Friday, July 31, 2009

Echo in the Bone News

While reading a few posts over at CompuServe, there was a recent post from Diana Gabaldon. She has been in Scotland, attending functions, and feverishly writing the last section of the soon-to-be-released, long awaited Echo in the Bone. She sent the completed section to her editor and took two days to fly home. Upon her arrival, there was this message from her editor:

"I finished! Thrilling, shocking, surprising, brilliant! Bravo!"

Click here to go to Diana's original post. We have 51 more days to wait to read this thrilling, shocking, surprising, and brilliant book!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James

From the publisher:

"Many rumors abound about a mysterious gentleman said to be the love of Jane's life-- finally, the truth may have been found..."

From p. 1, The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James:

"A workman recently employed to repair the roof of the manor house, in an attempt to trap an errant family of mice, discovered an old seaman's chest bricked up behind a wall in a far corner of the immense, rambling attic. The chest, to the befuddlement of the entire work crew, was filled with what appeared to be old manuscripts..."

My thoughts on the book:

Written as a "true" account of a very private experience for Jane Austen, the reader is given a glimpse into the quiet world of Austen as she finds pleasure in simple family life and reading and writing her beloved novels. Syrie James was successful,I think, in capturing the voice and spirit of Jane Austen, and she was true to known historical facts in Austen's life. The places she lived, family members and events, and the details of her early writing efforts are documented facts and are included in this fictitious memoir. It is a bittersweet story of love and loss, as we all know it must end that way, but it is written in a way that is respectful of the author's integrity.

Given that Jane was a private person and kept her writings mostly for her family's amusement (novels were a new concept and were viewed with disdain), it is perfectly understandable that at some point she gave up on the idea of being a published author when her first efforts at publication resulted in rejection. She felt her works were incomplete and needed revisions.

Enter Mr. Ashford, a man who despite his wealth and status, comes to know and appreciate Jane for all her special qualities and completely supports her writing efforts. As Jane's relationship takes twists and turns, she experiences emotions which will bring new depth and energy to her writings, First Impressions and Sense and Sensibility.

A very good read, poignant with vintage charm, and would work well as a young adult novel -- if I was still in the literature classroom, this would definitely be in my class library. I am looking forward to reading her newest release, The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte.

Click here for the author's website and more information about her books. Be sure to visit the photo section that highlights the major places discussed in the book. Very interesting!

Title: The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen
Author: Syrie James
Publisher: HarperCollins
303 pages

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A heartfelt thank you!

The Humane Award is to honor certain bloggers that are kindhearted individuals. They regularly take part in my blog and always leave the sweetest comments. If it wasn't for them, my site would just be an ordinary book review blog. Their blogs are also amazing and are tastefully done on a daily basis. This award is to thank them for their growing friendships through the blog world.

I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to Bridget at Readaholic for the thoughtful award. Man, if you want to see what's going on in the world of giveaways in the blogosphere, check out her blog here:


In the spirit of sharing, I would like to pass this humane award to:

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming for being the first person to follow my blog. What a trooper! She is my Highlander romance expert! Go check out the great collection of reviews she has on highland romance and other great books here.

Jess at Barney's Book Blog - she's one of the first to check in on Monday mornings to get the reading week off to a good start! She's got some great books coming up on her blog -- check her blog out here.

Jaime at For The Love of All That is Written has a most interesting blog--you can visit it here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

1st GIVEAWAY - Vision in White by Nora Roberts

You are cordially invited to attend the first book giveaway sponsored by Joanne at Slice of Life book blog!

As a way to thank those who have become friends and followers from the very beginning of my blog a few months ago, and as a way to meet new friends and followers, I will be sending to a lucky winner the following lovely novel:

Vision in White by Nora Roberts

It is a contemporary romance and is the first in the Wedding Quartet series.

To participate in this first giveaway, please RSVP:

l. Become a follower of this book blog (Joanne-sliceoflife) for one entry in the contest. If you are already a follower, thank you! - just let me know in the comment section that you would like a chance to win.

***2. Leave a comment with the name of your blog so that I can return the favor and visit your blog. Make sure I have contact info. for you in case you are a winner!! (URL or e-mail). Please leave all comments under this post.

3. If you would be kind enough to mention this giveaway on your blog and provide a link, you'll have two extra chances to win! Let me know in the comment section that you have done this.

The contest is open to anyone who becomes a follower of this blog and I will mail the book anywhere. Contest winner will be announced on Friday, August 7, 2009.

