A Tainted Dawn: The Great War by B.N. Peacock (for review)
August 1789. The Rights of Man. Liberty. Equality. Idealism. Patriotism. A new age dawns. And yet, old hostilities persist: England and Spain are on the brink of war. France, allied by treaty with Spain, readies her warships. Three youths – the son of an English carpenter, the son of a naval captain, and the son of a French court tailor – meet in London, a chance encounter that entwines their lives ever after. The English boys find themselves on the same frigate bound for the Caribbean. The Frenchman sails to Trinidad, where he meets an even more zealous Spanish revolutionary. As diplomats in Europe race to avoid conflict, war threatens to explode in the Caribbean, with the three youths pitted against each other. Will the dawn of the boys’ young manhood remain bright with hope? Or will it become tainted with their countrymen’s spilled blood?
On the Edge by Ilona Andrews (from bookmooch)
Rose Drayton lives on the Edge, between the world of the Broken (where people drive cars, shop at Wal-Mart, and magic is a fairy tale) and the Weird (where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny). Only Edgers like Rose can easily travel from one world to the next, but they never truly belong in either.
Rose thought if she practiced her magic, she could build a better life for herself. But things didn’t turn out how she planned, and now she works a minimum wage, off the books job in the Broken just to survive. Then Declan Camarine, a blueblood noble straight out of the deepest part of the Weird, comes into her life, determined to have her (and her power).
But when a terrible danger invades the Edge from the Weird, a flood of creatures hungry for magic, Declan and Rose must work together to destroy them—or they’ll devour the Edge and everyone in it.
Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey by The Countess of Carnarvon (purchased)
Lady Fiona Carnarvon became the chatelaine of Highclere Castle – the setting of the hit series Downton Abbey – eight years ago. In that time she’s become fascinated by the rich history of Highclere, and by the extraordinary people who lived there over the centuries.
One person particularly captured Fiona’s imagination – Lady Almina, the 5th Countess of Carnarvon.
Almina was the illegitimate daughter of banking tycoon Alfred de Rothschild. She was his only daughter and he doted on her. She married George, the Earl of Carnarvon, at 19 with an enormous dowry.
At first, life at Highclere was a dizzying mix of sumptuous banquets for 500 and even the occasional royal visitor. Almina oversaw 80 members of staff – many of whom came from families who had worked at Highclere for generations.
But when the First World War broke out, life at Highclere changed forever.
History intervened and Almina and the staff of Highclere were thrown into one of the most turbulent times of the last century. Almina was forced to draw on her deepest reserves of courage in order to ensure her family, the staff and the castle survived.
The Next Always by Nora Roberts (purchased)
The historic hotel in BoonsBoro, Maryland, has endured war and peace, changing hands, even rumored hauntings. Now it’s getting a major facelift from the Montgomery brothers and their eccentric mother. As the architect of the family, Beckett’s social life consists mostly of talking shop over pizza and beer. But there’s another project he’s got his eye on: the girl he’s been waiting to kiss since he was fifteen…
The Feudal Kingdom Of England, 1042 1216 by Frank Barlow (bought)
Now in its fifth edition, this hugely successful text remains as vivid and readable as ever. Frank Barlow illuminates every aspect of the Anglo-Norman world, but the central appeal of the book continues to be its firm narrative structure. Here is a fascinating story compellingly told.At the beginning of the period he shows us an England that is still, politically and culturally, on the fringe of the classical world. By the end of John’s reign, the new world that has emerged was in outlook, structure and character, recognisable as part of the modern age.
In Triumph’s Wake: Royal Mothers, Tragic Daughters, and the Price They Paid for Glory by Julia P. Gelardi (bought)
Exhaustively researched and utterly compelling, In Triumph’s Wake is the story of three unusually strong women and the devastating consequences their decisions had on the lives of their equally extraordinary daughters.
Queen Isabella of Castile, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, and Queen Victoria of England were respected and admired rulers whose legacies continue to be felt today. Their daughters—Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England; Queen Marie Antoinette of France; and Vicky, the Empress Frederick of Germany—are equally legendary for the tragedies that befell them, their roles in history surpassed by their triumphant mothers.
Because of his doomed marriage to Queen Catherine, Henry VIII broke away from the Roman Catholic Church, triggering the English Reformation. To many, responsibility for the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror fell squarely upon Marie Antoinette. And Empress Frederick proved insufficient in getting Germany to rise to political maturity: under her son’s reign, the country plunged into the beginnings of world war. In Triumph’s Wake is the first book to bring together the poignant stories of these mothers and daughters in a single narrative.
The Fifth Queen by Ford Madox Ford (bought)
This masterful performance of historical fiction centers on Katharine Howard — clever, beautiful, and outspoken — who catches the jaded eye of Henry VIII and becomes his fifth Queen. Corruption and fear pervade the King’s court, and the dimly lit corridors vibrate with the intrigues of unscrupulous courtiers hungry for power. Soon Katharine is locked in a vicious battle with Thomas Cromwell, the Lord Privy Seal, as she fights for political and religious change.Ford saw the past as an integral part of the present experience and understanding, and his sharply etched vision of the court of Henry VIII — first published in 1908 — echoes aspects of Edwardian England as it explores the pervading influence of power, lies, fear, and anxiety on people’s lives.
Scroll of Saqqara by Pauline Gedge (bought)
Prince Khaemwaset is a powerful man. The son of Ramses II and a revered physician, his wisdom is respected throughout Egypt. But Khaemwaset harbours a strong and secret desire—to find the mysterious Scroll of Thoth and receive the power to raise the dead.
When Khaemwaset hears of the discovery of a hidden tomb on the plain of Saqqara, he is quick to break its seal and take its secrets—secrets that he soon learns he should never have disturbed.