Monday, 30 April 2012

Monthly Reading round up..






I've had a very busy month of reading in April ~ here's my list.


**My Book of the Month**

The Good Father by Noah Hawley



The Bone Thief by V W Whitworth

The Winter King by Thomas Penn (NF)

The Time Travellers Guide to Elizabethan England by Ian Mortimer (NF)

The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Smut by Alan Bennett

The Soldier's Wife by Joanna Trollope

A Rural Affair by Catherine Alliott

The Captains's Daughter by Leah Flemming

The Uncrowned Queen by Anne O'Brien

The King's Concubine by Anne O'Brien

The Map of Lost Memories by Kim Fay

An Equal Stillness by Francesca Kay

Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James



Saturday, 28 April 2012

Just for Fun Read...

As part of my Just for Fun Reading Challenge I decided to read this book which has languished on my bookshelf since March 2010, I’m so glad to have now read and enjoyed it.  This excellent debut novel won the Orange Prize for new writers in 2009.


An Equal Stillness

 by

 Francesca Kay 

Phoenix 2009



Told as a fictional biography by an unknown narrator, An Equal Stillness charts the life of celebrated artist, Jennet Mallow. Brought up as a lonely child in a Yorkshire rectory, and largely ignored by her troubled parents, Jennet escaped first to boarding school in Harrogate, and then later to art college in Kensington, where she acquired the nickname “Bird” and met David Heaton, who would change her life. Towards the end of the novel , it becomes apparent the identity of the narrator, which adds an extra dimension to the story.

This beautifully written novel captures perfectly the essence of art and artists, which combined with the author’s unique ability to make pictures come alive, makes this an evocative and mesmerising read.

I really enjoyed it.

Francesca Kay's second novel The Translation of the Bones is due out in paperback in August 2012. 
Another one for my wishlist!

The Translation of the Bones

Friday, 27 April 2012

Friday Recommends..


Friday again, and it's time for my choice of book for Friday recommends...







This is an exciting book blog hop that book bloggers can take part in once a week to share with their followers, the books that they most recommend reading!

The rules for Friday Recommends are:

Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.
Pick a book that you've read, and have enjoyed enough to recommend to other readers. It can be a book you've read recently, or a book you read years ago - it's up to you - but make sure you tell us why you love the book (like a mini review). You make the post as long or as short as you like.
Visit the other blogs and enjoy!




My recommended read this week

is 

The Mistress's Revenge

by

Tamar Cohen


The Mistress's Revenge
Published by Doubleday June 2011


For five years Sally and Clive have had a clandestine affair, but when Clive decides that the affair must end, Sally is devastated, and her erratic and unpredictable behaviour has disastrous consequences, not just on her own family, but also on Clive's wife and daughter.

I thought the that the novel succeeded in being just a little bit different. There was an element of suspense that tracked its way throughout the novel,which culminates in a pleasing conclusion.

I enjoyed it and give it 4 out of 5 stars


Thursday, 26 April 2012

All about me...

Guest Blogger of the Month


Jaffa and I are doing a happy dance today as we have been asked by Booketta to be Guest Blogger of the Month on her excellent book blog.

Booketta's Book Blog is a wealth of wonderful book reviews and chat - Jaffa and I enjoy spending time visiting her blog and picking up some excellent book recommendations.

Jaffa and I are thrilled to reach a wider audience. We love reading your thoughts and comments and if you like what we do then please follow us..





Wishlist Wednesday...


I am delighted to be part of wishlist Wednesday which is hosted by Dani at pen to paper

 




The idea is to post about one book each week that has been on your wishlist for some time, or maybe just added.

So what do you need to do to join in?

Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.

Pick a book from your wishlist that you are dying to get to put on your shelves.

Do a post telling your readers about the book and why it's on your wishlist.

Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of her post.

Put a link back to pen to paper (http://vogue-pentopaper.blogspot.com) somewhere in your post.



My wishlist Wednesday book this week is the eagerly awaited Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, which is due to be published on 10 May 2012.