Best of luck!

It's Monday! What are you reading?

What are you reading on Monday? is a weekly meme hosted by j.kaye's book blog where you post your books completed and books to read this week. You can find j.kaye here to participate.

This week's reading list:

The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James for the Everything Austen Challenge

The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

New posts for last week's reading:

A Fatal Waltz by Tasha Alexander

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

Have a great reading week!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Fatal Waltz by Tasha Alexander

Book description from the publisher:

"At her friend Ivy's behest, Lady Emily Ashton reluctantly agrees to attend a party at a sprawling English country estate of a man she finds odious.

But the despised Lord Fortescue is not to be her greatest problem

Kristiana von Lange, an Austrian countess once linked romantically with Emily's fiance', the debonair Colin Hargreaves, is a guest also. And a tedious evening turns deadly when their host is found murdered, and his protege', Robert Brandon--Ivy's husband--is arrested for the crime.

Determined to right a terrible wrong, Emily embarks on a quest that will lead her from London's glittering ballrooms to Vienna's sordid backstreets--and into a game of wits with a norotious anarchist. But putting Colin in deadly peril may be the price for exoneraing Robert--forcing the intrepid Emily to bargain with her nemesis, the Countess von Lange, for the life of her fiance'."

My thoughts:

A Fatal Waltz by Tasha Alexander is the third book in the Victorian-era mystery series centering around the love story and adventures of Lady Emily Ashton and Colin Hargreaves. I was very impressed wth the elegant writing style in And Only to Deceive and A Poisoned Season, and the third installment is a well-crafted story as well.

The plot takes Lady Ashton outside of London to Vienna...and while she has her share of meetings with European royalty and opulent balls, she plunges into the underground world of assassins, anarchists, and dangerous liasons that could have fatal consequences. It is necessary to suspend disbelief here and just go with the story, even though it seems highly improbable that would-be terrorists and assasins would meet an English woman who is investigating their covert operations.

The most intriguing conflict of the story is the interaction between the beautiful Kristiana, the Countess von Lange, who was Colin Hargreave's former love interest and Emily. She is a political confidante of her government and shares professional secrets with Colin -- and knows she has a power that Lady Ashton can never have. The tension and rivalry between the two women is a high-class cat fight -- it kept me turning the pages to see how this would all play out!

Another charming adventure from Tasha Alexander.

4 stars = very good, worth reading

Title: A Fatal Waltz
Author: Tasha Alexander
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
303 pages

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

Book description from the publisher:

"Harvard graduate student Connie Goodwin needs to spend her summer doing research for her doctoral dissertation. But when her mother asks her to handle the sale of Connie's grandmother's abandoned home near Salem, she can't refuse. As she is drawn deeper into the mysteries of the family house, Connie discovers an ancient key within a seventeenth century Bible. The key contains a yellowing fragment of parchment with a name written
upon it: Deliverance Dane. This discovery launches Connie on a quest --
to find out who this woman was and to unearth a rare artifact of singular
power: a physick book, its pages a secret repository for lost knowledge.

As the pieces of Deliverance's harrowing story begin to fall into place, Connie is haunted by visions of the long-ago witch trials, and she begins to fear that she is more tied to Salem's dark past than she could have ever imagined."

My thoughts:

Having read many reviews of this novel with widely differing opinions, I was anxious to read The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane to determine if both the high praise and criticisms were warranted. As usual, I found a comfortable place in the middle ground as there were several aspects of the book which were very interesting and enjoyable, and, like some books, it had its share of flaws.

Alternating the narrative between the modern day (1991) and interludes in the past (1681-late 1700's), the story opens as Connie Goodwin, a candidate for her doctoral degree program in history, must begin the process of determining the topic of her dissertation. Her advisor and mentor, Professor Chilton, insists that she must take a bold new direction in her research and find a unique primary source to explore. Revisiting the same, over-used archives of history just won't do for his protege'. He has ambitions for himself and for his student's career.

When Connie inherits the burden of getting her grandmother's run-down home in Marblehead cleaned and ready to be put on the market, a discovery leads her to the perfect path to explore for her studies...a key inside of a bible. Tucked inside the key is a tiny piece of parchment with the words Deliverance Dane. What is the significance of this artifact, and what is it doing in her grandmother's home?

