My Review of Queen of Trial and Sorrow by Susan Appleyard #RBRT #FridayReads

Queen of Trial and Sorrow by [Appleyard, Susan]

 

I was given this book by the author as  a member of Rosie Amber’s Review Team #RBRT in exchange for a fair review.

 I gave Queen of Trial and Sorrow  4* out of 5*

 Book Description:

A B.R.A.G. Medallion winner, this is the story of Elizabeth Woodville, the wife of King Edward IV and the mother of the Princes in the Tower. As an impoverished widow, she was wooed and won by the handsome young king and believed her dreams had come true. But she was soon swept up in the War of the Roses, enduring hardship and danger as her husband struggled to keep his throne. When he died Elizabeth was unable to protect her family against the ruthless ambitions of the man he trusted above all others. It was the king’s brothers, the unstable Duke of Clarence and the loyal Duke of Gloucester, who would prove to be Elizabeth’s most dangerous enemies.

My Review:

 I really liked this novel. I like the author’s style of writing; told in first person point of view from Edward IV’s wife, Elizabeth, it is almost as though she is holding a one-way conversation with the reader. Although I found it a compact and exacting read that took a lot of concentration (I am a very slow reader) I enjoyed this interpretation of  Elizabeth Woodville’s life in Queen of Trial and Sorrow.  Every emotion resonates through each chapter and throughout all the years that we are following her; the happiness, the sadness, the fears and apprehensions. The main plot of her time, before, during  and after the Court years is threaded through with subplots of intrigues and politics.

There is no doubt whatsoever that an enormous amount of research has preceded the writing of this book; it’s a fascinating account of the era.

 The characters are multi-layered and some were ever-changing as time went by depending on the intrigues and striving for personal gains.  Both those characters who are portrayed as good and those shown as wickedly self serving are plausible; their actions believable – if at times inconceivably cruel or dangerous.

 The dialogue was written as I imagined was spoken at the time; the syntax and the language rang true to that period for me. And it was easy to follow which character was speaking even without the dialogue tags.

 The descriptions of the settings; the buildings and the places the characters moved around in, the clothes, the ceremonies were all very evocative. The only  problem  I had was that sometimes I felt these descriptions were a little laboured and ‘heavy’. I would have preferred a lighter touch; I thought these sections slowed the story down

However, this is a very small objection and I’m sure anyone who loves to read historical  novels will love Queen of Trial and Sorrow . I have no hesitation at all in recommended this book by Susan Appleyard

Buying links:

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/2qGE6EB

Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/2pGiV77

 

 

 

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT

Rosie's Book Review team 1

The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack

 

26216909

 

4 out  of 5*

I enjoyed this collection of short stories and flash fiction. In The Experimental Notebook C. S. Boyack   presents an intriguing and fascinating mix of fantasy, science fiction and ghost stories. He has a unique and enjoyable writing style, juxtaposing believable characters and straightforward plots for the reader, even when fantastical.

Threaded with understated humour, most of the pieces are of the ‘twist in the tail’ type; surprising yet satisfying and guaranteed to bring out a whole gamut of emotions in the reader. If I had to choose I think my favourite would be the fabled The Soup Ladle of Destiny. But there is something for everyone between the pages of this book.

There is also an unusual part where the author speaks to the reader which I enjoyed and motivated me enough to look for his website. He seems to be a prolific blogger whose posts are as thought provoking as this collection of stories.

So– great cover, well-written stories with rounded characters, great dialogue, a brilliant sense of place in all; to my mind, proper short stories. And, although these are not the genre of stories I would normally read this is one collection I would recommend.

Find a copy here:

Amazon.co.uk

http://www.amazon.com/The-Experimental-Notebook-C-Boyack-ebook/dp/B014S2BA4U

Amazon.com

My Review of Inconceivable! by Tegan Wren for Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team#RBRT

Rosie's Book Review team 1

I was given this book by Tegan Wren and Rosie Amber as part of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team (#RBRT) for a fair review. My thanks to them both.

I gave Inconceivable! 3 out of 5*

Inconceivable! is an easy, ‘quick to read’ novel’ and tells the story of Hattie, an American girl who is working abroad in a fictional European country, Toulene, and falls in love with Prince John of the royal family; a man she meets in a night club, Finn’s, where he is in disguise.

Although this book is classed as romance, as the book continues it covers the darker themes of infidelity and infertility.

My problem was that it is written in a light-hearted style with a lot of the dialogue interspersed with various slang exclamations and casual flippant inner thoughts from the protagonist which didn’t quite match the overall premise of the story.

The plot moves quickly and in detached incidents, so much so that it is difficult to get to know either of the main characters or to learn about their relationship to any depth. And so I had no empathy or real understanding of either.

To the author’s credit there are some wonderful descriptive passages that give a real sense of place and I enjoyed these very much; they gave greater depth to Ms Wren’s writing style.
There are also interesting sub plots of politics and social issues.

On a personal note I need to say that, after I’d written this review I looked for other reviews of Inconceivable! and found some on Goodreads. This book has a lot of 4& 5* reviews and many positive observations so, as a last comment, I suggest that other readers give the novel a chance and read it for themselves.

Copies of Inconceivable! are available at:

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/1VFktEg

Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/1FXiAAQ

My Review of The A-Z of Normal, by Helen Barbour

The A to Z of Normal by Helen Barbour

I give The A-Z of Normal, by Helen Barbour 5*

I loved The A-Z of Normal, by Helen Barbour. Just by looking at the interesting cover I knew this wasn’t going to be a conventional romance when I chose to review this book. And thank you to Rosie and Helen for this great find.

No, this is as much the poignant story of the protagonist, Clare and her struggle with the condition of  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder ( OCD) which she has kept secret from her family and friends all her life. Now, with a marriage proposal from Tom, she has to face up to all the issues that living with him will face. Although the subject of OCD is inherently distressing there is plenty of what I would call ‘dark’ humour that lifts the story and makes compulsive yet challenging reading.

As usual I will not give spoilers in my review. What I will do is urge anyone to give this book a go.

Helen Barbour has a wonderfully unique writing style and interweaves the main plot around sub plots with skill and subtlety. The story moves at a satisfying pace with no lapses

Told mainly from the first point of view of Clare, both the internal and the spoken dialogue is so well written that the words echoed in my head – always a sign to me that the speech resonates with the way  that character would talk.

Each of the characters is rounded and individual in their own way. And the interaction between them is loaded with complexity and tension that could only be expected where there is such a destructive secret. Yet it is satisfying to see how, as we gradually learn about her background, the relationship with both her father and her sister evolves

As I said at the beginning of this review, this is a book I loved. It made me think long and hard about a mental issue I hadn’t considered before and how it can ruin the life of so many people. Yet this story lifted me beyond that into admiring the writing, the words on the page. I would thoroughly recommend this book and hope we will see more from this author.

Fin a copy here:

Amazon.co.uk

http://amzn.to/1JVEy2G

Amazon.com

http://amzn.to/1N98nlP

Rosie's Book Review team 1