April 18, 2015

The Alterpiece by Sarah Kennedy Review!

by Celticlady


THE ALTARPIECE 

It is 1535, and in the tumultuous years of King Henry VIII’s break from Rome, the religious houses of England are being seized by force. Twenty-year-old Catherine Havens is a foundling and the adopted daughter of the prioress of the Priory of Mount Grace in a small Yorkshire village. Catherine, like her adoptive mother, has a gift for healing, and she is widely sought and admired for her knowledge.

Catherine’s hopes for a place at court have been dashed by the king’s divorce, and she has reluctantly taken the veil.  In the remote North, the nuns enjoy the freedoms unavailable to other women.  England is their home, but the times have changed, and now the few remaining nuns dread the arrival of the priory’s new owner, Robert Overton.  When the priory’s costly altarpiece goes missing, Catherine and her friend Ann Smith find themselves under increased suspicion.

King Henry VIII’s soldiers have not had their fill of destruction, and when they return to Mount Grace to destroy the priory, Catherine must choose between the sacred calling of her past and the man who may represent her country’s future.

Author Bio

Sarah Kennedy holds a Ph.D. in Renaissance Literature from Purdue University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College. The author of seven books of poems as well as The Altarpiece and City of Ladies, books one and two in The Cross and the Crown series, she has received individual artist grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Virginia Commission for the Arts, as well as an award for scholarship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. She teaches at Mary Baldwin College in Virginia. Her website is http://sarahkennedybooks.com/.

OTHER LINKS

http://www.knoxrobinsonpublishing.com/

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6538009.Sarah_Kennedy

https://twitter.com/KennedyNovels

My Thoughts

Henry VIII has broken with Rome to establish the Church of England. He wants(demands) that all priests and nuns forsake the Catholic religion and embrace the new church. Over a period of time, there were a lot of complaints about monastic impropriety and supposedly this new act by Henry VIII will stop that, but it is only to line the pockets of the royalty and new church. Catherine Havens was abandoned on the church doorsteps as a baby and taken in by the nuns at Priory of Mount Grace, becoming the adopted daughter of the prioress. Catherine was one of these nuns forced out of the only home she had ever known. Most of the nuns refused to leave when the men came ordered by the priory’s owner, Robert Overton, to take what wasn’t nailed down and destroy the monastery itself. 

A very valuable Alterpiece goes missing and the nuns are accused of hiding it or they know who stole it. Catherine is not really committed to being a nun, she would rather heal people and live a quiet life. Robert’s brother William becomes ill, along with other people in the region with the pox. Catherine nurses him back to health and at the same time tries to figure out who and why the Alterpiece was stolen or hidden away. Robert is adamant that it is the nuns who are to blame so Catherine along with William and her fellow nun and friend Anne race against time, before the men who were ordered by Robert come back to either get it back. At the same time there are a few mysterious deaths occuring at the monastery and Catherine finds the deaths suspicious.

This is a story that is not often told, what happened to the nuns or priests and where did they go and how did they live after a mostly sequestered life in the monasteries and nunneries. This book gives the reader a glimpse into the decisions that these people had to make. Do they accept the new religion and start new lives outside the church or do they risk danger of imprisonment or death for not complying. 

I loved Catherine’s character, a young woman who is passionate about what she does and clearly wants to do nothing but help people, even at the risk of her own health. The story also gives us a further look into Henry VII and his more often than not cruel machinations against his own people. This novel is filled with suspense, illicit love and human emotions all put into a historical fiction novel that is a worthy read. I really loved it and am eager to read the next in the series, City of Ladies. After that there is the third in the series called the King’s Sisters. Excited to read both of those. If you love a great historical fiction series that is impeccably researched, this one is for you!

I received a copy for review and was not monetarily compensated for my review.

