Saturday, July 11, 2015

eBook Promotion: The Tudor Bride by Joanna Hickson

For a limited time you can purchase the eBook version of The Tudor Bride by Joanna Hickson for the fantastic price of $1.99 from the following retailers:

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"The thrilling story of the French princess who became an English queen from the author of critically acclaimed Agincourt Bride. Perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory. 
Even the greatest of queens have rules – to break them would cost her dearly…
King Henry V’s new French Queen, Catherine, dazzles the crowds in England but life at court is full of intrigue and her loyal companion, Mette, suspects that the beautiful Eleanor Cobham, protégée of the Duke of Gloucester, is spying for him. 
Catherine believes herself invincible as she gives birth to an heir, then tragically King Henry is struck down by fever. Unable to outwit those who seek to remove the new king from her care, Catherine retires from court, comforted by the King’s Harper, Owen Tudor. 
At the secluded manor of Hadham a smouldering ember bursts into flame and Catherine and Owen Tudor become lovers. But their love cannot remain a secret forever, and when a grab for power is made by Gloucester, Catherine – and those dearest to her – face mortal danger…"


Copyright © 2015 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Book Review: The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki

The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki
Publication date: 02/17/2015
Format: Hardcover 512pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"New York Times bestselling author Allison Pataki follows up on her critically acclaimed debut novel, The Traitor’s Wife, with the little-known and tumultuous love story of “Sisi” the Austro-Hungarian Empress and captivating wife of Emperor Franz Joseph. 
The year is 1853, and the Habsburgs are Europe’s most powerful ruling family. With his empire stretching from Austria to Russia, from Germany to Italy, Emperor Franz Joseph is young, rich, and ready to marry. 
Fifteen-year-old Elisabeth, “Sisi,” Duchess of Bavaria, travels to the Habsburg Court with her older sister, who is betrothed to the young emperor. But shortly after her arrival at court, Sisi finds herself in an unexpected dilemma: she has inadvertently fallen for and won the heart of her sister’s groom. Franz Joseph reneges on his earlier proposal and declares his intention to marry Sisi instead.

Thrust onto the throne of Europe’s most treacherous imperial court, Sisi upsets political and familial loyalties in her quest to win, and keep, the love of her emperor, her people, and of the world. 
With Pataki’s rich period detail and cast of complex, bewitching characters, The Accidental Empress offers a captivating glimpse into one of history’s most intriguing royal families, shedding new light on the glittering Hapsburg Empire and its most mesmerizing, most beloved “Fairy Queen.” "

My Review:

Empress Elisabeth "Sisi" of  theAustro-Hungarian Empire captivated the courts of Europe during her lifetime, and now she is entrancing an audience once again with her magnificent portrayal in Allison Pataki's novel, The Accidental Empress.

There is no doubt that extensive research went into the making of this novel. One of the most enchanting elements is the attention to setting details. Pataki takes it a leap beyond merely describing the setting by focusing on minute details that would only be noticed by someone who is there in person. Take for instance the wedding ceremony between Sisi and Emperor Franz in which the descriptions reflect how Sisi might have taken in the momentous moment as it transpired. First attention is drawn to the thousands of candles illuminating the entire cathedral, followed by the raising of eyes toward the majestic intricacies of the cathedral itself as she passes under arches, and concluding with the focus returning to the goal of the moment, and Sisi's life, as she walks toward Emperor Franz awaiting her at the end of the expansive isle. Such a deliciously vivid scene brings the reader directly into the moment, and it is at this time the lasting connection between historical character and present reader is formed.

The story of Sis's rise to power and her transformation from an innocent girl of 15 to a woman quite alone in a ruthless court is spellbinding to say the least. Over the first three-fourths of the novel the reader is with Sisi for every step of her journey, all the while wanting to be her voice when she has none, and hoping her fortune will change if the pages are turned quickly enough. Considering these desires the splendid writing brings about, it is underwhelming when the last quarter of the book glosses over the four years in which Sisi becomes the creator of her own future and happiness. In one chapter Sisi is advised to leave for her health, and in the very next chapter four years have passed and Sisi returns as a completely different woman; She has vastly different fashion preferences, conduct, and personality than prior to her departure. Although this new persona is what the reader might be hoping for, it would be nice to see the transformation take place in some sense, not merely mentioned as a memory. The result of this time-lapse is an unfortunate sever between the reader and the main character; Sisi becomes an elusive figure, and the reader is quickly pulled out of the once immersive text. Perhaps this is so the reader will be on the same level as the rest of the courtiers who wished to obtain Sisi but failed to reach her inner-self, but nonetheless it is a disappointment not to have more depth in this area.

