The Perfume Garden by Kate Lord Brown was a fantastic read and will top my favorites list this year. This is a five hundred page book that literally flew by for me. The storyline is captivating, the characters endearing, and the history an added bonus. The Perfume Garden is a beautifully told and written novel of love, loss, the tragedies of war, and ultimately of the hope of new life. Something I really liked about the book was the theme of fragrance which is something I’m always taken with; how it can make us think of a certain person or evoke a certain memory. Throughout The Perfume Garden fragrance, memories, and family secrets are woven together to form a story that will touch your heart and I can promise you that you won’t soon forget it.
Emma is at a crossroads in her life. She has lost her mother and her fiance to her best friend and on top of it all she is pregnant. She needs a new start and although her mother is gone she has left Emma with a way to maybe achieve that for herself. She left her a key to a home in Valencia, Spain and Emma feels that she needs to go there – to see why her mother left her this key. She also left Emma a box full of letters on all kinds of topics covering things she wouldn’t be able to share with Emma anymore. Against the advice of her grandmother Freya but with the encouragement of her Uncle Charles Emma travels to Valencia and there finds the ramshackle home that her mother left her. This doesn’t discourage Emma though. She’s actually excited to renovate it to its former glory and to get back to what she really wants to do with her life – make fragrances.
The story goes back and forth between Emma’s life and in the past to the Spanish Civil War in the 1930′s. With war raging all around in Spain people are just trying to survive. We meet Rosa, a woman forced into a marriage she doesn’t want and her friend Macu who will protect her with her own life if she has to. It is also here that we see how Emma’s grandmother Freya risks her own life to nurse those injured and fallen in the war. The history of this war is so vividly described that I could feel the fear and hopelessness of those involved. In my head I could hear the never ending bombings and see the injured and dying young men – it left me feeling the terror that those who experienced it must have felt and respecting those that fought and worked to help who they could.
What’s fascinating about this story is how what happened back in the 1930′s/40′s impacts Emma’s life. In the face of danger and the overwhelming need for survival people often make decisions that will affect generations to come. As the years go by the secrets fall deeper and deeper into the past where they are sometimes best left. For Emma though, making a life in Valencia, the past begins to creep into the present and with that an overwhelming urge to find out just how the house and people of Valencia somehow seem to relate back to Emma.
I loved this book. It’s a story spanning generations which is something I always enjoy and the historical aspect is fascinating as well. I had not known much about the Spanish Civil War before at all and I appreciated being able to learn something while reading such a good book. This is one I highly recommend if, like me, you enjoy family sagas and stories of war.
The Perfume Garden by Kate Lord Brown is touring with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours so be sure to check out the other tour stops. Kate can be found on her website and blog as well as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. There is also a Facebook and Pinterest page for The Perfume Garden so take a look at that too. Your own copy of The Perfume Garden can be purchased at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amazon UK, and The Book Depository. Kate has also written a short prequel (eBook) to The Perfume Garden called The Last Rose of Summer and that can be purchased at Amazon or Amazon UK.
GIVEAWAY DETAILS (Audio CD – open Internationally)
I have one Audio CD set of The Perfume Garden by Kate Lord Brown to share with my readers and I bet this would be a fantastic book to listen to! To enter…
- For 1 entry leave me a comment entering the giveaway.
- Tweet, share on Facebook, or blog for 2 extra entries.
This giveaway is open Internationally! I will draw for the winner on June 8/13. Good luck!
Source: Review copy provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and the Publisher. No compensation was received and all opinions are my own.
Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell is a historical thriller that had me flipping pages faster than I thought possible. This book was fantastic! Not only is it rich in historical detail that I absolutely loved but it also has a great mystery to keep you guessing. I love anything suspenseful and I’ll tell you this book had me on the edge of my seat a few times wondering what would happen next. The setting, London 1854, only added to my love of the book and this author certainly brought it alive to where I could almost feel the fog of London closing in on me.
