Saturday, July 23, 2011

Book Review: Mary of Carisbrooke by Margaret Campbell Barnes

Publish Date: May 2011
Format: Paperback pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"A Girl, A King, and the castle that changed them both Forever... 
Charles I, king of England, thought that Carisbrooke Castle would be safe, an Isle of Wight refuge far from the madding crowd of Cromwell. But Charles ran straight into the arms of betrayal, his retreat morphing to prison and his allies few and far between. 
Mary, a quiet servant girl in awe of her king and country, vaults into intrigue and danger as she helps to plot the king's escape. 
A moving story of royal hopes and misfortunes, Mary of Carisbrooke is at its heart the tale of a charming girl who is as romantic and alluring as she is smart and bold. Loyal to herself and to the Crown, Mary's brush with history reveals just how quickly fate can shift the paths of power."

My Review:

My first introduction to Margaret Barnes was a bit shaky with her medieval novel, Within a Hollow Crown (my review), but I can say without a doubt that this novel has propelled her to my favorite authors list!

Mary of Carisbrooke is one of those novels that will transport you to the location of the novel and make you never want to leave. From the very beginning there is a compelling edge to the story, with each character being unraveled with precision and great detail. Margaret Barnes has created a compelling novel that will stay with you long after finish the last page.

The story opens with everyday life on the island of Carisbrooke. Following Mary on her daily chores and routine visits to friends, we are given a special glimpse into their simple and contented lifestyle. It is this opening scene that sets the stage for the rest of the novel, by allowing us to enjoy their pleasure we can understand what they long for when the turbulent times overtake them. The turbulent times begin once King Charles I arrives at the castle, and it soon becomes clear that he is never meant to leave by his own free will. Determined to serve her sovereign and return her island to its peaceful state, Mary embarks on a path of espionage, finding herself and love along the way.

The months are flying by and so are the novels being read, but of all my 2011 reads so far, Mary of Carisbrooke is definitely one of my favorites this year! I highly recommend this novel to anyone looking for an engrossing reading experience that will satisfy completely.

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

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

New Release! Dracula in Love by Karen Essex

Publish Date: July 5th 2011
Format: Paperback edition 384pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
" 'Reader, you are about to enter a world that exists simultaneous with your own. But be warned: in its realm, there are no rules, and there is certainly no neat formula to become—or to destroy—one who has risen above the human condition…The truth is, we must fear monsters less and be warier of our own kind.'
London, 1890. Mina Murray, the rosy-cheeked, quintessentially pure Victorian heroine, becomes Count Dracula’s object of desire. To preserve her chastity, five male “defenders” rush in to rescue her from the vampire’s evil clutches. This is the version of the story we've been told. But now, from Mina’s own pen, we discover that the story is vastly different when told from the female point of view. 
In this captivating, bold act of storytelling, award-winning author Karen Essex breathes startling new life into the characters of Bram Stoker's Dracula, transporting the reader into the erotic and bizarre underbelly of the original story. While loosely following the events of its classic predecessor, Dracula in Love deviates from the path at every turn. 
The result is a darkly haunting, propulsive, and rapturous tale of immortal love and possession.
From the shadowy banks of the river Thames to the wild and windswept Yorkshire coast, Dracula’s eternal muse—the most famous woman in vampire lore—vividly recounts the joys and terrors of a passionate affair that has linked her and the Count through the centuries, and her rebellion against her own frightening preternatural powers. 
Mina’s version of this gothic vampire tale is a visceral journey into Victorian England’s dimly lit bedrooms, mist-filled cemeteries, and terrifying asylum chambers, revealing the dark secrets and mysteries locked within. Time falls away as she is swept into a mythical voyage far beyond mortal comprehension, where she must finally make the decision she has been avoiding for almost a millennium. 
Stoker’s Dracula offered one side of the story, in which Mina was a victim bearing no responsibility for the unfolding events. Now, for the first time, the truth of her secret history, and of vampirism itself, is revealed. What this flesh and blood woman has to say is more sensual, more devious, and more enthralling than the Victorians could have expressed or perhaps even imagined."

Copyright © 2011 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.