Category Archives: Austen

Pride & Prejudice 200th Anniversary Party Hop

In honor of the 200th Anniversary of Pride and Prejudice, Alyssa Goodnight and Courtney Webb from Stiletto Storytime are hosting a blog hop to commemorate it with our Austenesque memories and whatever else we can come up with! I signed up late for this one (last night!), and I realized that I had lots going on today on the blog, but I still wanted to share the love and help fellow lovers of Jane Austen celebrate the anniversary.

Everyone knows how Jane Austen’s writings eventually became so influential and inspiring to many of her readers, and my fellow bloggers included! I actually have one and a half Austen reads under my belt, and that is Pride and Prejudice and Sanditon. I have seen several of the Austen movies, however, and the Masterpiece Special of Emma is my absolute favorite. Next up would be Persuasion, then the Northanger Abbey movies. I had bought the boxed set from BBC which has all of the BBC versions of the books, and I couldn’t get through some of them, but I haven’t tried very hard though. And Austen’s last unfinished work, Sanditon, was a bit of a disappointment to me as well!

But for me (horrors!), it is not the famous FitzWilliam Darcy that makes me swoon and go goggly eyed. It’s Captain Frederick Wentworth – quite specifically of the 2007 drama of Persuasion.

Rupert Penry Jones and Sally Hawkins as Capt. Wentworth and Anne Elliot

I still need to actually read Persuasion. But I can watch that movie a zillion times over, thank you. I think I should make myself a simple bookmark that says ‘Captain Wentworth’, then I can secretly smile as I think of him.. and me… I wonder if I can play Anne Elliot as well as Sally Hawkins..

EDIT TO ADD: I am cultivating my own mini Captain Wentworth!! It wasn’t until I saw that precious lock of hair on the forehead… and it hit me.. ! My little man’s once aggravating hairstyle was MEANT TO BE!!!!

There are TONS of Austenesque sequels out there, and they have been a delight to read! The last Austen-inspired novel I read was The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen by Syrie James and that is a favorite read of Austenesque drama. I still need to read James’ other Austen book, The Last Memoirs of Jane Austen and that is promising to be a good one as well. That’s been on my shelf for several years waiting for that special day.

Another one I would recommend is Jane Austen Made Me Do It, which is a collection of Austenesque stories edited by Austen Blogger Extraordinaire, Laurel Ann Nattress of Austenprose.

Other authors I have read and enjoyed are Monica Fairview, Judith Brockmole, Abigail Reynolds, Amanda Grange and Jack Caldwell. There are many others on my shelf, just waiting to be read! Isn’t it amazing how one author was able to inspire so much creativity, two hundred years later? What’s your favorite Austen inspired sequel? Anyone that I absolutely MUST read?

Follow along the Twitter Fun with the hashtag #PP200

I had a few minutes to put this post together, but there are many other participants in the blog hop with some great Austen inspired posts, you can visit them here.

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GIVEAWAY & GRAND TOUR! JANE AUSTEN MADE ME DO IT Guest Post by Laurel Ann Nattress

Please welcome to the Burton Book Review author of Jane Austen Made Me Do It, Laurel Ann Nattress! I read and reviewed it last month and really enjoyed these Austenesque stories. See below for how to enter for your chance to win this book.

Jane Austen Made Me Do It: Original stories Inspired by Literature’s Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart edited by Laurel Ann Nattress

Ballantine October 11, 2011
Hi Marie, it is such a pleasure to be here at The Burton Book Review during my Grand Tour of the blogosphere in celebration of the release of my new Austen-inspired anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It. I know that you are very fond of Austenesque fiction, so I thought I would talk today about how Jane Austen has influenced authors over the centuries and has inspired a whole new book genre.
When Jane Austen was writing her novels in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, they were written at contemporary pieces. It is amazing to look back at them two hundred years later. They seem timeless. Her themes of financial struggles, social mobility, and romance are still fresh and relevant today, and her characters are so finely drawn and realistic that it makes us realize that human nature has not much changed either. Who among us can deny meeting some of her most famous archetypical personality in our lives? Perhaps an odious Mr. Collins from Pride and Prejudice was that blind date from hell, or a self-serving Fanny Dashwood type from Sense and Sensibility has permeated your work place, or, some of life’s first lessons made you feel a bit impressionable like young Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey? Some of us are even lucky enough to claim to have met a Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, and others even luckier to have married one!
Being lost in a Jane Austen’s world is such a pleasure. Unfortunately she only completed six full novels and one novella in her short lifetime. It is just not enough to satisfy her readers. In the 1830’s Jane Austen’s niece, Anna Austen Lefroy, was the first family member to take up the banner and write a completion of Sanditon, Jane’s last and unfinished novel. She could not complete it either. Next was another niece, Catherine-Anne Hubback, who wrote The Younger Sister in the 1850’s. Borrowing heavily from her aunt’s other unfinished fragment, The Watsons, it is the first completion of a Jane Austen novel. Over fifty years later in 1913, the novel Old Friends and New Fancies, by Sybil G. Brinton would be the first Austen sequel in print. A clever amalgamation of characters from each of Austen’s novels worked into Brinton’s own unique plot, one could say that it was the first Austen “mash-up,” published close to a century before Pride and Prejudice and Zombies would make the bestseller lists in 2009.
Now there are hundreds of novels in the Austenesque genre continuing, retelling, and inspired by Jane Austen’s original stories, characters and philosophies on life and love. Twenty-four authors have contributed stories to the genre in my new anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It. The depth of their experience ranges from veteran bestselling literary fiction author to debut new voice. The list contains many recognizable in the Austenesque genre and a few surprises too:
Pamela Aidan • Elizabeth Aston • Brenna Aubrey • Stephanie Barron • Carrie Bebris • Jo Beverley • Diana Birchall • Frank Delaney & Diane Meier • Monica Fairview • Amanda Grange • Syrie James • Janet Mullany • Jane Odiwe • Beth Pattillo • Alexandra Potter • Myretta Robens •   Jane Rubino & Caitlen Rubino Bradway • Maya Slater • Margaret Sullivan • Adriana Trigiani • Laurie Viera Rigler • Lauren Willig
From Regency to contemporary to romantic to fantastical, each of the stories in Jane Austen Made Me Do It draws from the authors unique and personal influence that Austen had on their writing in a new and exciting way. I hope readers will enjoy reading it as much as I had editing it.
Cheers, Laurel Ann
Editor bio: A life-long acolyte of Jane Austen, Laurel Ann Nattress is the author/editor of Austenprose.com a blog devoted to the oeuvre of her favorite author and the many books and movies that she has inspired. She is a life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, a regular contributor to the PBS blog Remotely Connected and the Jane Austen Centre online magazine. An expatriate of southern California, Laurel Ann lives in a country cottage near Snohomish, Washington. Visit Laurel Ann at her blogs Austenprose.com and JaneAustenMadeMeDoIt.com, on Twitter as @Austenprose, and on Facebook as Laurel Ann Nattress.
Jane Austen Made Me Do It: Original Stories Inspired by Literature’s Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress. (Ballantine Books • ISBN: 978-0345524966)
Giveaway of Jane Austen Made Me Do It:
Enter a chance to win one copy of Jane Austen Made Me Do It by leaving a comment by 11/12/11, stating what intrigues you about reading an Austen-inspired short story anthology. Winners to be drawn at random and open to followers with US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck to all!

