The Crown (Joanna Stafford #1)
Written by Nancy Bilyeau
Published on January 10, 2012 by Touchstone
Purchased from Amazon
Joanna Stafford, a Dominican nun, learns that her favorite cousin has been condemned by Henry VIII to be burned at the stake. Defying the rule of enclosure, Joanna leaves the priory to stand at her cousin’s side. Arrested for interfering with the king’s justice, Joanna, along with her father, is sent to the Tower of London.
While Joanna is in the Tower, the ruthless Bishop of Winchester forces her to spy for him: to save her father’s life she must find an ancient relic—a crown so powerful, it may possess the ability to end the Reformation.
With Cromwell’s troops threatening to shutter her priory, bright and bold Joanna must decide who she can trust so that she may save herself, her family, and her sacred way of life. This provocative story set in Tudor England melds heart-stopping suspense with historical detail and brings to life the poignant dramas of women and men at a fascinating and critical moment in England’s past.
The Crown is a wonderful depiction of Tudor England. Henry VIII has broken away from Rome in order to produce an heir. By doing, he has selfishly destroyed so many lives that depended on the Catholic church for survival. Joanna Stafford is one such person. She only wanted to live a peaceful life as a bride of Christ. But that life was cruelly taken from her. Nancy Bilyeau has a written a tale that takes the reader through Joanna’s turbulent life. It is a tale that depicts a woman’s life that has so few choices and very little power.
Joanna is a remarkable heroine for this story. She is highly educated which was very rare for that time. She is intelligent, strong-willed and a true believer of the Faith. Her Faith is what carries her through each brutal event in her life. Ms. Bilyeau brings her to life with such intensity and richness. Joanna is not weak and she will fight for beliefs and the people she loves.
Ms. Bilyeau has also vividly brought to life the bloody times of Tudor England. By destroying the Catholic Church in England, he basically started a civil war. Conspiracies ran everywhere. Henry VIII executed thousands to protect his new church reign. His paranoia and selfishness runs rampant. I find it so amazing how ugly and brutal religious war can be. So much torture, blood and betrayal in the name of God. It’s too bad we can’t learn from the past. There are never any winners in a religious war. Furthermore, the political intrigue is dizzying. Cardinal Gardner plays both sides to increase his power. Joanna is caught in his vicious web.
The Crown is a piece of historical fiction that needs to be savored. This is a wonderful being to a series that will be full of intrigue and suspense. I look forward to see how Joanna Stafford is able to find her place in this new world of hers.
Please join Brandy Purdy and HF Virtual Book Tours for The Ripper’s Wife Blog Tour from October 27-November 14.
A suspenseful, spellbinding novel of love, jealousy, and murder, The Ripper’s Wife re-imagines the most notorious serial killer in history through the eyes of the woman who sealed his fate.
“Love makes sane men mad and can turn a gentle man into a fiend.”
It begins as a fairytale romance–a shipboard meeting in 1880 between vivacious Southern belle Florence Chandler and handsome English cotton broker James Maybrick. Courtship and a lavish wedding soon follow, and the couple settles into an affluent Liverpool suburb.
From the first, their marriage is doomed by lies. Florie, hardly the heiress her scheming mother portrayed, is treated as an outsider by fashionable English society. James’s secrets are infinitely darker–he has a mistress, an arsenic addiction, and a vicious temper. But Florie has no inkling of her husband’s depravity until she discovers his diary–and in it, a litany of bloody deeds…
The Ripper’s Wife is a compelling look into how a repressive society can completely turn people into fiends and psychopaths. On it’s face, Victorian society is all manners and civility. However, behind closed doors you have addiction, affairs, violence and abuse. It is hypocrisy at its best.
I found all the characters in this book to be completely insane; but at different levels. Florie lives in her own little girl world; she wants to grow up but no one will let her. In my opinion she really doesn’t want to face reality. However, she is forced to when she has to face what her husband has become. At times, I found it hard to reconcile the young Florie with the woman who narrated the story. They seem to be two completely different people. But leading a life full of death and regret can do that.
