Thursday, March 30, 2017

Review & Giveaway: The Enemies of Versailles by Sally Christie

enemies-of-versailles

In the final installment of Sally Christie’s “tantalizing” (New York Daily News) Mistresses of Versailles trilogy,

Jeanne Becu, a woman of astounding beauty but humble birth, works her way from the grimy back streets of Paris to the palace of Versailles, where the aging King Louis XV has become a jaded and bitter old philanderer. Jeanne bursts into his life and, as the Comtesse du Barry, quickly becomes his official mistress.

“That beastly bourgeois Pompadour was one thing; a common prostitute is quite another kettle of fish.”

After decades of suffering the King’s endless stream of Royal Favorites, the princesses of the Court have reached a breaking point. Horrified that he would bring the lowborn Comtesse du Barry into the hallowed halls of Versailles, Louis XV’s daughters, led by the indomitable Madame Adelaide, vow eternal enmity and enlist the young dauphiness Marie Antoinette in their fight against the new mistress. But as tensions rise and the French Revolution draws closer, a prostitute in the palace soon becomes the least of the nobility’s concerns.

Told in Christie’s witty and engaging style, the final book in The Mistresses of Versailles trilogy will delight and entrance fans as it once again brings to life the sumptuous and cruel world of eighteenth century Versailles, and France as it approaches irrevocable change.

March 21, 2017 at 
416 pages 
****

Here we are at the end of another favorite trilogy. And what an ending it is. Because each book deals with different mistresses of the king they can be read as standalone but I highly recommend starting at the beginning with The Sisters of Versailles, which I think is my favorite in the series. The Rivals of Versailles is Book #2, click on titles to take you to my review.

Jeanne Becu is a young child only seven years old when we first meet her. She will spend the next 10 years in a convent, but it is while working in dress shops that her life takes an about face after Comte du Berry walks in. She will become the last Mistress of Louis the XV, life isn't boring, how can it be in the French court?

Plus being hated by the King's own daughters doesn't help. Alternating chapters with Princess Adelaide, never married and obsessed with hating Jeanne she managed to convince others to do so also.  Born into privilege with every advantage she wastes it. Knowing the king always had mistresses, but this one is of such low birth, her religious upbringing and judgmental attitude take over her life. There is so much in life she is missing out on that I actually felt sorry for her.

I love the authors writing style, her words took me to France, I could feel the hostility between these two women as they both just wanted to make the king enjoy his final years of life. I love reading about strong women in history, especially ones I am unfamiliar with, in location and time periods I rarely venture into and this series did not disappoint.

Reading this series has perked my interest in French history, the scandal, liaisons rival those of the English.  Definitely a series I highly recommend.

                                  Website | Goodreads


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  Sisters of Versailles - Sally Christie Sally Christie is the author of The Sisters of Versailles and The Rivals of Versailles. She was born in England and grew up around the world, attending eight schools in three different languages. She spent most of her career working in international development and currently lives in Toronto.

Learn more her Versailles trilogy on her website Become a fan to hear about her next novels!

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Visit each blogger on the tour: tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time! [just follow the directions on the entry-form] Global giveaway - for US residents 5nly 5 winners of a print copy

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Review: A Lady in Disguise (Daughters of Hampshire #3) by Sandra Byrd

In this intriguing novel of romance, mystery, and clever disguise set in Victorian England, a young woman investigates the murder of her own father. 

After the mysterious death of her father, Miss Gillian Young takes a new job as the principal costume designer at the renowned Drury Lane Theatre Royal. But while she remembers her father as a kind, well-respected man of the Police Force, clues she uncovers indicate he’d been living a double life: a haunting photograph of a young woman; train stubs for secret trips just before his death; and a receipt for a large sum of money. Are these items evidence of her father’s guilty secrets? His longtime police partner thinks so.

Then Gillian meets the dashing Viscount Thomas Lockwood. Their attraction is instant and inescapable. As their romantic involvement grows, Gillian begins to suspect even Lockwood’s motives. Does Lord Lockwood truly love her? Or is his interest a front for the desire to own her newly inherited property? And what should she make of her friend’s suggestion that Lockwood or men like him were involved in the murder of her father?