March 21, 2015

Murder in the Queen’s Wardrobe (A Mistress Jaffrey Mystery #1) by Kathy Lynn Emerson

by Celticlady

22772550

The Book

Book Details
Series: A Mistress Jaffrey Mystery (Book 1)
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Severn House Publishers; First World Publication edition (March 1, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 072788459X
ISBN-13: 978-0727884596

A female spy will face mortal danger to protect her queen and husband . . .”
London, 1582: Mistress Rosamond Jaffrey, a talented and well-educated woman of independent means, is recruited by Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham, to be lady-in-waiting to Lady Mary, a cousin of the queen. With her talent in languages and knowledge of ciphers and codes, she will be integral to the spymaster as an intelligence gatherer, being able to get close to Lady Mary just at the time when she is being courted by Russia’s Ivan the Terrible. However, there are some nobles at court who will do anything they can to thwart such an alliance and Rosamond soon realises the extent of the danger when a prominent official is murdered and then there is an attempt on Lady Mary’s life. In her quest to protect Lady Mary and her own estranged husband Rosamond must put herself in mortal peril.

Kathy Lynn Emerson’s Murder in the Queen’s Wardrobe brings back characters last seen in her Face Down Mystery Series. Mistress Rosamond Jaffrey, the illegitimate daughter of Lady Appleton’s late, unlamented husband, Sir Robert Appleton, is the sleuth in this new series. She previously appeared as a young girl in Face Down Beside St. Anne’s Well and the story of her elopement can be found in the short story “Any Means Short of Murder.”

Read an excerpt here: 

*Book recommendation only and not a review by me.

Sources: Goodreads, Amazon

The Author

Kathy Lynn Emerson began writing as a child: a newspaper for her dolls and then a rambling adventure series featuring characters from all her favourite television shows. On reaching adulthood, she moved from New York State to attend college in rural Maine. Here she met her future husband in the first week. They married two weeks after graduation and she has been writing ever since. Kathy is a highly versatile author. In addition to contemporary, historical and time-travel romance (also under the pen-name of Kaitlyn Gorton), she has written children’s fiction and non-fiction, biography and history. At present, she writes a contemporary cozy mystery series as Kaitlyn Dunnett and non-mystery historical novels as Kate Emerson. Kathy shares her home with her husband and three cats.

March 17, 2015

Murder Most Celtic, Book Recommendation!

by Celticlady

799520

Book Details
Series: Murder Most
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Cumberland House Publishing; First Edition edition (March 1, 2001)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1581821611
ISBN-13: 978-1581821611

Celtic culture is full of deep tradition and intense passion–from the legends of ghosts and banshees to blood feuds, these are the ingredients of great story-telling. In Murder Most Celtic: Tall Tales of Irish Mayhem, you will find thrilling tales of mystery and intrigue with an Irish flair. Here is the lore of the good and the bad, the light and the dark sides of human nature, mixed with the ancient Irish traditions. Stories like the “The Dublin Eye,” “So Where’ve You Buried the Missus Then Paddy!” and “Stealing the Dark” will entertain and spook you to your heart” delight.

The Irish are deeply passionate about their kinsmen, their country, their culture, and their way of life, as this collection of mysteries so richly illustrates. Slow to anger and equally slow to forgive at times, the children of the Emerald Isle have had planty of experience on both sides of the law. The sixteen stories of Irish crime and mystery in this volume tell of good and bad men and women–heroes and villians both. All feature characters for whom being Irish is more than just a state of mind–it’s a way of life.

Source: Goodreads, Amazon

shamrock divider st patricks

March 13, 2015

Irish Cures, Mystic Charms & Superstitions Book Recommendation for Friday the 13th!

by Celticlady

1603819

Book Details
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Sterling (June 30, 1991)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0806982004
ISBN-13: 978-0806982007

Lady Wilde, mother of famed author Oscar Wilde, over 100 years ago collected these hundreds of archaic cures, spells, homespun proverbs, visionary omens and prophecies.

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Jane Francesca Agnes, Lady Wilde (27 December 1821 – 3 February 1896) (born Jane Francesca Elgee in Dublin) was an Irish poet under the pen name “Speranza” and supporter of the nationalist movement; and had a special interest in Irish Fairy Tales, which she helped to gather. She married Sir William Wilde on 12 November 1851,

March 9, 2015

A Reunion of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell Book Recommendation!

by Celticlady

22638315

Book Details
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Harper (March 24, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062355880
ISBN-13: 978-0062355881

A compulsively readable literary masterpiece, A Reunion of Ghosts is the shared confessional of three sisters who have decided to kill themselves at the end of the 20th century, honoring the dark legacy that has haunted their extraordinary family for decades

How do three sisters write a single suicide note?

