Saturday, April 30, 2011

Book Review and Guest Post: Pale Rose of England by Sandra Worth

Publish Date: February 1st 2011
Format: Paperback 464pp
Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"From the award-winning author of The King's Daughter comes a story of love and defiance during the War of the Roses.
It is 1497. The news of the survival of Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, has set royal houses ablaze with intrigue and rocked the fledgling Tudor dynasty. With the support of Scotland's King James IV, Richard-known to most of England as Perkin Warbeck-has come to reclaim his rightful crown from Henry Tudor. Stepping finally onto English soil, Lady Catherine Gordon has no doubt that her husband will succeed in his quest.
But rather than assuming the throne, Catherine would soon be prisoner of King Henry VII, and her beloved husband would be stamped as an imposter. With Richard facing execution for treason, Catherine, alone in the glittering but deadly Tudor Court, must find the courage to spurn a cruel monarch, shape her own destiny, and win the admiration of a nation."

My Review:

"The princes in the tower", what thought comes to your mind when you hear that phrase? Most people would say that they were probably murdered by their ambitious and ruthless uncle, King Richard III, but there is another theory, one that is greatly debated yet quite plausible: the theory that Perkin Warbeck was actually Richard the lost prince, and it is this theory that Sandra Worth relays to us in her latest novel, Pale Rose of England.

Setting out for England, Richard and his wife Catherine are confident that their quest to reclaim the throne will be swift and sure, and these feelings are solidified when the English people look upon Richard with understanding that he is the true king; but while these people understand who Richard is, they also understand that he is not match for Henry VII... and this is where the trouble begins. Soon after they land on English soil, Richard and Catherine are separated and held at the mercy of Henry VII. Forced into subjection through threats against their children, Catherine and Richard must play along in Henry's game but strive to keep one move ahead while navigating the treacherous court.

With Pale Rose of England, Sandra Worth delivers a stunning novel of loyalty, bravery and heartbreaking love. By the very first chapter you are completely drawn into Richard and Catherine's world, basking in their love and aching with their sorrow. The plot flowed swiftly and was never lagging; the story unfolded with the perfect mixture of suspense and tender serenity. No matter if your loyalties lie with York or Lancaster, or what fate you think the princes met, this novel will have you questioning and thinking about all the possibilities. This was my first novel by Sandra Worth and I can definitely say that it shall not be my last!
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And now, I have a most delightful guest post by the lovely Sandra Worth:


Writing the Historical Novel: A Peek Behind the Scenes at Historical Research and Truth in History:


"Ever since I read my first historical novel as a child, I was hooked on girls in long dresses and men in shining armor. What I didn’t realize until I came to study history in college was how much I had learned from that one book by Anya Seton. That novel became my favorite forever, and she became my inspiration as a writer. But when it came to writing my own book, there was a two hundred year difference between the time period she had chosen and the era I had fallen in love with. Hers was a period of stability; mine was fraught with civil strife, namely, the Wars of the Roses.

Here, I’d like to digress a moment and explain something about the “facts” of history.

Researching the Wars of the Roses in twenty university libraries in the U.S., Canada, and in the U.K. back when the internet was in its infancy took me ten years because there was so much written on that period of history. And there was so much written because few historians agreed with one another on exactly what happened. So, each wrote a book to explain his reasons, and present his own case. As one renowned contemporary historian states, “Much in contemporary chronicles which is taken for fact is really not more than rumor, gossip of propaganda—a notable foundation of hearsay. No historian can claim he possesses a monopoly of the truth.” Ergo, it follows that no historical novelist can claim he or she possesses a monopoly of the truth.

In the thirty years it took to end one dynasty and begin another, much documentation was lost or destroyed, leaving facts in doubt and plenty of room for argument. Did Edward IV commit bigamy when he wed Elizabeth Woodville? Did Richard III murder the princes, or did Henry VII? Was a murder even committed? Was the pretender who challenged Henry VII for the throne really Richard, Duke of York, as he said he was, or the fraud that Henry VII claimed? Historians argue with one another on these matters and a myriad of other details. This includes even the dates of some fifteenth century battles, and where they were fought.