Bring up the Bodies is the follow up book to Wolf Hall, which won the Man Booker prize for fiction in 2009.

Bring up the Bodies


From Amazon UK


"My boy Thomas, give him a dirty look and he’ll gouge your eye out. Trip him, and he’ll cut off your leg,’ says Walter Cromwell in the year 1500. ‘But if you don’t cut across him he’s a very gentleman. And he’ll stand anyone a drink."

By 1535 Thomas Cromwell, the blacksmith’s son, is far from his humble origins. Chief Minister to Henry VIII, his fortunes have risen with those of Anne Boleyn, Henry’s second wife, for whose sake Henry has broken with Rome and created his own church. But Henry’s actions have forced England into dangerous isolation, and Anne has failed to do what she promised: bear a son to secure the Tudor line. When Henry visits Wolf Hall, Cromwell watches as Henry falls in love with the silent, plain Jane Seymour. The minister sees what is at stake: not just the king’s pleasure, but the safety of the nation. As he eases a way through the sexual politics of the court, its miasma of gossip, he must negotiate a ‘truth’ that will satisfy Henry and secure his own career. But neither minister nor king will emerge undamaged from the bloody theatre of Anne’s final days.

In ‘Bring up the Bodies’, sequel to the Man Booker Prize-winning ‘Wolf Hall’, Hilary Mantel explores one of the most mystifying and frightening episodes in English history: the destruction of Anne Boleyn. This new novel is a speaking picture, an audacious vision of Tudor England that sheds its light on the modern world. It is the work of one of our great writers at the height of her powers.







Can't wait to read this - it seems to have been a long time to wait since Wolf hall was published in 2009. My copy is already ordered !!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Review - Celtic Storms by Delaney Rhodes

My thanks to NetGalley and YouDoPR--DR Publishing for a digital copy to read and review.

Celtic Storms

by 

Delaney Rhodes

Celtic Steel Series, Book 1
Celtic Storms (Celtic Steel, #1)
YouDoPR--DR Publishing
Published February 2012

Synopsis from Goodreads

Darina O'Malley watched the sun set in the bay from the great tower in O'Malley castle. She said a silent prayer for her cousin, Kyra, hoping the message that was delivered to the MacCahan's did not spell sudden doom for her and her people. If what her Uncle Ruarc had told her was true, she was to be married to a stranger in nearly a fortnight, and her world would turn upside down.
The realization that her clan held secrets which could destroy them forever - chilled her blood.


My Review. 2stars **

The only disadvantage with receiving early reading digital copies is that the book you are reading is not always the finished article, and can suffer from grammatical errors and disjointed text. This can then seem like you are putting together a literary jigsaw puzzle. Such is the case with Celtic Storms, the beginning of the book jumps around all over the place and there are so many characters appearing, it's difficult to keep track without losing interest. The book eventually settles down and becomes a fairly mediocre read, filled with mists and mysticism, paganism and witchcraft with an underlying theme of love and passion.
I grew to like some of the characters, Patrick struck me as one of the good guys, he had some depth of character whereas the female lead irritated me beyond words and appeared to be trying too hard to be "gung ho"..

There is the premise of a good book somewhere in here, it just took me a while to find glimpses of it, and by the time I had found it I had almost given up.

Monday, 23 April 2012

World Book Night 2012...

http://www.worldbooknight.org/






Good Luck to all those participating in World Book Day.

St George...

Happy St George's Day 

Venerated as a Christian Martyr, St George was according to tradition, a Roman soldier in the guard of Diocletion. He is immortalised in the tale of George and the Dragon. 


He is England's Patron saint. 






Friday, 20 April 2012

Friday recommends...


Friday again, and it's time for my choice of book for Friday recommends...







This is an exciting book blog hop that book bloggers can take part in once a week to share with their followers, the books that they most recommend reading!

The rules for Friday Recommends are:

Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.
Pick a book that you've read, and have enjoyed enough to recommend to other readers. It can be a book you've read recently, or a book you read years ago - it's up to you - but make sure you tell us why you love the book (like a mini review). You make the post as long or as short as you like.
Visit the other blogs and enjoy!



