Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Best wishes for a safe and happy Halloween! 


Copyright © 2013 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Finds at the Bookstore: The Assassination of the Archduke by Greg King, Sue Woolmans (Non-Fic)

Happy Friday! I was so ready for the week to be over that I posted my "Friday Finds" on Thursday. But having another one wont hurt, right? I mean, why not add two books instead of one to your TBR mountain! The following is a Historical Non-Fic selection. I've been hearing some great opinions about this one, and I can't wait to read it. 

Publication date: 9/3/2013
Format: Hardcover 432pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"Drawing on unpublished letters and rare primary sources, King and Woolmans tell the true story behind the tragic romance and brutal assassination that sparked World War I 
In the summer of 1914, three great empires dominated Europe: Germany, Russia, and Austria-Hungary. Four years later all had vanished in the chaos of World War I. One event precipitated the conflict, and at its hear was a tragic love story. When Austrian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand married for love against the wishes of the emperor, he and his wife Sophie were humiliated and shunned, yet they remained devoted to each other and to their children. The two bullets fired in Sarajevo not only ended their love story, but also led to war and a century of conflict. 
Set against a backdrop of glittering privilege, The Assassination of the Archduke combines royal history, touching romance, and political murder in a moving portrait of the end of an era. One hundred years after the event, it offers the startling truth behind the Sarajevo assassinations, including Serbian complicity and examines rumors of conspiracy and official negligence. Events in Sarajevo also doomed the couple’s children to lives of loss, exile, and the horrors of Nazi concentration camps, their plight echoing the horrors unleashed by their parents’ deaths. Challenging a century of myth, The Assassination of the Archduke resonates as a very human story of love destroyed by murder, revolution, and war."

Friday Finds at the Bookstore ©SveaLove

Copyright © 2013 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Friday Finds at the Bookstore: The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

Publication Date: October 15th 2013
Format: Hardcover 848pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"Winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize, a breathtaking feat of storytelling where everything is connected, but nothing is as it seems....
It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On the stormy night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a prostitute has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky. 
Eleanor Catton was only 22 when she wrote The Rehearsal, which Adam Ross in the New York Times Book Review praised as "a wildly brilliant and precocious first novel" and Joshua Ferris called "a mesmerizing, labyrinthine, intricately patterned and astonishingly original novel." The Luminaries amply confirms that early promise, and secures Catton's reputation as one of the most dazzling and inventive young writers at work today."

Friday Finds at the Bookstore ©SveaLove


Copyright © 2013 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Book Review: Royal Mistress by Anne Easter Smith

Review Copy Provided by Publisher
Publication Date: May 7th 2013
Format: Paperback, 489 pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"From the author of A Rose for the Crown and Daughter of York comes another engrossing historical novel of the York family in the Wars of the Roses, telling the fascinating story of the rise and fall of the final and favorite mistress of Edward IV. 
Jane Lambert, the quick-witted and alluring daughter of a silk merchant, is twenty-two and still unmarried. When Jane’s father finally finds her a match, she’s married off to the dull, older silk merchant William Shore—but her heart belongs to another. Marriage doesn’t stop Jane Shore from flirtation, however, and when the king’s chamberlain and friend, Will Hastings, comes to her husband’s shop, Will knows his King will find her irresistible. 
Edward IV has everything: power, majestic bearing, superior military leadership, a sensual nature, and charisma. And with Jane as his mistress, he also finds true happiness. But when his hedonistic tendencies get in the way of being the strong leader England needs, his life, as well as that of Jane Shore and Will Hastings, hang in the balance. 
This dramatic tale has been an inspiration to poets and playwrights for 500 years, and told through the unique perspective of a woman plucked from obscurity and thrust into a life of notoriety, Royal Mistress is sure to enthrall today’s historical fiction lovers as well."

My Review:

Jane Lambert is unlucky enough to be wed to William Shore, a man the exact opposite of her bright and passionate nature, just when she had finally found love with Thomas Grey. Desperate to be loved and have a family of her own making, Jane sets out to change her fate at any cost, but little does she know where her journey will take her. From a merchant's wife to royal mistress, and from security to persecution, Jane Shore must utilize all her charms and wit in order to adapt with her ever changing circumstances and survive the turbulent times surrounding Edward IV and Richard III's reign.  

There have been a few books released over the past year which focus on Jane Shore, and although they all follow the main events of her life, this particular portrayal of Jane is absolutely fantastic. Anne Easter Smith really brought Jane to life in Royal Mistress by giving her a vivid and multifaceted personality, but most of all, because she created an extremely relatable character. 

One of the greatest aspects of Anne Easter Smith's work is always the obvious amount of historical research that precedes the writing. Not only does Royal Mistress offer an engrossing story, but it also delivers a good history lesson without reading like a textbook. In fact, the lyrical writing flowed with ease, and the occasional point of view from secondary characters ensured a well rounded and plot. 

From beginning to end Royal Mistress is an exceptional novel that shimmers with fine historical detail, making it the perfect book for any fan of historical fiction.   

