like a prisoner in her Kensington Palace where her mother dictated her life. Everything grew dark when Victoria’s mother brought in Sir John Conroy to take control of the household. Victoria did not trust him at all. She knew Sir John had motives of his own and wanted to rule England through her mother if she became Regent. Victoria was a very perceptive child and she knew both her mother and Sir John did not have her best interests at heart.

Once Victoria became Queen of England she rid herself from both her mother’s and Sir John’s retched grasp. She became very fond of her Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, a Liberal for the Whig party. She called him Lord M out of endearment. Her reign as Queen did not start off on the right foot. It seems she became too fond of Lord M, therefore, she always trusted his advice. This led to her over throwing her own government over a disagreement about her ladies maids. The people were so outraged that a man pulled out a pistol and aimed for Queen Victoria while she was riding in her carriage one day. Fortunately the madman missed.

Things turned around for the better once she met the dashing Prince Albert of Sacs-Coburg Germany. Prince Albert was Victoria’s cousin and through the coercion of her Uncle Leopold they fell in love.  The people of England did not like Albert because he was a German and looked to feminine, but of course Victoria did not care what the people thought of him. She knew he was perfect for her and they soon were married and had a grand total of nine children together. 

Review:
Victoria Victorious by Jean Plaidy is the eleventh novel in Plaidy’s Queens of England series. It’s told in Victoria’s point of view, which makes it sort of her memoir. I did enjoy this book to a point. However, I found it a bit dry in some parts. Mainly, I found the political aspect of this book to be boring. 
What I really enjoyed most about the book was getting to know young Victoria as the Princess living under her mother’s rule in the Kensington Palace. Victoria was so quick witted as a child and she really pulled at everyone’s heart strings. You just couldn’t help but sympathize with her. She was kept in pretty much a prison and hardly ever allowed to visit her very own Uncle the King of England who became very fond of little Vicky. In her entire life there were seven attempts at her life and she tried very hard to not let it bother her. I also enjoyed the courting of young Prince Albert and Victoria. Albert was truly perfect. He put up with Victoria’s “storms” of anger and did not let it affect their marriage. 

Although this is not my favorite Plaidy novel I did enjoy it. Queen Victoria was truly a strong woman and was the longest reigning British Queen. She reigned for sixty years. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about the ups and downs of Victoria’s life. She really was an inspiration.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Henry VIII 2011 Reading Challenge

Hey Everyone! I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and possible expanded your library a little...I know mine sure did!

I have come up with a few new 2011 reading challenges to both host and participate in. I'm going to post them one at a time so people can sign up for the one's they want to participate in down below in the COMMENTS area.

So I decided to start off by posting the Henry VIII 2011 Reading Challenge that I'm hosting here at All Things Historical Fiction. Please feel free to join in the reading fun! The rules for this challenge are listed below.


Rules:

1. The book must be centered around Henry VIII in some way obviously and the books can overlap other challenges you may be participating in.

2. You must read at least 3 books and they can't be one's that you've already read because that sort of defeats the purpose.

3. This is a year long challenge so you have until January 1st of 2012 to finish your personal goal.

4. It's not mandatory to post a review but it would be nice so other people can read them but Non-bloggers please include your information in the comments below.

5. Please sign up by leaving a comment down below with your name, link to this challenge on your blog, and how many books you plan on reading.

6. You must some how link back to this post so others can join in the fun!

I will update my list as much as possible and will post my reviews as soon as I read them.  I hope to read as many as 5. Here's what I have so far:

1. The Queen's Rival by Diane Haeger (5 Stars) Read Review

Friday, December 24, 2010

Favorite Books Read in 2010

Hey everyone! HAppy ChriStmaS Eve! Can you believe it's almost the end of the year 2010 and we are vastly approaching 2011!

Today I wanted to list my top 5 favorite reads that I read this year, whether they be books published this year or several years back. So here it goes and I'm sorry if this makes your Christmas wishlist even bigger!

My favorite book read this entire year was...

The Courts of Love by Jean Plaidy

I absolutely loved this book! It's about the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine in Jean Plaidy's Queens of England series. Unfortunately, I hadn't started reviewing books when I read this book so I don't have a review posted on this one. Here's the review from publishers weekly.
From Publishers Weekly

This fifth volume in the Queens of England Series is devoted to Eleanor of Aquitaine. Evoking the beautiful, tempestuous and sensual woman who divorced the King of France and married the King of England, Plaidy employs the ingratiating domestic details that are characteristic of her historical storytelling. Despite a hobbling first-person narrative that tends to repetition, the novel is dramatic in the sweep of its background and in the vividly realized events of Eleanor's long life. Raised with the Provencal languor of the courtly love tradition in her native Aquitaine, her beauty the toast of jongleurs, Eleanor relieves the tedium of her marriage to the pious French King Louis by daringly joining the Crusaders. She further shocks by pursuing her attraction to unattractive Henry Plantagenet, lured as much by the English crown as by the mutual sensuality that produces her favorite son, the enigmatic Richard the Lionhearted. Later, ambitious, headstrong Eleanor locks wills with Henry, leading to her imprisonment for many years. Even then, Eleanor remains central to the tumultuous epoch that witnessed the murder of Thomas a Becket and other royal infamies. Plaidy's prose style is serviceable at best, lacking in grace and nuance. Readers who enjoy easily accessible historical fiction, however, will find Eleanor's story adequately told.

Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
 
Next in the running was...
 
The Queen's Bastard by Robin Maxwell
 
This was an amazing read. Here's publishers weekely review:
From Publishers Weekly

Maxwell's second novel (after The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn) breathes extraordinary life into the scandals, political intrigue and gut-wrenching battles that typified Queen Elizabeth's reignAas seen through the eyes of Arthur Dudley, the man who may have been the illegitimate progeny of the Virgin Queen and her beloved Master of the Horse, Robin Dudley. Arthur's first-person narration is cleverly juxtaposed with third-person dramatization of significant events in the queen's life, bringing an intricate authenticity to the possibility that Elizabeth gave birth to a bastard son. Maxwell's research examines the biographical gaps in, and documented facts about, the queen's life, making this incredible tale plausible, and the author aptly embellishes her story with rich period details and the epic dramas of the late 16th century. Switched at birth with a baby's corpse by a lady-in-waiting who foresaw the disastrous political consequences of a royal bastard, the infant is raised in the English countryside, where he is abused by his adoptive mother. Only his adoptive father, Robert Southern, knows his true background, and it is only when Southern lies dying that he reveals the secret to Arthur. The circumstances leading to Arthur's reunion with his father and finally his mother range from the young man's military training in Wales and encampment in the Netherlands to his post as a spy in France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, all played out against the backdrop of England's defeat of the Spanish Armada. The novel falters only with an abundance of references to Anne Boleyn's diary (coy allusions to the author's first novel), but this minor affectation defuses none of the powerfully lascivious intersections of sexual and international politics that, combined with Maxwell's electrifying prose, here make for enthralling historical fiction.

My third favorite book of 2010 was...

A Royal Likeness by Christine Trent

This was such an enchanting read entaingled with the wax workings of Madame Tussuad. Here's my review: Synopsis: A Royal Likeness is the sequel to The Queen’s Synopsis: A Royal Likeness is the sequel to The Queen’s Dollmaker. Years have passed and Marguerite is now the sole heir of Claudette’s Fashion Doll business. She couldn’t be happier living the life of a tradeswoman with her devoted husband, Nicholas Ashby, constantly at her side. It would seem nothing could bring Marguerite’s spirits down until a raging band of rioters end up on her doorstep harassing and accusing her of conspiring with the enemy as a result of being a French émigré. Suddenly, the riot breaks loose and descends upon her shop breaking everything in their path. While defending his wife’s work, Nicholas is brutally murdered right before Marguerites eyes and her life ceases to matter.

Marguerite decides to escape everything that reminds her of Nicholas and goes to stay with her Aunt Claudette and Uncle William in the country. She soon finds herself immersed in the depths of depression, until one day her aunt gets the idea to send Marguerite to work as an apprentice for Madame Marie Tussaud, who has a wax exhibition residing in London.

Just when Marguerite becomes settled in her new life working for Madame Tussaud, England’s Prime Minister William Pitt, sees Tussaud’s wax work as a useful war strategy and decides to commission a wax figure of Admiral Horratio Nelson. Madame Tussuad decides Marguerite has developed enough skills to go to London herself. Upon arrival, Marguerite captures the attention of two completely opposite men who desperately try to compete for her affection. It doesn’t take long for disaster to strike again and Marguerite finds herself entangled in a dangerous adventure that no woman should ever be subjected to.
Fourth in the running is...

O'Juliet by Robin Maxwell

I loved Maxwell's spin on Shakespeare's classic Romeo and Juliet! It had me guessing the entire time. Here's a tid bit of my review:

When Juliet meets Romeo Monticecco, at her friend Lucrezia’s masquerade ball, she immediately falls in love with him. They find they have something in common; their love of Dante’s poetry. They quote his work to express their feelings towards one another, which brings them even closer. For once in Juliet’s life, she has found someone who actually understands and shares her passion for writing and reading poetry, however, this posses two problems. The Capalletti’s and the Monticecco’s are families at war with one another and Juliet is soon to be betrothed to Jacopo Strozzi.
Click here to read more:

Last in the lineup is...