My Friday recommended read this week is a bargain of a short story, available for free on Amazon.co.uk for Kindle....I recently gained access to a review copy of The King's Concubine by Anne O'Brien, which I'm reading for Harlequin UK Ltd (MIRA) , so I was delighted to find that The Uncrowned Queen is a short story prequel to The King's Concubine.


The Uncrowned Queen by Anne O'Brien






From Amazon UK

1330. Philippa of Hainault may be married to King Edward III but she’s penniless and powerless. England quivers in the clutches of the Dowager Queen Isabella and her darkly ambitious lover Lord Mortimer while her husband rots in jail, a prisoner at Mortimer’s hand. It will take a courageous young man to emerge from the shadows and rise up against this formidable pair. Philippa won’t sit back and see Edward puppeteered. She is determined to see justice done. It’s her words whispered into the young King Edward’s ear that will see the battle for England’s throne commence. Mightier have fallen. Treason threatens. The victor’s prize is England…failure is death.



What did I think ?

This short story prequel to the soon to be published The King's Concubine, sets the scene for the early years of the reign of Edward III, and his marriage to Philippa of Hainault.There's also some useful background information to the feud between Edward, and his mother's lover, Lord Mortimer.
This is a period of medieval history I know very little about, so it was very useful to have a bit of background information, in readiness for The King's Concubine. The story is a quick read, I read it  over just a couple of hours, and even though it doesn't go into too much detail, it still reaches a satisfying conclusion, and leads very nicely into The King's Concubine.

This is good taster of the style of books that Anne O'Brien writes so well....and I do so like a bargain !!

Happy Reading.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Wishlist Wednesday..


I am delighted to be part of wishlist Wednesday which is hosted by Dani at pen to paper

 




The idea is to post about one book each week that has been on your wishlist for some time, or maybe just added.

So what do you need to do to join in?

Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.

Pick a book from your wishlist that you are dying to get to put on your shelves.

Do a post telling your readers about the book and why it's on your wishlist.

Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of her post.

Put a link back to pen to paper (http://vogue-pentopaper.blogspot.com) somewhere in your post.

My wishlist Wednesday book this week is a book I picked up in Waterstones some time ago and dithered about buying it - you know how it is - you just can't justify £12.99 for yet another historical fiction book, but the more I think abut this one , the more I regret not buying it.
I love the cover ..


The Wordsmith's Tale

by

Stephen Edden

The Wordsmith's Tale
Beautiful Books (10 Jun 2011)

From Amazon.co.uk

In 1087, Thomas the Piper sits down to recount the heartwarming, spell-binding hundred-year history of how his family of story-weaver and serfs has got by, against the odds. His young scribe - lovestruck and distracted - writes it all down. Several generations of this West Country family, from the reign of King Edgar to the Battle of Hastings, are linked by one recurring theme: the gift of storytelling, first found in Tom, the bard of King Edgar's court, whose love for Fleda saves her life and creates a legend in their son Bas, who gains a ferocious reputation as a warrior fighting the armies of King Cnut. Bas's son Harry, a storyteller like his aunt, passes the gift on to his own son Thomas, who is forced to make use of the first of three wishes endowed upon the wishing penny given to his grandfather by King Edgar. But will it save his family?



Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Orange Prize Shortlist 2012

The shortlist for the 2012 Orange Prize for fiction is announced Here are the contenders:


 Esi Edugyan Half Blood Blues

Half Blood Blues

 Anne Enright The Forgotten Waltz

The Forgotten Waltz

 Georgina Harding Painter of Silence

Painter of Silence

 Madeline Miller The Song of Achilles

The Song of Achilles

 Cynthia Ozick Foreign Bodies

Foreign Bodies

Ann Patchett State of Wonder

State of Wonder


 The winner will be announced at an award ceremony in London on May 30th 2012

Monday, 16 April 2012

Review - A Rural Affair by Catherine Alliott


My thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for a digital edition of this book.