Copyright © 2013 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.
FTC: I received this book from the publisher. As always these are my own honest opinions

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Upcoming 2014 Historical Fiction Release! Girl on the Golden Coin: A Novel of Frances Stuart by Marci Jefferson

Publication date: 2/11/2014
Format: Hardcover 336pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"In 1660, the Restoration of Stuart Monarchy in England returns Frances Stuart and her family to favor. Frances discards threadbare gowns and goes to gilded Fontainebleau Palace, where she soon catches the Sun King’s eye. But Frances is no ordinary court beauty—she has Stuart secrets to keep and her family to protect. King Louis XIV turns vengeful when she rejects his offer to become his Official Mistress. He sends her to England with orders to seduce King Charles II and help him form an alliance with England. The Queen Mother likewise orders Frances to become her son's mistress, in the interest of luring him away from the Protestant mistress he currently keeps. 
Armed in pearls and silk, Frances maneuvers the political turbulence of Whitehall Palace, but still can’t afford to stir a scandal, determined to keep her family from shame. Her tactic to inspire King Charles to greatness captivates him and the two embark on a tenuous relationship. Frances survives the Great Fire, the Great Plague, and the debauchery of the Restoration Court, yet loses her heart to the very king she must control. A startling discovery will leave her with no other choice but to break his heart, while the fate of England hangs in the balance. 
In the tradition of Philippa Gregory, debut author Marci Jefferson brings to life a captivating woman whose beauty, compassion, and intellect impacted a king and a nation."



Copyright © 2013 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Book Review: The Winter Witch by Paula Brackston

Publication Date: January 29th 2013 
Format: Hardcover, 340pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"New York Times bestselling author Paula Brackston transports readers to the windswept mountains of Wales in this spellbinding tale of love and magic. 
In her small Welsh town, there is no one quite like Morgana. She has never spoken, and her silence as well as the magic she can't quite control make her a mystery. Concerned for her safety, her mother quickly arranges a marriage with Cai Bevan, the widower from the far hills who knows nothing of the rumours that swirl around her. After their wedding, Morgana is heartbroken at leaving, but she soon falls in love with Cai’s farm and the rugged mountains that surround it, while slowly Cai himself begins to win her heart. It’s not long, however, before her strangeness begins to be remarked upon in her new village. A dark force is at work there—a person who will stop at nothing to turn the townspeople against Morgana, even at the expense of those closest to her. Forced to defend her home, her love, and herself from all comers, Morgana must learn to harness her power, or she will lose everything."

My Review:

When you have a main character that is mute, it would seem rather difficult to have him/her as the narrator, but Paula Brackston manages to pull it off in a most extraordinary manner. The main character, Morgana, tells her story with great emotion and clarity. There was never a moment of confusion, or any type of disconnect from the narration of the story.

Although the difficult style of narration was flawless, the overall story did have a few issues. First, halfway through the book the momentum of the plot took a steep decline and never recovered. In the beginning the mystery and intrigue surrounding Moragana's past were enough to compel further reading, but it was not enough to sustain a 340 page novel. Also, there were numerous questions that were left unanswered, which was unfortunate because the expectation of having them answered was the reason to continue reading the second half of the novel. 

Even though the second half of this book brought the overall rating down, the first half showed enough of Paula Brackston's talent to pursue reading another one of her novels. 

Also by Paula Brackston:
The Witch's Daughter (Review Coming Soon)
The Midnight Witch (Pub Date: March 2014)

Copyright © 2013 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Released Today! Behind the Shattered Glass: A Lady Emily Mystery by Tasha Alexander

Publication date: 10/15/13
Format: Hardcover 304pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"A ruined abbey on a beautiful estate in Derbyshire, a murdered peer, and a most unlikely romance make New York Times bestseller Tasha Alexander’s new novel Behind the Shattered Glass absolutely irresistible
Anglemore Park is the ancestral home of Lady Emily Hargreave’s husband Colin. But the stately calm of country life is destroyed when their neighbor, the Marquess of Montagu, bursts through the French doors from the garden and falls down dead in front of the shocked gathering. But who has a motive for murdering the young aristocrat? The lovely cousin who was threatened by his engagement, the Oxford friend he falsely accused of cheating, the scheming vicar’s daughter he shamelessly seduced or the relative no one knew existed who appears to claim the Montagu title? Who is the mysterious woman seen walking with him moments before he was brutally attacked?

The trail takes readers into the gilded world of a British manor house and below stairs to the servants who know all the secrets. One family’s hidden past and a forbidden passion are the clues to a puzzle only Lady Emily can solve."

Copyright © 2013 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

New Release! The Paris Architect: A Novel by Charles Belfoure

Publication date: 10/8/2013
Format: Hardcover 384pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"A thrilling debut novel of World War II Paris, from an author who's been called "an up and coming Ken Follett." (Booklist) 
In 1942 Paris, gifted architect Lucien Bernard accepts a commission that will bring him a great deal of money — and maybe get him killed. But if he's clever enough, he'll avoid any trouble. All he has to do is design a secret hiding place for a wealthy Jewish man, a space so invisible that even the most determined German officer won't find it. He sorely needs the money, and outwitting the Nazis who have occupied his beloved city is a challenge he can't resist. 
But when one of his hiding spaces fails horribly, and the problem of where to hide a Jew becomes terribly personal, Lucien can no longer ignore what's at stake. The Paris Architect asks us to consider what we owe each other, and just how far we'll go to make things right.
Written by an architect whose knowledge imbues every page, this story becomes more gripping with every soul hidden and every life saved."


Copyright © 2013 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.