The story moves very quickly and easily between the past and the present, and I was immediately drawn in. As Connie begins her quest through the archives, the reader is treated to a well-researched picture of the lives of healing women in the Puritan community.(Since the present day year is 1991, all of the searches are done without the use of the internet or technology.) The strength of the novel lies in the "interludes" or flashbacks to the lives of the women who are later accused of practicing witchcraft. The most compelling part of the story is Connie's efforts to learn the identity of Deliverance Dane, and also to solve the puzzle of the physick book: was it a journal, a book of home remedies, a grimoire....? Does it still exist? What if the women who were accused of withcraft actually did practice magic... or have paranormal powers?

The weaker part of the plot is in the developments which take place in the present. A romantic interest is introduced, and although the character plays a role in the ending, the relationship was uninteresting and uninspiring and I skimmed over these parts. The villain is easy to spot and the motive is fairly obvious, so breezing through these sections will get the reader to the heart of the story: the quest for the physick book, the contents, and its impact on several generations of New England women.

Katherine Howe's passion for history and her ability to paint a picture of the past made this book a worthwhile read and made up for any flaws in the modern day plot. Her Postscript, "Real Witches, Real Life" adds her own personal twist to the story, as she is a descendant of two women who were accused of witchcraft. Overall, an interesting read.

4 stars = very good; worth reading

Title: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane
Author: Katherine Howe
Publisher: Hyperion/NY
371 pages

Monday, July 20, 2009

Silent on the Moor by Deanna Raybourn

Book description from the publisher:

"In Grimsgrave Hall, enigmatic Nicholas Brisbane has inherited a ruined estate, replete with uncanny tenants and one unwanted houseguest: Lady Julia Grey.
Despite his admonitions to stay away, Lady Julia arrives in Yorkshire to find Brisbane as remote and maddeningly attractive as ever. Cloistered together, they share the moldering house with the proud but impoverished remnants of an ancient family: the sort that keeps their bloodline pure and their secrets close. Lady Allenby and her daughters, dependent upon Brisbane and devastated by their fall in society, seem adrift on the moor winds, powerless to change their fortunes. But poison does not discriminate between classes. A mystery unfolds from the rotten heart of Grimsgrave...."

My thoughts:

I couldn't wait to read the third and latest installment of the Lady Julia Grey Victorian-era romantic mystery, Silent on the Moor. Deanna Raybourn sets the stage in a crumbling mansion on the Yorkshire moors, and this time, Lady Julia is determined to confront Nicholas Brisbane and settle the question of their personal relationship once and for all -- do they have a future together as equal partners, or will they allow the societal constraints of their time to keep them apart? Their relationship, maddeningly, has been "two steps forward and ten steps backward" in the previous two books, so I was absolutely expecting a resolution to this matter, one way or the other.

Along with the problem of sorting through the difficulties of their personal relatiosnship, Lady Julia and Brisbane become involved in another deadly mystery...someone wants Brisbane dead, and any one of the strange inhabitants of Grimsgrave could be the culprit. Julia makes a horrifying discovery while attempting to help Brisbane set things to order in the house, and together they uncover a wicked Allenby family secret.

This was such a great read, and I'm completely satisfied with the conclusion of this book. Brisbane was finally able to approach Lady Julia as an equal, and in their world, it was an absolute necessity that they be on equal ground. I was laughing and crying at the end, and for me, it just doesn't get any better than that! I highly recommend this series by Deanna Raybourn to anyone who enjoys a mix of elements in their reading -- there is a nice blend of period details, mystery and suspense, romantic tension, humor, atmospheric settings, and nods to many of the'll see subtle references to Poe, the Brontes, and all of her chapters begin with a Shakespearean quote. A real treat!

Title: Silent on the Moor
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Publisher: MIRA books
465 pages

5 stars = Loved it! Highly recommended

It's Monday! What are you reading?

What are you reading on Mondays? is a weekly meme sponsored by j.kaye-book blog -- you can find her here.

On deck for this week:

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

A Fatal Waltz by Tasha Alexander

Here is a little sneak peek of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane:

I will also be posting my thoughts about Deanna Raybourn's Silent on the Moor soon.

Have a great week!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati

Book description from the publisher:

"Weaving a tapestry of fact and fiction, Sara Donati's epic novel sweeps us into another time and place...and into a breathtaking story of love and survival in a land of savage beauty.