As the story opens we are introduced to the artist but not just any artist. This artist specializes in the fine art of murder and has just committed a heinous crime. London is in a state of panic and many are lashing out at just anybody thinking that they may be the killer. The London police of course are combing the crime scene for clues but you have to remember this is 1854 and forensics was not what it is now. Then in a conversation with a sketch artist they learn that one Thomas De Quincey actually wrote an essay On Murder which told of The Ratcliffe Highway murders that took place in 1811 and in very vivid detail. His descriptions pretty much mimicked the murder they were currently involved in. Needless to say Thomas De Quincey became their prime suspect very quickly.
Upon meeting the elderly, very little Thomas De Quincey, infamous for his Confessions of an Opium-Eater, Detective Ryan and Constable Becker have to wonder if he would even have the power to commit such a crime. As they get to know him and his daughter Emily they have even more doubts especially as it seems that De Quincey may be a help in solving the murders. Unfortunately though they are ordered to arrest De Quincey and that’s when things really spiral of out of control.
You don’t very often read a book where you really like all of the characters but this is one of them with the exception of the murderer of course. For the bad reputation that De Quincey has he is very likeable in this book as is his daughter Emily. She was great and unlike many of the young ladies of her time being very outspoken and wearing pants under her skirts instead of the common and very uncomfortable hoops. She also took part in the investigation and didn’t swoon or anything like that – unless it suited her purpose. Ryan and Becker were great as well and another thing I enjoyed was the banter between the characters as it was quite often amusing and that lightened the mood of what is otherwise a grim murder. As I said before this novel is rich in historical detail and I very much enjoyed learning about the beginnings of forensics and the development of the police force. It was all very fascinating! Murder as a Fine Art was just an all around great read for me!
Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell is touring with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours so be sure to check out the other tour stops. You can connect with David on his website as well as Facebook and Twitter. Your own copy of Murder as a Fine Art can be purchased at Amazon and Amazon Canada.
Source: Review copy provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and the Publisher. No compensation was received and all opinions are my own.
Blood Between Queens by Barbara Kyle is historical fiction at it’s best! Barbara Kyle expertly weaves fact with fiction in this superbly told story. To be honest I can’t believe I haven’t read any of her work before as I do have a few of her novels on my Kindle and now have all of them and will certainly be anxious to get to them. She is a fantastic storyteller and I can attest to that because I read Blood Between Queens in a day and you know it’s a good story when over 400 pages flies by without you realizing it. Of course it doesn’t hurt that she writes about the Tudor era which is my favorite. Blood Between Queens centers around the factual story of Queen Elizabeth I and her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots and the well known rivalry between the two of them. Add to this a fictional story that involves court intrigue, adventure, romance, and a fictional heroine that you won’t soon forget and you have a recipe for success!
Justine Thornleigh was taken in by the Thornleighs when she was just a girl and her family had perished along with her father who was labelled a traitor. She has grown up loved and privileged and the Thornleighs have kept the secret of who she truly is which is a Grenville. Having Queen Elizabeth visit her family’s estate is a true honor for her family but the party is cut short when word comes that Mary, Queen of Scots has shown up in England wanting her cousin Elizabeth’s protection. Nobody is more surprised than Justine when she learns that she has been chosen to be one of Mary’s ladies-in-waiting but that her real mission will be to spy on the activities of Mary and her court and report back to Elizabeth’s court. Justine is torn between feeling honored by this request and wanting to stay home and spend time with her love Will. Of course, duty to ones sovereign wins and she sets out to meet Mary and begin her mission as a spy.
Upon meeting Mary and getting to know her Justine begins to wonder if Mary hasn’t been wronged; if maybe the stories about her are exaggerated. As she learns more about the inquiry being held to determine Mary’s innocence or guilt Justine can’t help but be angered by the clear lack of justice she sees. When Justine takes steps to prompt Mary in a direction she thinks would be best for everyone involved she jeopardizes her relationship with the only man she loves and absolutely nothing can prepare her for the surprise of someone who appears from her past and changes everything she ever thought was right. Justine has been brought up to know that her duty lies with Queen Elizabeth and she will risk her own life to protect her if need be. As Mary plots to get rid of Elizabeth things begin to spiral out of control and nobody is safe.