James Maybrick makes for a very believable Jack the Ripper. Furthermore, his entire family are completely depraved and insane. Edwin is such plain creepy without any moral sensibility. James complete break from reality is pure hypocrisy. He can philander all he wants but God forbid that his wife does the same. However, he must maintain the illusion of his sweet and innocent wife. In the end, he created a woman that could take his own fate into her hands.
The Ripper’s Wife is a riveting tale of the dark side of Victorian life. It is dark, depraved and completely insane. Getting a glimpse into Jack the Ripper’s mind is not a pretty experience; but it makes for a wonderful story.
Praise for the Novels of Brandy Purdy
“Recommended for readers who can’t get enough of the Tudors and have devoured all of Philippa Gregory’s books.” —Library Journal on The Boleyn Wife
“Purdy wonderfully reimagines the behind-the-scenes lives of the two sisters.” —Historical Novel Reviews on The Tudor Throne
“I love Brandy Purdy’s books, she does thorough research into the lives of the people in the Tudor era and it shows in her writing style. Very descriptive, engaging characters makes The Queen’s Rivals a page turning novel. If you are a fan of the Tudor era like I am, then this book is a must.” -CelticLady’s Reviews on The Queen’s Rivals
“The writing is inviting, intense and flawless, rich with the flavor of English country life as well as court life. The political machinations, the tragedy to befall the Dudley family and the mystery surrounding Amy’s death were weaved to captivating detail and the end result is a mesmerizing work of historical fiction that puts Brandy Purdy on my “must read” list.” -Psychotic State Book Reviews on The Queen’s Pleasures
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About the Author
Brandy Purdy is the author of several historical novels. When she’s not writing, she’s either reading or watching classic movies. She currently lives in Beaumont, TX. Visit her website at http://www.brandypurdy.com for more information about her books. You can also follow her via her blog at http://brandypurdy.blogspot.com/ where she posts updates about her work and reviews of what she has been reading.
The Ripper’s Wife Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, October 27
Review at A Bookish Affair
Tuesday, October 28
Review & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Obsession
Interview & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, October 29
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook
Review at The Maiden’s Court
Thursday, October 30
Review at Book of Secrets
Friday, October 31
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Feature at Passages to the Past
Monday, November 3
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Interview & Giveaway at Mina’s Bookshelf
Tuesday, November 4
Interview at A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, November 5
Review at JulzReads
Thursday, November 6
Review at History & Women
Friday, November 7
Review at A Book Geek
Monday, November 10
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Tuesday, November 11
Review & Giveaway at Historical Tapestry
Wednesday, November 12
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Thursday, November 13
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Friday, November 14
Review at Girl Lost in a Book
Please join Andrea Zuvich as she tours with HF Virtual Book Tours for The Stuart Vampire, from October 13-24.
Publication Date: October 31, 2013
Genre: Historical Fiction/Horror/Paranormal
Henry Stuart, Duke of Gloucester, the youngest brother of King Charles II is a handsome man with sound principles. When the twenty-year-old prince contracts smallpox in 1660, however, his life takes a decidedly sinister turn. Obsessed with Henry from afar, Contessa Griselda di Cuorenero – one of the Devil’s concubines – turns him into a vampire and plunges him into the world of night. But Henry soon discovers that not all horrors are of the paranormal kind…
In the unnaturally close village of Coffin’s Bishop, Henry encounters a severely abused young woman – a woman who has suffered under humans who are more monstrous than vampires. Could love save them from the evil they have known? And at what cost?
Henry must choose between his humanity and his monstrous, insatiable desire for human blood.
From the author of “His Last Mistress,” The Stuart Vampire is a dark gothic tale in the vein of The Monk.
