Tag Archives: historical

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon. Review 

Read no further if you haven’t read the first book Outlander as there will be spoilers from the first novel, but none from Dragonfly in Amber

I really enjoyed Outlander where I was swept into the world of Claire and Jamie Fraser. Claire travels back through time to the 1700s where she meets a young highlander Jamie Fraser who she falls in love with. These are hefty books but beautifully written with amazing language, wonderfully put together passages of language. 

We return to this world in Dragonfly in Amber but twenty years on, Claire is back in the 1960s with a grown up daughter, returning to Scotland to reveal several truths that will blow the worlds of those near to her wide open. But fear not avid readers, we return to Claire’s memories to find out what happened next in her love saga with Jamie.


This sequel has all the passion of the first book in the series but tinged with sadness, knowing that Claire is back in present day means that the reader is second guessing how this could have happened and what may happen next. Some of the old friends and foes return and in places it’s a case of life and death! It’s another bulky novel but it doesn’t feel that way because of how engrossed you become in the storyline and needing to know what happens next. 


From a historical fiction lover’s viewpoint, I was really enamoured with understanding the rising of ’44 and the historical perspective not only of Bonnie Prince Charlie who I had heard of but never really studied, but also the court of the Parisian King Louis and his followers. It was interesting to see how much more advanced the French were in those days than the English. For example, I’m sure this doesn’t count as a spoiler but there is a very funny scene where Claire’s French friend gets her to wax her legs and armpits and Jamie’s reaction to this is just hilarious. I can’t wait to start Voyager

The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory. Review 

It all started with The Cousins War or at least it did for, my love of Philippa Gregory came when I cut my teeth on the White Queen, The Red Queen, Lady of the Rivers etc. Then of course the story began to merge with the Tudors. With the release of The Last Tudor (check back for a review on that coming soon) it made sense that I should finally get around to reading The King’s Curse. It’s a pretty hefty novel coming in at over 500 pages, and rightly so as it details the long life of one of the forgotten players in the Tudor/Plantagenet history; Margaret Pole. Beloved tutor of Princess Mary and friend to Queen Katherine of Aragon. 


Margaret saw a lot in her 67 years, a long time to live in those days. This story picks up after the fall of the Plantagenet family from the Royal Household and Margaret’s undying loyalty to her cousin the Queen, married to Henry VII. Margaret was a key player in the Tudor’s story, Prince Arthur lived with her and her husband until his death, she became friends with, and defended Katherine of Aragon and fell constantly in and out of favour with both Henry VII and Henry VIII, fearing constantly that death and danger were stalking her family because of their name, and their royal blood. 


Through Margaret’s eyes, we watch the child Prince Harry, first turn the half destroyed and neglected kingdom around from his father’s rule, to becoming the harsh tyrant who ripped apart the church, the faith of the country and tore down the monasteries, not to mention the divorcing, beheading and casting aside of his wives in his obsession to beget a male heir on one of them. We see the bitter, twisted control of the Boleyn family as they strive for greatness through the vicious Anne, a very different perspective from the one given by Anne and her family in Philippa’s earlier book. 


The novel, despite being long, is well put together and it is clear, as always that Philippa Gregory has considerably researched her subject. Although some of the storyline is not known to be completely factual (this is a work of fiction after all), Philippa does use rumours and presumptions as well as modern scientific and medical research to form her opinions and plots. 

I really enjoyed this, as I do all of the Plantagenet / Tudor hybrid novels, I’m just sad that after The Last Tudor it will all be coming to an end! 

Launching a New Book Product! 

Hi everyone, thanks for visiting my blog again! 
Just a quick post from me today to say that after a long time thinking about it I’ve decided to go ahead and launch my own book related product!! It’s really exciting but before I can proceed I need to do some research into what my potential customers would like to see and the sort of cost they would expect to pay. Subsequently I’d really appreciate it if you could take 2 minutes to take my survey 
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KR7XVQV

Victoria by Daisy Goodwin. Review 

I have a confession to make… I love stories about the English Monarchy. I’m a royalist through and through, I love the fact that I as an Englishwoman have a Monarch, I don’t care that they’re mostly seen as being ‘for show’ and I find the history of the royal line absolutely fascinating. So in short, Victoria is right up my street. 


I watched the TV series which accompanies this novel and absolutely loved it, the relationship between Victoria and Albert was played so beautifully and I instantly bought the book. But as always it’s taken me a while to get to it. I also really enjoyed Daisy Goodwin’s novel My Last Duchess so felt complete confidence in her as an author to write Victoria’s story well. 

My penchant has mostly always been for the Tudors and my knowledge of Victoria has only really stretched to knowing about Victorian times, and that was learnt from Charles Dickens. So this novel was really insightful, learning about her early life, the fact she ascended the throne at such a young age without really any idea about politics or running a country. The battles in her romantic life, I guess I’d always thought her and Albert just a done deal but to discover that in fact there were other people involved was fascinating. 