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Filed under 2011 Releases, Austen, Author Post, Regency

>Mailbox Monday Treasures

>Please don't steal my images!Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme that is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. We share what books that we found in our mailboxes last week. And I am adding what I purchased, swapped, etc.

Warning:
 Exploring Mailbox Mondays across the blogosphere will lead to toppling wishlists and to-be-read-piles! But it’s the thrill of the chase that counts!

This is a little long because I didn’t do a Mailbox Monday last weekm instead I read close to three books!

And it always helps to have a friend who likes to give away books. She is entirely truely generously awesome. Thank you! She sent me books that have been languishing on my wishlist and almost forgotten about:

Jane Boleyn by Julia Fox (PERFECT for the Tudor Mania Challenge!)
In a life of extraordinary drama, Jane Boleyn was catapulted from the obscurity of the Essex countryside to the forefront of Henry VIII’s spectacular court. Born Jane Rochford in about 1505, this daughter of an aristocratic family became lady in waiting to not just one, but five of Henry’s wives. Always at the center of court life and intrigue, Jane attended the parties, the masque balls, and the jousts, and participated in the royal births, the weddings, funerals and personal drama that swirled around the King, his wives and courtiers. What makes Jane Boleyn so unique is that she was a survivor. As Henry’s wives rose and then fell, taking so many down with them, Jane stayed on. Her story gives readers an amazing on-going view of the personal toll that Henry’s long and ruthlessly violent reign took on the people closest to him.

Doomed Queens by Kris Waldherr
Marie Antoinette, Anne Boleyn, and Mary, Queen of Scots. What did they have in common? For a while they were crowned in gold, cosseted in silk, and flattered by courtiers. But in the end, they spent long nights in dark prison towers and were marched to the scaffold where they surrendered their heads to the executioner. And they are hardly alone in their undignified demises. Throughout history, royal women have had a distressing way of meeting bad ends–dying of starvation, being burned at the stake, or expiring in childbirth while trying desperately to produce an heir. They always had to be on their toes and all too often even devious plotting, miraculous pregnancies, and selling out their sisters was not enough to keep them from forcible consignment to religious orders. From Cleopatra (suicide by asp), to Princess Caroline (suspiciously poisoned on her coronation day), there’s a gory downside to being blue-blooded when you lack a Y chromosome. Kris Waldherr’s elegant little book is a chronicle of the trials and tribulations of queens across the ages, a quirky, funny, utterly macabre tribute to the dark side of female empowerment. Over the course of fifty irresistibly illustrated and too-brief lives, Doomed Queens charts centuries of regal backstabbing and intrigue. We meet well-known figures like Catherine of Aragon, whose happy marriage to Henry VIII ended prematurely when it became clear that she was a starter wife–the first of six. And we meet forgotten queens like Amalasuntha, the notoriously literate Ostrogoth princess who overreached politically and was strangled in her bath.While their ends were bleak, these queens did not die without purpose. Their unfortunate lives are colorful cautionary tales for today’s would-be power brokers–a legacy of worldly and womanly wisdom gathered one spectacular regal ruin at a time.

The Sisters of Henry VIII by Maria Perry
A highly detailed history of intricate dynastic political tangles among England, Scotland, and their European neighbors during the 16th century. English actress, journalist, and historian Perry transports readers to a far-off time as she acquaints us with Henry VIII’s lesser-known relatives. The author delves deeply into contemporary sources from an age when royal marriages played a dominant role in the art of politics. She captures the pageantry of power politics in a time when nobility competed with lavish displays of great wealth and conspicuous consumption that in itself suggested power and prestige among the royal houses of Europe. Margaret Tudor, Henry’s elder sister, was widowed when James IV of Scotland died attacking the English at Flodden Field, a Scottish disaster. She later married a Douglas, Lord Angus, an enemy of the volatile Scottish ruling clans, causing herself much angst while fleeing danger with her two sons, potential heirs to the English throne. After a life of turmoil in near-anarchic Scotland, she is remembered as the grandmother of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, and great-grandmother of James VI of Scotland, who became James I of England. Mary Tudor, Henry’s younger sister, married the aged Louis XII of France, became a widow shortly thereafter, then wed the duke of Suffolk, producing more pretenders to the throne. Henry’s marriage to Anne Boleyn divided the country as many admired the devout, rejected Katharine of Aragon. Thankfully, the book includes a “House of Tudor” chart that will help general readers sort out the crowded cast of characters who shaped many of the leading events of the age. Perry’s insightful account of the king’s sisters and their timesmight well provide currently Tudor-infatuated Hollywood with a good source for future movies and miniseries.~Kirkus Reviews

The First Princess of Wales by Karen Harper
The daughter of a disgraced earl, she matched wits with a prince.

It is the fourteenth century, the height of the Medieval Age, and at the court of King Edward III of England, chivalry is loudly praised while treachery runs rampant. When the lovely and high-spirited Joan of Kent is sent to this politically charged court, she is woefully unprepared for the underhanded maneuverings of her peers.


Determined to increase the breadth of his rule, the king will use any means necessary to gain control of France—including manipulating his own son, Edward, Prince of Wales. Joan plots to become involved with the prince to scandalize the royal family, for she has learned they engineered her father’s downfall and death. But what begins as a calculated strategy soon—to Joan’s surprise—grows into love. When Joan learns that Edward returns her feelings, she is soon fighting her own, for how can she love the man that ruined her family? And, if she does, what will be the cost?
Filled with scandal, court intrigue, and prominent figures of the Medieval Age, The First Princess of Wales has at its center a wonderful love story, which is all the more remarkable because it is true. Karen Harper’s compelling, fast-paced novel tells the riveting tale of an innocent girl who marries a prince and gives birth to a king.