This problem affects all periods where documentation is scarce. Imagine a puzzle with a lot of holes. The “truth” in such cases becomes subject to dispute. When I was in Anatolia last year, I learned that historians have been arguing with one another—quite heatedly, as a matter of fact—about whether the gate I was viewing had been the main entrance to Troy. Some academics think it was too steep for carts, and therefore the main gate had to be somewhere else.

What compounds our difficulties with the period of the Wars of the Roses is – something we are all familiar with– politics.

It may come as a surprise that political agendas colored perception from ancient times forward to the present day. Most of what we know about the events before the invention of the printing press in the 16th century come from primary sources—eye-witness accounts, letters people wrote one another, diaries they kept (if they dared!) and chronicles penned by monks who took sides in the various conflicts. Sometimes the handwriting is illegible and the information is lost because it can’t be read. Sometimes these accounts conflict with one another because the people writing them held differing opinions of what was occurring around them (just as they do today). Over the centuries only these differing accounts of “the truth” were left for posterity. That leaves historians and novelists free to choose what interpretation they wish to derive from the “facts” of history.

During the Wars of the Roses, printing was in its infancy, and each side, York and Lancaster, tried to promote their version of events, so documents were also destroyed by those in power. Historians who encounter holes in the historical record string together the bits of information they have to try to guess what might have happened in the interim, but their opinions and scenarios differ with one another. Here, the old adage about life rings true about history as well—namely, only certainty is uncertainty. All we can do is rebuild the historical record around the few facts we have.

So, when it comes to the Wars of the Roses and telling the stories that live in my own heart, I use the historical record as my carpet (such as it is) and decorate the holes with my imagination. That’s where the importance of the author note comes in. In Lady of the Roses, thinking no one was interested in a lengthy author’s note, I offered a brief one. I soon realized my mistake. Both The King’s Daughter on Elizabeth of York, the first Tudor Queen, and Pale Rose of England on her brother, the younger prince in the Tower Richard, Duke of York, have extensive author notes so the reader understands exactly how I derived the story they just read.

As to whether you prefer your historicals to stay true to the facts or to change history for the sake of a story, that is entirely up to you. There are authors (and readers) who prefer stories where imagination dominates, and authors like me (and readers like mine) who prefer stories where accuracy prevails (within the confines discussed above). Basically, the question comes down to this. How much salt, and how much pepper do you prefer? Fortunately, there is historical fiction for any taste."
Author Bio:
Sandra Worth is the author of five books set during England's Wars of the Roses. Each is the recipient of multiple awards and prizes. Pale Rose of England, her latest novel, released in February 2011, follows the adventures of the dazzling Scottish princess, Lady Catherine Gordon, wife to the Pretender “Perkin Warbeck”, aka Richard, Duke of York, the younger of the two little princes in the Tower. For more information view the YouTube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BExjWBraek ) or visit her on Facebook ( http://www.facebook.com/#!/sandraworthauthor or on her website, www.sandraworth.com


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Copyright © 2011 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What's New Wednesday: A Look at Next Weeks New Releases

What's New Wednesday
What's New Wednesday: A Look at Next Weeks New Releases is hosted by Svea @ Confessions and Ramblings of a Muse in the Fog. This meme's purpose  is to share the upcoming releases of your favorite book genre! Every Wednesday just post the future new releases that will fall between the upcoming Sunday-Saturday, and link back to this blog.
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Publish Date: April 26th
Format: Paperback 384pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"The death toll in Henry VIII's England can be counted in the thousands. No one was more aware of this than Thomas Howard, third duke of Norfolk. Relying on his indomitable force of will, cleverness, and sheer good fortune, Thomas Howard manages to be one of the king's only intimates to survive an unforgettable reign of terror. This impeccably researched companion piece to "Secrets of the Tudor Court" chronicles the ambitious duke's life, loves, and remarkable capacity to endure. Before he was the king's uncle, before he was his nieces' ultimate betrayer, Thomas Howard was a hostage at the court of Henry VII while his father was imprisoned in the dreaded Tower of London. There he would marry the queen's sister, his forever princess Anne Plantagenet. While he founded a dynasty, his career as soldier and sailor brought him acclaim and the trust of the Tudors. But when unspeakable tragedy robs him of family and fortune, Thomas must begin again. Abandoning notions of love, Thomas seeks out an advantageous match with the fiery Elizabeth Stafford, daughter of the duke of Buckingham. Clever, willful, and uncompromising in principle, the young duchess falls victim to a love she cannot deny. When Thomas takes on a mistress, the vulnerable Bess Holland, Duchess Elizabeth prepares to fight for all she holds dear. Only then does she learn she faces a force darker than anything she could ever have imagined, an obsessive love that neither she nor Bess can rival."



