Showing posts from February, 2014

[Review] William the Conqueror by Peter Rex

Title: William the Conqueror: The Bastard of Normandy
Author: Peter Rex
Publisher: Amberley December 2012
Genre: Non-fiction, William the Conqueror, England, Norman French, King of England
Format: Paperback
Pages: 288, with 40 illustrations of which 20 are in color
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Free copy from Amberley in exchange for a review. The review is of my own opinion.
I've been anxious to read a book on William the Conqueror. I wanted to know about the Norman king who invaded England and changed the course of English history. What kind of personality did he have? What did he look like? Was he a historical person who is more legend than truth? What kind of upbringing did he have? What kind of legacy did he leave?
I felt Peter Rex's book did a splendid job in answering all of my questions.
William's parents were Duke Robert I and Herleva. Several stories are shared as to their "meeting". Romantic variations describing their relationship as a great love…

[Review] Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill

Title: Someone Knows My Name
Author: Lawrence Hill
Publisher: W. W. Norton and Company November 2008, paperback edition
Genre: Historical Fiction, slavery, 1700's, 1800s, Early American History, England, Africa, African American History, Abolitionism Movement.
Format: Paperback
Pages: 512
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Self-purchase
Someone Knows My Name, is a winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize.

February is Black History Month; however, I did not plan to read Someone Knows My Name in February, things just worked out this way. Someone Knows My Name, has been in my TBR pile, and has been whispering-read me.

In the first chapter, an elderly black woman named Meena, begins sharing her story. She is anxious to write her memories down on paper for a record of her life. She is an articulate person. A woman of purpose, knowledge, and wisdom. She has lived one physical life, but has experienced many events. Meena's birth name is Aminata Diallo. She was born in 1745, in B…

[Review] Dreams of Joy by Lisa See

Title: Dreams of Joy
Author: Lisa See
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperback edition 2012
Genre: Fiction, China, Communism, Red China, Emigration, Family Saga,
Format: Paperback
Pages: 400
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Self-purchase
Shanghai Girls, is book one in the story of Pearl and May Chin. They are two sisters who grew up in Shanghai, China. The sisters are of polar personalities, but both fell in love with the same man. Their father arranged marriages for them and they emigrate to America. They left China before it became communist. Pearl marries a man named Sam. She raises May's baby as her own. The baby is named Joy. Joy is a head-strong, defiant, independent, selfish person.
Dreams of Joy, alternates between Joy and Pearl's voice. In the late 1950s Joy moves to China. She has naive ideologies about communism. Joy is also angry with her mother and aunt.
Pearl follows after Joy. The two women tug and pull with each other in regards to their relationship, their unre…

[Review] An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor

Title: An Irish Country Doctor
Author: Patrick Taylor
Publisher: Forge Books, A Tom Doherty Associates Book first edition 2007
Holtzbrinck Publishing Group is the owner of the imprint 
Genre: Fiction, Ireland, Irish Country Physician,
Format: Paperback
Pages: 351
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Self-purchase

I have an old stack of TBR books which I'm trying to either read or sort through for donation.
An Irish Country Doctor was purchased by me "several" years ago, and I'm sad to say it has taken me too long to read it. 

Doctor Barry Laverty, age twenty-four, is a recent medical school graduate. When the book begins he is driving to where he will begin an apprenticeship with Doctor Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly. The village of Ballybucklebo will be Doctor Laverty's new residence for further training.
Doctor Laverty and Doctor O'Reilly, are a compatible pair. Doctor Laverty respects Doctor O'Reilly, and he is impressed with his keen wisdom, and the resp…

[Review] Chasing Shackleton: Re-creating The World's Greatest Journey of Survival by Tim Jarvis

Title: Chasing Shackleton: Re-creating The World's Greatest Journey of Survival
Author: Tim Jarvis
Publisher: William Morrow January 7, 2014
Genre: Non-fiction, Antarctica, South Pole, Adventure, Sea Adventure, Expedition, Sir Ernest Shackleton
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 272
Rating: 5 Stars for excellent
Source: Free copy from William Morrow in exchange for a review.
Tim Jarvis, an experienced explorer, was asked by the granddaughter of Sir Ernest Shackleton, to recreate Shackleton's 1916 famous trek. Shackleton and his crew had embarked on a course to reach the South Pole in 1914; instead, their ship became stranded in ice. In 1916 Shackleton and a select few men, made the journey across the rough Southern Ocean to the island of South Georgia. Their next goal was to climb over the interior mountains to a remote fishing village in order to rescue the men left behind on the ship.
Tim Jarvis, put together a crew and a plan to follow the same route Shackleton had done. Th…