My Review of the Stuart Vampire:
The Stuart Vampire is a nice blending of historical fiction and supernatural fiction. It is, also, a really good start to new series of books that I really look forward to reading. It is dark and full of vampire lore. However, the author, Andrea Zuvich, has put a unique twist to the traditional vampire story.
In Ms. Zuvich’s vampire world, vampires are initially begotten by the Devil himself. But the Heavens don’t give up and reclaim many who have been unjustly begotten. I really enjoyed the conflict between the two sides. It is a true good versus evil story. This sets up a really interesting battle that will evolve in future books.
Henry and Susanna are a wonderful hero and heroine. They represent all that is good; but human flaws as well. Henry was turned against his will and must try to overcome what he has become. Susanna reminds him is humanity and what he must do to reclaim his soul. Susanna is an incredibly strong character who has faced and survived some serious horrific acts. But her love for Henry keeps her alive and strong.
The true villain of this story is Griselda. She is a nasty piece of work. She is psychotic and perfect for this book. She’s obsessive and truly insane. She will do anything to keep Henry to herself.
If you like supernatural fiction, then this book is a must read. It is dark, brooding and romantic. It will keep you engaged until the very last page; which I might add is quite the cliffhanger. I can’t wait to get the second installment. Thank you Ms. Zuvich for giving us a new vampire series that we can really sink our teeth into.
Praise for The Stuart Vampire
“An intriguing historical with a darkly gothic twist, I enjoyed The Stuart Vampire and would recommend it to anyone with a taste for period horror.” – Erin Davies, Flashlight Commentary
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Andrea (aka The Seventeenth Century Lady) is a 17th-century historian, historical consultant, and historical fiction authoress. His Last Mistress – a biographical fiction novella about the Duke of Monmouth and Lady Henrietta Wentworth was published by Endeavour Press, London in 2013. She received double BA degrees in History and Anthropology from the University of Central Florida, and continued her History studies with the University of Oxford and Princeton University. Zuvich has been filmed for NTR television in The Netherlands, talking about William III, and was recently on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour discussing Queen Anne. She was one of the original developers and leaders on The Garden History Tours at Kensington Palace, London. Zuvich lives in Windsor, England.
The Stuart Vampire Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, October 13
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, October 14
The Stuart Vampire Launch Party @ 12:00pm-2:00pm EST
Wednesday, October 15
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Thursday, October 16
Review & Guest Post at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Friday, October 17
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection
Monday, October 20
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry
Tuesday, October 21
Review at The True Book Addict
Wednesday, October 22
Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Friday, October 24
Spotlight & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
The Vintner’s Daughter
Written by Kristen Harnisch
Published on August 5, 2014 by She Writes Press
Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Loire Valley, 1895. When Sara Thibault’s father is killed in a mudslide, her mother sells their vineyard to a rival family, whose eldest son marries Sara’s sister, Lydia. But a violent tragedy compels the sisters to flee to America, forcing Sara to put aside her dream to follow in her father’s footsteps as a master winemaker.
Meanwhile, Philippe Lemieux has arrived in California with the ambition of owning the largest vineyard in Napa. When he learns of his brother’s death in France, he resolves to bring the killer to justice. Sara has travelled to California in hopes of making her own way in the winemaking world. When she encounters Philippe, they are instantly drawn to one another. But Sara knows he is the one man who could either return her family’s vineyard to her – or send her to the guillotine.
Kristen Harnisch has written a remarkable novel that takes us deep into the wonderful world of winemaking. She has empowered her main character, Sara, to chase her dream and nothing will stop her. Sara is a character that the reader can connect with and admire.
At the center of The Vintner’s Daughter is the making of wine. I have always found this world to be so fascinating. Ms. Harnisch has done a wonderful job of capturing it and making it come alive. Wine represents such passion and romance which matches the passion and romance of Sara and Philippe. Their relationship is not just their attraction for each other; it is their quest to create and sell the perfect bottle of wine.