It is December of 1792. Elizabeth Middleton leaves her comfortable English estate to join her family in a remote New York mountain village. It is a place unlike any she has ever experienced. And she meets a man unlike any she has ever encountered -- a white man dressed like a Native American: Nathaniel Bonner, known to the Mohawk people as Between-Two-Lives. Determined to provide schooling for all the children of the village, Elizabeth soon finds herself locked in conflict with the local slave owners as well as with her own family. Interweaving the fate of the Mohawk Nation with the destiny of two lovers, Sara Donati's compelling novel creates a complex, profound, passionate portrait of an emerging America."

My thoughts:

I love big, fat historical sagas and Into the Wilderness transports the reader to the beauty and wilderness of America in 1792. Sara Donati's story includes characters from The Last of the Mohicans, and Outlander fans will find cameo appearances of some beloved characters, as well. She writes in a very straightforward style, easily blending historical details and the struggles of the relationship between two people from very different worlds. It is interesting that Donati chose to make her heroine an older woman (Elizabeth is 29 years old at the start of the novel), but she sometimes comes across as a much younger girl. However, she is an indepedent person with a committment to her ideals and right from the start establishes her own identity. There is obvious opposition to the relationship between Elizabeth and Nathaniel, and you can't help but cheer them on in the face of prejudice and adversity.

A very enjoyable read, but there is a point I would like to make: there are many reviews and references that compare Diana Gabaldon's writing to this novel. While Gabaldon is quoted on the cover and her characters do have a small part in the story, there really is no comparison. Diana's writing is much more complex and multi-layered with elements of many different genres; Sara Donati's writing is well researched and she is a talented storyteller, but the two styles are distinctly different. A good read for those who enjoy early American history.


Title: Into the Wilderness
Author: Sara Donati
Publisher: Bantam Dell
876 pages
genre: historical fiction

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Daphne du Maurier reads from Frenchman's Creek

Daphne du Maurier has been a favorite author of mine for many years. As a young girl, I was fascinated with all things England and loved all of du Maurier's work. I'll never forget the thrill of my first reading of Rebecca, and how I cringed along with the new Mrs. de Winter everytime she experienced references to her husband's former wife. The House on the Strand was probably one of the first books that I read that had a time travel element to it, and I was swept away to another era of castles and m'lords and ladies. And who doesn't love a good pirate tale? Frenchman's Creek and Jamaica Inn satisfied my hankering for a good smuggler's adventure.

I am so happy to discover the new releases by Sourcebooks Landmark of some of Daphne du Maurier's work in beautiful paperback editions. They are gorgeous, and I can't wait to add them to my library collection.

While searching for information about Mrs. du Maurier, I came across this video of the author reading an excerpt from Frenchman's Creek. It is mesmerizing to hear the beauty of the language in her own voice. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Silent in the Sanctuary by Deanna Raybourn

Book Description:

"Fresh from a six month sojourn in Italy, Lady Julia
returns home to Sussex to find her father's estate crowded with family
and friends. Much to her surprise, the one man she had hoped to
forget--the enigmatic and compelling Nicholas Brisbane--
is among her father's
houseguests....and he is not alone. Not
to be outdone, Julia shows him that two can play at flirtation
and promptly introduces him to her devoted, younger titled Italian count.

But the homecoming celebrations quickly takes a ghastly turn
when one of the guests is found brutally murdered in the chapel.
Lady Julia resumes her unlikely and deliciously intriguing
partnership with Nicholas Brisbane, setting out to unravel a
tangle of deceit before the killer can strike again."

My thoughts:

Another delightful mix of mystery, romantic tension, quirky characters, and gothic story elements with a nod to Poe, the Brontes, and Austen from Deanna Raybourn. Right from the start, I was hooked when the eccentric March family and their guests assemble at the ancient family seat, Bellmont Abbey, to celebrate Christmas. As the weather turns frigid and freezes everyone inside, things start to heat up inside the abbey with the friction between Lady Julia and the dark, tortured-soul Nicholas Brisbane. When a parlor game goes dreadfully wrong and a guest is found murdered in the chapel, Brisbane (an inspector) and Lady Julia pair up again to match wits and solve a series of eerie events: ghostly figures in passageways, missing jewelry, drugged guests, and of course, the murder in the chapel. Raybourn writes a fast paced, highly entertaining mystery with crackling physical tension and some very witty scenes. (The relationship between Julia and her reluctant, sarcastic personal maid is a riot -- and you won't believe who an eccentric old aunt shows up with to dinner!) I love the way Lady Julia, who was bewildered and overwhelmed by widowhood and societal constraints in the first book, is emerging as a stronger, more confident individual who goes after what she wants. I'm going straight to book three, Silent on the Moor!