What new releases do you fancy?


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Copyright © 2011 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

  • In the "Name" box, please enter either your name or your blog’s name & the genre ( histfic, fic, non-fic, YA...)
  • In the “URL” box please enter the link that will lead directly to your meme post.

Giveaway! The Orchid Affair by Lauren Willig

I have a brand new copy of Lauren Willig's exceptional novel, The Orchid Affair, up for grabs. It is not often I am able to offer an international giveaway, so I am pleased to announce that this will indeed be an international drawing!

Since this giveaway will be apart of the "Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop", hosted by Kathy @ I am a Reader not a Writer, the giveaway guidelines are a bit different than my normal entry procedure, so make sure you take a look at them.


Publish Date: January 2011
Format: Hardcover 416pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"Pride and Prejudice lives on" (USA Today) in Lauren Willig's Pink Carnation series, which has been hailed for its addictive blend of history, romance, and adventure. In The Orchid Affair, Willig introduces her strongest heroine yet. Laura Grey, a veteran governess, joins the Selwick Spy School expecting to find elaborate disguises and thrilling exploits in service to the spy known as the Pink Carnation. She hardly expects her first assignment to be serving as governess for the children of Andre Jaouen, right-hand man to Bonaparte's minister of police. Jaouen and his arch rival, Gaston Delaroche, are investigating a suspected Royalist plot to unseat Bonaparte, and Laura's mission is to report any suspicious findings.

At first the job is as lively as Latin textbooks and knitting, but Laura begins to notice strange behavior from Jaouen-secret meetings and odd comings and goings. As Laura edges herself closer to her employer, she makes a shocking discovery and is surprised to learn that she has far more in common with Jaouen than she originally thought...

As their plots begin to unravel, Laura and Jaouen are forced on the run with the children, and with the help of the Pink Carnation they escape to the countryside, traveling as husband and wife. But Delaroche will stop at nothing to take down his nemesis. With his men hot on their trail, can Laura and Jaouen seal the fate of Europe before it's too late?"



Giveaway Guidelines:

~6 possible entries~

  • +1 entry for posting a comment with your e-mail and being a follower via Google Friend Connect (no comment with e-mail and follow via GFC = no entry)
  • + 3 entries for adding a link to this giveaway on the sidebar of your blog. (please post link with your comment)
  • + 2 entries for tweeting about this giveaway (please post link with your comment)  

~Please post all your entries in one comment, thanks :)
~This giveaway will be INTERNATIONAL!
~Ends April 25th~

Good Luck everyone!



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Copyright © 2011 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Book Review and Author Interview: The Raven Queen by Jules Watson

Publish Date: February 22nd
Format paperback: 544pp


Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"In this dazzling retelling of one of Ireland’s most stirring legends, acclaimed author Jules Watson brings to life the story of Maeve, the raven queen, who is as fierce as she is captivating. 

She was born to be a pawn, used to secure her father’s royal hold on his land. She was forced to advance his will through marriage—her own desires always thwarted. But free-spirited Maeve will no longer endure the schemes of her latest husband, Conor, the cunning ruler of Ulster. And when her father’s death puts her homeland at the mercy of its greedy lords and Conor’s forces, Maeve knows she must at last come into her own power to save it.  

With secret skill and daring, Maeve proves herself the equal of any warrior on the battlefield. With intelligence and stealth, she learns the strategies—and sacrifices—of ruling a kingdom through treacherous alliances. And to draw on the dangerous magic of her country’s oldest gods, Maeve seeks out the wandering druid Ruan, whose unexpected passion and strange connection to the worlds of spirit imperil everything Maeve thought true about herself—and put her at war with both her duty and her fate."


My Review:

In a time rich with mystical beings and brutal living environments, the legend of a great warrior queen is born, a queen who will stop at nothing to protect her people. It is this queen, Maeve, that Jules Watson so vividly brings to life, creating substance out of the legend and enchanting us all with an engrossing tale. 

