Posted by Merry Mao on 13th October 2008
Title: The Other Queen
Author: Philippa Gregory
Publisher: Touchstone, September, 2008
Summary: Mary, Queen of Scots, might be the most infamous royal in all of European history: She led a life of intrigue and scandal that landed her, at age 26 and a widow twice-over, in the hands of her cousin and rival, Elizabeth, Queen of England. In another well-crafted, fast-paced historical fiction, Philippa Gregory (The Other Boleyn Girl, The Constant Princess) has chosen to focus not on Mary’s tumultuous life in Scotland, but on her captivity in England, which lasted nearly 20 years. As a Catholic queen in a newly-Protestant country, she was at the center of countless plots to restore her not only to the Scottish throne, but also to put her in Elizabeth’s place.
The story centers on three people: Mary, and her married captors, the honorable George Shrewsberry, and his savvy wife, the remarkable Bess of Hardwick. As each intrigue bubbles to the surface and Mary scrambles to emerge victorious, we see the strain her presence in England puts not only on the kingdom, but on the marriage of George and Bess. This is a fascinating piece of nearly-forgotten history, and a must-read for fans of The Tudors and the recent HBO mini-series, Elizabeth.
Who will like this book?: Fans of historical fiction that focuses on the royals. Anyone with an interest in Tudor history, or the Scots queen.
If you like this, try this: In fiction, try Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles by Margaret George. For some non-fiction, look for Elizabeth and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens by Jane Dunn.
Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian
Tags: England, Scotland, Tudors
Posted in Fiction, Historical | No Comments »
Posted by Merry Mao on 5th August 2008
Title: A Prisoner of Birth
Author: Jeffrey Archer
Summary: A modern day version of The Count of Monte Cristo, this enthralling story is full of interesting characters and suspenseful twists and turns, A young British auto mechanic, Danny Cartwright, is wrongly accused of killing his best friend, who is also the brother of his pregnant fiance. He is imprisoned, and he spends his time reinventing himself and creating an elaborate revenge plan.
This is not a literary masterpiece and some of the plot is far-fetched, but the story still makes for an exciting and engrossing read. Archer is a great storyteller, and this book was hard to put down.
Who will like this book?:Readers of this would also like Archer’s other books, and Harlan Coben
Recommended by: Laurie, Circulation Clerk
Tags: Crime, England, Murder, Prison
Posted in Mysteries & Thrillers, Popular | No Comments »
Posted by Merry Mao on 22nd July 2008
Title: Young Bess
Author: Margaret Irwin
Summary: Young Bess provides a fictional, though grounded in historical fact, novel on the life of Queen Elizabeth when she was simply the Lady Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII and sister of Edward VI. Young Bess describes Elizabeth’s chequered relationship with Henry VIII, the father she resembles and differs from in so many ways. But along the way Bess also finds the maternal love that has been sorely lacking from her life from her father’s sixth and last wife, Catherine Parr.
Catherine not only provides Bess with love but more importantly with a belief in her destiny–that Bess will someday be Queen of England. Unfortunately, her destiny may be derailed by the long-standing feud between two brothers, Thomas and Edward Seymour, uncles to Edward VI, the brother of young Bess. Their hatred for each other eventually destroys both brothers, but will this hatred destroy Bess?
Who will like this book?: For those who enjoyed Alison Weir’s The Lady Elizabeth or any of the Philippa Gregory novels on the women of the Tudor Court, Young Bess is the book for you
Recommended by: Mona, Reference Librarian
Tags: England, Tudors
Posted in Fiction, Historical | 1 Comment »
Posted by Merry Mao on 26th December 2007
Title: The Diana Chronicles
Author: Tina Brown
Summary: This book has been out for a while but I knew I was going to save it for holiday time when I could sit back and relish all the lunacy of the Royals. Don’t get me wrong: I consider them part of my extended family, with both my parents being from the British Isles. As a child, it was not uncommon to witness relatives referring to genealogical charts of the Royals during heated family discussions!
Tina Brown, the former editor of the British magazine Tatler and the American Vanity Fair and The New Yorker has done an admirable job of getting inside the head and heart of the late Princess Diana. This book provides the right balance between Diana the victim of royal cruelty and a Diana with the very early and singular determination to become the bride of the Prince of Wales.
The author manages to provide much historical background about the entanglement of the Spencer family and the Royals. The inevitability of their continued relations, however troubled, is obvious. Diana is portrayed believably as a person with real strengths and weaknesses. She is just like many of us, and at the same time she is not. She has a palpable empathy for less fortunate people, and uses it to help those people and herself. She has a messy emotional life and ends up in unfulfilling relationships time and time again – which makes the reader feel for her and get annoyed with her.
Regardless of what you think of her life and adventures, she remains a fascination, and this book sheds more light on what made Diana, “Diana.”
Recommended by: Karen, Deputy Town Librarian
Tags: England, Princess Diana
Posted in Biography & Memoir, Non-Fiction | No Comments »
Posted by Merry Mao on 12th December 2007
Title: The Sound of Butterflies
Author: Rachael King
Summary: Thomas Edgar, an amateur naturalist, joined an expedition to the rainforests of the Amazon determined to be the first to capture the elusive butterfly he calls “Papilio Sophia.” He returns home several months later a changed man. Having deteriorated both physically and mentally, he is either unwilling or unable to speak. His young wife Sophie sets out trying to solve the mystery of what happened to her husband in a desperate attempt to bring him back to his former self. Slowly, we learn of the atrocities that befell Thomas and his fellow travelers in the Brazilian Amazon, culminating with the traumatic event that renders Thomas speechless.
This wonderful debut novel from New Zealander Rachael King takes us from turn of the century London to the rainforests of Brazil. Through letters, diary entries, and multi-character narration, we experience the social constraints of London, the dark side of the booming rubber industry of the Amazon, and the perils found in the wilds of the rainforest.
Who will like this book?: Historical fiction and adventure readers.
If you like this, try this: The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney
Recommended by: Mary, Reference Librarian
Tags: Amazon, Brazil, England, Marriage, New Zealand, Rain Forest
Posted in Fiction, Historical | No Comments »