Philippe makes for a wonderful hero in this story. He is driven but compassionate. He is loyal to his family but he is also able to see their faults. Basically, he is a very good man. He is the exact opposite from his older brother and father. They are driven, but unlike Philippe, they are cruel and will stop at nothing to get what they want. It doesn’t make who they hurt or destroy. Their cruelty makes Philippe’s character stand out more for his kindness.
Sara is a strong young woman with a dream that really should be possible for a woman during the late 19th century. She is incredibly brave to face her fears and take responsibility for her family. Ms. Harnisch has written a wonderful female character in Sara Thibault. She doesn’t expect to be saved by a knight in shining armor. She expects to work hard for her dreams. She is very hard on herself and takes too much blame at times; but I found her to be very engaging and resilient character.
The Vintner’s Daughter is a wonderful first novel from Kristen Harnisch. You will definitely lose yourself in the tantalizing world of winemaking. It’s a world full of passion, love and need. It’s a remarkable read.
Written by Monty Nero and Mike Dowling
Published on July 22, 2014 by Titan Comics
Purchased from Amazon
SEX, SUPERPOWERS AND SIX MONTHS TO LIVE!
Verity: Frustrated artist
Weasel: Struggling guitarist
Monty: Rogue media icon
Three people infected with the G+ virus, which grants them incredible powers – but which will kill them in six months.
Death Sentence is a crazy intense ride that you will not likely to forget. This book is not for the faint-of-heart in that it takes sex, drugs and rock n roll to new levels of depravity. If you liked The Watchman, then this graphic novel will be right up your alley. It’s dark and there is no defined hero; let along a superhero.
This book is a great example of when society loses any grasp of what’s right and wrong; when moral depravity as taken control and won’t let go. Also, it shows how easily society can be enslaved to one man’s debauched agenda. People can be so easily persuaded to satisfy their own base desires without a care to the consequences. All it needs is a single match to light everything on fire. Monty is that match. He is able to turn the world into his playground. It is really disgusting and titillating at the same time.
The images in Death Sentence are incredibly graphic (pardon the pun). At times, those images really make you feel uncomfortable and that’s the point. They are there to grab your attention and make a point. Sex, blood, guts and gore are seen throughout the story. I have still some of the cells tattooed in my brain. Some of those images you will be able to forget.
Verity and Weasel are interesting characters and fulfill the role of the antiheros. They have very few redeeming qualities. Both are broken and sad and they have to decide how to live their lives now that they have been infected with G+. Will they rise to the occasion and fulfill their full potential or will they crater and die alone and dejected? What choices will they make? It’s hard to say whether they made the right ones.
Death Sentence is a dark commentary on what our society could quickly become. Everyone has a choice and that choice could and will affect society. I’m very interested how this series will develop and where it will lead the reader. I will definitely be looked the second installment when it’ released.
- Bitter Greens
- Written by Kate Forsyth
- Published on September 23, 2014 by Thomas Dunne Books
- 496 pages
- Historical/Fantasy/Fairy-Tale Retellings
- Received from HFVBT in exchange for an honest review
The amazing power and truth of the Rapunzel fairy tale comes alive for the first time in the breathtaking tale of desire, black magic and the redemptive power of love.
French novelist Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been banished from the court of Versailles by the Sun King, Louis XIV, after a series of scandalous affairs. At the convent, she is comforted by an old nun, Soeur Seraphina, who tells her the tale of a young girl who, a hundred years earlier, is sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens…
After Margherita’s father steals parsley from the walled garden of the courtesan Selena Lionelli, he is threatened with having both hands cut off, unless he and his wife relinquish their precious little girl. Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Tiziano, first painted by him in 1512 and still inspiring him at the time of his death. She is at the center of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition.
Locked away in a tower, Margherita sings in the hope that someone will hear her. One day, a young many does.