Soon Gillian is convinced that her father has left evidence somewhere that can prove his innocence and reveal the guilty party. But someone wants to stop her from discovering it. The closer she comes to uncovering it, the more menacing her opposition grows. With her life on the line, Gillian takes on an ingenious disguise and takes on the role of a lifetime to reveal the true killer—before it’s too late both for her and for those that she loves.

Paperback, 384 pages
 Published March 21st 2017 
by Howard Books
****

Sandra Byrd is not a new author to me I have enjoyed her Lady in Waiting series and have read book one in her Daughters of Hampshire series. All her books are stand alone so no need to read in order.  I have a great respect for authors who can write in different time periods.  With the Ladies in Waiting taking place in the Tudor times and Daughters during the Victorian era, so many changes over the years meaning more research for the author. Victorian England is new to me and it's only been recently that I have been turning some of my reading into that direction.

Gillian Young is a young woman grieving the sudden death of her father, a local and well respected police officer. But as accusations of illegal activity are brought to light Gillian refuses to believe that he was involved in any unsavory actions. As she tries to figure out the truth, events begin to make her question who she can and cannot trust and whether his accident was really an accident at all.  Also could he in fact be guilty as rumored to be.

I love the authors writing style she makes you feel part of the story and drew me in, making me care not just for Gillian but for those she takes under her wing. I love learning about the lifestyle in that era, the theater world and the art of costume making.

A Lady in Disguise is a great historical fiction novel that is full of mystery, suspense and intrigue. While I am not a big fan of romance novels I felt that the love story here was done perfectly and not overbearing, it fit the story in a realistic manner. This is Christian fiction, there is scripture, prayer and it was done in a realistic manner, not over the top.  Plus I loved the ending

Sandra Bryd will continue to be an author in which I anticipate her next book.  Be sure to check out my review for one of her previous works.



I received an ARC from the publisher (via Netgalley) and give my sincerely thanks for the opportunity to review A Lady in Disguise.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Review: The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green

After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.

When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne's brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on?

With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king's mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.

Paperback, 416 pages 
Published January 3rd 2017
by Bethany House Publishers 
*****


The Mark of the King made my 'best of 2017' list. I am giving this book 5 stars, if it was possible to give more I would.  It's been a while since I've read a book that was so spellbinding right from the beginning that I had a hard time putting it down.

There are so many things that I loved about this book starting with the cover.  It just spoke to me and gave off that warm vibe calling my name.

Right from the very first scene when Julianne, an experienced midwife, encounters tragedy at the birth I was hooked.  As the next scene plays out her time in prison the author didn't hold back and made me feel her distress and helplessness in a situation with no hope of a positive outcome.

The French colony is Louisiana in the 1720's is a very harsh, lonely and dangerous place, which Julianne finds out rather quickly.

The author's writing style was fabulous she wrote of the lifestyle in a wild and dangerous land, whether it was from the weather with its scorching heat and over abundance of bugs and dampness to the conflicts between the natives, British and even amongst themselves.  She didn't rush the story but made me feel what was going on nor did she mince words and painted an authentic print of Louisiana.

The Mark of the King is a story of survival, heartache, forgiveness, redemption and love.  Marked as Christian fiction but don't let that scare you off.  Someone once told me that as a Christian I should only be reading Christian fiction.  My response to that was if there were the type of books I love to read in that genre then I would jump at it.  Historical fiction is my favorite and I haven't really found too many books in that genre that satisfies what I love.  History can be brutal, raw and heartbreaking, I love books based on real life events and people, there needs to be depth of character and they need to be authentic and believable.   The Mark of the King is exactly what I want in both HF and CF.  It was realistic, heartfelt and genuine.  I think this book would be a hit for those that don't usually read this genre.

The book concluded with some wonderful author's note, going into detail about her motivation for writing this story.  In the writing I could feel the author's passion for this story and it's evident that she did a lot of research. It's a part of history that I didn't know existed, not only did I learn a lot about the time period with the struggles between French, natives and British but also what life was like for the early settlers.

I have already searched and ordered more books by this author and highly recommend this one.