Having been wed to three detestable men for political reasons, Maeve refuses to be another political pawn once her father dies; she has a claim to her fathers throne and she won't let any man deny her, not even her brother. Strong as she is, Maeve realizes strength lies in numbers, but can she learn to trust those who have hurt her once before? Searching out any means to help her cause, Maeve is wary when she is constantly drawn to a troubled druid. Like her, this druid is searching and reluctant to open himself to others. As Maeve's contact with the druid increases, and war draws near, she soon realizes there is much more to her than she thought possible... that there is much more to life.

While reading The Raven Queen I was pleased to discover that, while my knowledge of Celtic legend is vague, There was never a time that I felt confused or needing more background information. In fact, after reading this novel, I am more intrigued than ever to read more upon this time in history. After a slow beginning, the novel gains momentum quickly and holds the intensity until the very end. As we follow Maeve on her quest for liberation and the crown, we also have the pleasure of knowing this strong and complex woman on a new level. Jules Watson has given this queen a beautiful reprieve from histories cruel slander.

FTC: I received this book from the publisher. As always, these are my own honest opinions.


Author Interview:


What is your favorite aspect of Celtic history?
I think it is the character of the Celtic people, which comes through the writings of the Romans about them, the objects they left behind for us to find, and their own myths. All three sources really show that as a people they were incredibly brave and proud - so proud they would rather die than live under the Roman yoke. That wildness, (sometimes) insane courage, and heroic purity speak to something deep in me. As a storyteller, you want to write about extremes, both to keep readers interested, and to explore parts of the human psyche. The Celts are perfect for that, because their culture is all about brave heroes, defiance against all odds, crazy risks, and flamboyant and heart-stirring displays of fighting, loving and emoting. Perfect characters! At the same time, they clearly had a great love of beauty and art, matched with a deep reverance for the natural world and the unseen spirit world. All in one package!


While researching, what was the most interesting fact you discovered?
Gosh, over five books....I'll have to break it down. One: there is some evidence that among the Scottish Picts, royal blood was passed through their women, not their men. Matrilineal societies, where inheritance goes through mothers, often enjoy a high degree of equality, with women occupying positions of power. That formed the basis of my Dalriada Trilogy. Two: my book The Swan Maiden is about the legend of the Irish maiden Deirdre of the Sorrows. A lot of the action for that book and The Raven Queen takes place at the mythical fort of Emain Macha in Ireland, which has been identified as modern-day Navan. About 95 BC, a huge building with scores of posts holding up a great roof was constructed, then ritually burned down. In my books, I turned this into a druid temple and, of course, had it burn down in spectacular fashion at the end of The Raven Queen. Three: an Irish bog body of a warrior showed he had used an early form of "hair gel" to make his mane stick up, and it had come all the way from continental Europe. This shows that the early Irish had amazing trading links (oh, and vain warriors!) However, probably the most interesting fact is that in the excavations at Emain Macha, the diggers discovered the skull of a Barbary Ape, which must have come all the way from North Africa in 100 BC. I had to put the monkey in, too!


Do you have any book suggestions for those who want to read more on this time period?
I have a huge library sitting at home in Scotland (I am living in the US for the time being). OK, off the top of my head: Check out anything by Miranda Green - she has general books on the Celts as well as a lot on their spiritual life. Also a company called Shire, they have this Shire Series that focuses on things like hillforts, Celtic warriors, or Roman Britain. Small, and easy to read. And scholar Ian Armit has a great introductory book called Celtic Scotland.


On your website, you mention that Queen Maeve has been "branded by history a voracious man-eater and a ruthless war-mongerer". What was your inspiration for giving Maeve a different persona?
Precisely that - the poor woman had a hatchet job done on her by early Christian scribes. Anyone who had attracted that much censure, who was so threatening, must have been one fierce, strong, and amazing woman. I was itching to "re-imagine" her, figure out what the real Maeve could have been and done to freak out all those men so much :) In all seriousness, these early Irish legends were originally passed on by word of mouth for hundreds of years. They were not written down until the eighth century, and then it was by monks, the only literate people at the time. A powerful, sensual pagan queen and warrior-woman was too much of a threat, even in story, to let her continue to be admired by common people listening to their bards around the fire. A new religion was being established, and a new culture that frowned upon free-thinking, strong-willed females. I had to keep Maeve's strength, bravery and to a certain extent, her ruthlessness, to remain true to her myth. But I wanted to give her a heart, too, and theorize about why she gained this reputation. She was a woman trying to survive in a man's world of kings, swords, and treachery. How could I not write about her?

