What did a 13 year old girl need to know to survive a life in the court of King Henry the eighth; a lot more than you might think. But in Philippa Gregory's work, the reader will discover the most intimate and visceral of necessary knowledge.
The style and flow of this book reads much like the author's other works about the Tudor court and years of war that preceded it. It is good to read all of these books of richly worded English History in the sequence of time rather than the order they were written.
The fine writing and narration of this book gives the reader not only the feel but the smell of what it took for Mary Boleyn to escape the court then ride alone to a distant hamlet. It was not only the courage it took to leave, but the courage and knowledge it took for her to ride her horse for days, negotiate for food and safe havens to sleep, then stand before her Knight, pungent with the smell of horse and unwashed woman, hoping with all her being that she would not be turned away.
I would want to go back in time to interview Mary Boleyn Stafford as a grandmother on hearing all that would happen to the many wives of her past royal lover and what she thought of the social & religious upheavals that followed the beheading of her sister. Other than that, I would not miss the chance to listen to the servants and musicians who were also first hand witnesses.
If my history classes and reading assignments had been this much fun I would have been far more attentive.
This continuing Outlander saga does not disappoint. With the familiar voices of Davina Porter, the characters endure as them-self, acting and reacting in ways that stay true but continue to evolve. It is like old friends, who can quickly sweep us back and forward in time with just a phrase. 0n my first listen I got swept up in the action and relationships loosing the richer details. Now into my second listen I am struck by what I missed the first time around. This Outlander world is a feast for the senses, sometimes with delight but just as often with the visceral smells and sounds that make my jaw clinch, nose curl and skin crawl. It is, this feeling my way through her books with my whole body that brings me again and again to be in this world of Diana Gabaldon.
In the last book our hero of the Fraser Clan and his little grandson seemed to face certain death. In this sequel it is the Fraser women who's lives are at risk. While all the men in and around the Fraser Clan, young and old, muster to save Clair. Time traveling Brianna must rise to the realization that there is no time in human history that is without its own deadly dangers.
Mmmmm.... Maybe......the scene where young ladies discover the young prideful William, bathing naked in the river...or Clair and Jamie making mad passionate love in the planting shed. But it was also memorable to envision the elegant Lord John reduced to a one- eyed retch of a man. Then again the image of Ian Murray avenging himself with the same savagery as those that attacked him, stays in my mind. Yet even more I still see Brianna being a nurturing mom in nearly the same moment she is ready and willing to destroy those that would use her family for their own greed. Gladly there is no one favorite scene; there are over 145 chapters and at least an equal number of worthy passages that linger long.
The coming home. It had me in tears to the end.
My thanks to the author for another outstanding summer read. I await the unveiling of the Stars cable production of the first Outlander novel but definitely not patiently. Please Professor Gabaldon, let there be more...
Suffering has purpose.
Alma Whitaker lives a beliveable compelling life, filled with complexity and infuriating contradictions.
Before Darwin there was Alma Whitaker-Pike
Here is a book for those minds, fascinated with the universe of living things and how we came to understand what drives life to move and change as realized by and through the lifespan of one amazing woman. In the first 1/3 the author sculpts out the strong family characters that will form Alma's conscience. The second 1/3 sharply frames Alma's childhood then we witness the life choices that confound and constrain her and those she will one day fully love. In the last third our beloved Alma throws caution to the winds that blow her to the Tahiti of 1851 in a grand journey of mind and body. This book is deeply thought provoking, infuriating, joyful and finally, most satisfying; exactly as a long life should be.
Try, try again! Time is fluid, change is certain, need more knowledge, go back and find it.
Harkness weaves a fully original text that takes well developed characters with some amazing preternatural skills; back to the time of Shakespeare, in Queen Elizabeth's court.
Jennifer Ikeda's narration merged seamlessly in nuanced voices for each character in ways that marks each of them with a quickly identifiable presence. To listen rather than read, is to effortlessly discover then differentiate your new best friends with their antagonists as you join them on their journey of self discovery through time.
Discovering self is a messy proposition for any Witch in 2012. Going back to 1580 to find your power requires a cast of characters to fill in what modern individualism can't prepare Diana for. The author enchants everyone, past and present into an unquestioned acceptance of the presence of Witches, Demons & Vampires, then develops known character's of history who ring true in their fuller form. In each scene, the humor, fear and pragmatism makes even the action of seaming villains of history; all to real.