This is Allison Pataki's second novel, her first being The Traitor's Wife, and it is apparent that her talent for creating engaging and exquisite historical fiction is here to stay. The Accidental Empress is definitely recommended to all historical fiction enthusiasts, especially for those who love attention to detail and have an appreciation for architecture. If all the aforementioned delectable details are not motivating enough to pick up a copy of The Accidental Empress, do note that there is currently a second book on Sisi in the works! More to come on this exciting news soon.

Copyright © 2015 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Friday Finds at the Bookstore: The Anchoress by Robyn Chadwallder

The Anchoress by Robyn Chadwallder 
Publication date: 05/12/2015
Format: Hardcover 320pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"England, 1255. What could drive a girl on the cusp of womanhood to lock herself away from the world forever?
Sarah is just seventeen when she chooses to become an anchoress, a holy woman shut away in a cell that measures only seven by nine paces, at the side of the village church. Fleeing the grief of losing a much-loved sister in childbirth as well as pressure to marry the local lord's son, she decides to renounce the world--with all its dangers, desires, and temptations--and commit herself to a life of prayer. 
But it soon becomes clear that the thick, unforgiving walls of Sarah's cell cannot protect her as well as she had thought. With the outside world clamoring to get in and the intensity of her isolation driving her toward drastic actions, even madness, her body and soul are still in grave danger. When she starts hearing the voice of the previous anchoress whispering to her from the walls, Sarah finds herself questioning what she thought she knew about the anchorhold, and about the village itself. 
With the lyricism of Nicola Griffith's Hild and the vivid historical setting of Hannah Kent's Burial Rites, Robyn Cadwallader's powerful debut novel tells an absorbing story of faith, desire, shame, fear, and the very human need for connection and touch. Compelling, evocative, and haunting, The Anchoress is both quietly heartbreaking and thrillingly unpredictable."

Friday Finds at the Bookstore ©SveaLove


Copyright © 2015 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Masterpiece Monday

Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Blindman's Bluff. 1750


Masterpiece Monday was created by Svea @ The Muse in the Fog Book Review. It's an event to share exceptional pieces of art that were discovered while reading historical fiction and researching the history that inspired those books.


Copyright © 2015 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Book Review: Mary Boleyn, The Mistress of Kings by Alison Weir

Mary Boleyn, The Mistress of Kings by Alison Weir
Publication Date: September 12th 2012
Format: Paperback 416pp

Synopsis (from the publisher):
"New York Times bestselling author and noted British historian Alison Weir gives us the first full-scale, in-depth biography of Mary Boleyn, sister to Queen Anne as well as mistress to Anne’s husband, Henry VIII—and one of the most misunderstood figures of the Tudor age. Making use of extensive original research, Weir shares revelations on the ambitious Boleyn family and the likely nature of the relationship between the Boleyn sisters. Unraveling the truth about Mary’s much-vaunted notoriety at the French court and her relations with King François I, Weir also explores Mary’s role at the English court and how she became Henry VIII’s lover. She tracks the probable course of their affair and investigates the truth behind Mary’s notorious reputation. With new and compelling evidence, Weir presents the most conclusive answer to date on the paternity of Mary’s children, long speculated to have been Henry VIII’s progeny. Alison Weir pieces together a life steeped in mystery and misfortune, debunking centuries-old myths to give us the truth about Mary Boleyn, the so-called “great and infamous whore.” "

My Review: 

Mary Boleyn's fame over the past decade has grown immensely due to the release of Philippa Gregory's novel, and later film, The Other Boleyn Girl, but how reliable is this depiction? Did Mary bear the King two children? Did she beg mercy from the King, risking her own life, for her sister Anne? Was she the virtuous sister? Was she the younger sister? These are just a few of the questions that Weir sets out to clarify in her historical biography, Mary Boleyn, The Mistress of Kings

There is no doubt how much meticulous research went in to the creation of Mary Boleyn, The Mistress of Kings, especially considering the limited amount of textual information on Mary's life. In order to bring to life such a historical figure, Weir is forced to lay down the bits of concrete information about Mary as a foundation for her life story, and build up the rest using information from those who would have surrounded her, and from major court events she more than likely would have attended. Such a feat is handled with precision and skilled deduction, ultimately resulting in a biography that corrects popular fictitious beliefs and illuminates, through suggestion, the hazy areas of Mary's life. 