A Rural AffairA Rural Affair by Catherine Alliott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
jaffa's rating 4 paws

Poppy Shilling often fantasised about her controlling husband's death, so when a freak accident actually caused her husband's demise, she finds the prospect of life without him quite daunting. The marriage wasn't particularly happy, but when Poppy discovers that her husband had been keeping some secrets from her , she is galvanised into action.

I thought the book was great fun, it's best read quickly, as the story bounds along at a cracking pace. The dialogue is witty, and even though the heroine is far from perfect, she manages to convey warmth of character, and a simple belief in the world around her.There is an abundance of quirky characters that  flit into and out of Poppy's life,and there are some truly funny moments that had me laughing out loud.

This is a great beach read, and highly recommended if you need something to keep you amused on a long journey.


Published by Sourcebooks Landmark 1 March 2012



Published in the Uk by Michael Joseph 21 July 2011







Sunday, 15 April 2012

RMS Titanic 15th April, 1912

This week there has been lots of television time devoted to the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, and with the memorial in mind I wanted to read something which had a Titanic theme, and which was easy enough to read without being bombarded by factual history.



The Captain's Daughter

by

Leah Fleming


The Captain's Daughter


My Review 4****

When the unsinkable Titanic is pulled into the cold waters of the Atlantic during the early hours of the 15th April 1912, only 700 passengers have been rescued, and over 1500 souls will perish as the ship goes down.

The Captain's Daughter follows an imagined tale of three of those survivors.
May Smith leaving Lancashire for a new life in America is travelling with her husband,Joe and baby, Ellen.
Celeste Parkes is returning to America, having been to England for her mother's funeral.
And baby Ella, rescued from the icy water by the ship's captain and thrust into the arms of  May.


The actual story of the Titanic sinking forms only a small part of this story. The main body of the book is taken up with the lives of May and Celeste. Their search for happiness and fulfilment in the aftermath of this appalling tragedy will have repercussions for the rest of their lives, and into the next generation.

I enjoyed the book - I thought it was a nice easy read, and I felt that the author successfully brought together all the loose strands of the story to a believable conclusion.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Review - The Good Father by Noah Hawley

My thanks to Guy and Alison at Newbooks magazine for an advanced reading copy of this book.



The Good Father

by

Noah Hawley


The Good Father: A Novel
Doubleday Books (20 Mar 2012)



My Review 5 stars *****


When Doctor Paul Allen sits down to eat pizza and watch television with his family, he is shocked by the news report that a political assassin has shot a promising US senator. He is appalled to discover that the alleged perpetrator of this crime is Paul’s own son, Danny. To have the crime and the person responsible for the crime, displayed at the very beginning of the story, sets the pace for an unusual psychological thriller, which is as much about the very nature of political assassinations, as it is about the father and son relationship.
The story grips from the very beginning, we sense the growing desperation as Paul frantically tries to discover what could have turned his gentle son into a cold blooded killer, and yet we also sympathise with Danny, as with increasing unease, the dissatisfaction with his world is revealed.
Noah Hawley has created a very believable set of characters and events, and whilst he undoubtedly has the necessary skill as a story teller, it is his ability to dissect the minutiae of psychological profiles that keep the reader engrossed from beginning to end. The dialogue is crisp and precise, yet never seeks to sensationalise the growing sense of disbelief, nor does it compromise on the ability to deliver a cracking good read.
This story of fragmented lives, combined with parental culpability makes The Good Father a perfect book group read. There is much to ponder, as the overwhelming question of whether Paul Allen was truly a Good Father remains enigmatic through to the very end.


It's a great read for a sunny Saturday and I'm sure this is going to be one of my best reads of 2012.


Friday, 13 April 2012

Friday Recommends...



Friday again, and it's time for my choice of book for Friday recommends...













This is an exciting book blog hop that book bloggers can take part in once a week to share with their followers, the books that they most recommend reading!