[Review] Priscilla: The Hidden Life of an Englishwoman in Wartime France by Nicholas Shakespeare

Title: Priscilla: The Hidden Life of an Englishwoman in Wartime France
Author: Nicholas Shakespeare
Publisher: Harper an imprint of HarperCollins January 7, 2014
Genre: Non-fiction, French Occupation, Nazi Germany, World War II, family dysfunction,
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 448
Rating: 4 Stars for very good.
Source: Free copy from Harper in exchange for a review. 

Priscilla, has tested my ability to write a fair and balanced review. My dad was in the D-Day invasion on Normandy Beach. Dad was also in the Battle of the Bulge. He went to Paris a few days after the war ended and attended a class at the University of Paris. He witnessed French women who'd been ostracized. Their shaven heads were a mark on their body because of sexual relationships they'd had with German soldiers.
I'll never forget what daddy told me, "Annette, you don't know what those poor people went through. Those women may not have had a choice, they may have done this thing because t…

[Review] Marie Antoinette's Head: The Royal Headresser, The Queen, and The Revolution by Will Bashor

Title: Marie Antoinette's Head: The Royal Hairdresser, The Queen,And The Revolution
Author: Will Bashor
Publisher: October 16, 2013 (anniversary of Marie Antoinette’s execution) at Lyons Press
ISBN-13: 978-0762791538
ISBN-10: 0762791535
Genre: Non-fiction
Format: e-book, Kindle
Pages: 320 pages
Rating: 5 Stars for excellent
Source: Free Kindle copy from Will Bashor and France Book Tours in exchange for a review.

2013 Adele Mellen Prize for Distinguished Scholarship
Tour link: Marie Antoinette's Head: The Royal Hairdresser, The Queen, And The Revolution

Will Bashor has a doctorate in International Relations from the American Graduate School in Paris,
and he teaches at Franklin University, Columbus, Ohio.
His interests have ranged over many fields,
among them the study of international law and business, linguistics,
cultural anthropology, and European history. As a member of the Society for French Historical Studies,
he attended its annual meeting sponsored by Harvard University…

[Review] The Cambridge Companion To The Arthurian Legend Edited by Elizabeth Archibald and Ad Putter

Title: The Cambridge Companion To The Arthurian Legend
Edited: Elizabeth Archibald and Ad Putter
Publisher: Cambridge University Press October 2009
Genre: Non-fiction, Arthurian Legend, King Arthur, British literature, Academic
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 286
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Free copy from Cambridge University Press for the purpose of review.
Was King Arthur a real person? Maybe he was based loosely on a historical figure from the past?
In The Cambridge Companion To The Arthurian Legend, the editors do not seek to find the real Arthur, because they feel he is an enigma. Many historians and researchers have thought they'd found clues as to who he was and what exact time period he lived in; nevertheless, nothing concrete has been found.
The editors of Archibald and Putter state the goal of this book:
"Our aim is to strike a balance between the descriptive and the analytic, so this companion is divided into two parts. The chronological section shows how the legend evolved …

[Review] Doctor Barnardo: Champion of Victorian Children by Martin Levy

Title: Doctor Barnardo: Champion of Victorian Children
Author: Martin Levy
Publisher: Amberley June 2013
Genre: Non-fiction, biography, Victorian society, poverty, children
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 256
Rating: 3 1/2 Stars (3 Stars is good)
Source: Free copy from Amberley for the purpose of review.

Doctor Thomas John Barnardo was born in Ireland in 1845. He was not a strong student; but qualified for and studied medicine in London. As a young man he became a devout evangelical with a mission minded focus for poor children. In the East End of London he began working with children. He established a home for boys and later a home for girls. He was a man short in physical stature; however, a man tall in compassion and kindness.
I was anxious to read a book on Victorian period children, not the children of the privileged socio-economic class, but children who lived in poverty.
The strength in Doctor Barnardo is its content and the research accomplished by Martin Levy. He interviewed Barna…