The Perfect Royal Mistress by Diane Haeger
Born into poverty and raised in a brothel, Nell Gwynne sells oranges in the pit at London’s King’s Theater, newly reopened after the plague and the Great Fire devastated the city. Soon, her quick sense of humor and natural charm get her noticed by those who have the means to make her life easier. But the street-smart Nell knows a woman doesn’t get ahead by selling her body. Through talent, charm, intelligence, and sheer determination—as well as a keen understanding of how the world operates—Nell works her way out of the pit and onto the stage to become the leading comedic actress of the day. Her skills and beauty quickly win the attention of all of London—eventually even catching the eye of King Charles II. Their attraction is as real as it is unlikely, and the scrappy orange girl with the pretty face and the quick wit soon finds herself plunged into the confusing and dangerous world of the court, where she learns there are few she can trust—and many whom she cannot turn her back on.
From the gritty streets of seventeenth-century London, to the backstage glamour of its theaters, to the glittering court of Charles II, The Perfect Royal Mistress is a love story for the ages, the rags-to-riches tale of a truly remarkable heroine.

And a goodie, a memoir by a faved childhood author Beverly Cleary: A Girl from Yamhill (Bev is 94 years young! Generations of children have grown up with Henry Huggins, Ramona Quimby, and all of their friends, families, and assorted pets. For everyone who has enjoyed the pranks and schemes, embarrassing moments, and all of the other poignant and colorful images of childhood brought to life in Beverly Cleary books, here is the fascinating true story of the remarkable woman who created them.
I ordered myself some goodies from The Book Depository in the UK, which was just in time since they are now out of the stock of them:

The Sun in Splendour by Jean Plaidy
Reckoned by those about him to be the most handsome man in the country, Edward the fourth has risen to the throne with the help of Warwick, the kingmaker. But even Warwick’s trusted advice cannot convince the King to ignore his passion for the beautiful widow, Elizabeth Woodville – and when she refuses to become his mistress the two are married.

Lords of the White Castle by Elizabeth Chadwick
Based on a remarkable true story of honour, treachery and love spanning the turbulent reigns of four great Mediaeval kings. Award-winning author Elizabeth Chadwick brings the thirteenth century vividly to life in the tale of Fulke FitzWarin. From inexperienced young courtier to powerful Marcher lord, from loyal knight to dangerous outlaw, from lover of many women to faithful husband, Fulke’s life story bursts across the page in authentic detail. A violent quarrel with Prince John, later King John, disrupts Fulke’s life ambition to become ‘Lord of the White Castle’ and leads him to rebel. There are perils for John at every turn. No less dramatic is the dangerous love that Fulke harbours for Maude Walter, a wealthy widow whom John wants for himself. Negotiating a maze of deceit, treachery and shifting political alliances Fulke’s striving is rewarded, but success is precarious. Personal tragedy follows the turbulence of the Magna Carta rebellion, culminating in the destruction of everything for which Fulke has fought. Yet even among the ashes he finds a reason to begin anew.

Paperbackswap:

The Last Days of Henry VIII by Robert Hutchinson
blazing narrative history that boldly captures the end of England’s most despotic ruler and his court — a time of murderous conspiracies, terrifying betrayals, and sordid intrigue Henry VIII’s crimes against his wives are well documented and have become historical lore. But much less attention has been paid to his monarchy, especially the closing years of his reign. Rich with information including details from new archival material and written with the nail-biting suspense of a modern thriller, “The Last Days of Henry VIII” offers a superb fresh look at this fascinating figure and new insight into an intriguing chapter in history. Robert Hutchinson paints a brilliant portrait of this egotistical tyrant who governed with a ruthlessness that rivals that of modern dictators; a monarch who had “no respect or fear of anyone in this world,” according to the Spanish ambassador to his court. Henry VIII pioneered the modern “show trial”: cynical propaganda exercises in which the victims were condemned before the proceedings even opened, proving the most powerful men in the land could be brought down overnight. After thirty-five years in power, Henry was a bloated, hideously obese, black-humored old recluse. And despite his having had six wives, the Tudor dynasty rested on the slight shoulders of his only male heir, the nine-year-old Prince Edward — a situation that spurred rival factions into a deadly conflict to control the throne. “The Last Days of Henry VIII” is a gripping and compelling history as fascinating and remarkable as its subject.

For review:
Eleanor the Queen by Norah Lofts (a reissue)
Eleanor is young, high-spirited, supremely intelligent, heiress to the vast Duchy of Aquitaine – at a time when a woman’s value was measured in terms of wealth. This is the story of a medieval figure – of a princess who led her own knights to the Crusades, who was bride to two kings and mother of Richard the Lion Heart.

For The King by Catherine Delors (for the June Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table event!)
The Reign of Terror has ended, and Napoléon Bonaparte has seized power, but shifting political loyalties still tear apart families and lovers. On Christmas Eve 1800, a bomb explodes along Bonaparte’s route, narrowly missing him but striking dozens of bystanders. Chief Inspector Roch Miquel, a young policeman with a bright future and a beautiful mistress, must arrest the assassins before they attack again. Complicating Miquel’s investigation are the maneuverings of his superior, the redoubtable Fouché, the indiscretions of his own father, a former Jacobin, and two intriguing women.


Based on real events and characters and rich with historical detail, For the King takes readers through the dark alleys and glittering salons of post-revolutionary Paris and is a timeless epic of love, betrayal, and redemption.

And a giveaway win:
Lady Susan, The Watsons and Sanditon by Jane Austen (the same Sanditon that Ic ouldn’t finish because there were zero paragraph breaks or punctuation in my edition! This one will read just fine, thank you!)Penguin Classics edition

And the book that I have wanted forever but never could find it below $55.. so my husband bought it for me =)
Historical Fiction II: A Guide to the Genre (Genreflecting Advisory Series) ~ Sarah L. Johnson (Editor), a fellow blogger at Reading the Past

Johnson has updated her outstanding Historical Fiction: A Guide to the Genre (2005) by covering historical fiction from 2004 through mid-2008 and adding such new features as ISBNs for each book and keyword descriptors after each annotation. Chapter introductions have been updated to reflect changes, and a section on historical-fiction blogs has been added to the chapter on resources. This volume continues rather than replaces the earlier work, adding more than 2,700 new titles. . . . Historical Fiction was an essential purchase for public and school libraries, and Historical Fiction II will also be a must purchase since it covers the latest books in this very popular genre.” ~Booklist

I love how Sarah has the Chapters separated out.. I tried to take a pic with the iPhone but they came out yucky, I still wanted to show you though!