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"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Giveaway:Shadow of Whimsy: A Cape Cod Love Story by Ann Hymes

02_Shadow of Whimsy
Several generations of one family have lived, loved, and lied at Whimsy Towers, a unique oceanfront house in Chatham, Massachusetts. Strong women who refuse to be suffocated by marriage have found excitement and refuge in this house filled with artists and parties. Love surfaces in unexpected ways.

The newest owner, Theresa Alston Crandall, has just inherited the property and leaves her too-predictable husband in Virginia to spend time on the Cape and unravel family secrets and history. She swims, reflects, explores, and watches dramatic cloud formations float high over the ocean as she sorts through the choices in her path forward.

Romance arrives in the form of a young widower and landscape gardener with an awesome pickup truck, who likes Theresa’s dog and provides temptation to stay at Whimsy Towers. Tips of tree branches dance with the weight of birds that seem to scream warnings of danger, and the churning ocean disrupts family continuity.
Theresa learns how her Southern grandmother came to buy a storm-weathered New England house and how loveless marriage is not a mandatory life style. The final decision feels just right.

Publication Date: June 15, 2016
 Secant Publishing Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
Genre: Contemporary/Women's Fiction/Literary
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"In her debut novel, Hymes presents a conflicted young woman who is beginning to question her humdrum existence. From grief and loss to forgiveness and redemption, Hymes does not hold back. The author steers clear of predictable outcomes in this unexpected story, providing ample romantic suspense and witty prose to keep the reader turning pages. Chock-full of rich descriptions of the New England coast, as well as surprising scandals and an adorable dog named Gypsy, the book should satisfy even seasoned beach readers. A captivating and uplifting tale best suited for fans of meaningful beach-town romances." -Kirkus Reviews

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo


03_Ann Hymes

Ann Hymes is a retired real estate broker and mother of two grown daughters. She has a B.A. in English from Mills College and an M.A. in English from Washington College. Her published work includes creative nonfiction. An active international volunteer, including service in the Peace Corps in the 1960s, Ann lives in St. Michaels, Maryland.

Shadow of Whimsy

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Review: The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan

"Just because the men have gone to war, why do we have to close the choir? And precisely when we need it most!" 

 As England enters World War II's dark early days, spirited music professor Primrose Trent, recently arrived to the village of Chilbury, emboldens the women of the town to defy the Vicar's stuffy edict to shutter the church's choir in the absence of men and instead 'carry on singing'. Resurrecting themselves as "The Chilbury Ladies' Choir", the women of this small village soon use their joint song to lift up themselves, and the community, as the war tears through their lives.

 Told through letters and journals, The Chilbury Ladies' Choir moves seamlessly from budding romances to village intrigues to heartbreaking matters of life and death. As we come to know the struggles of the charismatic members of this unforgettable outfit -- a timid widow worried over her son at the front; the town beauty drawn to a rakish artist; her younger sister nursing an impossible crush and dabbling in politics she doesn't understand; a young Jewish refugee hiding secrets about her family, and a conniving midwife plotting to outrun her seedy past -- we come to see how the strength each finds in the choir's collective voice reverberates in her individual life.

 In turns funny, charming and heart-wrenching, this lovingly executed ensemble novel will charm and inspire, illuminating the true spirit of the women on the home front, in a village of indomitable spirit, at the dawn of a most terrible conflict.

Hardcover, 384 pages 
Published February 14th 2017 
by Crown Publishing Group
*****
This book is told through letters, journals and the odd poster. One would think that it would be hard to get invested in the story that jumps back-and-forth this way or that it would be difficult to get to know the characters. But the author made it work here and it was brilliant, heartwarming and a clear picture of the ladies in this little town who are left when most of the men went off to war.

As the women are left to fill in roles that the men usually did, some reluctantly, it's when the war hits close to home  that everyone's true character comes to light. I won't go into detail about each of the different characters suffice to say that there were coming of age stories, romance where least expected, hearts softened and of course there are those that took advantage of the situation. This is war so there is also heartbreak and devastation. 