Katherine of Aragon by Jean Plaidy
Here's Publisher's Weekly review:
Katharine of Aragon, first of Henry VIII's six wives, is brought to life in the three books which make up this volume. Katherine comes to England from Spain to marry Henry's older borther, Arthur; after his death she marries Henry. The three novels cover the time she spent in England, up through Henry's divorce from her. Katherine is a figure who is often passed on for more exciting fare such as Henry's second wife, Anne Boleyn, and I'm pleased that Jean Plaidy chooses to spend time upon her. As always, each writer of historical fiction has a different conception of the people and places he or she writes about, but Plaidy plays much attention to detail- whether or not what she recounts in fact took place.

This book follows the story of Katharine, but it doesn't focus soley uopn her; we also see bits and pieces of the politics which occur at court. Thomas Wolsley plays a small role here as the upstart butcher's son who dreams of someday becoming Pope.



Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Guest Post: Grace Elliot Author of A Dead Man's Debt


Hey everyone I would like to welcome Grace Elliot author of A Dead Man's Debt here at All Things Historical Fiction.

Author Bio.

Grace Elliot leads a double life as a veterinarian by day and author of historical romance by night. She lives near London and is addicted to cats, acting as housekeeping staff to five mischievous moggies.
Grace believes intelligent people need romantic fiction in their lives as an antidote to the modern world. Her debut novel ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ is now available from most eBook stores including Amazon, Fictionwise, Smashwords and Books on Board.

To find out more visit http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com/

Intelligent People Read Romance.

Hello there, it’s so lovely to be here at All Things Historical Fiction. I feel Taylor and I are kindred spirits –we have some much in common; both pursuing medical careers (I’m a veterinarian) both animal addicts (I’m housekeeping staff to 5 cats and a guinea pig) and both obsessed with historical fiction.

As the proud author of a recently published historical romance ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’, my writing story is a little unusual. You see for as long as I can remember I wanted to be a vet and was fortunate enough to achieve my ambition. However, with the cute cuddly kittens also come the dignified older cats and dogs nearing the end of life…and it was as a release from this emotionally draining side of veterinary work that I turned to writing. On discovering my creative side I immerse myself in the characters and escape to their world - of satins and silks, of blackmail, peril and duty, where real men rode stallions and a woman with opinions was considered rebellious. I love manipulating their world, reeking havoc with the tidy order of things, placing twist after twist on their tangled lives…and more.

I have always been a book worm – whilst at school I averaged 5 books a week, but it was when I read Margaret George’s masterly ‘The Autobiography of Henry VIII’ that I discovered the missing piece I had been searching for all along- historical fiction.

Margaret George remains my favorite author – I’m beside myself to see on the ATHF sidebar that she has a new book ‘Elizabeth I’ out next year. She nurtured my interest in all things historical from which my love of writing developed. My genre is the regency romance, the setting for ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ which is a story of blackmail, duty and unexpected love.

The regency is such a dream of an era for a writer. From chaperones to duels, and debutants to rogues, it’s a world of contrasts. The pressures of reputation and standing were not to be underestimated at a time when appearances were everything, and denying your needs was a virtue. One of the themes played out in ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ is whether to do the right by society, or defy the Ton to follow your heart’s desire.

If you are a regency romance virgin I hope you will consider reading ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’. It’s my firm belief that intelligent people have the greatest need for historical romance, as an antidote to the modern world.

Book Blurb

‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ by Grace Elliot.

Celeste Armitage has a plan…and that plan doesn’t include marriage. After deliberately humiliating a suitor, Celeste’s despairing parents exile her to the country. But once there she discovers a sketch book of daring nude studies and is shaken to find the artist is her hostess’s eldest son, Lord Ranulf Charing. This darkly cynical lord is exactly the sort of dissipated rogue she despises most…if only her blood didn’t heat at the thought of him…

Nothing is as it seems. Lord Ranulf’s life is a façade. Only he can save the Charing’s from disgrace as a blackmailer seeks to ruin his late brother’s reputation. But just as Ranulf dares to open his heart to Celeste, the fury of his nemesis is unleashed… facing him with the stark choice between true love and family duty. However when Celeste guesses the truth behind his rejection, Ranulf underestimates her resolve to clear his name and in so doing places the woman he loves in mortal danger….

‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ by Grace Elliot is available from most eBook stores including Amazon and Books on Board. If you would like to learn more please visit:
http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com

Monday, December 20, 2010

2011 Historical & Period Movies Soon to Be Released

So I can't wait till 2011 because there are some amazing movies coming out and I thought I would share some of them with you that I thought you all may be interested in as well. Enjoy!


The Eagle
Theatrical Release Date:February 11, 2011

Starring:Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Donald Sutherland, Mark Strong, Tahar Rahim
Director(s):Kevin Macdonald
Distributor(s):Film4, Focus Features
MPAA Rating:PG-13 (for battle sequences and some disturbing images.)