In the waning days of 1999, the Alter sisters—Lady, Vee, and Delph—finalize their plans to end their lives. Their reasons are not theirs alone; they are the last in a long line of Alters who have killed themselves, beginning with their great-grandmother, the wife of a Jewish Nobel Prize-winning chemist who developed the first poison gas used in World War I and the lethal agent used in Third Reich gas chambers. The chemist himself, their son Richard, and Richard’s children all followed suit.

The childless sisters also define themselves by their own bad luck. Lady, the oldest, never really resumed living after her divorce. Vee is facing cancer’s return. And Delph, the youngest, is resigned to a spinster’s life of stifled dreams. But despite their pain they love each other fiercely, and share a darkly brilliant sense of humor.

As they gather in the ancestral Upper West Side apartment to close the circle of the Alter curse, an epic story about four generations of one family—inspired in part by the troubled life of German-Jewish Fritz Haber, Nobel Prize winner and inventor of chlorine gas—unfolds. A Reunion of Ghosts is a magnificent tale of fate and blood, sin and absolution; partly a memoir of sisters unified by a singular burden, partly an unflinching eulogy of those who have gone before, and above all a profound commentary on the events of the 20th century.

The Author

Judith Claire Mitchell is the author of the novels The Last Day of the War and A Reunion of Ghosts, the latter forthcoming from Harper in March 2015. A graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop, she teaches undergrad and graduate fiction workshops atJudith Claire Mitchell 1 the University of Wisconsin, where she is a professor of English and the director of the MFA program in creative writing. She has received grants and fellowships from the Michener-Copernicus Society of America, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the Wisconsin Arts Board, and Bread Loaf, among others.

http://judithclairemitchell.com/

Sources: Goodreads and Amazon

This is a recommendation only and not a review by me.

March 6, 2015

American Ghost by Hannah Nordhaus Book Recommendation!

by Celticlady

9780062249210

About the Book

The award-winning journalist and author of The Beekeeper’s Lament attempts to uncover the truth about her great-great-grandmother, Julia–whose ghost is said to haunt an elegant hotel in Santa Fe—in this spellbinding exploration of myth, family history, and the American West.
The dark-eyed woman in the long black gown was first seen in the 1970s, standing near a fireplace. She was sad and translucent, present and absent at once. Strange things began to happen in the Santa Fe hotel where she was seen. Gas fireplaces turned off and on without anyone touching a switch. Vases of flowers appeared in new locations. Glasses flew off shelves. And in one second-floor suite with a canopy bed and arched windows looking out to the mountains, guests reported alarming events: blankets ripped off while they slept, the room temperature plummeting, disembodied breathing, dancing balls of light.
La Posada—“place of rest”—had been a grand Santa Fe home before it was converted to a hotel. The room with the canopy bed had belonged to Julia Schuster Staab, the wife of the home’s original owner.  She died in 1896, nearly a century before the hauntings were first reported. In American Ghost, Hannah Nordhaus traces the life, death, and unsettled afterlife of her great-great-grandmother Julia, from her childhood in Germany to her years in the American West with her Jewish merchant husband.
American Ghost is a story of pioneer women and immigrants, ghost hunters and psychics, frontier fortitude and mental illness, imagination and lore. As she traces the strands of Julia’s life, Nordhaus uncovers a larger tale of how a true-life story becomes a ghost story—and how difficult it can sometimes be to separate history and myth.