   

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Copyright © 2011 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Mailbox Monday


Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the exciting books that came into their house last week via post. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists!


Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page, and is currently being hosted by Amy from Passages to the Past for the month of April. 





I received two books for review this week:

 by Brandy Purdy
Publish Date: July 1st 2011
Format: Paperback 384pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"In the wake of King Henry VIII's death, England's throne is left in a precarious state - as is the peculiar relationship between his two daughters. Mary, the elder, once treasured, had been declared a bastard in favour of her flame-haired half-sister, Elizabeth, born of the doomed Anne Boleyn. Yet the bond between the sisters was palpable from the start. Now reinstated, Mary eventually assumes her place as queen. But as Mary's religious zeal evolves into a reign of terror, young Elizabeth gains the people's favour. Gripped by a tormenting paranoia, Mary is soon convinced that her beloved Elizabeth is in fact her worst enemy. And the virginal Elizabeth, whose true love is her country, must defy her tyrannical sister to make way for a new era..."


by Mirella Sichirollo Patzer
Publish Date: April 2011
Format: Paperback 410pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"A compelling story of love and treachery, faith and loss, forgiveness and triumph in the turbulent world of 18th century New France. In 1702, Emilie Basseaux lives with her widowed mother in New France. On the eve of her wedding to Robert Lanzille, she catches the eye of the settlement’s unscrupulous overlord, Seigneur Richard Tonnacour who threatens to kill the parish priest if he performs their marriage. This sets off a catastrophic chain of events that turns her life, and that of her betrothed, into a desperate flight for their lives, separating them, and sending them straight into the arms of peril. Emilie and Robert’s plight sweeps them into the convents and taverns, the riots and small-pox epidemics of New France where they face death and discover the true meaning of love and forgiveness. The Blighted Troth is a retelling of the classic novel, The Betrothed (I Promessi Sposi) by Alessandro Manzoni. Inspired by this epic Italian classic novel; a new and captivating tale in a new setting, a new century, and with new plot twists while remaining faithful to key story elements."




What exciting books did you receive?

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Copyright © 2011 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Upcoming Release: The Queens Gamble by Barbara Kyle

The Queen's Gamble by Barbara Kyle
Publish Date: August 30th 2011
Format: Paperback 448pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"Young Queen Elizabeth I’s path to the throne has been a perilous one, and already she faces a dangerous crisis. French troops have landed in Scotland to quell a rebel Protestant army, and Elizabeth fears once they are entrenched on the border, they will invade England. 
Isabel Thornleigh has returned to London from the New World with her Spanish husband, Carlos Valverde, and their young son. Ever the queen’s loyal servant, Isabel is recruited to smuggle money to the Scottish rebels. Yet Elizabeth’s trust only goes so far—Isabel’s son will be the queen’s pampered hostage until she completes her mission. Matters grow worse when Isabel’s husband is engaged as military advisor to the French, putting the couple on opposite sides in a deadly cold war. 
Set against a lush, vibrant backdrop peopled with unforgettable characters and historical figures, The Queen’s Gamble is a story of courage, greed, passion, and the high price of loyalty…"

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The Ten Commandments on ABC

Since 1973, ABC has been airing the 1956 version of The Ten Commandments every year, with its airing date somewhere between Passover and the Saturday before Easter. The only exception to this was in 1999 when they aired a remake, which was in no way comparable to the classic. Luckily, they switched back to the original the next year :) I look forward to watching this movie every year and am always so grateful that ABC continues to broadcast it!
 

Here is the synopsis, straight from ABC's website:
"Cecil B. DeMille's massive film spectacle, The Ten Commandments, one of the most popular box-office movies of all time, will air as an ABC Special Presentation, SUNDAY, APRIL 23 (7:00-11:44 p.m., ET), on The ABC Television Network. 
Starring Charlton Heston as Moses, this dramatic Biblical epic is presented with an all-star cast, including Yul Brynner as Pharaoh, Anne Baxter as Queen Nefretiri, Edward G. Robinson as the overseer of the slaves and Yvonne DeCarlo as Moses' wife. 
The film traces the story of Moses, from the time his mother set him afloat on the Nile, through his years as a young commander in Pharaoh's army to his betrayal and exile and, finally, his deliverance of the Israelites and the receiving of God's Commandments. 
The Ten Commandments won the 1956 Academy Award for Best Special Effects and received nominations for Best Picture, Best Art Direction/Set Decoration, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing and Best Sound."