Plot
In 140 AD, two men -- master and slave -- venture beyond the edge of the known world on a dangerous and obsessive quest that will push them beyond the boundaries of loyalty and betrayal, friendship and hatred, deceit and heroism...The Roman epic adventure 'The Eagle' stars Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell and is directed by Academy Award winner Kevin Macdonald.

20 years earlier, Rome's 5,000-strong Ninth Legion, under the command of Flavius Aquila, marched north carrying their treasured golden Eagle emblem. They never returned; Legion and Eagle simply vanished into the mists.
Hearing a rumor that the Eagle has been seen in a tribal temple in the far north, Flavius' son Marcus (Tatum), determined to restore the tarnished reputation of his father, is galvanized into action. Accompanied only by his slave Esca (Bell), Marcus sets out into the vast and dangerous highlands of Scotland -- to confront its savage tribes, make peace with his father's memory, and retrieve the hallowed Eagle. Along the way Marcus realizes that the mystery of his father's disappearance may well be linked to the secret of his own slave's identity and loyalty -- a secret all the more pressing when the two come face-to-face with the warriors of the fearsome Seal Prince (Tahar Rahim).
Here's a link to the video trailer: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5477758/the_eagle_movie_trailer/


Jane Eyre
Theatrical Release Date: March 2011


Starring: Mia Wasikowska and Micheel Fassbender

Plot:Mia Wasikowska ('Alice in Wonderland') and Michael Fassbender ('Inglourious Basterds') star in the romantic drama based on Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel, from acclaimed director Cary Joji Fukunaga ('Sin Nombre'). In the story, Jane Eyre flees Thornfield Hall, where she works as a governess for wealthy Edward Rochester. As she reflects upon the people and emotions that have defined her, it is clear that the isolated and imposing residence – and Mr. Rochester’s coldness – have sorely tested the young woman’s resilience, forged years earlier when she was orphaned. She must now act decisively to secure her own future and come to terms with the past that haunts her – and the terrible secret that Mr. Rochester is hiding and that she has uncovered...

Also starring Jamie Bell, Sally Hawkins and Dame Judi Dench. 



Pirates of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides'
Theatrical Release Date: May 20th 2011

Plot

Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Rob Marshall, 'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides' captures the fun, adventure and humor that ignited the hit franchise--this time in Disney Digital 3D. Johnny Depp returns to his iconic role of Captain Jack Sparrow in an action-packed tale of truth, betrayal, youth and demise. When Jack crosses paths with a woman from his past (Penelope Cruz), he's not sure if it's love--or if she's a ruthless con artist who's using him to find the fabled Fountain of Youth. When she forces him aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge, the ship of the formidable pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane), Jack finds himself on an unexpected adventure in which he doesn't know who to fear more: Blackbeard or the woman from his past.



.The Three Musketeers
Theatrical Release Date:October 14, 2011

 Starring:Logan Lerman, Ray Stevenson, Luke Evans, Matthew MacFadyen, Christoph Waltz
Director(s):Paul W.S. Anderson
Distributor(s):Summit Entertainment
MPAA Rating:Not Yet Rated
Genre(s):Action

Plot

The Three Musketeers ride again in this three-dimensional revamp from Impact Pictures and writer/producer Paul W.S. Anderson (Alien vs. Predator, Resident Evil). Percy Jackson & the Olympians' Logan Lerman toplines as D'Artagnan, the brash young man who bands up with the famed trio (Luke Evans, Matthew Macfadyen, and Ray Stevenson) to fight the corrupt the dreaded Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz). Mads Mikkelsen and Milla Jovovich co-star in the Summit Entertainment production. - Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Review: The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell

The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell
★★★ 1/2
 
Synopsis: Elizabeth is 25 years old and has just been crowned Queen of England. She was third in line to succeed the English throne after her half brother Edward and half sister Mary who later became known as, “Bloody Mary.”

It’s becoming essential for Elizabeth to take a husband. Whether he is foreign or English it does not matter, but her counselors beseech her to choose at once. This constant annoyance by her counselors outrages Elizabeth and she refuses to hear another word of it. This worries them for they know she only has eyes for her horsemaster and lifelong companion, Robert Dudley.

Elizabeth is completely besotted by Robert. They’ve been lifelong friends since childhood. It is completely apparent that there is something going on between the two of them and her ladies maid, Kat Ashley, begs her to quit with this nonsense for she knows she can never marry him for he is already married and she is the Queen.

Elizabeth always believed herself to be her father’s daughter. Her mother, Anne Boleyn, was said to be a traitoress and was an accused witch, which cost her, her head. It was for those reasons that Elizabeth had no love for her mother. She felt her own life was tainted by her mother’s traitoress memory.

One day an old woman came begging for an audience with the Queen and out of curiosity Elizabeth agreed. The old woman by the name of Lady Matilda Sommervile claimed she attended her mother, Anne Boleyn, at the time of her death. She told Elizabeth that Anne gave her the diary to pass on to her daughter if she one day claims the throne. Full of mixed emotions, Elizabeth takes the tattered leather diary and thanks Lady Sommerville.