The novel from start to finish is wonderful, I once watched a programme about Monarchs presented by Lucy Worsley and she played a character sort of spying, part of each event and I felt the same when reading this book, I was there as Victoria felt her passions, shed her tears and struggled to engage with a society and a public, even a position she didn’t really understand. I admire her greatly for that. What an amazing woman!

I would recommend this for anyone whether you usually like historical novels or not. 

House of Shadows by Nicola Cornick. Review 

I really enjoy Nicola Cornick’s writing and have done since I first read The Phantom Tree last year. Nicola writes historical time slip novels and House of Shadows lives up to this. 

In present day, Holly is flying towards Oxford following a frantic call from her young niece who informs her that her dad, Holly’s brother Ben has gone missing. When Ben doesn’t show up in the first 24 hours Holly decides to stick around. But sticking around means she’s drawn into the story of Lavinia a 17th century ‘whore’ and her mysterious memoir, then there’s the creepy mirror and its links to the knights of the Rosy Cross a 15th century order of soothsayers. And then there’s the new love interest who comes along too, making Holly act in ways she never thought she would… 


Meanwhile in 1662 the Winter Queen Elizabeth Stuart is fighting her own feelings for one of her husbands soldiers. William Craven, son of a cloth merchant and not worthy of a Queen. Yet she is inexplicably drawn to him as the crystal mirror and the pearl put her life and those around her on the course of destruction. 


I love learning about history but I’m not very fond of non-fiction reading, so this was right up my street. I’d actually never heard of the Winter Queen as my penchant has always been for the Tudors and Plantagenets. But now this interest has moved on to the Stuart’s as well and I find myself craving more information. Nicola Cornick provides a beautiful story, mingling facts with fiction to weave together an engrossing tale as we jump between past and present. If you like Philippa Gregory or Kate Morton you will be sure to like Nicola Cornick. 

June 2017 Wrap Up 

This month has been a HUGE reading month for me, because I went on holiday for 10 days I got the chance to read loads so because of that, in total I read 29 books this month and they were: 

1. The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde by Eve Chase 

2. The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay 


3. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare 


4. Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare 


5. Mr Gandy’s Grand Tour by Alan Titchmarsh 


6. Roseblood by AG Howard 


7. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier 


8. Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy 


9. The Queen of Wishful Thinking by Milly Johnson 


10. Get Even by Martina Cole 


11. Sunshine Over Wildflower Cottage by Milly Johnson 


12. Blind Fury by Lynda La Plante 


13. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstein 


14. Wintersong by S Jae Jones 


15. The Strings of Murder by Oscar De Muriel 


16. I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh 


17. Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine 


18. I See You by Clare Mackintosh 


19. The Hard Way by Lee Child 


20. Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh 


21. Select by Marit Weisenberg 


22. The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond 


23. Imposter by Philip K Dick 


24. Second Variety by Philip K Dick 


25. War Game by Philip K Dick 


26. The Minority Report by Philip K Dick 


27. Skin by Alice Broadway 


28. Parting Shot by Linwood Barclay 


29. The Stranger Within by Kathryn Croft 

June 2017 Book Haul 

So today is my first Book Haul on my blog as I previously did these on my YouTube channel! I’m really excited to share what books I’ve ‘hauled’ this month with my followers, so read on to see what’s in the Haul this month! 

I have 20 books in my Haul this month and I’ve separated this into categories of what I got from where so we’ll start off with the: 

Kindle Haul 

This month on kindle I bought 3 books, I was lucky enough to get a £5 voucher so that went a long way to purchasing them. And they are: 


Ink by Alice Broadway 

Death of a Hollow Man by Caroline Graham 

House of Shadows by Nicola Cornick 

Library Haul 

I got 4 books from the library this month, one of them has gone back today though! They are: 


The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks 

The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black 

Storm Front by Jim Butcher 

Minority Report by Philip K Dick 

Second hand ‘free’ books 

These I hauled from the ‘left behind’ pile on my recent holiday and they are: 


American Gods by Neil Gaiman 

Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner 

Second hand books ‘paid for’ Haul 


As Old as Time by Liz Braswell 

Once Upon a Dream by Liz Braswell 

A Whole New World by Liz Braswell 

Lips Touch by Laini Taylor 

The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd 

My special edition/collectors haul 


Harry Potter and the Philisopher’s Stone  Ravenclaw Edition by JK Rowling 

Leatherbound The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett 

Finally there’s my Waterstones Haul 


Nevernight by Jay Kristoff 

Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern 

The Girls by Emma Cline 

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George RR Martin 


Thanks for checking out my book Haul this month, I hope to see you again soon!