Like all of Weir's work, this biography is extremely well written, no detail is left unattended, and the deductions are well laid out for the reader to comprehend. However, these deductions make up three halves of the book, with only a quarter being based on explicit textual evidence about Mary's life. Considering the fact that a triangulation of textual evidence from other members of the court is needed to make the deductions, and each deduction builds upon the previous one, it is understandable that overlap and reiteration will occur, but there is a point when it becomes overdone. Halfway through the book it begins to read like a history of the Tudor court rather than a biography, and towards the end all the chapters blur together in their repetitious manner. It is for this reason that the rating and recommendation are not as high as the first chapters indicated they would be. 

Overall, Mary Boleyn, The Mistress of Kings is a worthwhile read if you are interested in learning the truth behind the popular depiction of Mary's life, and about the lives of those she would have associated with during her lifetime. In addition to this, I listened to the audiobook while reading the physical copy of this book (interchanging them depending on my location) and I would highly recommend the audio version; Maggie Mash is a wonderfully engaging narrator. 


Copyright © 2015 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

International Giveaway!

Welcome to the Best of 2014 Giveaway hop, hosted by Bookhounds and I am a Reader. This year I am giving away two exceptional books that were published in 2014: The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaprt (non-fic), and The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor. To enter just fill out the form below. The winner will be chosen at random via Rafflecopter and notified by email. Good luck! 

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
" "Helen Rappaport paints a compelling portrait of the doomed grand duchesses." —People magazine 
"The public spoke of the sisters in a gentile, superficial manner, but Rappaport captures sections of letters and diary entries to showcase the sisters’ thoughtfulness and intelligence." —Publishers Weekly (starred review) 
They were the Princess Dianas of their day—perhaps the most photographed and talked about young royals of the early twentieth century. The four captivating Russian Grand Duchesses—Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia Romanov—were much admired for their happy dispositions, their looks, the clothes they wore and their privileged lifestyle.
Over the years, the story of the four Romanov sisters and their tragic end in a basement at Ekaterinburg in 1918 has clouded our view of them, leading to a mass of sentimental and idealized hagiography. With this treasure trove of diaries and letters from the grand duchesses to their friends and family, we learn that they were intelligent, sensitive and perceptive witnesses to the dark turmoil within their immediate family and the ominous approach of the Russian Revolution, the nightmare that would sweep their world away, and them along with it. 
The Romanov Sisters sets out to capture the joy as well as the insecurities and poignancy of those young lives against the backdrop of the dying days of late Imperial Russia, World War I and the Russian Revolution. Helen Rappaport aims to present a new and challenging take on the story, drawing extensively on previously unseen or unpublished letters, diaries and archival sources, as well as private collections. It is a book that will surprise people, even aficionados."

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"A voyage across the ocean becomes the odyssey of a lifetime for a young Irish woman... 
Ireland, 1912 . . . 
Fourteen members of a small village set sail on RMS Titanic, hoping to find a better life in America. For seventeen-year-old Maggie Murphy, the journey is bittersweet. Though her future lies in an unknown new place, her heart remains in Ireland with Séamus, the sweetheart she left behind. When disaster strikes, Maggie is one of the few passengers in steerage to survive. Waking up alone in a New York hospital, she vows never to speak of the terror and panic of that fateful night again. 
Chicago, 1982 . . . 
Adrift after the death of her father, Grace Butler struggles to decide what comes next. When her great-grandmother Maggie shares the painful secret about Titanic that she's harbored for almost a lifetime, the revelation gives Grace new direction—and leads both her and Maggie to unexpected reunions with those they thought lost long ago.
Inspired by true events, The Girl Who Came Home poignantly blends fact and fiction to explore the Titanic tragedy's impact and its lasting repercussions on survivors and their descendants."

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is an international giveaway!