Anne’s diary contained all her secret thoughts, memories, and desires during most of her adulthood. As Elizabeth read through her mother’s diary she began to soften towards her mother. She realized how much her mother truly loved her and how she fought until her last breath to sustain Elizabeth’s rights as England’s rightful princess.

Review: This book was just okay. Going into it I really didn’t know what to expect. The book was primarily Anne Boleyn’s diary entries one right after another. I found myself wanting it to rotate back to Elizabeth’s perspective just so I could have a little break from the diary entries. I began to stop paying attention to the dates for each entry because they became distracting to the story and they would skipped around a lot.

On a better note, Robin Maxwell did an excellent job staying true to the facts. It was plain as day that she did her homework, which I must applaud. It was nice to read a Tudor novel written through Anne’s eyes instead of someone else’s so that you could get to know her better and see that she wasn’t the cold-hearted person she was made out to be.

I give this book a 3 ½ out of 5 stars because it wasn’t really a page turner for me and I kept looking at my TBR pile wishing I could start a new one. I recommend this book to someone who wants a light read about Anne Boleyn in order to get the facts. It’s not the novel that you want to curl up by the fire and lose yourself in. I’m definitely still a diehard Maxwell fan just not too wild about this one though.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Review: A Royal Likeness by Christine Trent

A Royal Likeness by Christine Trent
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Release date: December 28, 2010

Setting: It’s 1803 and England is in the mitts of fending off a war with Napoleon Bonaparte and English citizens are beginning to get anxious; therefore, causing riots to break out.

Synopsis: A Royal Likeness is the sequel to The Queen’s Dollmaker. Years have passed and Marguerite is now the sole heir of Claudette’s Fashion Doll business. She couldn’t be happier living the life of a tradeswoman with her devoted husband, Nicholas Ashby, constantly at her side. It would seem nothing could bring Marguerite’s spirits down until a raging band of rioters end up on her doorstep harassing and accusing her of conspiring with the enemy as a result of being a French émigré. Suddenly, the riot breaks loose and descends upon her shop breaking everything in their path. While defending his wife’s work, Nicholas is brutally murdered right before Marguerites eyes and her life ceases to matter.

Marguerite decides to escape everything that reminds her of Nicholas and goes to stay with her Aunt Claudette and Uncle William in the country. She soon finds herself immersed in the depths of depression, until one day her aunt gets the idea to send Marguerite to work as an apprentice for Madame Marie Tussaud, who has a wax exhibition residing in London.

Just when Marguerite becomes settled in her new life working for Madame Tussaud, England’s Prime Minister William Pitt, sees Tussaud’s wax work as a useful war strategy and decides to commission a wax figure of Admiral Horratio Nelson. Madame Tussuad decides Marguerite has developed enough skills to go to London herself. Upon arrival, Marguerite captures the attention of two completely opposite men who desperately try to compete for her affection. It doesn’t take long for disaster to strike again and Marguerite finds herself entangled in a dangerous adventure that no woman should ever be subjected to.

Review: A Royal Likeness is such an amazing adventure that greatly surpasses The Queen’s Dollmaker, which was a surprise because The Queen’s Dollmaker was such a refreshing read. What made me love A Royal Likeness even more was how the wax figures were intertwined with England’s fate in the Battle of Trafalgar and how the battle was described in such great detail.

I was quite fond of Marguerites character because she was so prone to accidents, which I can relate to in my own life. I loved how she could pick herself right back up and move on to the next big thing. She really did have a way with ensnaring men without meaning to. Madame Tussaud was a woman to be commended. She was a true business woman who really knew her craft and would never let anything or anyone get in her way. Officer Darden Hastings was a true man of duty and definitely didn’t wear his emotions on his sleeve, which made him come off a little harsh sometimes. I guess you could say he reminded me a lot of Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.

Christine Trent really out did herself with this one! It really takes a hold of you from the beginning and doesn’t let you go until it’s over. The detail in this story is so mesmerizing both with the wax figures and the battles. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a thrill-seeking adventure with a damsel in distress sort of feel. I can’t wait to see what Christine has in store for us next!

I want to say thank you to Christine Trent for sending me a copy of A Royal Likeness to read & review. It was such a pleasure.

On January 17th Christine Trent will be here to discuss this enchanting tale and will also be giving away a free copy of A Royal Likeness that will be open internationally!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Up Coming Events

Hey everyone! Today I've decided to list some of the upcoming events that will be occuring here at All Things Historical Fiction in order to make sure you don't miss out on what's to come!