In this spellbinding exploration of myth, family history, and the American West, the award-winning journalist and author of The Beekeeper’s Lament seeks to uncover the truth about her great-great-grandmother Julia—whose ghost is said to haunt an elegant hotel in Santa Fe.
The dark-eyed woman first appeared in the 1970s, standing near a fireplace in a long black gown. She was sad and translucent, present and absent at once. Strange things began to happen in the Santa Fe hotel where she was seen. Gas fireplaces turned off and on without anyone touching a switch. Vases of flowers appeared in new locations. Glasses flew from shelves. And in one second-floor suite with a canopy bed and arched windows looking out to the mountains, guests reported alarming events: blankets ripped off while they slept, the room temperature plummeting, disembodied breathing, dancing balls of light.
La Posada—”place of rest”—had been a grand Santa Fe home before it was converted to a hotel. The room with the canopy bed had belonged to Julia Schuster Staab, the wife of the home’s original owner. She died in 1896, nearly a century before the hauntings were first reported. In American Ghost, Hannah Nordhaus traces the life, death, and unsettled afterlife of her great-great-grandmother Julia and her family, from Julia’s childhood in Germany to her years in the American West with her Jewish merchant husband, to the spas and séance rooms of the late nineteenth century, to World War II and beyond.
In her search to find and understand her troubled ancestor, Nordhaus travels across America and Europe, and unearths family diaries, photographs, and newspaper clippings; meets with historians, genealogists, psychics, and ghost hunters; and learns along the way some unexpected lessons about living.
American Ghost is a touching journey of roots and memory, a story of pioneer women and immigrants, villains and visionaries, frontier fortitude and mental illness, imagination and lore. As she follows the strands of Julia’s life, Nordhaus discovers a larger tale of how a true-life story becomes a ghost story—and how difficult it can be to separate history from myth.

Author
Hannah Nordhaus is the author of the critically acclaimed national bestseller The Beekeeper’s Lament, which was a PEN Center USA Book Awards finalist, a Colorado Book Awards finalist, and a National Federation of Press Women Book Award winner. She has written for the Financial Times, the Los Angeles Times, Outside magazine, the Times Literary Supplement, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She lives with her husband and two children in Boulder, Colorado.

Source:Harper Collins

March 5, 2015

The Tudor Bride by Joanna Hickson Book Recommendation!

by Celticlady

17837823

Book Details

The Tudor Bride

Paperback: 592 pages
Publisher: Harper (March 3, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0007446993
ISBN-13: 978-0007446995

The thrilling sequel to The Agincourt Bride, and the story of Catherine de Valois – the French princess who became an English queen.

King Henry V’s new French Queen, Catherine, dazzles the crowds in England, blithely unaware of court undercurrents building against her. Her loyal companion, Guillamette, suspects conspiracies against her queen. But her warnings are ignored, for Catherine believes herself invincible as she gives birth to an heir.

Tragedy strikes when King Henry is struck down by fever back in France and Catherine rushes to his deathbed. A weak and weeping dowager queen follows the slow funeral cortège through France and the King’s Harper, Owen Tudor, plays to comfort her.

Back in England, the regency council removes the new young king from her care, and a defeated Catherine retires to her dower estates, taking Owen with her as Steward. At the secluded manor of Hadham, a smouldering ember bursts into flame as Catherine and Owen Tudor become lovers.

But their love cannot remain a secret forever, and when a grab for power is made by the Duke of Gloucester, Catherine – and those dearest to her – will once again face mortal danger….

5823520

Joanna Hickson became fascinated with history when she studied Shakespeare’s history plays at school. However, having taken a degree in Politics and English she took up a career in broadcast journalism with the BBC, presenting and producing news, current affairs and arts programmes on both television and radio. Now she writes full time and has a contract with Harper Collins for three historical novels. The Agincourt Bride is the first. She lives in Scotland in a 200 year old farmhouse and is married with a large extended family and a wayward Irish terrier.
Joanna likes people to join her on Twitter (@joannahickson) or Facebook (Joanna Hickson)and says if you can’t find her she’ll be in the fifteenth century!

March 3, 2015

From Liverpool With Love by Lyn Andrews Book Recommendation!

by Celticlady

23786398

Book details
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Headline (4 Dec. 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0755399722
ISBN-13: 978-0755399727

A heartwarming Liverpool saga from the bestselling author of THE HOUSE ON LONELY STREET and LIVERPOOL ANGELS for readers of Dilly Court and Katie Flynn

In 1920s Liverpool, Jane, her little brother Alfie and their mother Ellen have faced the horrors of the workhouse together. But when Ellen dies, two very different paths open up for the siblings.

Jane is sent to work in the Empire Laundry and builds a new life for herself with the neighbours who take her in. She finds solace there and the promise of a happy future when she falls for Joe, their eldest son.