Copyright © 2014 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, November 14, 2014

International Giveaway! My Name Is Resolute by Nancy E. Turner

Welcome to the 2014 Gratitude Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am a Reader. I always make a point of participating in this hop since its whole purpose is to express how grateful we are for our wonderful followers. This year I am especially grateful to you all for your loyalty as school and life has slowed down the blogging for this year. I'm greatly looking forward to sharing a plethora of reviews and giveaways I have stored up as we prepare to head into a new year, so what better way to begin than giving away a book that just recently caught my attention and I shall be reviewing very soon. To enter for a change to win a brand new copy of My Name is Resolute by Nancy E. Turner just fill out the form below. Best of luck! 

My Name Is Resolute by Nancy E. Turner
Publication date: 2/18/2014
Format: 608pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"Nancy Turner burst onto the literary scene with her hugely popular novels These Is My Words, Sarah’s Quilt, and The Star Garden. Now, Turner has written the novel she was born to write, this exciting and heartfelt story of a woman struggling to find herself during the tumultuous years preceding the American Revolution. 
The year is 1729, and Resolute Talbot and her siblings are captured by pirates, taken from their family in Jamaica, and brought to the New World. Resolute and her sister are sold into slavery in colonial New England and taught the trade of spinning and weaving. When Resolute finds herself alone in Lexington, Massachusetts, she struggles to find her way in a society that is quick to judge a young woman without a family. As the seeds of rebellion against England grow, Resolute is torn between following the rules and breaking free. Resolute’s talent at the loom places her at the center of an incredible web of secrecy that helped drive the American Revolution. Heart-wrenching, brilliantly written, and packed to the brim with adventure, My Name is Resolute is destined to be an instant classic."

This is an international giveaway

Copyright © 2014 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

eBook Promotions! Four Sisters, All Queens and White Heart by Sherry Jones

For a limited time you can purchase the eBook versions of Four Sisters, All Queens and its prequel, White Heart, for the fabulous price of $1.99 each. 

Purchase Four Sisters, All Queens at the following locations:

Purchase White Heart at the following locations:

Publication date: 5/8/2012
Format: eBook
Pages: 464

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"Rich in intrigue and scheming, love and lust, Sherry Jones’s vibrant historical novel follows four women destined to sway the fate of nations and the hearts of kings. . . .

Amid the lush valleys and fragrant wildflowers of Provence, Marguerite, Eléonore, Sanchia, and Beatrice have learned to charm, hunt, dance, and debate under the careful tutelage of their ambitious mother—and to abide by the countess’s motto: “Family comes first.”

With Provence under constant attack, their legacy and safety depend upon powerful alliances. Marguerite’s illustrious match with the young King Louis IX makes her Queen of France. Soon Eléonore—independent and daring—is betrothed to Henry III of England. In turn, shy, devout Sanchia and tempestuous Beatrice wed noblemen who will also make them queens.

Yet a crown is no guarantee of protection. Enemies are everywhere, from Marguerite’s duplicitous mother-in-law to vengeful lovers and land-hungry barons. Then there are the dangers that come from within, as loyalty succumbs to bitter sibling rivalry, and sister is pitted against sister for the prize each believes is rightfully hers—Provence itself.

From the treacherous courts of France and England, to the bloody tumult of the Crusades, Sherry Jones traces the extraordinary true story of four fascinating sisters whose passions, conquests, and progeny shaped the course of history."

Publication date: 4/3/2012
Format: eBook 
Pages: 100

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
A historical eBook about Blanche, the White Queen of France, the manipulative mother-in-law of Marguerite in Sherry Jones’s Four Sisters, All Queens. 
A woman's power lies in her beauty. For years, Blanche de Castille, the White Queen of France, has lived by this maxim—passed on by her grandmother, Eléonore d'Aquitaine, as she took the girl to marry King Louis VIII. When her husband dies unexpectedly, however, Blanche finds that beauty is not enough to hold, and command, a kingdom against usurpers eager to wrest the Crown from her woman's grasp. Faced with an English invasion, barons' uprisings, and slanderous rumors, Blanche must look within herself for the strength she needs to guard the throne for her young son. Her bold response shocks the kingdom and shapes her into the formidable, seemingly heartless mother-in-law to Marguerite of Provence, wife of King Louis IX (Saint Louis) and the eldest of the "Four Sisters, All Queens" in Sherry Jones's forthcoming novel. 
Includes an excerpt to the upcoming Four Sisters, All Queens, to be published by Gallery Books, May 8, 2012.

