Friday, March 24, 2017

The Life and Times of Persimmon Wilson by


For fans of Cold Mountain and The Invention of Wings comes “a tour de force of historical fiction” (Henry Wiencek, author of Master of the Mountain) that follows the epic journey of a slave-turned-Comanche warrior who travels from the brutality of a New Orleans sugar cane plantation to the indomitable frontier of an untamed Texas, searching not only for the woman he loves but so too for his own identity.


I have been to hangings before, but never my own.



Sitting in a jail cell on the eve of his hanging, April 1, 1875, freedman Persimmon “Persy” Wilson wants nothing more than to leave some record of the truth—his truth. He may be guilty, but not of what he stands accused: the kidnapping and rape of his former master’s wife.



In 1860, Persy had been sold to Sweetmore, a Louisiana sugar plantation, alongside a striking, light-skinned house slave named Chloe. Their deep and instant connection fueled a love affair and inspired plans to escape their owner, Master Wilson, who claimed Chloe as his concubine. But on the eve of the Union Army’s attack on New Orleans, Wilson shot Persy, leaving him for dead, and fled with Chloe and his other slaves to Texas. So began Persy’s journey across the frontier, determined to reunite with his lost love. Along the way, he would be captured by the Comanche, his only chance of survival to prove himself fierce and unbreakable enough to become a warrior. His odyssey of warfare, heartbreak, unlikely friendships, and newfound family would change the very core of his identity and teach him the meaning and the price of freedom.



From the author of the New York Times Notable Book Life Without WaterThe Life and Times of Persimmon Wilson is a sweeping love story that “is as deeply moving and exciting an American saga as has ever been penned” (Lee Smith, author of Dimestore).


Review
by

If you buy this book, prepare yourself to be utterly absorbed about a good, honest man, but also a poor black slave turned free who wanders and ultimately becomes a prisoner. On the eve of his execution, he recalls his life, his love, and all the events that led him to the gallows. 

Author Nancy Peacock thrusts readers deep into this man's heart and soul, giving us great insight into the tumultuous era in which he lived and loved. Persimmon's motivation is his great love for a woman. It is this love that leads him on a search despite the danger and trouble he will encounter. For her, he risks all, and it endeared this character to me. 

The tale is heart-wrenching and visceral, emotional and rich. One of the best stories I've ever read. Get this book now! It is sure to please and will stay with you a very long time.



Monday, March 20, 2017

The Kaiser's Last Kiss by Alan Judd



Soon to be a movie titled The Exception starring Christopher Plummer, Lily James, and Jai Courtney, this “crisp, adroit, and subtle tale of great personal power” (The New York Times) follows the exiled Kaiser Wilhelm, the young Nazi officer assigned to guard him, and the Jewish maid who unwittingly comes between them.


It is 1940 and the exiled monarch Kaiser Wilhelm is living in his Dutch chateau, Huis Doorn. The old German king spends his days chopping logs and musing on what might have been.



When the Nazis invade Holland, the Kaiser’s staff is replaced by SS guards, led by young and recently commissioned SS officer Martin Krebbs, and an unlikely relationship develops between the king and his keeper. While they agree on the rightfulness of German expansion and on holding the nation’s Jewish population accountable for all ills, they disagree on the solutions.



But when Krebbs becomes attracted to Akki, a Jewish maid in the house, he begins to question his belief in Nazism. As the threads of history conspire with the recklessness of the heart, The Kaiser, Untersturmfuhrer Krebbs, and the mysterious Akki find themselves increasingly conflicted and gravely at risk…

Review

It is always fascinating to get fresh new perspectives on many of the people whose lives were affected by the politics and machinations of World War II. This novel is full of fascinating and mysterious characters who evolve throughout the story, many truly villainous and painfully evil, and others who truly touched me. Although the love story is not a dominant factor, it adds to the ambiance of the tale. One of my favorite plot basics was the setting - an old house filled with precious artifact and antiques. I'm definitely looking forward to the movie version of this story. A quick, easy read which I highly recommend.



Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Echo of Twilight by Judith Kinghorn

"An enchanting, atmospheric work of historical fiction that is a rich blend of Downton Abbey and Jane EyreThe Echo ofTwilight is a wonderful novel to curl up with this winter."--Booklist

From the acclaimed author of The Last Summer, a captivating and moving story of the unlikely relationship between a lady and her maid on the eve of World War I.


As I watched him—his long legs striding the narrow path through the heather, his golden hair catching the sun—I had a hideous feeling in the pit of my stomach. For it seemed as though he was already marching away from me.

In 1914, despite the clouds of war threatening Europe, Pearl Gibson’s future is bright. She has secured a position as a lady’s maid to a wealthy Northumberland aristocrat, a job that will win her not only respect but an opportunity to travel and live in luxury. Her new life at Lady Ottoline Campbell’s Scottish summer estate is a whirlwind of intrigue and glamour, scandals and confidences—and surprisingly, a strange but intimate friendship with her employer. 
But when violence erupts in Europe, Pearl and Ottoline’s world is irrevocably changed. As the men in their lives are called to the front lines, leaving them behind to anxiously brace for bad news, Pearl realizes she must share one final secret with her mistress—a secret that will bind them together forever...

My Review

An orphan all her life, Pearl was raised by her aunt and grandfather. Upon their deaths, she found work as a ladies maid with Lady Ottoline Campbell. They become fast friends and travel from England to Scotland on the eve of World War I. As Ottoline's sons and nephews join up, the two women are distraught.

The two women become further linked by a dark secret that can destroy their lives.

I enjoyed this wonderful family saga set in the early 1900's. The book is well paced with larger than life characters, an interesting plot which culminates in a most satisfying ending. Highly recommended.

Thank You

Richard Patzer
November 20, 1946
to
February 24, 2017
I sincerely thank readers, authors, and publishers for their patience over the past few months as I took a break from blogging to care for my husband during his illness and hospitalization. He passed away peacefully at the end of February. His loss has left me and my family in grief and in a struggle to move forward in our lives without him. 

Slowly, I am gathering up the threads of my work I was forced to abandon in my husband's time of need.  

To authors and publishers who have trusted me with your books to review, please know I am slowly working through a backlog and you will receive a review in due time. To readers who have waited patiently for my opinions and recommendations on new historical book releases, please visit often as I get back to reading and reviewing once more. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Scandalous Lady Mercy by Maggi Andersen



PUBLISHER'S BLURB

After her four sisters married for love, Mercy Baxendale, in her first London Season, wants the same for herself. Her requirements are simple. The man she marries must be madly in love with her, and he must also be prepared to support her business venture.

When an incident lands Mercy and Grant, Viscount Northcliffe in the scandal sheets and has everyone in London talking, they are forced into a marriage of convenience. Although Northcliffe is quite the most handsome man she’s met, he does not fill her criterion for a husband. Not only does he appear to be a man with secrets, he has a very public mistress.


Grant foresees no rush to marry and produce an heir. His grandfather, the Duke of Rotherham, and Grant’s father are still above ground. And squiring a fiancée around London for the Season is difficult with the dangerous work he’s undertaken for the Crown.


While he accepts that circumstances have thrust marriage upon him, he wishes his reluctant fiancée would be warmer. There’s a decidedly chilly expression in her beautiful blue eyes when she looks at him.


Will they find it possible to overcome their differences and love one another, or will his secrets destroy their chance of happiness?


REVIEW

I have had the privilege of reading Maggi Andersen's latest delightful novel which focuses on another of the Baxendale sisters. Mercy is the tomboy of the family who matures into a thoughtful and considerate girl who has no wish to rock the family respectability so when scandal threatens, she does what is expected of her and marries Grant, Viscount Northcliffe. 

Mercy might be strong willed and capable, with an eye to starting her own business, but she longs to be loved by the husband she has grown to adore. However, Grant's secret work for the Crown prevents him sharing a large part of his life with his new wife, while Mercy worries that he is also continuing his liaison with his mistress.

This is a lovely story where pride and misunderstandings stand in the way of a couple's happiness until Mercy's life is put in danger and all secrets must be revealed.

I shall be sorry when Ms Andersen runs out of Baxendale girls, but as most of them have children, so perhaps she will introduce us to the next generation?




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