 Click the pics to enlarge them.

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Filed under Austen, Diane Haeger, Elizabeth Chadwick, Jean Plaidy, Mailbox Monday, Tudor

>Book Discussion: Sanditon by Jane Austen

>Jane Austen was ill with what some believe was Addison’s disease and she succumbed before completing Sanditon. I normally would not want to read a novel that does not have an ending, but since it is Jane Austen, and since there are plenty of continuations that I could pick up to keep it going, I decided it would be a fun excursion from my review pile.

Laurel Ann at Austenprose is discussing Chapters 1 through 4 today. You can find a synopsis and musings and the discussion via that link. Instead of monopolizing their comment form, I wanted to add my thoughts to my own blog to complement my mini comments that I may leave there, and hope to encourage others to join in the discussion.

I was lucky enough to have a copy of Sanditon which is within a combined novels edition. I was dismayed, however, to find that Sanditon is not formatted at all like a normal book. There is not a single line break or a break for paragraph; no structure after one speaks. There are a lot of   ‘ and – within the text. It gives one the air of being rushed through the narration and the dialogue one after the other. I had no idea how attached I was to an edited book. Instead of writing out the surname, there were abbreviations.

There are also a lot of Capitalized Letters. Although I can understand some of the usage in the following:
– Beauty, Sweetness, Poverty and Dependance, do not want the imagination of a man to operate upon. With due exceptions – Woman feels for Woman very promptly and compassionately.

If I can concentrate and focus on the story without being distracted by the “unedited” things, I was quite amused at the story so far through the first 4 Chapters. Sanditon being a seaside resort and the amiable Mr Parker being quite vested in it was eager to share it with one and all along with the benefits of the sea air. He brings along Miss Charlotte to Sanditon whose family he met along the road. Ends Chapter 4.

The very thing of Austen are the subtle witty humorous ways where she pokes fun at others with the characters she writes of, and the overall effect leaves you with a smile. I found it adorable the way Mr Parker met the Heywoods after his carriage broke down, and those Heywoods with fourteen children.. my goodness.. never left their home but sure were eager to let their children leave.. reminds me of my own temperament. Of course there are a few more characters but the Parkers and Heywoods were the main attraction so far.

Join along the rest of the discussion at Austenprose, it is a quick read.

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>The Sunday Salon~ Masterpiece Classic: Northanger Abbey tonight! Happy Valentine’s Day!

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The Sunday Salon.com
Many of you know that I live in North/East Texas. And if you don’t .. now you do. And my goodness, these parts of Texas got some record breaking snow Thursday and Friday! So, the kiddos and ME stayed home on Friday! A snow day.. and that is something I have not had since my days of growing up on Long Island in New York.

It was truly fun to watch the kiddos’ first experiences with the snow. Reminiscent of my old days so very much gone by.. and so odd how time seems to rewind and flash forward quickly in these nostalgic memories. The kids are off for President’s Day also, so they get a 4 day weekend!

I have just finished reading Donna Russo Morin’s newest novel coming out soon, “The Secret of the Glass“. It is not a quick read and I am not going to be gushing over it. This is a read for the Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table, therefore it won’t post until that week of the 20th.  But, I will still have another review to post for you this week so you won’t miss me. I am posting “Hugh & Bess” by Susan Higginbotham next week. And already posted for you this past week are two reviews: Roses by Leila Meacham, and The Masqueraders by Georgette Heyer.

I have just begun to read another great Sourcebooks reissue: Young Bess by Margaret Irwin (1889-1969). This was first published in 1944 and I am about 120 pages into it (after just starting it this Saturday) and enjoying this one very much. I have always admired Elizabeth I, and this is a story that is focused on her younger years, and the turbulent Tudor times of when Henry VIII dies leaving his young but sickly son as his heir to the kingdom. Book 2 in the trilogy will be reissued by Sourcebooks in October 2010. I love the easy writing style of Irwin; this should be a happy and quick read for me.

The highlight of my week was meeting the author of Roses, Leila Meacham.

It was truly a fantastic experience, and Leila now has a fan for life. Read my post about meeting Leila, and what I learned when I spoke with her, at this post. And for an extra special treat, Hachette Book Group is sponsoring an awesome book giveaway of Roses for lucky commenters on that post! So please stop by, and read my thoughts, and enter for you chance to win Roses! Thanks to Miriam for setting up the meet and greet with Leila, it is a memory that I shall hold dear.

Onwards to TV news.. the Masterpiece Classics show Return to Cranford is available for viewing online until February 16 only.. so hurry up and get over there. Did you see Emma which aired January 24-February 7, 2010? No? Watch Emma Online through March 9th!

For Valentine’s Day on Masterpiece Classic is an adaptation of Austen’s Northanger Abbey! I am so looking forward to it, as I was one of those Austen fans that really enjoyed the Masterpiece version of Emma.
 
The two book giveaways for Ciji Ware’s Island of the Swans, and then for Robin Maxwell’s O, Juliet each concluded 2/12. The winners have been notified via email (which is why I require your email address so be sure to include it when you enter my giveaways!). You have until Monday PM respond to my emails.

Winners of Island of the Swans: Holly and Lizzy!

Winner of O, Juliet: KELLY

Congratulations, and don’t forget to enter for my newest giveaway of Roses!
Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day everyone!

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Filed under Austen, Leila Meacham, The Sunday Salon

>The Sunday Salon~ Emma part #3 on tonight for most of you..

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The Sunday Salon.com
What a crazyyy week. And I feel for all those folks who are having to deal with the excessive amounts of snow. I pray we don’t get any more ice storms in Texas, but I do know we are in for some more rain storms. Sogginess.

 I was on a roll with my reading last week, and then hit a brick wall where I so least expected it. I was so disappointed, because most of you who know my reading pleasures know that Georgette Heyer is one of my absolute favorites of all time. So how could she disappoint me so? I picked up The Masqueraders.. on Sunday I think it was.. but kaboom. I was so confuddled confused at the plot and it was all such a puzzle I was ready to pull my hair out. I plodded through for days it seems.. and I finally got to about page 100 and I understood.. and only then did I begin to finally enjoy the experience. And the kick in the pants was that I had to read other reviews.. all gushing and explanatory.. a-ha! That was it! One particular review explained it all to me. Sigh. Sometimes I feel ignorant. Hoping to finish it Sunday PM. Annoyance with myself for not understanding the subtle magnificence of the beginning.

