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What are you reading? April 2014

For discussions of historical fiction. Threads that do not relate to historical fiction should be started in the Chat forum or elsewhere on the forum, depending on the topic.
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Madeleine
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Currently reading: "The Twisted Sword" by Winston Graham
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Post by Madeleine » Mon April 28th, 2014, 8:43 am

I'm now also reading "Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death" - crime mystery set in 1950s Cambridge, UK.
Currently reading: "The Twisted Sword" by Winston Graham

annis
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Post by annis » Tue April 29th, 2014, 7:16 pm

Posted by Madeline
I'm now also reading "Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death"
I read that a year or so ago and quite enjoyed it, though it was maybe a bit too much in the "gentle mystery" style for me. There is a second book in the Grantchester series out now, but I haven't got around to reading it yet.

Currently reading Therea Tomlinson's second adult story, set in early medieval northern England - The Tribute Bride. Those who've read Carla Nayland's Paths of Exile will recognise the time and place. Again, Tribute Bride is well written and I enjoyed it, but it's just a bit lacking in zip and zing. I feel that Tomlinson's adult fiction is really more at the YA end of teenage/adult crossover.

Carla
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Post by Carla » Wed April 30th, 2014, 3:11 pm

[quote=""annis""]

Currently reading Therea Tomlinson's second adult story, set in early medieval northern England - The Tribute Bride. Those who've read Carla Nayland's Paths of Exile will recognise the time and place. Again, Tribute Bride is well written and I enjoyed it, but it's just a bit lacking in zip and zing. I feel that Tomlinson's adult fiction is really more at the YA end of teenage/adult crossover.[/quote]

My copy of The Tribute Bride has just arrived, and I've only read a few pages so far. Theresa and I discussed Acha's story quite a bit by email a while ago, after I wrote an article summarising the (very limited!) known history about Acha (http://www.carlanayland.org/essays/acha.htm), and I'm looking forward to seeing how she interpreted it.

Theresa's two novels set at Whitby monastery, Wolf Girl and A Swarming of Bees, seem rather gentler in their imagination of seventh-century Northumbria than mine or Kathleen Herbert's take on it. That could reflect the setting; a monastery might well have tended to attract idealists and/or people who were weary of violence and power who were looking to create something else, whereas Kathleen Herbert's novels and mine are set at royal courts which might be expected to have a different sort of atmosphere. I shall be interested to see what Theresa makes of royal politics and rivalries - Acha's life was at the centre of both - and will be very interested in your thoughts if you're going to write a longer review!
PATHS OF EXILE - love, war, honour and betrayal in Anglo-Saxon Northumbria
Editor's Choice, Historical Novels Review, August 2009
Now available as e-book on Amazon Kindleand in Kindle, Epub (Nook, Sony Reader), Palm and other formats on Smashwords
Website: http://www.carlanayland.org
Blog: http://carlanayland.blogspot.com

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fljustice
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Post by fljustice » Wed April 30th, 2014, 7:40 pm

Finished A Triple Knot by Emma Compion with mixed thoughts. Started Twelve Years a Slave--haven't seen the movie, but just reading about the abuse is tough enough!
Faith L. Justice, Author Website
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annis
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Post by annis » Fri May 2nd, 2014, 9:02 am

Posted by Carla
My copy of The Tribute Bride has just arrived, and I've only read a few pages so far. Theresa and I discussed Acha's story quite a bit by email a while ago, after I wrote an article summarising the (very limited!) known history about Acha (http://www.carlanayland.org/essays/acha.htm), and I'm looking forward to seeing how she interpreted it.
I noticed that Theresa acknowledged your work, Carla, and also that of Rosemary Sutcliff. so you're in good company :)

This novel is a move away from monastic life, though religion, both pagan and Christian, still plays a significant part. Tribute Bride revolves around the experiences of a spirited but rather naive young woman, still really a girl, caught up in Deiran and Bernician court politics. It's atmospheric and the relationships, more notably between the female characters, are well drawn. I can't quite put my finger on it, but despite including sex, violence and devious, murderous power plays, it still seems somehow to echo the gentle tones of Swarming of Bees. While this works well for a mystery set at a monastery, it lessens the impact of the dramatic events which shape Acha's life. This is just a personal response, and I'll be interested to see what you think.
Last edited by annis on Fri May 2nd, 2014, 9:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

Carla
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Post by Carla » Fri May 2nd, 2014, 9:01 pm

[quote=""annis""]Posted by Carla


I noticed that Theresa acknowledged your work, Carla, and also that of Rosemary Sutcliff. so you're in good company :)