The rules for Friday Recommends are:


Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.
Pick a book that you've read, and have enjoyed enough to recommend to other readers. It can be a book you've read recently, or a book you read years ago - it's up to you - but make sure you tell us why you love the book (like a mini review). You make the post as long or as short as you like.
Visit the other blogs and enjoy!





My Friday recommended book 

is

The Soldier's Wife

by

Joanna Trollope

The Soldier's Wife
Doubleday (2 Feb 2012)




Does marrying a soldier mean marrying the army? 

When Major Dan Riley returns from a six month tour of Afghanistan, his wife Alexa, expects his return to England to be difficult, and she is aware that allowances will have to be made in order to ease the transition from life on the battlefield, to life at home. However, she is unprepared for the sheer volume of work that engulfs Dan on his return to barracks, and his commitment to his band of brothers threatens to ruin Alexa and Dan’s once strong relationship. The added burden of a set of domestic, and family problems make this homecoming all the more complicated.

I have no experience of living this sort of peripatetic life, nor have I ever faced the prospect of a relationship dominated by army life, so I was interested to see what Joanna Trollope made of this story.
Overall, I thought that the book was nicely written, and managed to portray a world of which I know nothing. Was it realistic – well, only someone who has experienced this sort of difficult homecoming would be best able to judge – but from my point of view, the story was interesting and thought provoking, and managed to recreate the anxious times that lie ahead, not just for returning soldiers, but also for their families, as they also seek to adjust to a very different routine


The book has had mixed reviews from some who feel the book is unrealistic, that's as may be - I guess it was never planned to be a definitive version of army life - but, it never takes the subject lightly, nor does it disrespect the personnel involved in army life.

As a light and easy read, this worked for me...



Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Wishlist Wednesday..


I am delighted to be part of wishlist Wednesday which is hosted by Dani at pen to paper

 





The idea is to post about one book each week that has been on your wishlist for some time, or maybe just added.

So what do you need to do to join in?

Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.

Pick a book from your wishlist that you are dying to get to put on your shelves.

Do a post telling your readers about the book and why it's on your wishlist.

Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of her post.

Put a link back to pen to paper (http://vogue-pentopaper.blogspot.com) somewhere in your post.



My Wishlist Wednesday Book

is
One Breath Away

by

Helen Gudenkauf










Synopsis

In the midst of a sudden spring snowstorm, an unknown man armed with a gun walks into an elementary school classroom. Outside the school, the town of Broken Branch watches and waits.

Officer Meg Barrett holds the responsibility for the town’s children in her hands. Will Thwaite, reluctantly entrusted with the care of his two grandchildren by the daughter who left home years earlier, stands by helplessly and wonders if he has failed his child again. Trapped in her classroom, Evelyn Oliver watches for an opportunity to rescue the children in her care. And thirteen-year-old Augie, already struggling with the aftermath of a terrible accident that has brought her to Broken Branch, will risk her own safety to protect her little brother.

As tension mounts with passing each minute, the hidden fears and grudges of the small town are revealed as the people of Broken Branch race to uncover the identity of the stranger who holds their children hostage.


I read Heather Gudenkauf's excellent debut book The Weight of Silence in 2010, and have her second book These Things are Hidden as yet unread on my Kindle bookshelf.

I have seen an excellent pre publication review of One Breath Away and am looking forard to reading it when it is released in July.

Heather Gudenkauf is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, she lives in Iowa with her family.



Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Review - Smut: Two Unseemly Stories by Alan Bennett

My thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan (Picador) for a digital copy of this book.



Smut; Two Unseemly Stories

 by

 Alan Bennett

Smut: Two Unseemly Stories
Profile Books Published in the UK 1March 2012
Picador Books Published in the US January 2012


My Review 5*****

The two novellas that make up Smut are delivered with Alan Bennett’s usual assurance and ease of style, and yet both are quite an aberration of what is normally expected from this gentle satirist.