And onwards to the Jane Austen thought of the week.. have you watched the Masterpiece/PBS Emma? Lucky me got to watch both of the last episodes last Sunday, as the Dallas market decided to run both of them. So I didn’t get to record the third episode and that sucks. I was totally enamored and I forgot to go run and record it when it unexpectedly came on. I truly enjoyed them.. the last episode was truly awesome. I was utterly totally in love with Jonny Lee Miller. I think I am still am, even after finding out that he was contracted to Gerard Butler (of Spartan movie 300 fame) in 2003. But wikipedia only mentions that he is now married to Michelle Hicks, and was once married to Angelina Jolie. Things that make you go Hmmmmm. He is still yummy.. and those that watched the first or second Emma episodes are in for a real treat with #3. JLM is awesomely adorable.
And so of course with my giddiness over Jonny Lee Miller I suckered myself into purchasing the BBC versions of a boxed sets of Austen ‘movies.’ Or BBC episodes. So I inserted Emma’s disc one last night and promptly snored. The Masterpiece PBS version is so much better… the BBC was like watching a misguided Are You Being Served.. so I don’t know how far I’ll get here with this $40 set. I’ll take it slow. I may just have to switch back to my tried and true Dallas with Larry Hagman. Or the X-Files set that has been collecting dust for many moons now.
But.. to keep me in the mood for some Austen: (YouTube video)

I also need to add the news that was on Historical Boys:
Fox’s new show “Past Life” which premieres Feb 9th is inspired by The Reincarnationist and sequels by M.J. Rose. (Excerpt)

In other reading and bookish pleasures this week I will be chatting with author Leila Meacham (ROSES, 2010) February 10th at her reading and book signing at Legacy Books. It would be great to meet a book blogger there so if you are attending the event, let me know! I will also post the review for the book this week.

I will begin Donna Russo Morin’s The Secret of the Glass for our next Round Table event. I wanted to read some Jean Plaidy, such as Madame Serpent, but the debacle with The Masqueraders totally set me back in my reading schedule.

And onwards to housekeeping.. the winner for my exclusive newsletter giveaway of Alison Weir’s newest book on Anne Boleyn was Sheila Miller.. And I will mail out the book next week!! Congrats!

I still have two giveaways going on for the now nearly famous O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell & the excellent reissue written by Ciji Ware, Island of the Swans, they each will end around 2/12 so be sure to sign up.

Take care.. stay warm!! Oh yeah.. Go Saints!!!!!!!

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Filed under Austen, The Sunday Salon

>The Sunday Salon~ Emma, Part 2 Masterpiece Classic on PBS tonight!

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The Sunday Salon.com

Did you see the PBS film adaptation of Emma by Jane Austen last Sunday? I did, and I really enjoyed it. I even followed along some with the Twitter Party that went along with it, there were 5 or 6 others that I follow that were there. There were even some giveaways but I didn’t have the computer nearby to google the answers but it was still fun following along with my iPhone. Jane Austen would be impressed that she was the object of a twitter party via iPhone, I daresay! This PBS version seems to have annoyed traditional Emma lovers though, but as a newbie to the Emma story I enjoyed it. A fabulous way to spend my Sunday night, as opposed to the traditional moaning and groaning that Monday is coming! So, again, part two is on this Sunday, and the last part is on next Sunday.

If you miss it, Emma will be available for online viewing January 25 – March 9, 2010. This adaptation of Austen’s Regency England classic stars Romola Garai as Emma, and she was a tad emotive which turned some off, but we’ll see if she ‘matures’ and tones it down for part two. I have zero complaints on the whole thing, and I think that reading Emma by Austen will be that much more enjoyable when I get to it. And Jonny Lee Miller as Mr. Knightley. Now I understand. Va va voom. And I loved the costumes, the houses, the setting, the atmosphere… Splendid! Check out this interesting blog post at Jane Austen’s World about the fashions in this version of Emma and other Austen films.

Sunday, January 24: Emma , part 1
Sunday, January 31: Emma , part 2
Sunday, February 7: Emma , part 3
Sunday, February 14: Northanger Abbey
Sunday, February 21: Persuasion

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=DECCE3&fc1=E522ED&lc1=FF006C&t=theburrev-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&m=amazon&f=ifr&md=10FE9736YVPPT7A0FBG2&asins=B000244FFU
I broke down and couldn’t help it: after watching Emma 2009 on PBS, I went to Amazon and purchased the boxed BBC set of the Austen movies of Sense & Sensibility / Emma / Persuasion / Mansfield Park / Pride & Prejudice / Northanger Abbey (see above). My hubby will not be as thrilled as I am. I haven’t received it yet, but now I know what I am going to be doing on Saturday nights instead of the reading that I should be doing. I haven’t seen any of these movies yet. SQUEEEEEEE! Have you seen these?

It has probably been beat into your head by now, but I must mention the Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table event this week for which I am a part of. I decided on creating a fun little article regarding my favorite Literary Lovers, and you can enter for a book giveaway on that post that I just published. I also reviewed Robin Maxwell’s O, Juliet which is available for purchase 2/2/2010.

Follow along the rest of the Round Table events by visiting the main site which details all of the blog posts for this Round Table Event. It’s been great fun, and I hope you were able to read some of the posts, I know there are A LOT of posts going on, so pick a few that pique your interest and you may find out something really interesting..

Like Arleigh’s fun-loving romantic giveaways that do not include books. And Arleigh has saved her reviews of other Maxwell books for now as well, so you might want to check that out too! Susie from All Things Royal will finish up her three part article on The Life of William Shakespeare. Heather of The Maiden’s Court will have her post on Lucrezia Tournabouni…

Allie at Hist-Fic Chick has posted about Romeo & Juliet artwork, and Lizzy at Historically Obsessed is a promising artist that was inspired by Maxwell’s O, Juliet and created something special to share. And of course, everyone at the Round Table will have their own reviews posted as well. Even Robin herself has gotten into the fun and has some creative giveaways on her own blog! There are lots of OTHER things going on, so please check out the calendar.

And before I totally lose you, let me tell you.. I have a FANTASTIC interview with Ciji Ware coming February 2nd. She is the author of the book I am reviewing for you 2/1, Island of the Swans, about Jane Maxwell Gordon, Duchess of Gordon. I have mentioned this book before, and I repeat, this is awesome. Read, weep, read some more.. loved it!!!!!! The interview will feature a giveaway also =)

Of course I am supposed to tell you what I am reading, or have read this week.. I finished Susan Higginbotham’s The Stolen Crown, which took me longer than I expected since I read Hugh & Bess in a day.. and now I have recently started Roses by Leila Meacham.. which of course I have spoken of here as well. It is one of those sweeping epic saga style novels that sucks you in, and I love love love it.

