Tag: Rating: 5 stars

Review: The Villa Triste

Posted 17 November, 2011 by Lianne in Books / 1 Comment

The Villa Triste
By: Lucretia Grindle

Florence, 1943. Two sisters, Isabella and Caterina Cammaccio, find themselves surrounded by terror and death; and with Italy trapped under the heel of a brutal Nazi occupation, bands of Partisans rise up.

Soon Isabella and Caterina will test their wits and deepest beliefs as never before. As the winter grinds on, they will be forced to make the most important decisions of their lives. Their choices will reverberate for decades.

In the present day, Alessandro Pallioti, a senior policeman agrees to oversee a murder investigation, after it emerges the victim was once a Partisan hero. When the case begins to unravel, Pallioti finds himself working to uncover a crime lost in the twilight of war, the consequences of which are as deadly today as they were over sixty years ago.

This book had been on my radar since I first heard of it from GoodReads many months ago. This is my first foray into reading a novel set in Italy during the Second World War (I’ve often read novels set in England, Germany, Spain and Russia concerning this time period) and to be honest, I don’t know much about the precise conditions and course of events that happened in Italy under Fascism and Nazism so this novel was in some ways an eye-opener. In other ways, it was also a fascinating read about the trials that citizens faced during the war. May contain spoilers!

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Review: Frederica

Posted 12 November, 2011 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

By: Georgette Heyer

When Frederica brings her younger siblings to London determined to secure a brilliant marriage for her beautiful sister, she seeks out their distant cousin the Marquis of Alverstoke. Lovely, competent, and refreshingly straightforward, Frederica makes such a strong impression that to his own amazement, the Marquis agrees to help launch them all into society.

Normally wary of his family, which includes two overbearing sisters and innumerable favor-seekers, Lord Alverstoke does his best to keep his distance. But with his enterprising – and altogether entertaining – country cousins getting into one scrape after another right on his doorstep, before he knows it the Marquis finds himself dangerously embroiled…

Hehe, yup, another Heyer novel! This is the third novel I’ve read by this author and once again she has put together such a wonderfully-crafted novel with intriguing, well-rounded characters and fantastic little moments. Spoilers ahead!

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Review: Venetia

Posted 22 October, 2011 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

By: Georgette Heyer

In all her twenty-five years, lovely Venetia Lanyon has never been further than Harrogate. Then she meets her neighbour, Lord Damerel, and before she knows better, she is egging on a libertine whose way of life has scandalized the county for years.

Since delving into classical works such as Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell, I’ve heard of Georgette Heyer mentioned amongst other recommendations of novels from the Regency period. However, going along with the whole “so many books, so little time” and “my bookshelves are ready to pop!”, I never ventured to check out her books until recently for my Kobo eReader. Let’s just say I just couldn’t put it down! MAJOR spoilers ahead!

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Review: The Night Circus

Posted 12 October, 2011 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Night Circus
By: Erin Morgenstern

The circus arrives at night, without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within nocturnal black and white striped tents awaits a unique experience, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stand awestruck as a tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and gaze in wonderment at an illusionist performing impossible feats of magic.

Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves. Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is underway–a contest between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in “a game,” in which each must use their powers of illusion to best the other. Unbeknownst to them, this game is a duel to the death, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will.

I’ve been curious to read this book since I’ve heard of it. It’s received a lot of buzz on the internet, in bookstores, in reviews—and rightly so. Spoilers ahead!

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Review: Juliet

Posted 10 October, 2011 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

By: Anne Fortier

Twenty-five-year-old Julie Jacobs is heartbroken over the death of her beloved Aunt Rose. But the shock goes even deeper when she learns that the woman who has been like a mother to her has left her entire estate to Julie’s twin sister. The only thing Julie receives is a key—one carried by her mother on the day she herself died—to a safety-deposit box in Siena, Italy.

This key sends Julie on a journey that will change her life forever—a journey into the troubled past of her ancestor Giulietta Tolomei. In 1340, still reeling from the slaughter of her parents, Giulietta was smuggled into Siena, where she met a young man named Romeo. Their ill-fated love turned medieval Siena upside-down and went on to inspire generations of poets and artists, the story reaching its pinnacle in Shakespeare’s famous tragedy.

But six centuries have a way of catching up to the present, and Julie gradually begins to discover that here, in this ancient city, the past and present are hard to tell apart. The deeper she delves into the history of Romeo and Giulietta, and the closer she gets to the treasure they allegedly left behind, the greater the danger surrounding her—superstitions, ancient hostilities, and personal vendettas. As Julie crosses paths with the descendants of the families involved in the unforgettable blood feud, she begins to fear that the notorious curse—“A plague on both your houses!”—is still at work, and that she is destined to be its next target. Only someone like Romeo, it seems, could save her from this dreaded fate, but his story ended long ago. Or did it?

This book has been on my radar since maybe last year when it first came out in hardback. I’m the type that waits for the book in paperback (given my lack of shelf space these days, and my student background) so I only got the book some time ago. I decided to bring it with me last week when I went on vacation to Italy seeing as the location was fitting (even though I didn’t go to Siena; would be nice to go there again when it’s sunny and not the middle of the Italian winter) and it fit nicely in my luggage. The verdict? Let’s just say I wanted to stay in my hotel and finish the book rather than go out and explore the Italian countryside! lol Spoilers ahead!

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