What a great series, here is hoping my knew friends will return again, many times. I look forward to joining these well developed characters through time as they discover more about themselves while sheltering amidst past generations. A great way to experience the evolution of social consciousness before it thinks to reach for individualism.
Saundra Lee, In Colorado
To enjoy this requires a reader who at least entertains the thought that total control of sexual situations, self and others is possible.
Human sexual expression that never occurs in real life. Males and females are not truly human; they have preternatural bodies that are rock hard, perfect symmetric masses of sensuality all sharing the same perfect sexual knowledge of self and others. They are caricatures, focused on coupling in ways that repeat the same androcentric delusions. After about 5 coupling sessions, there is nothing left to discover and the mystery is gone, why read more?
The act of getting sex isn't very interesting. It is the poetry we write, the music we compose, the gifts we give, the decoration we dawn, the problems we solve, the lengths we go to get sexual access that is ever compelling.
What made this story a great rainy-day listen while knitting, was the believable, well developed characters, who do unexpected things in familiar places.
Jennifer's romp with a contemporary vampire has the familiar sexual tension of Twilight but not so much that this is just a retelling of an old theme. Since Ann Rice began this dialogue some 20 years ago, the reality of a mesmerizingly handsome 30 something Vampire who has lived many life times, needs few words to create; it is part of our modern folk-lore. But a heroine with the potential to bend the material world & time to her needs makes Diana a compelling character who has many mysteries to discover.
I listen, rather than read books because I have socks to crank or scarfs to weave. Some great books demand every bit of my conscious awareness; so much so it is hard to pursue such creative tasks as knitting and weaving while listening. "Discovery of Witches" made room for my other diversions.
When an author creates strong believable characters, their story can span many pages, chapters and sequels. So far, my favorite Audible series is the ongoing, time travel saga of Clair & Jamie Fraser in Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series. But there is always this struggle with a new book & new characters. It is not fun to become emotionally connected to new characters, only to have them gone in a few 100 pages. Knowing there is a second book or sequel already available on Audible made it safer to get attached to these new characters of Debra Harkness. The second book in this series "Shadow of Night" is even more intriguing as the journey in time includes the who's-who of Elizabethan England & Europe. With an ending that hints at another book, there is such potential to use these well defined characters to explore and closely examine not only critical moments in time but create a fuller narrative on the potential of time travel to change the choices of the past thus changing the outcomes of the future.
While I await what I hope will be another in this series by Debra Harkness and the "Outlander" finale; I listen to the tell of one Lady-In-Waiting, living a life's story across the century that ushered in the end of old-world serfdom, in Philippa Gregory's "The Lady Of The Rivers"
I had expected a historians muddy romp through the 1350 English Country side, filled with violence & intrigue. Instead I agonized through 20 days of a medieval nightmare. The writing is compelling but the agony of disease is everywhere. I was overwhelmed with this tail of death by disease. The whole tension filled story offers no color and little joy. There is scant detail of the 1348 period but all the gory detail about what it feels like to suffer through weeks of fevered influenza. Soon after you are trapped with the same family in the same stone manor house in the cold wet of an Englishish 1348 winter. Day by day you watch and work utterly helpless as all those around you drop one by one into a slow death of agony and suffering. Even though it was "just a disease" and not God's judgement to end the medieval world; the heroine is jettisoned from her dream visit to medieval Europe utterly devoid of faith or hope. Maybe some human suffering....really is by malevolent design.
Something full of color. life and love.
Her reading seemed to drag slowly on and on and on..........with no change in tone or rhythm? Was this the reader's interpretation or was it another tool of the author to deepen the futility of it all.
A sequel would need to be after Kivren spends a few years in Integral Sanctuary. She leaves only after she is told by Montoya of a newly discovered dig with modern artifacts that suggest intervention is what kept some parts of Scotland disease free. Then she makes it happen. Taking the necessary cultural, medicinal & herbal knowledge back to 1340 to set up pilgrimage houses of healing to England, Scotland & Wales. In this book there is adventure, color, joy and the wonder that comes from knowing it is possible to end or reduce the suffering of others even in 1348. Then realizing that doing so saved a distant ancestor. Some necessary person to Kivren's existence.
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