I am saving the Hugh & Bess review for Valentine’s Day because it was a wonderfully historic love story. And The Stolen Crown will post later towards the publication date in early March. I will also have a guest post by Susan Higginbotham which I cannot wait to read, since I love her own blog posts very much. She is chock full of medieval information.

This week in author news, J.D. Salinger died at age 91. I honestly had no idea he was still alive, he was such a recluse. I wrote an article here for the Examiner which explains some more about him.

Have you made it this far? This is one little Sunday Salon that goes all over the place, doesn’t it? To reward you for your efforts and keeping with me.. I am giving away my advance copy of The Lady in The Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn by Alison Weir. This giveaway is open only to my newsletter subscribers. Instructions to enter for this exclusive giveaway are in the newsletter (see the left sidebar under the google followers gadget to subscribe to future newsletters). Good luck! Don’t forget the O, Juliet giveaway that’s open to everyone everywhere!!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday, and enjoys Emma on Masterpiece Theater!!! I can’t wait!

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>The Sunday Salon~ EMMA on PBS TONIGHT! Jan. 24th!

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The Sunday Salon.com

Just a quick one today folks, as it’s still the birthday weekend for my eldest (8 years old already!) and there is still so much more to be done before the Build-A-Bear adventure.

I wanted to remind everyone that tonight a PBS film adaptation of Emma by Jane Austen will air at 8:00 pm CST (on KERA in Texas) and 9:00 pm EST. It will be 120 minutes tonight, and 60 minutes for the following two Sundays. I am looking forward to it! If you miss it, Emma will be available for online viewing January 25 – March 9, 2010. This adaptation of Austen’s Regency England classic stars Romola Garai as Emma, and not Gwyneth Paltrow as she looks like in the advertisements.

Emma What’s even more fun.. is there is a Emma Twitter Party With PBS and Jane Austen enthusiasts
with Vic of Jane Austen’s World from 9 – 11 pm EST. Check out her post for more details, such as hash tag #emma_pbs. I am @BurtonReview on twitter, I might be there too!

Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton previews Masterpiece Classic’s new “Emma” adaptation and talks about Austen’s enduring legacy:

And onwards to another favorite era of mine.. which includes Anne Boleyn. I had recently read Alison Weir’s newest book, The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn (my review), and I just found this new article online Arguing The Case For Anne Boleyn. Weir mentions here that she feels she has made an excellent case against Thomas Cromwell, and indeed I agree with her, as I came away from that book with a new loathing for him and was quite happy that he got what he deserved, which was execution.

I had a wonderful giveaway post which was part of the kickoff event of The Historical Fiction Round Table, celebrating the new release of Leslie Carroll’s newest non-fiction work, titled “Notorious Royal Marriages: A Juicy Journey Through Nine Centuries of Dynasty, Destiny and Desire“. It was a fantastic interview, and I have a winner to announce, as she will receive one brand new copy of the book. Congratulations to Rachel!! Send me your snail mail address ASAP! Thanks to everyone else who entered the giveaway here and at the other members of the Round Table.

And with that Event wrapped up, it’s time to announce the next one!! The fabulous new release of O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell coming out on 2/2/2010 is to be celebrated this week by the members of the Historical Fiction Blogger Round Table. Check out the Calendar of Events as there will be creative posts and giveaways and of course, reviews! My book giveaway will post Saturday the 30th with my creative post which highlights some interesting literary lovers. Until then, have a great week!

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>Mailbox Monday~ Half Price Books!

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My Fantastic Haul!Happiness is… bags of books to read, but no review requirements..

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. We share what books that we found in our mailboxes last week. And I am adding what I purchased, swapped, etc.

This week I went shopping at Half Price Books, courtesy of my $100 gift card for my anniversary. I love my husband!! I left $11 on the card so I have an excuse to go back again.

I purchased TWO BAGS of books: ((squueeee!!!)) All of the books in the photo above are from me to me. There is one last book listed at the bottom that I received through the Shelf Awareness program for review.

Court Lady and Country Wife: Two Noble Sisters in Seventeenth-Century England by Lita-Rose Betcherman (10/2005)

“Born during the prominence at the court of Charles I. Lucy, the Countess of Carlisle, dominated the royal scene. Her beauty was immortalized in magnificent Van Dyck portraits, her political skills attracted many famous lovers, and her talent as a gossip ensured her inclusion in the queen’s inner circle—until civil war and its machinations led to her imprisonment in the Tower of London.

Her sister, Dorothy, Countess of Leicester—wife of a diplomat and an ancestor of Princess Diana—managed the family estates and raised twelve surviving children. Though brilliant, with a keen eye and special purview of European politics, she had a reputation as a shrewish wife and, when her husband rebelled after thirty-five years of marriage, it caused a public scandal.

Viewing a tempestuous era through the exceptional lives of Lucy and Dorothy Percy, Lita-Rose Betcherman’s Court Lady and Country Wife offers a perfect window into a remarkable world.”

Drake by Stephen J. Coote (2003)DRAKE
“Sir Francis Drake: pirate, explorer and Protestant zealot, a man princely in his bearing, heroic if sometimes foolhardy in his enterprise, a genius at once awe-inspiring and riddled with faults. He is the archetypal Elizabethan sea-dog, and Stephen Coote’s brilliant new book rescues him from the dusty pages of history to breathe new life into one of the great maritime adventure stories. Focusing on the episodes that made Drake’s reputation — and exploring not just the nature of that reputation but how it also, for better or worse, came to epitomise a sense of nationhood — Stephen Coote re-creates all the excitement and terror of the raids on Spanish Caribbean ports during Drake’s privateering days; the extraordinary feat of the circumnavigation aboard the ‘Golden Hind’; and Drake’s role in the famous defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. Told with novelistic verve, DRAKE is a thoroughly modern re-assessment of a man who embodied all the ebullient courage and personal shortcomings of the great age of Elizabethan expansion. Was Drake just a rabid anti-papist, a state-sponsored terrorist and slaver? Or was he the embodiment of English sang-froid, an empire-builder and hero? This gripping and entertaining biography gives us a picture of the man altogether richer and more interesting than we could have imagined.”