To learn more of ABC's showing of this spectacular production, visit:

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Copyright © 2011 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Suddenly Sunday (With Linky)

Suddenly Sunday is a weekly event hosted by Svea Confessions and Ramblings of a Muse in the Fog. The purpose of Suddenly Sunday is to share all the exciting events that have occurred on your blog throughout the week. 
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Good morning! Let me first apologize for any of you who visited my blog last week and were welcomed by a black wall with only a few pictures. Thankfully I discovered the problem before too much time had passed... at least I hope that was the case!



This week I had the pleasure of hosting Kate Quinn, author of Daughters of Rome, here at Muse in the Fog:

Two Reviews for the week:

I have two delightful giveaways that also went up this week!

As many of you know, I have been unofficially hosting a few weekly memes for the past year. I am happy to announce that my weekly memes are now official and ready for you to join in the fun! There will be a linky tool at the bottom of every meme post for you to link up, and that post will go up every meme day at 12:00AM. When you participate, please be sure to mention this blog in your post, thank you. Below are the three meme buttons for you to use with your posts:

I look forward to enjoying these weekly events with you!



Well that's all for now. Until next time, have a wonderful week and happy reading!
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Copyright © 2011 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

  • In the "Name" box, please enter either your name or your blog’s name.
  • In the “URL” box please enter the link that will lead directly to your meme post.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Book Review: Sins of the House of Borgia by Sarah Bower

Publish Date: March 2011
Format: Paperback pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"Violante isn't supposed to be here, in one of the grandest courts of Renaissance Italy. She isn't supposed to be a lady-in-waiting to the beautiful Lucrezia Borgia. But the same secretive politics that pushed Lucrezia's father to the Vatican have landed Violante deep in a lavish landscape of passion and ambition. 
Violante discovers a Lucrezia unknown to those who see only a scheming harlot, and all the whispers about her brother, Cesare Borgia, never revealed the soul of the man who dances close with Violante. 
But those who enter the House of Borgia are never quite the same when they leave-if they leave at all. Violante's place in history will test her heart and leave her the guardian of dangerous secrets she must carry to the grave."

My Review:

Sent to Rome during the Spanish expulsion of the Jews, Violante suddenly finds herself amidst one of the most powerful families in Rome: the Borgia's. Sent to be a lady-in-waiting for Lucrezia Borgia, Violante soon learns that while one might be the family of the Pope, devastating secrets and manipulative actions are not forbidden.

As we follow Violante through the cities of Rome, a world full of sparkling palaces and exquisite settings unfolds before us. There is no confusion as to who's who, and the depth of each character is constantly changing. Knowing the Borgia's to be a family of corruption and complexity, I was thrilled to read Sins of the House of Borgia, especially since this would be my first venture into their world. While the story flowed at a steady pace and was written exceptionally well, I found myself wondering when the sinister plotting and shocking activity would begin.

Overall, Sins of the House of Borgia is a good read that will keep your interest from beginning to end. Definitely recommended for someone just beginning to learn about this corrupted family, but maybe lacking for someone who is privy to their scandals. I will be looking forward to seeing what Sarah Bower brings us next.

Interested in the Borgia's? Be sure to enter my giveaway to win a brand new copy of this novel:


FTC: I received this book from the publisher. As always, these are my own honest opinions.
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Copyright © 2011 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Finds at the Bookstore (With Linky)

I have been doing this weekly event for almost a year now, and I think it's high time I let everyone else "officially" join in on the fun! So if you have ever wanted to participate before, feel free to do so now, just enter your Friday Finds at the Bookstore link in the linky at the bottom of this post.

Every Friday I will be posting my latest book discovery that I found while browsing the bookstore or, in some cases, the library. It needn't be a book you purchased, but merely a newly found novel that caught your attention. If you would like to participate in this weekly event, just link back to this blog.
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I am very excited about this weeks find. One of my reading goals for 2011 is to read more non-fiction, and this seems like the perfect place to start!