In The Greening of Mrs Donaldson, we are introduced to the genteel world of tea and chocolate biscuits, and yet behind the net curtains, there is a voyeuristic enactment that takes you completely unaware. Mrs Donaldson is a fifty-five year old widow, who suppresses the tedium of her life by enacting fake illness at her local hospital for medical students to practise on. When her two young lodgers, medical students, Laura and Andy, are unable to pay their rent, they suggest an unusual method of repayment.

In The Shielding of Mrs Forbes, we are again emboldened by the disparity between the central characters. None are who they seem to be, and yet the classification of middle class suburbia is expertly matched within the quirky characterisation. The eponymous Mrs Forbes struggles to see why her devilishly handsome son, Graham, would want to marry a plainer woman, and yet when Graham is blackmailed by a gay rent boy, Mrs Forbes social sensibilities are tested to the limit.

As with all Bennett’s work, the writing and satirical observations are as neat as a new pin, there is enough blend of comic tragedy to make even the most disgruntled reader smile with wry pleasure, and the sense of something naughty going on behind the net curtains is never far from the surface of respectability.





Monday, 9 April 2012

Review - The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

My thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for the opportunity of reviewing a digital edition of The Lifeboat.




The Lifeboat 

by 

Charlotte Rogan


The Lifeboat
Little, Brown and Company
Inprint : Reagan Arthur Books
Published April 3 2012



My Review 5 *****

1914, two years after the sinking of the Titanic, and the Empress Alexandra, five days out from Liverpool and set for New York, suffers a mysterious explosion on board ship, which necessitates  the ship’s evacuation. Grace Winter, newly married and on her way to America with her banker husband, Henry, is placed in a lifeboat alongside some of her fellow passengers. Set adrift in the Atlantic Ocean, and under the dubious guidance of crew member, Hardie, the occupants of the lifeboat must learn to adjust and compromise, but the situation is far from easy, and it soon becomes apparent that the lifeboat is overloaded.
When then follows is Grace’s documented narrative of the time spent languishing in the lifeboat, her observations and petty indignations are played out superbly well. Grace is neither likeable, nor hateful, and yet her volatile vulnerability and awareness of the greater implications, are what keep the story alive. Running throughout the narrative is an underlying menace which seeks to emphasise the power struggle between the major players, and yet the story encapsulates perfectly the ennui of the unending expanse of ocean, which combined with Grace’s social observations, make this a compelling read.
Ultimately, this book tells the story of survival at its most basic level and yet its multi layered and systemic dialogue encourages the reader to think beyond the obvious as it burrows deep into the very essence of human behaviour.

Charlotte Rogan took over ten years to complete the story of The Lifeboat. This book is a testament to her tenacity, and is an amazing debut from a very talented author.






Sunday, 8 April 2012

Review - The First Day of the Rest of My Life by Cathy Lamb

I first discovered Cathy Lamb in 2009 , when I read her debut novel, Julia's Chocolates, which was a wise and witty look at the relationship women can have with each other. 



The First day of the Rest of My life

by

Cathy Lamb

The First day of the Rest of My Life
Allison & Busby (12 Jan 2012) 




Madeline O'Shea is a successful life coach, she tells other people how to deal with their lives and yet underneath the veneer lies a lost and stolen childhood. For decades Madeline has lived with the awful fear that her secrets will be revealed, and she seeks, as always to protect her younger sister from further harm. When an avaricious reporter starts to uncover the uncomfortable truth, Madeline is aware that she needs to start taking control of her own life.
But Madeline and Annie are not the only ones with secrets  ..


I read this book over the space of twenty four hours, it was uncomfortable reading at times, but I simply couldn't stop turning the pages. Madeleine and Annie will steal your heart and enter your subconscious in such a way that you will never ever forget them. I think that this book is one of the best books I have read about damaged children. It leaves you with the notion that love will overcome pure evil, as long as you can face up to your fears, and learn to believe in love again.


Happy Easter

Jaffa and I would like to wish everyone

a

very


Happy Easter


Friday, 6 April 2012

Friday Recommends...


Friday again, and it's time for my choice of book for Friday recommends...







