Showing posts with label 2.5 Stars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2.5 Stars. Show all posts

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Historical Thursday - The Book of Madness and Cures

The Book of Madness and CuresThe Book of Madness and Cures
By: Regina O'Melveny
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 2.5 stars

Summary:
Dr. Gabriella Mondini has lost her father, not to death but to study. Her father left her family years ago and now she is going to look for him. A strong willed Venetian female physician in the 1590's the Dotoressa must face many challenges as she travels across Europe to find her father, however she might not be happy with what she discovers.

My Thoughts:

First off, HELLO FROM ROME! That's right, I am going to be in Italy for school for the next few weeks and to honor that, I will be posting a review that takes place in Italy.

How to begin, well to start with, I was really glad when I finished it. It took me a while to figure out why I really wasn't liking the book at all, I mean, it has everything I like. There is a strong willed woman who is breaking the barriers of her age, Renaissance, Italy - everything I like is there. So...why isn't it clicking for me? I think it was the prose of the novel, and the fact that it felt like she had written herself into a corner at one point and was just grabbing at anything to prolong the story and finally to finish it.

I did really like the relationship Gabriella had with her "servants." Yes they work for her but it feels like they are more of parents than servants and when **spoiler** (highlight to see it) one of them dies, well it nearly broke my heart...or at least it should have, I felt sad because I actually liked that character but I didn't fee the grief that I normally would in this scenario.  **spoiler done**

Overall, while it had a couple of good points I would say pass on this one, though as O'Melveny matures in her writing I would keep an eye on her, she has potential for some really good work.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Little, Brown and Company for giving me this book for review.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Misc. Monday Before the Scarlet Dawn

Before the Scarlet DawnBefore the Scarlet Dawn
by: Rita Gerlach
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 2.5 stars


Summary from Goodreads:
In 1775, Hayward Morgan, a young gentleman destined to inherit his father’s estate in Derbyshire, England, captures the heart of the local vicar’s daughter, Eliza Bloome. Her dark beauty and spirited ways are not enough to win him, due to her station in life. Circumstances throw Eliza in Hayward’s path, and they flee to America to escape the family conflicts and to build Hayward's legacy. But as war looms, it's a temporary reprieve. Hayward joins the revolutionary forces and what follows is a struggle for survival, a test of faith, and the quest to find lasting love in an unforgiving wilderness.


My Thoughts:
That plot looks exactly like my cup of tea doesn't it? Well it wasn't. This was a novel in which I lost my trust in the narrator and in the protagonist. Eliza seems to have the blind devotion to a man who really isn't the best choice for her.  (If I were to tell you why it would be a pretty big spoiler, even for me so you would just have to read it to see why.) It is this blind devotion which makes me question her as a character, if put in her same situation almost any other sane woman would definitely have reacted differently. She is also described as spirited in nature...I don't see it. She obeys her husband in all things some of which are of a questionable nature (once again read the book if you want to know what).  What redeemed it and kept me reading was the fact that it wasn't your typical marriage plot novel. It started with a wedding and then went to attempt to explore it from there. Also Fiona was a wonderful supporting character, she is everything anyone could want in a nanny.
Many thanks to Abingdon Press for giving me a free copy for review.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Historical Thursday - How Do I Love Thee?

How Do I Love Thee? (Ladies of History, book #4)How Do I Love Thee
By: Nancy Moser
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 2.5 stars

Summary From Goodreads:
She dreams of love for others but never for herself...
Elizabeth Barrett is a published poet--and a virtual prisoner in her own home. Blind family loyalty ties her to a tyrannical father who forbids any of his children to marry. Bedridden by chronic illness, she has resigned herself to simply existing. That is, until the letter arrives...
"I love your verses with all my heart," writes Robert Browning, an admiring fellow poet. As friendly correspondence gives way to something more, Elizabeth discovers that Robert's love is not for her poetry alone. Might God grant her more than mere existence? And will she risk defying her father in pursuit of true happiness?
My Thoughts:
To be honest, I read the first 200 pages or so but then skimmed the rest. I didn't like Ba. She was spineless and listened to others more than herself. Now I understand that this was a historical novel and we were sticking with facts here, but Moser could have at least given real reasons as to why Ba was so submissive to her father and why she was scared to go outside.  I thought this novel was going to focus more on the relationship between the two poets but it took so long to get going and was so slow, I asked myself several times why I was reading it.
Once the romantic part FINALLY started it was ok, but since most of that was letters written by the poets I am not giving all too much credit to the author.

I did like all of the sonnets included throughout and was appreciative of the historical facts in the back but overall, I was glad when I finally finished it and could put it down. It will be a very long time before I pick up a Moser novel again.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Historical Thursday

Here was a Man
by: Norah Lofts

Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 2.5 Stars

Summary from Goodreads:
In one of her earliest works, beloved author Norah Lofts brings us her riveting and romantic account of Sir Walter Raleigh and the court of Elizabeth I. Raleigh knew from the time he was a boy that his life would be exceptional. He dreams of someday exploring the New World he's heard about in snippets of sailors' stories on the docks of the fishing villages where he was raised; and his good fortune leads him to rise in the court of Elizabeth I, becoming a most trusted friend and advisor to the power players of the day.

This one was simply ok for me. I did enjoy reading more about Walter Raleigh, a man who no one in America really knows much about except perhaps his dropping his cloak so that the queen wouldn't get her feet wet.  Lofts fleshed him out into a real character made a man who was believeable and created an Elizabeth which balanced out the reports of her being loved by her people and yet being a tyrant to her court. I enjoyed how Lofts managed to make the dear Gloriana someone to be pitied in spite of her quick temper and swiftly brutal punishments. It was also enjoyable to see the great writers of the age with Shakespeare, Marlowe and Spencer all making appearances.

Why such a low rating you ask? I just found the novel hard to read. The plot was good as was her character developments but her sentence structure was confusing. I would have to go back and reread sentences to make sense of what she was saying. I feel that if she had her sentences polished up it would be an amazing novel.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Historical Thursday

Courting Morrow Little
by Laura Frantz

Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian
Rating: 2.5 Stars

Summary found on Goodreads:
Morrow Mary Little has bad memories of the day her mother and baby sister are brutally murdered at the hands of the Shawnee warriors, and her brother, Jess, was taken captive. All that is left of her family is her pa and herself. And her pa won’t go into the side of the dogtrot cabin that the murder occurred. He leaves the door shut, the damage undisturbed. 

Now a grown woman, Morrow’s pa is ailing, and men are vying for her attention. Morrow is torn over who to wed. But even more troublesome are the Shawnee man and his son who keeps coming by the cabin. At first, Morrow tries to avoid them, but the son keeps seeking her out. 

Can Morrow betray the memory of her lost loved ones by even allowing a friendship with him? And which man should she marry? 



This one was just ok for me as far as historical romances go. I like that it was in a time period not particularly gone over-yes it's the American Revolution but it's in Kentucky...you don't hear much about Kentucky when you think American Revolution because it was just a territory at the time, not a potential state. 


However, the characters seemed flat, and somewhat one dimensional and the religious aspect seemed somewhat forced to me.


The hero of the story, the controversial Red-Shirt is everything a young woman drools for. Strong, sensitive to a fault, loving, tender and yet very, very masculine. Those are fun characters to come across when you want fluff and that's exactly what this is. Fluff.   


So if interested in some nice summer reading where you don't have to think too much and want the "warm-fuzzies" this would most definitely be the book to turn to.