A Royal Affair: George III and His Scandalous Siblings by Stella Tillyard (2006, pictured in the middle of my photo at top)
“The acclaimed author of Aristocrats returns with a major new book that reveals the story of a regal family plagued by scandal and notoriety and trapped by duty, desire, and the protocols of royalty.History remembers King George III of England as the mad monarch who lost America. But as a young man, this poignant figure set aside his own passions in favor of a temperate life as guardian to both his siblings and his country. He would soon learn that his prudently cultivated harmony would be challenged by the impetuous natures of his sisters and brothers, and by a changing world in which the very instituation of monarchy was under fire.

At the heart of Stella Tillyard’s intimate and vivid account is King George’s sister Caroline Mathilde. Married against her will at fifteen to the ailing king of Denmark, she broke all the rules by embarking on an affair with a radical young court doctor. Their rash experiment in free living ended in imprisonment, death, and exile and almost led their two countries to war.
Around this tragedy are woven the stories of King George’s scandalous brothers, who squandered their time and titles partying and indulging in disastrous relationships that the gossip-hungry press was all too delighted to report.

Historians have always been puzzled by George’s refusal to give up on America, which forced his government to drag out the Revolutionary War long after it was effectively lost. Tillyard suggests that the king, seeing the colonists as part of his family, sought to control them in the same way he had attempted to rule his younger siblings.In this brilliantly interpretive biography, Stella Tillyard conjures up a Georgian world of dynastic marriages, headstrong royals, and radical new ideas. A compelling story of private passions and public disgrace, rebellion and exile, A Royal Affair brings to life the dramatic events that served as a curtain-raiser to the revolutions that convulsed two continents.”

Murder of a Medici Princess by Caroline P. Murphy (2008)Murder of a Medici Princess “In Murder of a Medici Princess, Caroline Murphy illuminates the brilliant life and tragic death of Isabella de Medici, one of the brightest stars in the dazzling world of Renaissance Italy, the daughter of Duke Cosimo I, ruler of Florence and Tuscany.
Murphy is a superb storyteller, and her fast-paced narrative captures the intrigue, the scandal, the romantic affairs, and the violence that were commonplace in the Florentine court. She brings to life an extraordinary woman, fluent in five languages, a free-spirited patron of the arts, a daredevil, a practical joker, and a passionate lover. Isabella, in fact, conducted numerous affairs, including a ten-year relationship with the cousin of her violent and possessive husband. Her permissive lifestyle, however, came to an end upon the death of her father, who was succeeded by her disapproving older brother Francesco. Considering Isabella’s ways to be licentious and a disgrace upon the family, he permitted her increasingly enraged husband to murder her in a remote Medici villa. To tell this dramatic story, Murphy draws on a vast trove of newly discovered and unpublished documents, ranging from Isabella’s own letters, to the loose-tongued dispatches of ambassadors to Florence, to contemporary descriptions of the opulent parties and balls, salons and hunts in which Isabella and her associates participated. Murphy resurrects the exciting atmosphere of Renaissance Florence, weaving Isabella’s beloved city into her story, evoking the intellectual and artistic community that thrived during her time. Palaces and gardens in the city become places of creativity and intrigue, sites of seduction, and grounds for betrayal.
Here then is a narrative of compelling and epic proportions, magnificent and alluring, decadent and ultimately tragic.”

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation (Pink Carnation, #1)by Lauren Willig

WHO IS THE PINK CARNATION? Eloise Kelly was looking for answers to one of history’s greatest mysteries, but found something even better: Intrigue. Espionage. Romance. Swordplay. Comedy.»Learn More…

The Deception of the Emerald Ring (Pink Carnation, #3)by Lauren Willig Rebellion is brewing in Ireland, egged on by the unquenchable Black Tulip. The Pink Carnation and Geoffrey Pinchingdale-Snipe (formerly of the League of the Purple Gentian) are on the case. But as the Irish uprising draws nearer and the Black Tulip grows bolder, Geoff finds himself struggling with a very different sort of problem. An unexpected wife.»Learn More

The Seduction of the Crimson Rose
The Seduction of the Crimson Rose (Pink Carnation, #4)by Lauren Willig
Determined to secure another London season without assistance from her new brother-in-law, Mary Alsworthy accepts a secret assignment from Lord Vaughn on behalf of the Pink Carnation: to infiltrate the ranks of the dreaded French spy, the Black Tulip, before he and his master can stage their planned invasion of England.»Learn More…

I have resisted these books for a long time, but since book #2 (Black Tulip) is on the way from Swaptree I figured I may as well buy some of the others. The last one (The Betrayal of the Blood Lily (Pink Carnation, #6) is to be released January 2010.

The Passion of Artemisia (Paperback) by Susan Vreeland (2002) “Recently rediscovered by art historians, and one of the few female post-Renaissance painters to achieve fame during her own era, Artemisia Gentileschi led a remarkably “modern” life. Susan Vreeland tells Artemisia’s captivating story, beginning with her public humiliation in a rape trial at the age of eighteen, and continuing through her father’s betrayal, her marriage of convenience, motherhood, and growing fame as an artist. Set against the glorious backdrops of Rome, Florence, Genoa, and Naples, inhabited by historical characters such as Galileo and Cosimo de’ Medici II, and filled with rich details about life as a seventeenth-century painter, Vreeland creates an inspiring story about one woman’s lifelong struggle to reconcile career and family, passion and genius.”

A Long Fatal Love Chase A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott “Rosamond Vivian, brought up on a remote island by an indifferent grandfather, swears she’d sell her soul to Satan for a year of freedom. When Philip Tempest enters her life, she is ripe for the plucking, but is soon caught up in a web of intrigue, cruelty and deceit stretching back far into the past. Remarkable for its portrayal of a sensual, spirited Victorian heroine, Louisa May Alcott’s work, too shocking to be published during her lifetime, tells a compulsive tale of love, desire and deceit. Its publication more than a century after being written marks a new page in literary history.”

And I also couldn’t resist two books that had garnered alot of publicity:

The Shack by William P. Young (2007) “Mackenzie Allen Philips’ youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend.”

Olive Kitteridge: A Novel in Stories by Elizabeth Strout
“At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town of Crosby, Maine, and in the world at large, but she doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance; a former student who has lost the will to live; Olive’s own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and her husband, Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse.

As the townspeople grapple with their problems, mild and dire, Olive is brought to a deeper understanding of herself and her life–sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty. Olive Kitteridge offers profound insights into the human condition–its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires.”

