Napoleon’s Last Island
By: Thomas Keneally
Format/Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster CA
From the bestselling author of Schindler’s List and The Daughters of Mars, a new historical novel set on the remote island of Saint Helena about the remarkable friendship between a young woman and one of history’s most intriguing figures, Napoleon Bonaparte, during the final years of his life in exile.
In October 1815, after losing the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon Bonaparte was banished to the island of Saint Helena. There, in one of the most remote places on earth, he lived out the final six years of his life. On this lonely island with no chance of escape, he found an unexpected ally: a spirited British girl named Betsy Balcombe who lived on the island with her family. While Napoleon waited for his own accommodations to be built, the Balcombe family played host to the infamous exile, a decision that would have devastating consequences for them all.
In Napoleon’s Last Island, “master of character development and period detail” (Kirkus Reviews) Thomas Keneally recreates Betsy’s powerful and complex friendship with the man dubbed The Great Ogre, her enmities and alliances with his remaining courtiers, and her dramatic coming-of-age. Bringing a shadowy period of history to life with a brilliant attention to detail, Keneally tells the untold story of one of Europe’s most enigmatic, charismatic, and important figures, and the ordinary British family who dared to forge a connection with him.
I actually didn’t know about this book until I received an ARC of this novel from the publishers. I don’t think I’ve read any fiction titles capturing the last years of Napoleon Bonaparte’s life, exiled and away from France. I haven’t read Thomas Keneally’s Schndler’s Ark but nonetheless I was intrigued that he wrote this. This book will be available on 04 October 2017.
All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue (The Debutante Files #2)
By: Sophie Jordan
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
There was once a lady who loathed a lord…
Lady Aurelia hasn’t always hated Max, Viscount Camden, her brother’s best friend. In fact, as a besotted girl, she thrived under his kind attention – sure that he was the most noble and handsome man in the land. Until her young heart discovered what manner of rogue he really was. Now, though she enjoys nothing more than getting on his last nerve, she can’t deny Max drives her to distraction—even if she tries to pretend otherwise.
…and a lord who was confounded by a lady.
Max cannot recall a time when Aurelia did not vex him. If she was not his friend’s sister, he would stay far away from the infuriating vixen. Unfortunately, they are always thrown together. At parties and family gatherings…she is always there. Infuriating him, tossing punch in his face, driving him mad…until one night, she goes too far and he retaliates in the only way he can: with a kiss that changes everything.
One of those books I picked up on a whim (Boxing Day sale, haha; yes, this book review kept getting pushed back this year xD); it’s a tried and tested premise, but it sounded like fun.
Not bad, it’s been about two months since my last batch of mini-book reviews, lol 😛 As always, this batch features books I’ve read that, while I had a few thoughts on it, they didn’t warrant review posts of their own. Included in this batch of reviews are mostly classics and one fantasy novella 😉
The Canterbury Tales
By: Geoffrey Chaucer
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase
Lively, absorbing, often outrageously funny, Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales is a work of genius, an undisputed classic that has held a special appeal for each generation of readers. The Tales gathers twenty-nine of literature’s most enduring (and endearing) characters in a vivid group portrait that captures the full spectrum of medieval society, from the exalted Knight to the humble Plowman.
Gah, I finally got around to reading this! It’s been on my wishlist for quite a long time and I actually started listening to bits of it last year via LibriVox when I was sick but I got impatient in the end and picked up a copy of the book. Well, I appreciate how expansive this classic is, featuring people from all walks of life in Medieval England and taking part in this tale. The stories range from chivalrous and thematic to bawdy and hilarious and some where more interesting that others but yeah, it’s one of those classics you can’t just pick up on a whim. In restrospect, I think perhaps I should’ve have chosen this book as my travelling read whenever I was outside (not to mention it made for a hefty carry in my purse) but some of them were so long that they just didn’t hold my interest like others. So yeah, it was an okay reading experience for me overall but I’m glad I took a crack at it 😛
The Sentinel Mage (The Cursed Kingdoms #1)
By: Emily Gee
Format/Source: eBook courtesy of the publishers
Her magic may be the only thing that can save a prince—and the Seven Kingdoms.
In a distant corner of the Seven Kingdoms, an ancient curse festers and grows, consuming everything in its path. Only one man can break it: Harkeld of Osgaard, a prince with mage’s blood in his veins. But Prince Harkeld has a bounty on his head—and assassins at his heels.
Innis is a gifted shapeshifter. Now she must do the forbidden: become a man. She must stand at Prince Harkeld’s side as his armsman, protecting and deceiving him.
But the deserts of Masse are more dangerous than the assassins hunting the prince. The curse has woken deadly creatures, and the magic Prince Harkeld loathes may be the only thing standing between him and death.
I remember seeing this book time and again whenever I was browsing the shelves in the bookstore but never thought to pick it up. I received a free eBook copy of this book when I signed up for Rebellion Publishing’s mailing list. I was in the mood for a fantasy novel and decided to pick this up as it was one of the shorter titles on my TBR pile.
By: William Shakespeare
Conspiracies and intrigue are rife in the court of Henry VIII as a Duke is executed for treason, having been tricked by the Cardinal. And when the King falls in love with Anne Bullen and decides to divorce his wife, he causes an irrevocable rift with the Catholic Church. After the King’s secret marriage to Anne, courtiers fall in and out of favour and deaths abound, with far-reaching consequences.
Sad but funny story: in counting how many plays remain that I have yet to read, I totally forgot about this play. I guess it goes to show how often it’s remembered in the entire body of work, which is pretty sad :3 I’m honestly surprised that he decided to write a play on Henry VIII given how recent his reign was, but given everything that happened during his time, it seemed pretty ripe to stage a drama (I mean, why else do we have all these adaptations and historical fiction titles focusing in and around Henry’s reign?) 😉