This is an exciting book blog hop that book bloggers can take part in once a week to share with their followers, the books that they most recommend reading!

The rules for Friday Recommends are:

Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.
Pick a book that you've read, and have enjoyed enough to recommend to other readers. It can be a book you've read recently, or a book you read years ago - it's up to you - but make sure you tell us why you love the book (like a mini review). You make the post as long or as short as you like.
Visit the other blogs and enjoy!




My Friday Recommended Read

 is

The Winter King : The Dawn Of Tudor England  

by 

Thomas Penn

Winter King: The Dawn of Tudor England
Allen Lane (29 Sep 2011)

My 5 ***** Review

The young Earl of Richmond landed at Milford Haven in June 1485, with an entourage of loyal supporters. Two months later in a battle of hope over adversity, the house of Tudor conquered the last of the Plantagenets in the Battle of Bosworth field. Richard III, erstwhile King of England, lay dead and defeated, and the dawn of the Tudor age rose from the ashes of despair.

This easily readable factual account of the latter years of Henry VII's reign sheds light on this enigmatic King who is so often overshadowed by his successor ,Henry VIII. Seen by many as a Machiavellian figure, it's easy to assume that Henry VII was merely the supporting act before the glitter and glamour of his son. However,without the fortitude and control of this slight and unassuming monarch,the dawn of the Tudor age would have crumbled before it had really got started.

The author Thomas Penn has managed to convey the man behind the myth, and has created a sympathetic account of the Tudor search for stability and recognition. The narrative is never cumbersome, as the book can be read quite easily without the need for an extensive bibliography running alongside.

The impeccable research and fine attention to detail, make this book an ideal aide memoir if you enjoy historical novels set during this early part of the Tudor age. Alternatively, it is enjoyable as a stand alone read, and is an accomplished debut by a knowledgeable historian.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Wishlist Wednesday...


I am delighted to be part of wishlist Wednesday which is hosted by Dani at pen to paper

 





The idea is to post about one book each week that has been on your wishlist for some time, or maybe just added.

So what do you need to do to join in?

Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.

Pick a book from your wishlist that you are dying to get to put on your shelves.

Do a post telling your readers about the book and why it's on your wishlist.

Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of her post.

Put a link back to pen to paper (http://vogue-pentopaper.blogspot.com) somewhere in your post.




My wishlist Wednesday book this week is 

The September Queen 
by 
Gillian Bagwell


The September Queen


Berkley Publishing Group; 1 edition (Nov 2011) 


From Amazon


The author of The Darling Strumpet returns to seventeenth-century England. Oliver Cromwell has crushed the hopes for the return of the monarchy at the Battle of Worcester, sending Charles II running for his life—and into the arms of a woman who will risk everything for king and country, including her heart…

Jane Lane is of marrying age, but she longs for adventure. She has pushed every potential suitor away—even those who could provide everything for her. Then one day, adventure makes its way to her doorstep, and with it, mortal danger…

Royalists fighting to restore the crown to King Charles II implore Jane and her family for help. They have been hiding the king, but Cromwell’s army is on his scent. Jane must transport him to safety, disguised as her manservant. As she places herself in harm’s way, with peril awaiting at every turn, she finds herself falling in love with the gallant young Charles. And despite his reputation as a breaker of hearts, Jane surrenders to a passion that will change her life forever.


I am fascinated by the court of Charles II and really enjoyed Gillian Bagwell's previous book -The Darling Strumpet. I am looking forward to getting a copy of this one soon.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Review -The Time Travellers Guide to Elizabethan England...


Imagine being dropped onto the London streets of 1590... to the court of Elizabeth 1,  the golden age of Gloriana.

Whatever would you do?
 Where would you go? 
What would you eat?
 What clothes would you wear?

And how would you survive in a world that is very different from today...







This fascinating travel guide through Elizabethan England comes from the very talented historian Dr. Ian Mortimer, who with his previous book, The Time Travellers Guide to Medieval England, has managed to make history come alive in a unique and fascinating way.
  

"The Past is another country - this is your guide book "