December 12th:  Review
   



A Royal Likeness by Christine Trent









December 21st: Guest Post w/ Grace Elliot




Grace Elliot is an up and coming Historical Fiction author. She just finished up her first historical fiction novel A Dead Man's Debt which is now out on E-book.


 
 
 
 
 
 
January 17th: Author Interview & Giveaway
 
 
Christine Trent, author of A Royal Likeness will be gracing us with her presence on January 17th for an interview about her life as a historical fiction author and discussing her newest novel A Royal Likeness due to be released December 28th.
Christine will also be giving away a copy of her new book which will be open internationally!
 
 
 
 
 
That's what's coming up here at All Things Historical Fiction! Don't worry there will be posts in between events but I just wanted everyone to be aware of the bigger events!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Welcome to Teaser Tuesday here at All Things Historical Fiction!


Anyone can play along! So here's how it works:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two "teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! Share the title & author, too, so that others can add the book to their TBR Lists!



I'm still reading A Royal Likeness since it's finals time so my reading time as been drastically shortened.
So here are my Teasers:

pg. 370 She tried to muster up some righteous anger toward Darden for turning her aside so easily, but found she couldn't. After so many weeks aboard Victory, she now understood the man's passion for duty, and how it can override everything else.

pg. 377 The site of the uniform with its gleaming brass buttons momentarily blinded her, and sent her stomach fluttering. Darden? she thought tremulously.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Georgette Heyer 2011 Reading Challenge

My Mr. Linky link messed up and I lost those links. So please sign up in the comments area from now on.

So it's already December, which means it's almost time for the 2011 Reading Challenges!!



I've decided to host some of my own reading challenges for the 2011 year and the first challenge I've decided to host is a Georgette Heyer Reading Challenge. This is going to be a laid back challenge with not very many rules because it's just for fun. A while ago I set a goal for myself and that was to try and read all Georgette Heyer's Historical Fiction novels in two years. So I thought this challenge would motivate and help me complete my personal goal. So if you want to join in with me please feel free to do so! This challenge is open to EVERYONE you don't have to have a blog to participate. Have fun!

Rules:
  • The book must be by Georgette Heyer obviously and it must be HF. It can't be one of her mystery novels.
  • You must read at least 3 books and they can't be one's that you've already read because that sort of defeats the purpose.
  • This is a year long challenge so you have until January 1st of 2012 to finish your personal goal.
  • It's not mandatory to post a review but it would be nice so other people can read them but Non-bloggers please include your information in the comments below.
  • When you sign up under Mr. Linky, put the direct link to the post about the the Georgette Heyer Challenge. Include the URL so that other participants can find join in and read your reviews and post.
My Goal is to read 5 books but that may change depending on how busy or not so busy I am. I will post my book list here along with a link to my reviews. Enjoy!

1. Black Sheep Read Review
2. The Conqueror
3. An Infamous Army
4. Royal Escape


Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday: Author in the Spotlight featuring Georgette Heyer

Welcome back to another Friday Author in the Spotlight here at All Things Historical Fiction!

I contemplated all this week as to which author I would shine the spotlight on and I stumbled upon Georgette Heyer, a well known and respected Regency Romance Historical Fiction author during the early 20th century.



Heyer has written over 40 historical fiction novels and a dozen detective novels in her lifetime. Her novels are being republished by Random House Publishers under the New Arrow Publications. I love how her books are being republished so that a younger generation of Historical Fiction lovers can also enjoy her work.

Georgette Heyer was born on August 16, 1902 in Wimbledon. She married George Ronald Rougier in 1925. Her husband was mining engineer and who moved around a lot do to the nature of his job. For three years she and her husband lived in East Africa which inspired her to write her famous essay 'The Horned Beats of Africa.'

Heyer wrote her first novel, The Black Moth, when she was only 17 years old. It was her father’s persistence that led her to send it off to an agent and it was eventually published in 1921 right after she turned 19. She was immensely inspired by Jane Austen and so like Austen, Heyer’s heroines always found a suitable husband at the end and they shared a similar ironic tone when it came to their writing styles.

One of the interesting things I found about Georgette was that she really kept to herself. From the beginning of her career, she didn’t like being in the public eye and, therefore, refused to give an interview. Also, Heyer was occasionally beaten down by feminist novelists. They argued on the fact that the women in her books concentrated entirely on the business of getting married like Austen's heroines, and they show intelligence and strong will. Despite being criticized, Heyer actually influenced some novelists such as Jane Aiken Hodge who later went on to write Georgettes biography titled The Private World of Georgette Heyer.

On a sad note, Georgette died in 1974 from lung cancer. In my opinion, what made Georgette Heyer such an amazing historical novelist and why Historical Fiction readers are still reading her work today is due to the fact that her work was so well researched. She hardly ever made mistakes and her characters were so well developed and believable.