There is no way to encompass the scope of this novel in a review. It is most definitely one you need to experience for yourself. Justine was a great fictional character as is the fictional storyline of the Thornleighs and Grenvilles. I didn’t realize until after I had read this book that it is fifth in the series but I can attest to it standing on its own quite well although now I really want to read the others to get more background. Without a doubt though my favorite parts of this story are the ones that address the relationship between Elizabeth and Mary and I was pleased to learn a few tidbits that I hadn’t gotten previously from other books especially on Mary who I haven’t read as much about. It is novels like Blood Between Queens that make history a lot of fun and very much accessible to anyone. I’m sure by now it’s obvious I really enjoyed Blood Between Queens and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to those who like historical fiction and to those who are curious if you would enjoy it this is the type of book to read. It’s easy to follow, has a great story and you get to learn something in the process! Needless to say I have another new author to follow!
Blood Between Queens by Barbara Kyle is on tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours so pop over and check out the other tour stops for more reviews, guest posts, and giveaways. You can learn more about Barbara’s work on her website and you can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter as well. You can pick up a copy of Blood Between Queens for yourself at Amazon and Amazon Canada.
GIVEAWAY DETAILS (US/Canada)
I have one paperback copy of Blood Between Queens by Barbara Kyle to share with my readers. To enter…
- For 1 entry leave a comment entering the giveaway.
- For 2 entries follow my blog. If you already do let me know and I’ll pass the extra entry on to you as well.
- Tweet, like on Facebook, or blog for 3 entries.
This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only (no PO boxes) and I will draw for the winner on Saturday, May 18/13. Good luck!
Source: Review copy provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and the Publisher via NetGalley. No compensation was received and all opinions are my own.
Please help me in welcoming M.J. Rose, author of Seduction to the blog today! I reviewed Seduction yesterday (my review) and loved it! This novel has all the elements I love with ghosts, mythology, and a suspenseful storyline that will give you the shivers. I hope you’ll enjoy the excerpt from Seduction that M.J. Rose is sharing with us today…
“The power of a glance has been so much abused in love stories, that it has come to be disbelieved in. Few people dare now to say that two beings have fallen in love because they have looked at each other. Yet it is in this way that love begins, and in this way only.”
― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
Excerpt from SEDUCTION
Theo wasn’t handsome as much as striking. Tall and skinny. His sun-streaked hair was pulled back off his face in a ponytail that exaggerated his already prominent cheekbones and broad forehead. The eyes that were unabashedly examining her were a pale blue, watered down as if tears had drained them of most of their color. He had a haunted expression on his face.
Jac had felt as if he was a magnet and she was a heap of helpless slivers of iron. She’d never before met someone she was drawn to so swiftly, and her response surprised her.
In 1843, novelist Victor Hugo’s beloved nineteen-year-old daughter drowned. Ten years later, Hugo began participating in hundreds of séances to reestablish contact with her. In the process, he claimed to have communed with the likes of Plato, Galileo, Shakespeare, Dante, Jesus—and even the Devil himself. Hugo’s transcriptions of these conversations have all been published. Or so it was believed.
Recovering from her own losses, mythologist Jac L’Etoile arrives on the Isle of Jersey—where Hugo conducted the séances—hoping to uncover a secret about the island’s Celtic roots. But the man who’s invited her there, a troubled soul named Theo Gaspard, has hopes she’ll help him discover something quite different—Hugo’s lost conversations with someone called the Shadow of the Sepulcher.
What follows is an intricately plotted and atmospheric tale of suspense with a spellbinding ghost story at its heart, by one of America’s most gifted and imaginative novelists.
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Read an Excerpt
About M.J. Rose
M.J. Rose is the international best selling author of eleven novels and two non-fiction books on marketing. Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in many magazines and reviews including Oprah Magazine. She has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio. Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the ’80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors – Authorbuzz.com. The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose’s novels in the Renincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and runs the blog- Buzz, Balls & Hype. She is also the co-founder of Peroozal.com and BookTrib.com.
Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.