Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Days of Gold by Jude Deveraux
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the story of how Edilean, Virginia, the town around which Jude Deveraux' Edilean series is centered, came to be. It starts out in Scotland where Angus McTern lives with his clan on land that used to belong to the McTerns until Angus' grandfather lost it gambling. Of course, the new owner is a good-for-nothing Englishman. His niece comes "visiting" and her uncle plans to give her to one of his cronies on her 18th birthday when she inherits trunks full of gold from her father. In turn, the crony will give the gold back to her uncle. Well, the girl - Edilean (sound familiar) - plans to escape with the gold to a man she thinks she is in love with, but it all goes wrong. Angus ends up rescuing her and traveling with her to America. I don't want to give everything away, but Edilean turns out to be a very feminist-type woman and fends for herself quite well after Angus leaves because he is being pursued by her uncle and the man she was supposed to marry. The story takes us to the frontier, to Connecticut to buy a fruit farm, and eventually to Williamsburg. I really enjoy reading Jude Deveraux' novels. They are exciting, amusing and the characters are true. I especially like her time travel novels, but this one was quite good as well.

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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Les MisérablesLes Misérables by Victor Hugo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am done! Done with this wonderful book! When I began this journey, I wanted to find out more about the backstory of the characters in the musical and film version. I discovered so much more. Victor Hugo is officially my favorite author, well, at the moment anyway. Yes, some would say he goes on and on about things. He offers his opinions in various essays within the novel, but they are worded so well, you just can't simply skip over them. The first section of the book is about the Bishop and I believe every young man studying to be a priest should read it. The philosophy put forth is so...so good. Love God, love your neighbor, see God in every person. It totally transformed Jean ValJean and it stayed with him his whole life. And Fantine...she suffered so much from circumstances that she couldn't control. I loved her character in the musical and the film, but it seemed such a small part. Reading the book made my heart go out to her even more. The story of Marius and Cosette is so precious as well as the relationship between ValJean and Cosette. The man died of a broken heart, but in the end it was a happy death because Cosette was there. I know these are the romantic things in the book, but those are the things I love the best. Hugo did an excellent job describing places and events, redescribing them, and analyzing those places and events as well as the tangents he went on. I, personally, could feel the times that he described, the happiness and sadness of the characters, Javert's frustration, Eponine's hopeless love, Thenardier's downright selfishness. By the way, how could Mother Thenardier just throw away her children? What a terrible woman. Anyway, if you have the time and the love of "Les Miserables" on the stage or on film, it would do you well to read this book. You will love every form of the story even more. I actually listened to the audiobook translated by Julie Rose and narrated by George Guidall. It was excellent.

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Monday, July 15, 2013

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The characters in this book were very entertaining, vivid and distinct. It was a true fairy tale. Gertrude, the American feminist, meets Blake, the English Duke. The two argue and love with passion. Gertrude finds her softer side and Blake discovers love is everything. He realizes he needs to connect with his children and let go some of the English traditions he has been raised to uphold. Yes, there was sex involved - not too explicit for which I am grateful. It was such a wonderful and exciting adventure that I was glad that it was over 500 pages on my iPhone. The wrap-up was so romantic, yet comical and new at the same time. Loved the characters - all of them - Holly Bush developed them so well I felt I was right there with them. And she kept things moving. There wasn't a page I would have skimmed. Good show, Ms. Bush!

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Queen's Dollmaker by Christine Trent           The Queen's Dollmaker
by Christine Trent
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Queen's Dollmaker is classic historical fiction in my opinion. It includes lots of information about the French King Louis XVI and his Queen, Marie Antoinette and their lives during the French Revolution. It is also filled with the adventures of a fictional character, Claudette Laurent, who survives a fire in Paris but is left orphaned and sails to England to seek a new life. Christine Trent does a great job developing her characters and making you believe they could actually have lived and done the things they did. Of course, Claudette interacting with the Queen of France is a bit unbelievable, but her adventures are so exciting, you want to believe it. I love that she established her own business and cared for and taught her two friends to be independent as well without giving up love. This book is definitely worth reading especially if you are a fan of historical fiction!