This novel is a move away from monastic life, though religion, both pagan and Christian, still plays a significant part. Tribute Bride revolves around the experiences of a spirited but rather naive young woman, still really a girl, caught up in Deiran and Bernician court politics. It's atmospheric and the relationships, more notably between the female characters, are well drawn. I can't quite put my finger on it, but despite including sex, violence and devious, murderous power plays, it still seems somehow to echo the gentle tones of Swarming of Bees. While this works well for a mystery set at a monastery, it lessens the impact of the dramatic events which shape Acha's life. This is just a personal response, and I'll be interested to see what you think.[/quote]

Thanks, Annis. I really liked the kindly atmosphere in Swarming of Bees. How that will translate to court politics remains to be seen, though it might be a very welcome contrast to some HF novels where the never-ending spite got me down. I'll come back and comment again when I've read the book.
PATHS OF EXILE - love, war, honour and betrayal in Anglo-Saxon Northumbria
Editor's Choice, Historical Novels Review, August 2009
Now available as e-book on Amazon Kindleand in Kindle, Epub (Nook, Sony Reader), Palm and other formats on Smashwords
Website: http://www.carlanayland.org
Blog: http://carlanayland.blogspot.com

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SonjaMarie
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Post by SonjaMarie » Tue May 6th, 2014, 2:54 am

April 2014 19
"The Parthenon Enigma" by Joan Breton Connelly (489pgs, 2014) (4/1) (K L)
"Full Dark House: A Bryant & May/Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery #1" by Christopher Fowler (368pgs, 2010) (4/2) (K L)
"I Wish I'd Been There: European History Book 2" ed by Bryon Hollinshed & Theodore K. Rabb (315pgs, 2008) (4/3)*
"Mysterious Death of Miss Jane Austen" by Lindsay Ashford (420pgs, 2011) (4/3) (K L)
"The Mad Sculptor: The Maniac, the Model, and the Murder that Shook the Nation" by Harold Schechter (350pgs, 2014) (4/10) (K)*
"Dinosaurs Without Bones: Dinosaur Lives Revealed by their Trace Fossils" by Anthony J. Martin (468pgs, 2014) (4/12) (K L)
"George III: America’s Last King" by Jeremy Black (472pgs, 2006) (4/18)*
"Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell Is This?" by Marion Meade (435pgs, 1989) (4/18)*
"Treasure Hunter: Diving for Gold on North America's Death Coast" by Robert MacKinnon & Dallas Murphy (336pgs, 2013) (4/18)
"One Book in the Grave: A Brooklyn Wainwright/A Bibliophile Mystery #5" by Kate Carlisle (280pgs, 2012) (4/19) (K L)
"To the Letter: A Celebration of the Lost Art of Letter Writing" by Simon Garfield (443pgs, 2013) (4/19) (K L)
"Confessions of a Courtesan" by Elizabeth Charles (aka Deborah Hale) (295pgs, 2011) (4/22) (K)* - Novel about Elizabeth Armistead
"London in the Eighteenth Century: A Great and Monstrous Thing" by Jerry White (584pgs, 2013) (4/24)*
"The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History" by Robert M. Edsel (567pgs, 2013) (4/25)
"The Great Pearl Heist: London's Greatest Thief and Scotland Yard's Hunt for the World's Most Valuable Necklace" by Molly Caldwell Crosby (265pgs, 2012) (4/30)
"Minding the Manor: The Memoir of a 1930s English Kitchen Maid" by Mollie Moran (360pgs, 2013) (4/30) (K L)
"Villains, Scoundrels, and Rogues: Incredible True Tales of Mischief and Mayhem" by Paul Martin (288pgs, 2014) (4/30) (K L)
Pages: 7446 - 391pgs aver. (3 BF, 7 Own (3 K), 9 K L)
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Original Join Date: Mar 2006
Previous Amount of Posts: 2,517
Books Read In 2014: 109 - June: 17 (May: 17)
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Carla
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Post by Carla » Wed September 10th, 2014, 5:44 pm

[quote=""Carla""]Thanks, Annis. I really liked the kindly atmosphere in Swarming of Bees. How that will translate to court politics remains to be seen, though it might be a very welcome contrast to some HF novels where the never-ending spite got me down. I'll come back and comment again when I've read the book.[/quote]

Annis - have finally got around to reviewing The Tribute Bride! Review posted on the forum here if you're interested.
PATHS OF EXILE - love, war, honour and betrayal in Anglo-Saxon Northumbria
Editor's Choice, Historical Novels Review, August 2009
Now available as e-book on Amazon Kindleand in Kindle, Epub (Nook, Sony Reader), Palm and other formats on Smashwords
Website: http://www.carlanayland.org
Blog: http://carlanayland.blogspot.com

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