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)
“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) “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 (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 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)
“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)
“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.