Here's a list of her entire work:

Series

Alastair Trilogy
1. These Old Shades (1926)
2. Devil's Cub (1932)
3. An Infamous Army (1937)
The Alastair Trilogy Boxed Set (omnibus) (2006)

Inspector Hannasyde
Death in the Stocks (1935)
aka Merely Murder
Behold, Here's Poison (1936)
They Found Him Dead (1937)
A Blunt Instrument (1938)

Inspector Hemingway
No Wind of Blame (1939)
Envious Casca (1941)
Duplicate Death (1951)
Detection Unlimited (1953)

Novels
The Black Moth (1921)
The Transformation of Philip Jettan (1923) (writing as Stella Martin)
aka Powder and Patch
The Great Roxhythe (1923)
Instead of the Thorn (1923)
Powder and Patch (1923)
Simon the Coldheart (1925)
Helen (1928)
The Masqueraders (1928)
Beauvallet (1929)
Pastel (1929)
Barren Corn (1930)
The Conqueror (1931)
Footsteps in the Dark (1932)
Why Shoot a Butler? (1933)
The Convenient Marriage (1934)
The Unfinished Clue (1934)
Regency Buck (1935)
The Talisman Ring (1936)
Royal Escape (1938)
The Corinthian (1940)
aka Beau Wyndham
The Spanish Bride (1940)
Faro's Daughter (1941)
Penhallow (1942)
Friday's Child (1944)
The Reluctant Widow (1946)
The Foundling (1948)
Arabella (1949)
The Grand Sophy (1950)
The Quiet Gentleman (1951)
Cotillion (1953)
The Toll-Gate (1954)
Bath Tangle (1955)
Sprig Muslin (1956)
April Lady (1957)
Sylvester (1957)
aka The Wicked Uncle
Venetia (1958)
The Unknown Ajax (1959)
A Civil Contract (1961)
The Nonesuch (1962)
False Colours (1963)
Frederica (1965)
The Black Sheep (1966)
Cousin Kate (1968)
Charity Girl (1970)
Lady of Quality (1972)
My Lord John (1975)

OmnibusDevil's Cub / False Colours (1966)
The Georgette Heyer Omnibus (1973)
Arabella / Bath Tangle / Nonesuch (1991)
Pistols for Two / April Lady (1998)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Napoleon Bonaparte Declairs Himself the French Emperor in 1804

On this very day in 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself Emperor of the French. Napoleon’s coronation was described as being a sight to remember.

It was noted that Napoleon wanted his coronation to be held at the cathedral Notre Dame de Paris, which was damaged during the French Revolution. Due to the persistence of Napoleon, the cathedral was saved from demolition and redecorated for his coronation in 1804.

On the day of Napoleon’s coronation, there were over a dozen processions, which included Napoleon's grand Army and the Papacy. Pope Pius VII, along with the cardinals, rode to the coronation in gaily decorated coaches pulled by elegantly decorated horses. The last procession was of course Napoleon’s royal coach that was ornamented with gold and a capital N imprinted on the side. Napoleon was dressed in  purple velvet embroidered with gems and gold. His beloved Josephine was at his side throughout the entire procession, robed in silk and sparkling gems. It was documented that it took over an hour for all the carriages to reach the cathedral.

There's some contervacy among historians bast an a heresay some that when the time came for the Pope to crown Napoleon, Napoleon grabbed the crown from the Pope’s hand and crowned himself. I don’t know if this is a myth or fact but it was apparently started by the Duchess d’Abrantes. However, it was known that Napoleon planned all along to avoid accepting the Pope as his overlord.

What I found to be interesting was that Napoleon’s crown was a new crown made to look Medieval with dozens of antique Roman cameos. The crown was said to have cost 8,000 Francs. In order to commemorate the coronation of Napoleon I, a medal was struck portraying Napoleon in a Caesar like profile on the heads of the medal. On the back was an illustration of the ancient Frankish custom that acknowledged Napoleon as the new chief by raising him up on a shield. This symbolized the peoples support of Napoleon, which was represented by a Roman senator and his military.

To read more on Napoleon's coronation, click on this link: http://www.georgianindex.net/Napoleon/coronation/coronation.html

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My First Award!

Hey everyone! Last Saturday I was awarded my first award The Versatile Blogger Award by Barb at Sugarbeatsbooks! Thanks Barb for honoring me with my first award!

This is such an honor because I still consider myself new to the book blogging community. I will post it on my sidebar shortly.

Now I have to share 7 interesting things about myself hmmm

1. I love cats! Especially Maincoons. My cat Tyson is a Maincoon and he gives me such pleasure. Despite his weird antics which includes running around the house like a chicken with his head cut off knocking over everything in his path at precisely around 5 pm. It's like clockwork.

2. I'm probably the worst cook you will ever meet. I screwed up cooking a hamburger in a skillet. Now who does that...ME! However, after this Thanksgiving I have deemed myself a good baker :)

3. I currently go to Oklahoma State University and I am soon transferring to a different college where I will begin taking classes to prepare me for OU's nursing program.