Title: Silent in the Sanctuary
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Publisher: MIRA
484 pages


Sunday, July 12, 2009

It's Monday! What are you reading?

What are you reading on Mondays? is a weekly meme sponsored by j.kaye-book blog -- you can find her here.

I'm just about to wrap up with Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati and Silent in the Sanctuary by Deanna Raybourn this week. Both have been great reads so far, and I'll be posting my thoughts on them soon.

Next in line is the third book in the Lady Emily Ashton Victorian mystery series, A Fatal Waltz by Tasha Alexander.

I also have two historical romance novels by Lisa Kleypas ready to read -- here's a little sneak preview for both books.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Language of the Fan

A few years ago, my mother gave me a beautiful hand-painted fan with an ivory handle and tassel which dates back to the late 1800's. It had been in her father's family and was brought to the U.S. from Spain when my grandfather immigrated to New Orleans at the turn of the century. It is a treasure from the past, and I often wonder who may have used this lovely fan (his mother? a sister?) and how pretty she must have looked with this accessory, especially if she was wearing a lace mantilla. In researching Victorian courtship etiquette for creative writing that I enjoy, I came across the charming language of the fan -- a secret and subtle way for ladies and gentlemen to communicate with each other when in public. I wonder if the owner of my fan ever placed it over her heart or let the fan touch her right cheek?

The Language of the Fan:

A closed fan touching the right eye: "When may I be allowed to see you?"
The fan placed near the heart: "You have won my love"
The number of sticks shown answered the question: "At what hour?"
Threatening movements with a fan closed: "Do not be so imprudent"
Half-opened fan pressed to the lips: "You may kiss me"
Hands clasped together holding an open fan: "Forgive me"
Covering the left ear with an open fan: "Do not betray our secret"
Hiding the eyes behind an open fan: "I love you"
Shutting a fully opened fan slowly: "I promise to marry you"
Drawing the fan across the eyes: "I am sorry"
Touching the finger to the tip of the fan: "I wish to speak with you"
Letting the fan rest on the right cheek: "Yes"
Letting the fan rest on the left cheek: "No"
Opening and closing the fan several times: "You are cruel"
Dropping the fan: "We will be friends"
Fanning slowly: "I am married"
Fanning quickly: "I am engaged"
Putting the fan handle to the lips: "Kiss me"
Opening a fan wide: "Wait for me"
Placing the fan behind the head: "Do not forget me"
Placing the fan behind the head with finger extended: "Goodbye"
Fan in right hand in front of face: "Follow me"
Fan in left hand in front of face: "I am desirous of your acquaintance"
Fan held over left ear: "I wish to get rid of you"
Drawing the fan across the forehead: "You have changed"
Twirling the fan in the left hand: "We are being watched"
Twirling the fan I the right hand: "I love another"
Carrying the open fan in the right hand: "You are too willing"
Carrying the open fan in the left hand: "Come and talk to me"
Drawing the fan through the hand: "I hate you!"
Drawing the fan across the cheek: "I love you!"
Presenting the fan shut: "Do you love me?"
This list was compiled by Micki Gaffney

A Poisoned Season by Tasha Alexander

"London's social season is in full swing, and Victorian aristocracy can't stop whispering about a certain gentleman who claims to be the direct descendant of Louis XVI and Marie Antionette. But he's not the only topic of wagging tongues. Drawing rooms, boudoirs, and ballrooms are abuzz with the latest news of an audacious cat burglar who has been systematically stealing valuable items that once belonged to the ill-fated queen.
Light gossip turns serious when the owner of one of the pilfered
treasures is found murdered, and the mysterious thief develops
a twisted obsession with Lady Emily Ashton. It will take all of
Emily's wit and perseverance to unmask her stalker and ferret
out the murderer, while faced with a brewing scandal that
threatens both her reputation and her romance with her late
husband's best friend, the dashing Colin Hargreaves."