Copyright © 2014 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Released Today! The King's Curse by Philippa Gregory

The King's Curse by Philippa Gregory
Publication date: 9/9/2014
Format: Hardcover 624pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"From the #1 New York Times bestselling author behind the Starz original series The White Queen comes the story of lady-in-waiting Margaret Pole and her unique view of King Henry VIII’s stratospheric rise to power in Tudor England. 
Regarded as yet another threat to the volatile King Henry VII’s claim to the throne, Margaret Pole, cousin to Elizabeth of York (known as the White Princess) and daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, is married off to a steady and kind Lancaster supporter—Sir Richard Pole. For his loyalty, Sir Richard is entrusted with the governorship of Wales, but Margaret’s contented daily life is changed forever with the arrival of Arthur, the young Prince of Wales, and his beautiful bride, Katherine of Aragon. Margaret soon becomes a trusted advisor and friend to the honeymooning couple, hiding her own royal connections in service to the Tudors. 
After the sudden death of Prince Arthur, Katherine leaves for London a widow, and fulfills her deathbed promise to her husband by marrying his brother, Henry VIII. Margaret’s world is turned upside down by the surprising summons to court, where she becomes the chief lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine. But this charmed life of the wealthiest and “holiest” woman in England lasts only until the rise of Anne Boleyn, and the dramatic deterioration of the Tudor court. Margaret has to choose whether her allegiance is to the increasingly tyrannical king, or to her beloved queen; to the religion she loves or the theology which serves the new masters. Caught between the old world and the new, Margaret Pole has to find her own way as she carries the knowledge of an old curse on all the Tudors."


Copyright © 2014 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Ebook Deal! The Wars of the Roses (non-fic) by Alison Weir $1.99

For a limited time The Wars of the Roses by Alison Weir is being offered for the spectacular price of $1.99 from the following online retailers:

The Wars of the Roses by Alison Weir 
Publication date: 10/5/2011
Format: eBook 496pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"Lancaster and York. For much of the fifteenth century, these two families were locked in battle for control of the British monarchy. Kings were murdered and deposed. Armies marched on London. Old noble names were ruined while rising dynasties seized power and lands. The war between the royal House of Lancaster and York, the longest and most complex in British history, profoundly altered the course of the monarchy. In The Wars of the Roses, Alison Weir reconstructs this conflict with the same dramatic flair and impeccable research that she brought to her highly praised The Princes in the Tower. 
The first battle erupted in 1455, but the roots of the conflict reached back to the dawn of the fifteenth century, when the corrupt, hedonistic Richard II was sadistically murdered, and Henry IV, the first Lancastrian king, seized England's throne. Both Henry IV and his son, the cold warrior Henry V, ruled England ably, if not always wisely--but Henry VI proved a disaster, both for his dynasty and his kingdom. Only nine months old when his father's sudden death made him king, Henry VI became a tormented and pathetic figure, weak, sexually inept, and prey to fits of insanity. The factional fighting that plagued his reign escalated into bloody war when Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, laid claim to the throne that was rightfully his--and backed up his claim with armed might. 
Alison Weir brings brilliantly to life both the war itself and the historic figures who fought it on the great stage of England. Here are the queens who changed history through their actions--the chic, unconventional Katherine of Valois, Henry V's queen; the ruthless, social-climbing Elizabeth Wydville; and, most crucially, Margaret of Anjou, a far tougher and more powerful character than her husband,, Henry VI, and a central figure in the Wars of the Roses. 
Here, too, are the nobles who carried the conflict down through the generations--the Beauforts, the bastard descendants of John of Gaunt, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, known to his contemporaries as "the Kingmaker"; and the Yorkist King, Edward IV, a ruthless charmer who pledged his life to cause the downfall of the House of Lancaster.
The Wars of the Roses is history at its very best--swift and compelling, rich in character, pageantry, and drama, and vivid in its re-creation of an astonishing, dangerous, and often grim period of history. Alison Weir, one of the foremost authorities on the British royal family, demonstrates here that she is also one of the most dazzling stylists writing history today."