Publish Date: August 2000
Format: Paperback 400pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"In 1804, when Josephine Bonaparte knelt before her husband, Napoleon, to receive the imperial diadem, few in the vast crowd of onlookers were aware of the dark secrets hidden behind the imperial fa├žade. To her subjects, she appeared to vet hew most favored woman in France: alluring, wealthy, and with the devoted love of a remarkable husband who was the conqueror of Europe. In actuality, Josephine's life was far darker, for her celebrated allure was fading, her wealth was compromised by massive debt, and her marriage was corroded by infidelity and abuse. 
Josephine's life story was as turbulent as the age—an era of revolution and social upheaval, of the guillotine, and of frenzied hedonism. With telling psychological depth and compelling literary grace, Carolly Erickson brings the complex, charming, ever-resilient Josephine to life in this memorable portrait, one that carries the reader along every twist and turn of the empress's often thorny path, from the sensual richness of her childhood in the tropics to her final lonely days at Malmaison."

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Copyright © 2011 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Book Review & Giveaway: Daughters of Rome by Kate Quinn

Daughters of Rome by Kate Quinn
Publish Date: April 5th 2011
Format: Paperback 400pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"A.D. 69. The Roman Empire is up for the taking. The Year of Four Emperors will change everything-especially the lives of two sisters with a very personal stake in the outcome. Elegant and ambitious, Cornelia embodies the essence of the perfect Roman wife. She lives to one day see her loyal husband as Emperor. Her sister Marcella is more aloof, content to witness history rather than make it. But when a bloody coup turns their world upside-down, both women must maneuver carefully just to stay alive. As Cornelia tries to pick up the pieces of her shattered dreams, Marcella discovers a hidden talent for influencing the most powerful men in Rome. In the end, though, there can only be one Emperor...and one Empress."


My Review:

The Cornelii cousins have always been inseparable, and though their marriages might not be equally blissful, they have all been smiled upon by Fortuna in some unique way. As the announcement of the Emperor's heir draws near, the four Cousins see themselves bound for glory and secure positions, but when the unthinkable happens their prospects are cruelly ripped away. Forced to live in constant upheaval and uncertainty, jealousy and vengeance soon begins to tear them apart. And as the struggle for power in Rome continues, these daughters of Rome must learn to let go of their ambitions and come together once more, or they will become no better than those who destroyed their family in the quest for the supreme title of Emperor.

Last year I was amazed by Kate Quinn's debut novel, Mistress of Rome(my review). From the very first page I was mesmerized and it quickly became one of my favorite reads of 2010. Therefore, when I discovered there would be a prequel, I could not have been more elated and I eagerly awaited its release all year. Well, I can definitely say that Daughters of Rome was well worth the wait!

In the very first chapter, the characters took on a very personable and lifelike persona. I was quickly absorbed into the plot and I did not stop reading until the last word was read. This is a fast paced novel that's full of intrigue, and one that is bound to have you emotionally involved.

Kate Quinn did a splendid job of blending in the characters that appear in Mistress of Rome. So well, in fact, that I am eager to re-read Mistress of Rome to see if I have a bit more compassion or understanding towards a couple characters... though the Emperor is definitely not one for whom I might reconsider my feelings.

If you haven't read Mistress of Rome, don't worry, this novel holds its own perfectly. That being said, I would highly recommend Mistress of Rome as well as Daughters of Rome, for both are spellbinding novels and worthy of the highest praise!

Be sure to take a look at the lovely guest post Kate Quinn created for our delight:  
Guest Post by Kate Quinn

 FTC: I received this book from the publisher. As always, these are my own honest opinions.
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Thanks to the generosity of Penguin Publishing Group, I have one copy of Daughters of Rome to give away! To enter please follow the guidelines below:


Giveaway Guidelines:

~10 possible entries~

  • +1 entry for posting a comment and leaving your e-mail. (no comment with e-mail = no entry) 
  • +5 entries for becoming a Follower, or already being a Follower. (if possible, please follow through "google friend connect" so I can verify) 
  • + 3 entries for adding a link to this giveaway on your sidebar or for posting about it on your blog. (please post link with your comment) 
  • + 1 entry for tweeting about this giveaway. (please post link with your comment) 

~Please post all your entries in one comment, thanks :)
~This giveaway will be open to USA/Canada residents only.
~Ends April 29th~


Good Luck everyone!





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