I think the author did a great job with this book, I was able to get to know the characters in fact I would like to continue hearing about their story and Chilbury during the rest of the war. Given the seriousness of World War II this book begins before the Battle of Britain where everyone thinks it will be over soon. The author was able to write a vivid story with wit and humour to offset the seriousness and show a realistic glimpse of a small town and the effects this war had on them. She made me care about the characters so much so that I hated to see the book end. From teenagers to retired women coming together in support, encouragement and to engulf each other in love and support it was a pleasure to read. 

Since this is Jennifer Ryan's debuted I can't wait to see what she comes up with next and would be thrilled with a sequel. Definitely a book I highly recommend, especially to those that loved Letters from Skye and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Thank you to TLC Tours for inviting me to be part of this tour.  My arc was provided by the publisher (via netgalley).

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Jennifer Ryan lives in the Washington, D.C., area with her husband and their two children. Originally from Kent and then London, she was previously a nonfiction book editor.

Connect with Jennifer

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Review: The Autumn Throne by Elizabeth Chadwick

England, 1176 

Imprisoned by her husband, King Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of England, refuses to let her powerful husband bully her into submission, even as he forces her away from her children and her birthright.

Freed only by Henry's death, Eleanor becomes dowager Queen of England. But the competition for land and power that Henry stirred up among his sons has intensified to a dangerous rivalry. Eleanor will need every ounce of courage and fortitude as she crosses the Alps in winter to bring Richard his bride, and travels medieval Europe to ransom her beloved son. But even her indomitable spirit will be tested to its limits as she attempts to keep the peace between her warring sons, and find a place in the centres of power for her daughters.

Eleanor of Aquitaine's powerful story is brought to a triumphant and beautiful close by much-loved author Elizabeth Chadwick. 

 Hardcover, 512 pages
 Published September 1st 2016 by Sphere
Audiobook  18 hours, 9 minutes
*****

If The Autumn Throne was one of my highly anticipated books of 2016,  why then did it take me 6 months to read it?  The answer really is quite simple, this is the end, the end of the trilogy, the end of a favorite trilogy, which means it will also be the end of Eleanor of Aquitaine and I didn't want it to end.  I had a rough idea of what was going to take place and maybe I figured if I didn't read then it wouldn't happen.  How silly is that?  Like I can actually change history.  In the end I went for the audio version, which was a tricky move since I loved reading the first two books in this series and wasn't sure if this would enhance or take away how I would feel about this book.  Katie Scarfe is the narrator and she did a stellar job, giving life to a book that was already full of it.

It's no secret that Elizabeth Chadwick is a favorite of mine. The amount of research she does shines through in her books bringing the Middle Ages to life with depth of character and that authentic feel to the story.  You feel like you are right there watching history unfold.

Eleanor of Aquitaine is a historical figure that I find so interesting.  Her story is that of a women well ahead of her time, Queen of two countries, mother of Kings, enduring so much at the hands of a troubled King Henry II.  The Autumn Throne continues as Eleanor is still being held hostage by her own husband. and spans the last 30 years of her life.  The mother of Richard the Lionheart and John Lackland her life is anything but boring.  There is a lot to fit into these pages as life isn't easy, from being Queen regent, the kidnapping of her son (and King), Joanna's return and John is usually up to no good (just to name a few).

This will be one of my 'best of 2017' books and I could definitely see myself rereading this series.  If you are a fan of Middle Aged HF with strong female character then this series is for you.

My hardcover copy and audiobook from my personal library.



click on cover to take you to my review

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Review: Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

Eleven years ago, Lindsey Nash escaped into the night with her young daughter and left an abusive relationship. Her ex-husband, Andrew, was sent to jail and Lindsey started over with a new life.

Now, Lindsey is older and wiser, with her own business and a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. When Andrew is finally released from prison, Lindsey believes she has cut all ties and left the past behind her. But she gets the sense that someone is watching her, tracking her every move. Her new boyfriend is threatened. Her home is invaded, and her daughter is shadowed. Lindsey is convinced it’s her ex-husband, even though he claims he’s a different person. But has he really changed? Is the one who wants her dead closer to home than she thought?

With Never Let You Go, Chevy Stevens delivers a chilling, twisting thriller that crackles with suspense as it explores the darkest heart of love and obsession.