Copyright © 2014 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

International Giveaway! $20 Book Depository Gift Card

Welcome to the Christmas in July Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am a Reader and Laura Here. The theme of this hop is to giveaway a Christmas themed book, so I shall be offering one $20 gift card for The Book Depository so the winner may choose his/her own book. To enter just fill out the form below. Best of luck! 

This is an INTERNATIONAL giveaway!
Christmas in July Giveaway Hop


Copyright © 2014 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ebook Deal! A Dangerous Inheritance by Alison Weir $1.99

For a limited time A Dangerous Inheritance by Alison Weir is being offered for the spectacular price of $1.99 from the following online retailers:

A Dangerous Inheritance by Alison Weir
Publication Date: October 2nd 2012
Format: Hardcover 544pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
" In this engrossing novel of historical suspense, New York Times bestselling author Alison Weir tells the dramatic intertwined stories of two women—Katherine Grey and Kate Plantagenet—separated by time but linked by twin destinies . . . . involving the mysterious tragic fate of the young Princes in the Tower. 
When her older sister, Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Days’ Queen, is executed in 1554 for unlawfully accepting the English crown, Lady Katherine Grey’s world falls apart. Barely recovered from this tragic loss she risks all for love, only to incur the wrath of her formidable cousin Queen Elizabeth I, who sees Katherine as a rival for her insecure throne.
Interlaced with Katherine’s story is that of her distant kinswoman Kate Plantagenet, the bastard daughter of Richard III, the last Plantagenet king. In 1483, Kate travels to London for Richard’s coronation, and her world changes forever. 
Kate loves her father, but before long she hears terrible rumors about him that threaten all she holds dear. Like Katherine Grey, she falls in love with a man who is forbidden to her. Then Kate embarks on what will become a perilous quest, covertly seeking the truth about what befell her cousins the Princes in the Tower, who may have been victims of Richard III’s lust for power. But time is not on Kate’s side, or on Katherine’s. 
Katherine finds herself a prisoner in the Tower of London, the sinister fortress that overshadowed the lives of so many royal figures, including the boy princes. Will Elizabeth demand the full penalty for treason? And what secrets will Katherine find hidden within the Tower walls? 
Alison Weir’s new novel is a page-turning story set within a framework of fascinating historical authenticity. In this rich and layered tapestry, Katherine and Kate discover that possessing royal blood can prove to be a dangerous inheritance. "


Copyright © 2014 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mailbox Monday

In this edition of Mailbox Monday I am sharing the books I purchased over the weekend during a trip to the Half Price Books in the lovely Bay Area!

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"A set of bewitching medieval tapestries hangs today in a protected chamber in Paris. They appear to portray a woman's seduction of a unicorn, but the story behind their making is unknown - until now." "Paris, 1490. A shrewd French nobleman commissions six lavish tapestries celebrating his rising status at Court. He hires the charismatic, arrogant, sublimely talented Nicolas des Innocents to design them. Nicolas creates havoc among the women in the house - mother and daughter, servant and lady-in-waiting - before taking his designs north to the Brussels workshop where the tapestries are to be woven." "There, master-weaver Georges de la Chapelle risks everything he has on finishing the tapestries - his finest, most intricate work - on time for his exacting French client. Ill-prepared for temptation and seduction, he and his family are consumed by the project and by their dealings with the full-blooded painter from Paris." The results change all their lives - lives that have been captured in the tapestries, for those who know where to look.

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"They say I'm mad and perhaps it's true.
It is well known that lust brings madness and desperation and ruin. But upon my oath, I never meant any harm. All I wanted was to be happy, to love and to be loved in return, and for my life to count for something.
That is not madness, is it? 
So begins the story of Eleanor Glanville, the beautiful daughter of a seventeenth-century Puritan nobleman whose unconventional passions scandalized society. When butterflies were believed to be the souls of the dead, Eleanor's scientific study of them made her little better than a witch. But her life-set against a backdrop of war, betrayal, and sexual obsession-was that of a woman far ahead of her time."

