Monday, May 27, 2013

Perdia by Hilary Scharper (Giveaway - Int'l)

Will love let her go?

After a love affair that ends in tragedy, Garth Hellyer throws himself into his work for the Longevity Project, interviewing the oldest living people on the planet. But nothing has prepared him for Marged Brice, who claims to be a stunningly youthful 134. Marged says she wants to die, but can’t, held back by the presence of someone she calls Perdita.

Garth, despite his skepticism, is intrigued by Marged’s story, and agrees to read “her” journals of life in the late 1890s. Soon he’s enthralled by Marged’s story of love, loss, and myth in the tempestuous wilderness of the Bruce Peninsula. He enlists the help of his childhood friend Clare to help him make sense of the mystery.

As Garth and Clare unravel the truth of Marged and Perdita, they discover together just what love can mean when it never dies.

I am always on the lookout for historical fiction that takes place in Canada, unless I am not looking in the right place, they are hard to find.  During a browse through Chapters I discovered this gem.  Not only in Canada, but Ontario on Georgian Bay near Tobermory (I've actual been there!)

This is Hilary Scharper's debut and a beauty it is. 

Perdita is made up of so many elements, mixing mystery, the supernatural, historical fiction, romance, nautical disaster and even some Greek mythology all together in one neat package. And you know what?  It all works! The majority of the story is the reading of Marged's diary, with a style that reflected the time period, very poetic and smooth.  (it was easy to lose track of time while reading it).  Definitety a change in tone with the current day periods.

I want to share this book with others, so I am offering a free copy, open to anywhere The Book Depository ships. (or if you want an ebook, that can be arranged too).

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

In one of Tey's bestselling mystery novels ever, Scotland Yard Inspector Alan Grant is intrigued by a portrait of Richard III. Could such a sensitive face actually belong to one of history's most heinous villains—a king who killed his brother's children to secure his crown? Grant determines to find out once and for all what kind of man Richard was and who in fact killed the princes in the tower.

The Daughter of Time is a 1951 novel by Josephine Tey, often referenced by supporters of King Richard III of England, despite the fact that it never claims to be other than fiction. It was the last book Tey published shortly before her death.
"Without leaving his bed, Grant investigates the evidence & arrives at a convincing solution by means of acute historical detection, in a tale which Anthony Boucher called "one of the permanent classics in the detective field," & which Dorothy B. Hughes has termed "not only one of the most important mysteries of the year, but of all years of mystery".
The title of the novel is taken from Bertolt Brecht's play Life of Galileo, in which the eponymous hero observes: "Truth is the daughter of time, not of authority."

 Paperback, 192 pages
Published 1974 by Penguin (first published 1951) 
Did King Richard III really murder (or arrange to have murdered) his nephews in the Tower of London?  Were they a threat to the throne he claimed?  Though this book claims to be fiction it does read like an actual police case, the gathering of facts and attempting to prove that Richard III is innocent of one of the most infamous unsolved crimes in history.

Anything that I've ever read about the princes in the tower have always shown King Richard III as the bad guy, the one responsible for the murders. With the discovery of King Richard III's body recently and so much in the news I felt it was time to listen to the other side of the story.  The reader of this audio did a wonderful job, easy to listen to and I really enjoyed the story, I always love first person narrative, especially in an audio. 

Definitely a book for Richardian's out there.

My first book by this author and it was only after reading that I found out it was book 5 in a series of 6 books, which didn't affect the story at all.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - The Wild Girl

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly waiting to get our hands on.


  This week I am waiting for: The Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth

Dortchen Wild fell in love with Wilhelm Grimm the first time she saw him.

Growing up in the small German kingdom of Hessen-Cassel in early Nineteenth century, Dortchen Wild is irresistibly drawn to the boy next door, the young and handsome fairy tale scholar Wilhelm Grimm.

It is a time of War, tyranny and terror. Napoleon Bonaparte wants to conquer all of Europe, and Hessen-Cassel is one of the first kingdoms to fall. Forced to live under oppressive French rule, the Grimm brothers decide to save old tales that had once been told by the firesides of houses grand and small all over the land.

Dortchen knows many beautiful old stories, such as 'Hansel and Gretel', 'The Frog King' and 'Six Swans'. As she tells them to Wilhelm, their love blossoms. Yet the Grimm family is desperately poor, and Dortchen's father has other plans for his daughter. Marriage is an impossible dream.

Dortchen can only hope that happy endings are not just the stuff of fairy tales.

Released already in Australia but not till July for us in US and Canada

What are you waiting for? 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

you think you know the story of Rapunzel...

 An utterly captivating reinvention of the Rapunzel fairytale weaved together with the scandalous life of one of the tale's first tellers, Charlotte-Rose de la Force.

Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been banished from the court of Versailles by the Sun King, Louis XIV, after a series of scandalous love affairs. She is comforted by an old nun, Sœur 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...

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, sixty-four years later. Called La Strega Bella, Selena is at the centre of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition, retaining her youth and beauty by the blood of young red-haired girls.

After Margherita's father steals a handful of parsley, wintercress and rapunzel from the walled garden of the courtesan Selena Leonelli, he is threatened with having both hands cut off unless he and his wife give away their little red-haired girl. And so, when she turns seven, Margherita is locked away in a tower, her hair woven together with the locks of all the girls before her, growing to womanhood under the shadow of La Strega Bella, and dreaming of being rescued...