Kindle Edition, 416 pages
Expected publication: March 14th 2017 
by St. Martin's Press
***

Chevy Stevens had me with Still Missing continued on with That Night and finally after reading the highly emotional Those Girls I wasn't sure I could handle another one.  Each book is uniquely themed and filled with 'gotta keep reading' suspense.   To be honest I didn't really read the blurb when I requested an ARC for the simple reason, it's Chevy Stevens so I should be in for a treat.

Starting Never Let You Go I had the feeling of deja vu here and my thoughts kept going back to an old Julia Roberts movie.  Once I figured out the direction this book was going I hoped for something different, a twist of some sort, something to get my mind off of that movie.  In that area the author did not disappoint, I was intrigued enough and while I found parts predictable the twists and turns kept me interesting.

I did struggle with the characters, mostly the daughter, her behavior while knowing her mothers fears and possible danger didn't sit well with me.  I liked the ending, it was one I didn't see coming.

The location of all Chevy Stevens books are favorites of mine.  I love British Columbia, having been there a number of times made it so easy for me to visualize the landscape even though the author did a great job with that (as usual).

All in all and good story that will appeal to those interested in a good mystery/suspense story.

Thanks to St. Martin's Press (via Netgalley) for an advanced copy.


 click on cover to take you to my review

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Review: The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff

The Nightingale meets Water for Elephants in this powerful novel of friendship and sacrifice, set in a traveling circus during World War II, by international bestselling author Pam Jenoff.

A powerful novel of friendship set in a traveling circus during World War II, The Orphan's Tale introduces two extraordinary women and their harrowing stories of sacrifice and survival .

 Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep… When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night.

 Noa finds refuge with a German circus, but she must learn the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.

Paperback, 368 pages 
Published February 21st 2017 by Mira
****

While I love reading HF with a WW 2 setting there are times I look for something new and out of the ordinary.  With The Orphan's Tale taking place within a circus it fits the bill for something different, in fact I didn't even know this was taking place while the war was going on.  Promising the likes of The Nightingale, which was an absolute favorite of mine I jumped.

Astrid and Noa are two characters with completely different personalities and backgrounds.  Each with baggage they are unwilling to share, during this time period it is better not to reveal too much anyways.  What I enjoyed here was watching the friendship between these two develop.  It wasn't all rosy to begin with, but as time goes by they are ultimately forced to confide and trust each other.

While I struggled at times to connect with Noa, I found her to be immature and while she speaks of her love and devotion to Theo I didn't always feel it.  But then again she is only 16 years old working with Astrid who is older and wiser to the dangers of the war.  While there is romance here it was nice that it wasn't center stage but rather The Orphan's Tale was a story of survival, friendship and realizing that you are stronger than you think.

I was first introduced to Pam Jenoff with her novel. The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach and really enjoyed it.  The amount of research she does is evident within the pages and her writing is engaging.  I liked how she takes an unknown part of history and brings it front and center.  The author's notes at the end highlight her passion and motives for writing this book, a fitting conclusion in my eyes.

Thank you to TLC Tours for an advanced copy (via Netgalley) and invite to be part of this tour.



Pam Jenoff is the author of several novels, including the international bestseller The Kommandant’s Girl, which also earned her a Quill Award nomination.

Pam lives with her husband and three children near Philadelphia where, in addition to writing, she teaches law school.








Connect with Pam

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Review: A Hope at the End of the World by Sarah Lark

In the chaos of World War II, Polish teenagers Helena and Luzyna Grabowski have lost everything. Without parents or a home, they are shipped to a refugee camp in Persia, where the days ahead hold only darkness. When they hear that orphans are being selected for relocation to New Zealand, Helena is filled with hope—until the officials say they have a place only for her younger sister.

 On the morning she is to be transported, Luzyna fails to join the chosen group, and Helena takes her place. But the horrors of war—and her guilt at abandoning her sister—follow Helena on the journey across the sea, as a man from her past preys on her fear and remorse.

 Though the people in New Zealand embrace her, the traumas Helena has suffered threaten her peace and blind her to the devotion of James, a charming, heroic young Allied pilot. If Helena can let go and dare to hope again, she may finally step out of the long shadow of her past to find a future made whole—a new community, a new family, a new love.