Award-winning author Kate Forsyth braids together the stories of Margherita, Selena and Charlotte-Rose, the woman who penned Rapunzel as we now know it, to create what is a sumptuous historical novel, an enchanting fairy-tale retelling, and a loving tribute to the imagination of one remarkable woman.
Bitter Greens is a wonderful retelling of a classic fairy tale where three strong women must find their way in a very dark world. They must survive with their minds, bodies and souls somewhat intact. Each makes their own decisions to overcome their own individual circumstances and survive.
In my opinion, Kate Forsyth has a written a very insightful book about the treatment and limitations of being a woman during the Renaissance. It may seem a romantic time for some; but for the women who lived it, there will few options. A woman could either be “a nun, a wife or a whore.” The witch Sibilia made that very clear to Selena. Each created its own kind of prison with very little chance of escape. By using Selena, Margherita, and Charlotte-Rose, Ms. Forsyth really brought to life how awful the world was to a woman.
I found that this book so easy and fast to read. I was totally caught at the first page. The characters really popped and I could really immerse myself in the lives of these three women. As I read, I ran through a gamut of emotions: anger, sympathy, empathy, disgust, fear. I could not put it down. Plus, Ms. Forsyth really knows how to capture the period. You could see France and Italy in your mind. It was truly amazing.
As you can tell, I really loved this book and I really hope that you will as well.
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Kate Forsyth wrote her first novel at the age of seven, and is now the internationally bestselling & award-winning author of thirty books, ranging from picture books to poetry to novels for both adults and children. She was recently voted one of Australia’s Favourite 20 Novelists, and has been called ‘one of the finest writers of this generation. She is also an accredited master storyteller with the Australian Guild of Storytellers, and has told stories to both children and adults all over the world.
Her most recent book for adults is a historical novel called ‘The Wild Girl’, which tells the true, untold love story of Wilhelm Grimm and Dortchen Wild, the young woman who told him many of the world’s most famous fairy tales. Set during the Napoleonic Wars, ‘The Wild Girl’ is a story of love, war, heartbreak, and the redemptive power of storytelling, and was named the Most Memorable Love Story of 2013.
She is probably most famous for ‘Bitter Greens’, a retelling of the Rapunzel fairy tale interwoven with the dramatic life story of the woman who first told the tale, the 17th century French writer, Charlotte-Rose de la Force. ‘Bitter Greens’ has been called ‘the best fairy tale retelling since Angela Carter’, and has been nominated for a Norma K. Hemming Award, the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Fiction, and a Ditmar Award.
Her most recent book for children is ‘Grumpy Grandpa’, a charming picture book that shows people are not always what they seem.
Since ‘The Witches of Eileanan’ was named a Best First Novel of 1998 by Locus Magazine, Kate has won or been nominated for numerous awards, including a CYBIL Award in the US. She’s also the only author to win five Aurealis awards in a single year, for her Chain of Charms series – beginning with ‘The Gypsy Crown’ – which tells of the adventures of two Romany children in the time of the English Civil War. Book 5 of the series, ‘The Lightning Bolt’, was also a CBCA Notable Book.
Kate’s books have been published in 14 countries around the world, including the UK, the US, Russia, Germany, Japan, Turkey, Spain, Italy, Poland and Slovenia. She is currently undertaking a doctorate in fairytale retellings at the University of Technology, having already completed a BA in Literature and a MA in Creative Writing.
Kate is a direct descendant of Charlotte Waring, the author of the first book for children ever published in Australia, ‘A Mother’s Offering to her Children’. She lives by the sea in Sydney, Australia, with her husband, three children, and many thousands of books.
