Showing posts from April, 2022

Monk's Hood (Cadfael Chronicles Book 3) by Ellis Peters

Publication Date:  January 1, 1996 Length: 287 pages This is my third book to read in the Cadfael Chronicles. I remember coming across these books many times and not being very interested in trying them. I'm not sure exactly why except that I thought the time period was too unfamiliar to me then. After getting to know the 1100's a little better through other sources I am now hooked on her series! It's a little like reading Victorian Anne Perry novels but set in the middle ages: a great mystery, with a compelling main character, history, and wonderfully clever dialogue. What's not to love about that? Also, the font on the cover of the books is so beautiful. That is a really lame reason but if I'm being honest, it's a great visual draw to her books.  The story begins in 1138 during the period in England known as The Anarchy. King Stephen and Empress Matilda are at war with each other although at this time Shrewsbury is fairly quiet. Cadfael is a middle aged monk w

Uneasy Lies the Crown: A Novel of Owain Glyndwr by N. Gemini Sasson

Publication Date: November 1, 2012 Length: 434 pages This book appealed to me because it concerns an area I know almost nothing about: Wales. And I certainly had no working knowledge of Medieval Wales. Studying Owain Glyndwr is probably standard history coursework if you are an English or Welsh child but I doubt here in America the average person could even find Wales on a map. So this book really intrigued me. Sasson has written several books on more obscure figures (Robert the Bruce, Queen Isabella) and I admire that willingness to take on lesser known subjects. This story also coincides with a time period in England that I find intriguing....the rise of Henry Bolingbroke and the involvement of the Percy family, specifically Henry Hotspur, the English knight.  The story begins in the late 1300's with the birth and childhood of Owain Glyndwr, a Welsh son of a nobleman who traces his lineage to the great princes of Wales. Owain is happy and thriving with his family and expects to l

Of Lands High and Low by Martha Keyes

  Publication Date: October 17, 2020 Length: 322 pages This is my second book to read by Martha Keyes. I stumbled across her books when I was looking for something to read between Outlander books. I wanted a book set in Scotland with a bit of romance and mystery to tide me over. Her books are easy to read and enjoyable if you are looking for a break from the 1,000 page novel.  Even though the characters aren't as fleshed out as those in a longer epic I found them to be quite good. The storylines are unusual and original and in this one I learned quite a bit about smallpox before vaccination was available. She also does a great job with local dialect and making the characters seem authentic to their time and location. This story is set in Scotland in 1794. Doctor Graeme MacNeill is a Highlander who has returned to the Lowlands to settle things with his estate, Pitcairlie House, recently inherited by him on the death of his Uncle David. He'd never expected to acquire it because u

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

  Publication Date: June 30, 1936 Length: 1,037 pages My favorite novel.....and always will be! There is no other like it. It is a masterpiece. The first time I read Gone With the Wind I was twelve years old. I honestly didn't understand much of it but I remember being determined to finish it anyway. The movie had made a huge impression on me since the age of eight and I knew the main characters and events enough that it made me want to try to attempt to read it. A few years later at the ripe old age of eighteen I tried again. This time I was able to fully appreciate the story. I remember being surprised at how much of the book was not included in the movie and how much richer the characters seemed. I also learned more about the Civil War from the Southern perspective and previously couldn't have cared less about it. As a child the descriptions of the gowns and parties, plantation homes, interactions between husbands and wives, and their children stuck with me in a way few book