This is book one in the new Boleyn series. It is Laura Andersen’s debut novel. The sequel, The Boleyn Deceit comes out in fall 2013, and I plan to read it as well.
This book is a based on what would have happened if Ann Boleyn and Henry VIII had produced a male heir. This book mixes real people with some fictional ones, but the story is all fictional. It contains mystery, intrigue, acts of espionage, possible treason, and love affairs. The story is not so much about Anne, but four younger individuals and close friends. It is an interesting account of William the Boleyn King. William rules England with advice and help of three people who are closest to him. They are Dominic, his best friend, Elizabeth, his sister and Minuette. Minuette is an orphan and one of Anne’s ladies. William will soon be of age to take over the throne and he is beginning to really play the political game of what country to go to war against and what woman would be most beneficial as a wife. The story becomes complicated at the end when both King William and Dominic fall in love with her.
I have been looking forward to this book and have not been disappointed. Because this book contains multi-generational stories which requires focused reading; save it for night-time reading when other thoughts have been put aside. The story begins with a devoted brother and sister separated from each other when their father agrees to selling his daughter, Parsi. The story explodes as Hosseini takes us on the journey in the lives of his characters and descendants. Each chapter has sadness and some joys weaving in topics provoking thoughts about our own attachments and allegiances combined with our wants and needs. There are many sections of this book which will capture your attention and will be thought about long after the book is ended. One of them is the bedtime story told by Parsi’s brother in the very beginning. I loved the “story” within the story.
This is a must-read. Without spoiling the book, I struggled to write a review. The surprises in the story enhanced the reading greatly for me, as I had not read pre-published reviews. Don’t look for other reviews, just read it!
The book starts out with Chicky going to New York with a man she falls head over heels in love with despite her parent’s objections. Of course the affair doesn’t work out and Chicky weaves her own tale of love, marriage and untimely death so she can return home. As a widow she is poor Chicky and is able to save face with her family and small village home. I like that she buys the stone house, allows the spinster owner to remain, takes in the errant son of a long ago friend and builds the story with the lives of her first customers at the inn.
Rigger is also finding a new start in Stoneybridge, having strayed down the wrong path as a teenager. In addition, Chicky’s niece, Orla, proves indispensable in setting up the property. The guests, at least most of them, in typical Binchy style, find that a visit to Stone House solves whatever problems or issues they are facing.
The book is about the life’s journeys, friendship, compassion, new identities and finding your way in a life that is filled with uncertainty, opportunities, and disappointments. Maeve Binchy passed away in July of 2012. This is her last novel which she never got the chance to edit.
This is a story that begins with Zelda as a young Southern Belle who falls in love with F. Scott Fitzgerald, a young writer who wants to be famous and rich. They marry and move to New York City where Scott continues to strive for success after his first novel is published. The Fitzgeralds are young, good looking and love to party, making the couple celebrities. Their social calendar is always full, even when they eventually move to Paris. Scott begins an intense friendship with Ernest Hemingway, even as Zelda tries to dissuade the relationship. Scott and Zelda’s marriage begins to burn out. Despite the friends, the influence of the arts and literary circles, unhappiness controls parts of their lives.
This book shows a time where Fitzgerald and Hemingway were up and coming writers. I felt connected to Zelda in her struggle, and marveled at the celebrity status that her life held through the parties and dinners. She was constantly searching for her own identity, examining herself in her talents, her married life, her motherhood, hopes and aspirations as well as the dark and tragic places her life led.
Check out the link to Goodreads in which the author posts an entry regarding the factual details of this book.
If you love historical fiction, you have probably already read, The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. If not, please go back and read because you have missed a great novel. Plus, Hosseini’s next title, “And the Mountains Echoed” comes out late May 2013. It has been six years since his last book; I believe because the writer takes time to develop the scene and invoke emotion.
The Kite Runner has vivid descriptions that connect the setting, the characters and the reader while invoking emotions involving love, friendship, betrayal, guilt, and forgiveness. Amir and Hassan grow up together in Afghanistan like brothers although Hassan’s father is a servant to Amir’s father. The communist regime upsets his sheltered life and the story gravitates to the personal loss Amir suffers through his own decisions and those forced upon him.
I like to review older books found in the “stacks” as opposed to the new material’s shelf. It’s easy to find reviews of the latest and greatest; but books that may have been overlooked can be worth your time also. This one is a bit “out of the box”, but an intriguing story.
Technically, this book would not be categorized as historical fiction. It is a combination based on science fiction/fantasy and some horror. History comes in because the story was created around authentic, vintage photographs with historical significance (pictures included).
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ is the story of sixteen-year-old Jacob who has grown up listening to his grandfather’s tales of his younger years living in an orphanage with ‘Peculiar Children’ on an island off the coast of Wales. Jacob stopped believing his grandfather many years ago, but when his grandfather is attacked and dies mysteriously, Jacob begins to wonder if his stories weren’t true after all. His grandfather’s dying words cause him to go in search of this mysterious island and to find the abandoned orphanage.
Brad Hooper wrote an article in the April 15, 2013 issue of the professional Journal Booklist. In his article, he identifies the six qualities of a good historical novel. In a nut shell, here they are:
1. Characters must be convincing of their time
2. Characters must be understandable to modern readers
3. Lively language
4. Good storytelling
5. The historical research behind the narrative should never show
6. A good historical novel must conjure an accurate picture of a past time and place making the reader feel that it is right.
Great attributes! History can transport us to intriguing places and times when written correctly!