Three women, three lives, three stories, braided together to create a compelling story of desire, obsession, black magic and the redemptive power of love

Hardcover, Edition without dust jacket, 491 pages
Published February 25th 2013 by Allison & Busby

What more can I  say about this book (that isn't mentioned above).  Bitter Greens partly historical fiction set in 17th century France, also historical fantasy and a retelling of the Rapunzel fairy tale. The cover sold me on the book and what a book it was.  The very first sentence grabbed me and didn't let go, what a ride it was!

“I had always been a great talker and teller of tales.

'You should put a lock on that tongue of yours. It's long enough and sharp enough to slit your own throat,' our guardian warned me, the night before I left home to go to the royal court at Versailles ... I just laughed. 'Don't you know a woman's tongue is her sword? You wouldn't want me to let my only weapon rust, would you?”

It pulled me right in, so many twists and turns that kept my attention through all 491 pages. The story jumps around in time with the lives of these three women, but its done in a way that was not confusing or jumpy.  This is one of those books that made me want to sit and savor it, not rush through but enjoy the experience.
Definitely a must read for historical fiction fans as well as those that love a good fairy tale retelling.

As far as I know it is still not available here in Canada or the US, but can be purchased from The Book Depository (

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Review: The Fifth Knight by E. M. Powell

To escape a lifetime of poverty, mercenary Sir Benedict Palmer agrees to one final, lucrative job: help King Henry II’s knights seize the traitor Archbishop Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. But what begins as a clandestine arrest ends in cold-blooded murder. And when Fitzurse, the knights’ ringleader, kidnaps Theodosia, a beautiful young nun who witnessed the crime, Palmer can sit silently by no longer. For not only is Theodosia’s virtue at stake, so too is the secret she unknowingly carries—a secret he knows Fitzurse will torture out of her. Now Palmer and Theodosia are on the run, strangers from different worlds forced to rely only on each other as they race to uncover the hidden motive behind Becket’s grisly murder—and the shocking truth that could destroy a kingdom

Publication Date: January 22, 2013

Thomas & Mercer Publishing
Paperback; 390p
ISBN-10: 1611099331
Review copy provided by the author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours


When I was asked to be part of this blog tour I jumped at the chance.  Presently reading my way through the kings of England this book arrived just after I finished reading about the murder of Thomas Becket. Add the fact that it is the author's debut and I was in my happy place.

Originally released as a Kindle serial, it is now available in paperback.  This is a book that spins a new twist to the murder of Archbishop Thomas Beckett at Canterbury Cathedral on December 29, 1170.  Was he murdered on the orders of King Henry II? Did the knights take the King's hints literally? Or is there something just as sinister going on?

This book gives an account that is very fast paced, (though rather gruesome at times) into what could have happened.  I find sometimes with fast paced books push me to read faster too.  The chapters usually ended with me wanting to read more, just one more chapter.  It was a very interesting mystery which I have to admit not being able to totally figure out the ending myself, some things were predictable but not all.

I would have liked a little more historical content for the time period.  But all in all a good mystery and I look forward to reading more by this author.

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E. M. Powell was born and raised in Ireland, a descendant of Irish revolutionary Michael Collins. At University College, Cork, she discovered a love of Anglo-Saxon and medieval English during her study of literature and geography. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Manchester Irish Writers, the Historical Novel Society, and International Thriller Writers. A reviewer for the Historical Novel Society, she lives today in Manchester, England, with her husband and daughter.

For more information, please visit E.M. Powell's website and blog.  You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tuesday, April 16
Review at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Wednesday, April 17
Review at Sir Read-a-Lot
Thursday, April 18
Review at Turning the Pages
Friday, April 19
Interview & Giveaway at Sir Read-a-Lot
Monday, April 22
Review & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, April 23
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book!
Wednesday, April 24
Interview & Giveaway at Oh, For the Hook of a Book!
Thursday, April 25
Review at The Lit Bitch
Interview at Bibliophilic Book Blog
Friday, April 26
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection
Monday, April 29
Review at A Book Geek
Tuesday, April 30
Guest Post at Kinx’s Book Nook
Wednesday, May 1
Review & Giveaway at Book Addict Katie
Thursday, May 2
Review & Giveaway at Just One More Chapter
Friday, May 3
Review at The Musings of a Book Junkie
Monday, May 6
Review at Layered Pages
Review at Overflowing Bookshelves
Tuesday, May 7
Review at Raging Bibliomania
Wednesday, May 8
Review at West Metro Mommy
Thursday, May 9
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Friday, May 10
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - The Tudor Conspiracy

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly waiting to get our hands on.


  This week I am waiting for:

 The Tudor Conspiracy by C.W. Gortner


Winter 1554. Brendan Prescott, spymaster to the Princess Elizabeth, has discovered that he is connected to the Tudors by blood as well as allegiance. Though his secret is known only by a few, it could be his downfall as he is called to London to protect the princess.
Accompanied by his young squire Peregrine, he reluctantly leaves his sweetheart Kate behind - but in the city he discovers that no one is quite what they seem. What fate does Queen Mary intend for her sister? Is Robert Dudley somehow manipulating the princess, even though he is locked in the Tower? And should Brendan trust the alluring Sybilla, Mary's lady-in-waiting, who professes to be on his side?

As he tries to unravel the mysteries of the Tudor court Brendan's life will be put in danger many times, and along the way he learns more about his own past.
Paperback, 352 pages
Expected publication: July 16th 2013 by St. Martin's Griffin 

I have been a BIG fan of CW Gortner ever since reading The Last Queen and look forward to readingmore about Brendan Prescott.

What are you waiting for?