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"The epic story of the queen who founded the Tudor dynasty, told through the eyes of her loyal nursemaid. Perfect for fans of Philipa Gregory. 
When her own first child is tragically still-born, the young Mette is pressed into service as a wet-nurse at the court of the mad king, Charles VI of France. Her young charge is the princess, Catherine de Valois, caught up in the turbulence and chaos of life at court. 
Mette and the child forge a bond, one that transcends Mette’s lowly position.
But as Catherine approaches womanhood, her unique position seals her fate as a pawn between two powerful dynasties. Her brother, The Dauphin and the dark and sinister, Duke of Burgundy will both use Catherine to further the cause of France. 
Catherine is powerless to stop them, but with the French defeat at the Battle of Agincourt, the tables turn and suddenly her currency has never been higher. But can Mette protect Catherine from forces at court who seek to harm her or will her loyalty to Catherine place her in even greater danger?"
Copyright © 2014 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Masterpiece Monday!

Jane Maxwell, Duchess of Gordon. 1778. by George Romney

Jane Maxwell is a fascinating historical character whose life was beautifully depicted within the pages of Ciji Ware's novel Island of the Swans (read my review). 


Copyright © 2014 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Finds at the Bookstore: The Miracle Thief by Iris Anthony

This Friday I am excited to share the latest book by Iris Anthony: The Miracle Thief. Her first book, The Ruins of Lace (read my review), was a brilliant debut still remains on my list of highly recommended titles. 

The Miracle Thief by Iris Anthony
Publication date: 4/1/2014
Pages: 384

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"Do you believe in miracles? 
Sister Juliana does. She's seen miracles happen as she tends Saint Catherine's altar and guards her relic. Yet she doesn't quite dare to believe that even Saint Catherine could help her atone for her wicked past. 
Anna does. And she so desperately needs one. In a time when a deformity is interpreted as evidence of a grievous sin, in a place where community is vital to existence, Anna has no family, no home, and no master. 
Princess Gisele wants to. A miracle is the only thing that can save her from being given to a brutal, pagan chieftain in marriage. 
For those who come in faith, saints offer the answer to almost any prayer. But other forces are plotting to steal Saint Catherine's relic, to bend the saint's power to their own use. Penitent, pilgrim, princess — all will be drawn into an epic struggle where only faith can survive. But in a quest for divine blessing, only the most ruthless of souls may win the prize."


Copyright © 2014 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Upcoming 2015 Historical Fiction Release! The Price of Blood by Patricia Bracewell

The Price of Blood by Patricia Bracewell
Publication Date: February 5th 2015
Format: Hardcover, 448pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"Menaced by Vikings and enemies at court, Queen Emma defends her children and her crown in a riveting medieval adventure.
Readers first met Emma of Normandy in Patricia Bracewell’s gripping debut novel, Shadow on the Crown. Unwillingly thrust into marriage to England’s King Æthelred, Emma has given the king a son and heir, but theirs has never been a happy marriage. In The Price of Blood, Bracewell returns to 1006 when a beleaguered Æthelred, still haunted by his brother’s ghost, governs with an iron fist and a royal policy that embraces murder. 
As tensions escalate and enmities solidify, Emma forges alliances to protect her young son from ambitious men—even from the man she loves. In the north there is treachery brewing, and when Viking armies ravage England, loyalties are shattered and no one is safe from the sword. 
Rich with intrigue, compelling personalities, and fascinating detail about a little-known period in history, The Price of Blood will captivate fans of both historical fiction and fantasy novels such as George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series."


Copyright © 2014 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Upcoming 2015 Historical Fiction Release! Lady of the Eternal City by Kate Quinn

Lady of the Eternal City by Kate Quinn
Publication Date: March 3rd 2015
Format: Paperback pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"National bestselling author Kate Quinn returns with the long-awaited fourth volume in the "Empress of Rome" series, an unforgettable new tale of the politics, power, and passion that defined ancient Rome.

Elegant, secretive Sabina may be Empress of Rome, but she still stands poised on a knife’s edge. She must keep the peace between two deadly enemies: her husband Hadrian, Rome’s brilliant and sinister Emperor; and battered warrior Vix, who is her first love. But Sabina is guardian of a deadly secret: Vix’s beautiful son Antinous has become the Emperor’s latest obsession. 
Empress and Emperor, father and son will spin in a deadly dance of passion, betrayal, conspiracy, and war. As tragedy sends Hadrian spiraling into madness, Vix and Sabina form a last desperate pact to save the Empire. But ultimately, the fate of Rome lies with an untried girl, a spirited redhead who may just be the next Lady of the Eternal City . . ."



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