Tag: Books: Historical Fiction

Review: The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet

Posted 27 August, 2009 by Li in Books / 1 Comment

The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet
By: Colleen McCullough

Lizzy Bennet married Mr Darcy, Jane Bennet married Mr Bingley – but what became of the middle daughter, Mary? Discover what came next in the lives and loves of Jane Austen’s much loved Bennet family in this Pride and Prejudice spin-off from an international bestselling author Readers of Pride and Prejudice will remember that there were five Bennet sisters. Now, twenty years on, Jane has a happy marriage and large family; Lizzy and Mr Darcy now have a formidable social reputation; Lydia has a reputation of quite another kind; Kitty is much in demand in London’s parlours and ballrooms; but what of Mary? Mary is quietly celebrating her independence, having nursed her ailing mother for many years. She decides to write a book to bring the plight of the poor to everyone’s attention. But with more resolve than experience, as she sets out to travel around the country, it’s not only her family who are concerned about her. Marriage may be far from her mind, but what if she were to meet the one man whose own fiery articles infuriate the politicians and industrialists? And if when she starts to ask similar questions, she unwittingly places herself in great danger?

I picked this book up on a whim the same day I bought Niffenegger’s The Time Traveller’s Wife. I thought it was an interesting premise that the book would focus on Mary, given what little she involved she was in Pride and Prejudice (in comparison to her other sisters); not to mention after Lizzie and Jane, I had a soft spot for Mary precisely because she was rather marginalised from the rest of the family. The blurb above also intrigued me so I figured why not? Having finished reading it…uh, yeaaaahhh…

Read More

Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Posted 18 August, 2009 by Li in Books / 0 Comments

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
By: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

January 1946: writer Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a stranger, a founding member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. And so begins a remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German occupation, and of a society as extraordinary as its name.

I first came across this book back in June while I was browsing the books at Costco. It was an unusual title but the book blurb and the first page didn’t catch my attention enough to pick it up then. Since then, reviews have come to my attention, from over at GoodReads and even over at Livejournal, at how wonderful the novel was. So a couple of days ago while I was at the bookstore, I saw that the book was on sale and decided to pick it up. I’m so glad I did 🙂

Read More

Review: Winter in Madrid

Posted 4 August, 2009 by Li in Books / 1 Comment

Winter in Madrid
By: C.J. Sansom

The Spanish Civil War is over and Madrid lies ruined, its people starving, while the Germans continue their relentless march through Europe. Britain now stands alone while General Franco considers whether to abandon neutrality and enter the war. Harry Brett, a traumatised veteran of Dunkirk turned reluctant spy for the British Secret Service, has been sent to gain the confidence of old schoolfriend Sandy Forsyth, now a shady Madrid businessman. Harry finds himself involved in a dangerous game and surrounded by memories. Meanwhile Sandys girlfriend, ex-Red Cross nurse Barbara Clare, is engaged in a secret mission of her own to find her former lover Bernie Pipera passionate Communist in the International Brigadeswho vanished on the bloody battlefields of the Jarama. In a vivid and haunting depiction of wartime Spain, Winter in Madrid is an intimate and compelling tale which offers a remarkable sense of history unfolding, and the profound impact of impossible choices.

I came across this book while trying out a new website for book recommendations (What Should I Read Next?); I typed in The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. This book was either the first or second recommendation from the list. I looked it up on Indigo and Amazon; the premise sounded really interesting and since my TBR list was getting smaller and smaller by the day, I decided to pick it up next. I’m glad I did 🙂

Read More

Review: The Angel’s Game

Posted 4 August, 2009 by Li in Books / 0 Comments

The Angel’s Game
By: Carlos Ruiz Zafon

In an abandoned mansion at the heart of Barcelona, a young man, David MartĂ­n, makes his living by writing sensationalist novels under a pseudonym. The survivor of a troubled childhood, he has taken refuge in the world of books and spends his nights spinning baroque tales about the city’s underworld. But perhaps his dark imaginings are not as strange as they seem, for in a locked room deep within the house lie photographs and letters hinting at the mysterious death of the previous owner.

Like a slow poison, the history of the place seeps into his bones as he struggles with an impossible love. Close to despair, David receives a letter from a reclusive French editor, Andreas Corelli, who makes him the offer of a lifetime. He is to write a book unlike anything that has ever existed-a book with the power to change hearts and minds. In return, he will receive a fortune, and perhaps more. But as David begins the work, he realizes that there is a connection between his haunting book and the shadows that surround his home.

When I found out that another of Zafon’s books was coming out, I became really excited as I had enjoyed his previous book, The Shadow of the Wind (which easily became one of my favourite books ever). At first I told myself that I would wait for it to come out on paperback (to match my other book) but after seeing it everywhere, I succumbed and bought the hardcover (for a good price, I might add) *blushes*

Read More

Review: Sepulchre

Posted 3 August, 2009 by Li in Books / 2 Comments

By: Kate Mosse

I’ve been meaning to post up this review for the past few months but for some reason I didn’t get around to it *blushes* But here I am doing it now 🙂

In 1891, young LĂ©onie Vernier and her brother Anatole arrive in the beautiful town of Rennes-les-Bains, in southwest France. They’ve come at the invitation of their widowed aunt, whose mountain estate, Domain de la Cade, is famous in the region. But it soon becomes clear that their aunt Isolde—and the Domain—are not what LĂ©onie had imagined. The villagers claim that Isolde’s late husband died after summoning a demon from the old Visigoth sepulchre high on the mountainside. A book from the Domain’s cavernous library describes the strange tarot pack that mysteriously disappeared following the uncle’s death. But while LĂ©onie delves deeper into the ancient mysteries of the Domain, a different evil stalks her family—one which may explain why LĂ©onie and Anatole were invited to the sinister Domain in the first place.

More than a century later, Meredith Martin, an American graduate student, arrives in France to study the life of Claude Debussy, the nineteenth century French composer. In Rennes-les-Bains, Meredith checks into a grand old hotel—the Domain de la Cade. Something about the hotel feels eerily familiar, and strange dreams and visions begin to haunt Meredith’s waking hours. A chance encounter leads her to a pack of tarot cards painted by LĂ©onie Vernier, which may hold the key to this twenty-first century American’s fate . . . just as they did to the fate of LĂ©onie Vernier more than a century earlier.

Read More