Paperback, 268 pages 
Published March 7th 2017
 by AmazonCrossing
***
What drew me to this book was the settings. Most books pertaining to World War II involves a European setting and it's a very rare thing to reach Iran or New Zealand.  It's a world war so it only stands to reason that the effects reach the farthermost corner of the globe.

 Beginning at an orphanage in Iran we meet two sisters separated from their parents. Even though I struggled to connect with these girls it wasn't hard to see the raw deal life threw at them.  From Poland to Siberia and now in Iran their lives have been one terrible thing after another.  The Iran setting is just a small part of this story as it the journey to New Zealand, but it is an important one that propels this book.

 One of the things I love about historical fiction is learning new things, with A Hope at the End of the World I was not aware that the actual events took place. The author notes do a great job of explaining the things and I found that very interesting and a great way to end the book.

There were times I found the story predictable and to me it had more of a young adult feel. The conflict with the Maori people was interesting. The story had a good premise and will appeal to those that like lighter historical fiction and young adult books.

Thanks to AmazonCrossing for an advanced copy (via Netgalley).

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Review: The Confessions of Young Nero by Margaret George

The New York Times bestselling and legendary author of Helen of Troy and Elizabeth I now turns her gaze on Emperor Nero, one of the most notorious and misunderstood figures in history.

 Built on the backs of those who fell before it, Julius Caesar's imperial dynasty is only as strong as the next person who seeks to control it. In the Roman Empire no one is safe from the sting of betrayal: man, woman or child.

 As a boy, Nero's royal heritage becomes a threat to his very life, first when the mad emperor Caligula tries to drown him, then when his great aunt attempts to secure her own son's inheritance. Faced with shocking acts of treachery, young Nero is dealt a harsh lesson: it is better to be cruel than dead.

 While Nero idealizes the artistic and athletic principles of Greece, his very survival rests on his ability to navigate the sea of vipers that is Rome. The most lethal of all is his own mother, a cold-blooded woman whose singular goal is to control the empire. With cunning and poison, the obstacles fall one by one. But as Agrippina's machinations earn her son a title he is both tempted and terrified to assume, Nero's determination to escape her thrall will shape him into the man he was fated to become, an Emperor who became legendary.

 With impeccable research and captivating prose, The Confessions of Young Nero is the story of a boy's ruthless ascension to the throne. Detailing his journey from innocent youth to infamous ruler, it is an epic tale of the lengths to which man will go in the ultimate quest for power and survival.

Hardcover, 528 pages
Expected publication: March 7th 2017 
by Berkley Books
****

Margaret George is synonymous with epic historical door stopper sized books. If you want a quick fluffy read don't look here. But if you're looking for something that is meaty with grit, rich in history with depth, intrigue as well as a setting steeped in political and cultural mayhem you've come to the right place.

 I have read everything that Margaret George has written though I've done it in audio book format this being my first time reading one of her books. Her books are usually close to a thousand pages in length or over 40 hours in audio. I will admit to a bit of puzzlement when I realized this book came in at only 528 pages, thankfully discovering Nero's life will be done in 2 parts, hopefully the wait for book 2 won't be too long.

 I know nothing about the historical figure Nero which made this all the more enjoyable. The Confessions of Young Nero begins when he is a very young child. Watching him grow up in the environment he was in made it all the easier to connect with him and to really get a sense of who he was turning into. To understand what made him tick and why.

 As always Margaret George captured the essence of Rome here, I loved how Paul of Tarsus made an appearance as well as the earthquake in Pompeii, even the fight for Britain with Boudicca showed the far reaches of his empire.  While at times more interested in the arts Nero was a very interesting character and I can't wait for the conclusion to his story.



If only history lessons had been like this.”—Cosmopolitan 

 “Extensively researched with the highest integrity, and deeply engaging, it sets a new benchmark for the genre.”—New York Times bestselling author Alison Weir

 “George leaves us with the most coveted prize of fiction: a world. . . we wished existed, and that thoroughly does between the covers.” —Chicago Tribune