Bitter Greens Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, September 15
Guest Post & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Sunday, October 5
Review at Carole’s Ramblings
Thursday, October 9
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Monday, October 20
Interview & Giveaway at The Reading Frenzy
Written by Anne Girard
Published on August 26, 2014 by Harlequin MIRA
Received this book from HFVBT in exchange for an honest review
When Eva Gouel moves to Paris from the countryside, she is full of ambition and dreams of stardom. Though young and inexperienced, she manages to find work as a costumer at the famous Moulin Rouge, and it is here that she first catches the attention of Pablo Picasso, a rising star in the art world.
A brilliant but eccentric artist, Picasso sets his sights on Eva, and Eva can’t help but be drawn into his web. But what starts as a torrid affair soon evolves into what will become the first great love of Picasso’s life.
With sparkling insight and passion, Madame Picasso introduces us to a dazzling heroine, taking us from the salon of Gertrude Stein to the glamorous Moulin Rouge and inside the studio and heart of one of the most enigmatic and iconic artists of the twentieth century.
Madame Picasso is a wonderful novel that takes us to a time where Pablo Picasso is taking Paris by storm. Anne Girard did an amazing job capturing Picasso’s self-absorbed and manic personality. Further, Eva was a remarkable woman who I felt whose wings were clipped by a frenzied artist. The entire book is from her perspective and you are able to get some insight in the life of Picasso.
Eva is portrayed as a very brave young woman who ran away from a single country life and sought independence in The City of Lights. She finds her way as a thriving costumer and seamstress. She makes new friends and is living her life as she sees fit…until she meets Picasso. In the beginning, she tries to refuse his attentions but eventually gets caught in his passionate web. I felt that her character was so strong and you really wanted her to succeed on her own. However, she fell passionately in love with Picasso and she would do anything to make him happy.
Anne Girard portrayed Picasso in a very honest light. He was self-absorbed, incredibly superstitious, and guilt-ridden over his past. Plus, he is the sun that everyone should revolve around; especially his women. Picasso has never been one of my favorite artists; however, Ms. Girard really captured his passion for art and women. I appreciated that she included some of his history that explained who he was. There was so much pain and guilt in his past that he was almost virtually impossible for him to have a healthy relationship with anyone, let alone a woman. I believe he truly loved Eva. I found it very interesting that he never painted her. His only reference to her is “Ma Jolie” that he put in several paintings. Was he trying to keep her to himself? Or was he protecting her from his crazy world?
Ms. Girard gave us a wonderful glimpse into the life of a complicated man who desperately wanted someone to share his life. He wanted a partner and Eva wanted to be that partner. But in the end, life got in the way and Picasso loses his first love.
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Anne Girard was born with writing in her blood. The daughter of a hard-driving Chicago newsman, she has always had the same passion for storytelling that fueled his lifelong career. She hand-wrote her first novel (admittedly, not a very good one) at the age of fourteen, and never stopped imagining characters and their stories. Writing only ever took a backseat to her love of reading.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in English literature from UCLA and a Master’s degree in psychology from Pepperdine University, a chance meeting with the acclaimed author, Irving Stone, sharply focused her ambition onto telling great stories from history with detailed research. “Live where your characters lived, see the things they saw,” he said, “only then can you truly bring them to life for your readers.” Anne took that advice to heart. After Stone’s encouragement twenty years ago, she sold her first novel. When she is not traveling the world researching her stories, Anne and her family make their home in Southern California. When she is not traveling or writing, she is reading fiction.
Madame Picasso Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, August 25
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Thursday, September 4
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court
Friday, September 5
Review at To Read or Not to Read
Tuesday, September 9
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, September 10
Review at Books in the Burbs
Thursday, September 11
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Tuesday, September 16
Review at She is Too Fond of Books
Wednesday, September 17
Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, September 18
Review at One Book of a Time
Friday, September 19
Spotlight & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Monday, September 22
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Tuesday, September 23
Review at The Librarian Fatale
Thursday, September 25
Review at Kincavel Korner
Friday, September 26
Interview at Kincavel Korner
The Invention of Wings
Written by Sue Monk Kidd
Published on January 7, 2014 by Penguin Group
Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.
Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.
As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.
Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.
Sue Monk Kidd has written a very powerful story of the Antebellum South where slavery is at its height and the abolition movement is in its infancy. The story revolves around two very different women; one a slave and the other a daughter of a prominent southern man. Both women live in bondage; but, of course, in different degrees. It is very hard to compare the two women as they make their own mark in the world.
Ms. Kidd’s depiction of slavery is incredibly honest and forthright. She doesn’t hide the abuse and violence that slaves faced on a daily basis. I really appreciated Handful’s perspective as a strong young woman who wants to be free. She doesn’t want to bow down to her owners and her loyalty to her family is incredibly strong. Her family is the only thing that keeps her going and she will do anything to protect them. Her relationship with Sarah is complicated. They can’t be friends but they feel a kind of kinship. They understand each other.
Sarah Grimke is a woman trapped in a time where she is expected to marry and have children. She is property that should be controlled by her father and then her husband. Throughout the story, she is conflicted about her role in life. She wants to be independent and have her own career. However, she feels the pull of the expectations of a southern woman. She must decide whether she is strong enough to break free from her own prison. Sarah’s intensely strong beliefs give her courage to make some very difficult decisions. She becomes a strong advocate for women’s rights and abolition.
The Invention of Wings is an incredible story that will leave you amazed at the strength of two amazing women. You want them to achieve their goals and be free. You, also, want others to be punished for their atrocious behavior. Either way, you will feel as you read this powerful book.
The Lhasa Trilogy
Written by Gary D. Conrad
Published on February 12, 2012 by Rainbow Books
On a frigid night at Tibet’s Drepung Monastery, Lama Tenzin Tashi is awakened by a fervent knocking on his door. Quickly he realizes these raps are dreaded harbinger, one which will launch him on a quest to satisfy a vow, a blasphemous promise he wishes he had never made. But at this point, the lama has no other choice. The journey must be undertaken, no matter the cost.
Thus begins an odyssey that spans not only his life, but also the life of a man born near a small town of Davidson, Oklahoma. Who could comprehend how inexplicably intertwined their pathways would become as they pushed aside the veil that concealed the hidden secrets of death?
The Lhasa Trilogy is an intriguing tale of incarnation, karma and redemption; while at its heart is universal spirituality. Even though this book is a work of fiction, I found it incredibly thought-provoking and enlightening. I have always been intrigued by Buddhism and this book gives a nice glimpse into that way of life.
The story is broken up into three interlinked books. First, Matthew Walker Johnston has been dealt an absolutely horrid life. He faces so many tragedies and is not able to overcome them. His inability to overcome the sorrow in his life leads him to make horrid life-decisions that damage his soul and/or karma. His journey for redemption is at the center of this story. Matthew is very self-aware of how badly he led his life. However, he set in motion a way for him and his incarnation to redeem them.
Lama Tenzin Tashi is a wonderful character who also has flaws that must be overcome in order to reach total enlightenment. Throughout his journey to search for Matthew’s next incarnation, he questions his motives. However, it is this journey that helps him to release his imperfections and find nirvana. I enjoyed his flashback of his early life. His reflections gave the reader a real glimpse into the Chinese treatment of Tibet. It was and is a horrible time for Tibet. Through Tenzin’s eyes, you are able to feel all of the atrocities that Tibetans face on a daily basis.
The last piece to this puzzle is Wade Joshua Adams. It is his responsibility to accept what is before him and take his life to another level. Wade is everything Matthew should have been. Together they have a chance for redemption and to make the world a much better place. Wade, Todd, and Sonali, also, give the reader knowledge that the people you love never leave you. Your journey is not complete unless you your loved ones surround you.
The Lhasa Trilogy is a very spiritually-laden book that should not be overlooked. My main take-away is that there really isn’t religion, only spiritual well-being. But there is a God and it is never too late for forgiveness and redemption.