4. Like most of you here, I am a major book collector! I tend to buy books even though I have about 20 or so books sitting on my bookshelf waiting for me to read. It's sort of a problem lol

5. I'm a major chocolaholic! I can never turn down a piece of chocolate anything! Especially Reece's peanut butter cups!

6. I own 6 pets. 3 dogs and 3 cats. One of my dogs is a Lab/Pekingese mix named Brady. He may look odd to most but he's my baby!

7. Besides collecting books, I also collect period movies. I probably own around 25-30 period movies. My favorite one would have to be Elizabeth the Golden with Cate Blanchette. Followed closely by Pride and Prejudice with Kiera Knightly.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Welcome to Teaser Tuesday here at All Things Historical Fiction!
Anyone can play along! So here's how it works:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two "teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! Share the title & author, too, so that others can add the book to their TBR Lists!

Here's my Teaser for A Royal Likeness by Christine Trent

pg. 70 Marguerite could not help herself. She dug her fingernails into her hands in fright, even though the rational part of her whispered that it must all be a trick.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mailbox Monday

I've decided to participate in Mailbox Monday on the Monday's that I actually get new books. So I won't be doing this every Monday. Unfortunately, I can't get new books every week otherwise I'd probably wouldn't be able to pay my bills. I actually got this idea from The Story Siren and I thought it would be fun to participate when I can.

Last week I went home for Thanksgiving and I took advantage of Black Friday and purchased a few books from Barnes and Noble and Walmart. I also had a surprise on my doorstep!

My Mailbox


A Royal Likeness by Christine Trent
Release Date December 28th


I was so excited when this book arrived on my doorstep from Christine Trent! I loved her last book Queen's Dollmaker so I'm ready to dive right into this one!



 Barnes and Noble

Nefertiti by Michelle Moran


So I finally got my hands on this book! I'm so excited because every time I went to Barnes and Noble for this book they were out and I was so disappointed. But they actually had one left this time which totally made my day!



The Conqueror by Georgette Heyer

I thought this book looked interesting. It's about William the Conqueror and I've heard Georgette Heyer's books were good so I decided to pick this one up and give it a try.






                                    

Pope Joan
by Donna Woolfolk Cross

I was so happy to find this book! I've heard great things about it and I have been dying to get my hands on it. It's actually going to be made into a movie so I want to have it read before it comes out.  









Walmart

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig

I picked this book up at Walmar because it was only 5.99 and who could pass up a price like that?
So you've seen what was in my mailbox. What did you get in yours?


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Review: The Perfect Royal Mistress by Diane Haeger

The Perfect Royal Mistress by Diane Haeger
★★★★ 1/2

Setting: 1666 London, England during the English Restoration

Synopsis: The Perfect Royal Mistress was set during the reign of King Charles II who was most known for the considerable number of affairs and committed relationships that took place throughout his life. He also had a wife, Portuguese Queen Catherine of Braganza who unfortunately miscarried all of her pregnancies. King Charles II had a wondering eye which eventually landed on the quick-witted sharp tongued, Nell Gwynne.

Nell Gwynne was a young girl born into poverty and raised in a brothel. She was left to fend for herself once her sister Rose was imprisoned for stealing and her drunken mother was out prostituting. Nell refused to follow in her mother and sisters foot-steps; therefore, she took to selling oranges outside the newly reopened King’s Theater. After awhile, her quick wit and sarcastic humor elevates her from orange girl to the star actress of the King’s Theater.

It doesn’t take long for Nell to win the attention of all of London and even the King himself. She soon finds herself falling head over hills for King Charles II but she soon realizes that the more she tries to please the King and his friends the harder it is to remain herself. She’s constantly torn between the glamorous world with the King and the exhilarating life as the star of the theater. Nell doesn’t want to give up the King nor acting but she finds herself doing a balancing act between the two.

Review: The Perfect Royal Mistress was a breath of fresh air. This was my first encounter with King Charles II and despite all of his affairs I actually admire him as a King. He had to deal with his father’s, King Charles I, murder as a young boy, which greatly affected his adult life. Diane Haeger did a great job with setting the tone for the book. I found the characters to be well developed and well researched.

What I loved so much about this book was how descriptive it was for example the description of the King on pg. 12
“He wore official Garter robes, billowing ivory satin, crimson velvet sewn with gold thread, and tall lace cravat, and his long, muscled legs were crossed at the ankles. His hands played restlessly at the lion’s head fixtures on the arms of his throne…” I find that so beautifully well written that I could actually picture him sitting there on his throne.

This is defiantly a rags to riches, Cinderella kind of story that will keep your attention all the way till the end. I highly recommend this book and I will be looking forward to reading more of Diane Haeger’s work.