And last but not least from my shopping glee:
Jane Austen: Her Life by Park Honan (2008)
Jane Austen: Her Life
“Drawing on diaries, memoirs, and letters written by members of the Austen family, this sympathetic and probing biography enters the private world of Jane Austen, revealing experiences and observations she drew upon to write such masterpieces as Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility. Austen’s childhood is recreated, sketching her devotion to her ambitious parents and drawing a lively picture of Jane’s two brothers—one of whom served with Nelson’s navy at Trafalgar—and of Jane’s closest confidante, her elder sister Cassandra. Set against a backdrop of rural Hampshire and Bath, Austen’s life moves between a closely observed domestic setting with family and friends to descriptions of dances and parties, social mores, and malice. This account brings new insights into her checkered love life, her moments of loneliness and frustration, and her ironic appreciation of her situation as an intelligent, economically dependent woman.”

And from Swaptree I received:

The Fool’s Tale by Nicole Galland “Wales, 1198. A time of treachery, passion, and uncertainty. King Maelgwyn ap Cadwallon, known as Noble, struggles to protect his small kingdom from foes outside and inside his borders. Pressured into a marriage of political convenience, he takes as his bride the young, headstrong Isabel Mortimer, niece of his powerful English nemesis.
Through strength of character, Isabel wins her husband’s grudging respect, but finds the Welsh court backward and barbaric, and is soon engaged in a battle of wills against Gwirion, the king’s oldest, oddest, and most trusted friend. Before long, however, Gwirion and Isabel’s mutual animosity is abruptly transformed, and the king finds himself as threatened by loved ones as by the enemies who menace his crown.
A masterful novel by a gifted storyteller, The Fool’s Tale combines vivid historical fiction, compelling political intrigue, and passionate romance to create an intimate drama of three individuals bound — and undone — by love and loyalty.”

The one book that I did receive from the publisher, and almost forgot about (ooops!)

Fireworks over Toccoa by Jeffrey Stepakoff (April 2010)

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=E3E268&fc1=53E117&lc1=0A420C&t=theburrev-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&m=amazon&f=ifr&md=10FE9736YVPPT7A0FBG2&asins=0312581580

Every so often that story comes along that reminds us of what it’s like to experience love for the first time—against the odds, when you least expect it, and with such passion that it completely changes you forever.
An unexpected discovery takes eighty-four-year-old Lily Davis Woodward to 1945, and the five days that forever changed her life. Married for only a week before her husband was sent to fight in WWII, Lily is anxious for his return, and the chance to begin their life together. In honor of the soldiers’ homecoming, the small Georgia town of Toccoa plans a big celebration. And Jake Russo, a handsome Italian immigrant, also back from war, is responsible for the elaborate fireworks display the town commissioned. But after a chance encounter in a star-lit field, he steals Lily’s heart and soul–and fulfills her in ways her socially-minded, upper-class family cannot. Now, torn by duty to society and her husband–and the poor, passionate man who might be her only true love–Lily must choose between a commitment she’s already made and a love she’s never known before.
Fireworks Over Toccoa takes us to a moment in time that will resonate with readers long after the book’s unforgettable conclusion. A devastating and poignant story, this debut novel will resonate with anyone who believes in love.”

And now I am in DIRE need for that other bookcase.

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>Mailbox Monday

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Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. We share what books that we found in our mailboxes last week. And I am adding what I purchased, swapped, etc.

I’ve received an interesting mix of topics this week. From an American favorite to a murderess, and the tried and true classics of Austen:

From Paperbackswap:

Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography by Jean H. Baker
“From Library Journal:
In the thriving cottage industry of Lin coln studies Baker’s readable and sympathetic biography is easily the definitive account of the troubled former First Lady. Baker’s principal contribution is in recognizing Mary Todd Lincoln on her own terms. Although we can never separate her from Abraham Lincoln, Mary Todd Lincoln’s importance derives less from her marriage than from her personal suffering as a woman. Politics, tragedy, and poverty denied her the family comfort and identity she craved. Baker’s chapters on her last years of alleged insanity and real loneliness reveal a jealous and proud 19th-century American woman trapped by the conventions of Victorian domesticity.”

For Review, from the author:

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=theburrev-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&m=amazon&f=ifr&md=10FE9736YVPPT7A0FBG2&asins=0758226926The Secret of the Glass by Donna Russo Morin (February 2010)

“At the dawn of the 17th Century, the glassmakers of Murano are revered as master artisans, enjoying privileges far beyond their station, but they are forced to live in virtual imprisonment, contained by the greedy Venetian government who fears other countries will learn the intricacies of the craft…and reap the rewards.
Sophia Fiolario, the comely daughter of a glass making maestro, has no desire for marriage, finding her serenity in the love of her family and the beauty of the glass. She learns of its secrets at her father’s side, where a woman is forbidden to be. The life Sophia loves is threatened by the poor health of her father and the determined attentions of a nobleman who could and would never love her but seeks to possess her wealth and the privilege it affords. Thrust into the opulent world of the Venetian court, Sophia becomes embroiled in the scheming machinations of the courtiers’ lives. The beauty of Venice, the magnificence of the Doge’s Palace, are rivaled only by the intrigue and danger that festers behind their splendid facades. As she searches for an escape, she finds the arms of another, a man whose own desperate situation is yet another obstacle in their path.
Amidst political and religious intrigue, the scientific furor ignited by Galileo, and even murder, Sophia must do anything to protect herself, her family…and the secret of the glass.”

From a giveaway win: A Savage Wisdom by Norman German

“An imaginative reconstruction of the life of the only woman executed in Louisiana’s electric chair.”

“Here is a powerful, page-turning account of crime and punishment, told in terms of the literary tradition of true crime stories that includes Capote’s In Cold Blood and Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song. Norman German has created a worthy companion to and version of this all-American genre.” George Garrett, novelist and poet laureate of Virginia.

Norman German’s novel follows the hard life and heinous crimes of Toni Jo Henry, the first and only woman to die in Louisiana’s infamous electric chair. The novel meets this bone-chilling story head-on, and it leaves the reader burning with the heartless brutality of the tale. Read A Savage Wisdom to see the darkness and comprehend its cold light.” ~Dayne Sherman, author of Welcome to the Fallen Paradise.

From Bookmooch:
Northanger Abbey, Lady Susan, The Watsons, and Sanditon (The World’s Classics) by Jane Austen

This is the only edition of these four Jane Austen titles in one volume. ‘Northanger Abbey’ is the earliest comedy, making fun of the excesses of the Gothic novel. It combines literary burlesque with a tale of female enlightenment. ‘Lady Susan’ and ‘The Watsons’ were early compositions, reflecting many of the qualities of ‘Northanger Abbey’. ‘Sanditon’ too is an incomplete novel written late in Austen’s life, and indicating a new depth of comic insight.”
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