My thoughts:

Tasha Alexander's second novel featuring the independent Lady Emily Ashton was a treat! She expertly weaves multiple mystery storylines into a seamless plot in A Poisoned Season while entertaining the reader with the fascinating details of the Victorian London social season: high society dinners and dances, balls, the opera, high teas, parading through Hyde Park in carriages, and designer fashions. What's not to love? It is a faster paced plot than her debut novel (And Only to Deceive) and is a compelling, multi-faceted mystery.The reader is kept guessing as we attempt to piece together the puzzle: Who is the cat burglar targeting aristocrats with French treasures? Who is respsonsible for the murder of a prominent London gentleman? Who is Emily's anonymous admirer...and later threatening her life? Has a true descendant of King Louis XVI come forward to claim his rightful title in France? As the saga continues, Colin Hargreaves and Lady Emily, in true Victorian style, keep their obvious attraction to each other in check, and you can cut the physical tension between them with a knife. He's smart enough to give Emily the room she needs to be independent and pursue her intellectual interests while courting her in a way that will make Emily (free spirited and not ready for remarriage) want to change her mind. Surprises all around at the end, with lots of promise for things to come.

I enjoyed this past faced story from start to finish. Tasha Alexander has a very charming and elegant writing style that I admire, and I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series, A Fatal Waltz.


Title: A Poisoned Season
Author: Tasha Alexander
Published: 2007
HarperCollins Publisher
306 pages

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

2009 RITA Awards Coming Soon

On July 18, 2009, the prestigious RITA awards will be announced in Washington, D.C. at the Romance Writers of America Annual Conference. There are twelve categories for this award ranging from historical romance, best first book, romantic suspense, and young adult. It might be interesting to see if any of your favorite novels published in 2008 or your favorite romance writer has been nominated. Click here to view all the categories, authors, and novels that have been nominated. If you are looking for some good books to add to your TBR pile, click here for a list of past RITA award winning authors and novels.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Now Face to Face by Karleen Koen

Book description:

"A bride at fifteen, widowed at the tender age of twenty, Barbara,
Countess Devane, embarks for colonial Virginia financially ruined
by the death of her husband in scandalous circumstances. Dressed in
mourning as is proper for a woman, she is patronizingly described
as a fragile black butterfly, but the fragility is deceiving. She
makes a place for herself in the new world, takes lovers and friends
across political divides, and questions the established traditions of
slavery. Facing enemies she never suspected, she must return to
England and deal face to face with the problems created by her
husband, who haunts her even in death. Back in London, she quickly
finds herself pulled into Jacobite plotting, and the treachery of
powerful men suddenly threatens her family, her friends, and a new love..."

My thoughts:

Now Face to Face, unfortunately, turned out to be a very disappointing sequel to Through A Glass Darkly. To be honest, there was entirely too much backstory to slog through which kept the plot from moving forward. Barbara, the Countess Devane, travels to colonial Virginia (after the death of her husband and subsequent financial ruin) to oversee her grandmother's tobacco plantation. After being introduced to a cast a ho-hum characters in Virginia (the exception being Colonel Edward Perry - a very fine gentleman and true friend) and plodding through several hundred pages, Barbara again suffers a heartbreaking loss -- will there be no end to the tragedy in her life? Meanwhile, back in England, divisions run deep as to which of two men, rival cousins, has the right to wear the crown of England. Again, the reader is subjected to hundreds of pages of backstory which keeps the plot stalled. It isn't until page 512 (in 721 pages) that we get even a glimmer of what we experienced in Through A Glass Darkly.....Barbara's return to England to "face" (hence the title) the problems associated with the heavy fine on her husband's estate for his part in the South Sea investment fiasco, as well as to "face" the tangled web of events at court. Diana, Barbara's mother, is as despicable as ever, even as age and debauchery are catching up with her; the Duchess of Tamworth is still iron-willed as ever and fiercely devoted to her grandchildren, and we learn of Jane's fate, Barbara's dear childhood friend. But, alas, it is all not enough to make up for the fact that we just don't have a true sense of what life will hold for Barbara ; there are some clues, but you're not left with a sense of closure for her. The ending is disjointed, at best. Very disappointing -- if there is another book to continue the saga, I'm afraid I've invested enough time and not gotten enough in return.


Favorite Period Dramas

Mount TBR

Joanne's to-read book montage

On a Highland Shore
A Light on the Veranda
The Queen's Vow: A Novel Of Isabella Of Castile
The Edwardians
Maisie Dobbs
Howards End
Lady's Maid
Instruments Of Darkness
When Maidens Mourn
Where Shadows Dance
What Remains of Heaven
Where Serpents Sleep
Why Mermaids Sing
When Gods Die
Before Ever After
The Sugar Queen
Garden Spells
After the Night

Joanne's favorite books »