But Alfie absconds from the workhouse and embarks on a life of crime. When their paths cross once more, Alfie turns on his sister. His plans will jeopardise every happiness she hoped for…

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Lyn Andrews is one of the the UK’s top one hundred paper-back bestsellers. Born and brought up in Liverpool, she is the daughter of a policeman who also married a policeman. After becoming the mother of triplets, she took some time off from her writing whilst she raised her children. Shortlisted for the romantic Novelists’ Association Award in 1993, she has now written twenty-one hugely successful novels. Lyn Andrews divides her time between Merseyside and Ireland.

Source: Goodreads, Amazon

February 28, 2015

A Rainy Season by Nnaziri Ihejirika Book Tour!

by Celticlady

Please join Nnaziri Ihejirika as he tours the blogosphere for A Rainy Season, from February 23-28.

Publication Date: August 1, 2014

FriesenPress

Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

Pages: 280

Genre: African Historical Fiction

 

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01_A Rainy Season_Cover It is the rainy season of 1998. An autocratic and corrupt ruler has just died in the arms of courtesans at the presidential villa leaving one hundred million citizens of Africa’s most populous country in co-mingled states of joy, grief and uncertainty.

Through the eyes of eight fictional characters, A Rainy Season tells the story of Nigeria’s latest journey to democracy. Hamed, the government contractor. Ekei, the desperate fashionista. Jude, the underground radical. Kurdi, the womanizing pastor. Tamara, the ambitious divorcee. Elechi, the inquisitive schoolboy. Mutiu, the disillusioned guard. Nonye, the blossoming idealist. The sprawling metropolis of Lagos is the junction where their stories intersect. In this most chaotic of cities, they are as divided by ethnicity, religion, gender and social class as they are united by a desire to survive at any cost.

Praise for A Rainy Season

“Ihejirika masterfully presents the complex systems of patronage, exploitation and outright theft that exist at all levels of society. He illustrates his characters’ harsh pragmatism with sympathetic exactness even as he continually reminds readers of the idealism that lies dormant within them… At his best… he presents characters of moral complexity that are suited to their times and suggests that they can only begin to evolve when confronted with the startling fact that their system is moving on without them.” – Kirkus Reviews

Buy the Book

Amazon
Kindle
Nook
iTunes & Google Play
Kobo

About the Author02_Nnaziri Ihejirika_Author Photo

Nnaziri Ihejirika is a proud Nigerian-Canadian writer who is inspired by his and third-party experiences growing up in Nigeria during the late 20th century. He currently resides in Canada and is enthusiastic about providing social commentary on ethnicity, gender, religious, and social class issues in Nigeria. The same topics are tackled in his first book, “A Rainy Season”, casting a spotlight on the human condition during that period. Nnaziri is a frequent contributor to online social media with an emphasis on socio-political issues. Follow Nnaziri on Twitter.

For more information visit www.arainyseason.com. You can also follow A Rainy Season on Twitter.

A Rainy Season Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 23

Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, February 24

Spotlight at Boom Baby Reviews

Thursday, February 26

Spotlight at Book Babe

Friday, February 27

Spotlight at Cheryl’s Book Nook

Saturday, February 28

Review at Unshelfish

Review at Genre Queen

Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

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February 13, 2015

Not Without My Father by Andra Watkins Spotlight!

by Celticlady



The Book

Can an epic adventure succeed without a hero? Andra Watkins needed a wingman to help her become the first living person to walk the historic 444-mile Natchez Trace as the pioneers did. She planned to walk fifteen miles a day. For thirty-four days.

After striking out with everyone in her life, she was left with her disinterested eighty-year-old father. And his gas. The sleep apnea machine and self-scratching. Sharing a bathroom with a man whose gut obliterated his aim.

As Watkins trudged America’s forgotten highway, she lost herself in despair and pain. Nothing happened according to plan, and her tenuous connection to her father started to unravel. Through arguments an laughter, tears and fried chicken, they fought to rebuild their relationship before it was too late. In Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace, Watkins invites readers to join her dysfunctional family adventure in a humorous and heartbreaking memoir that asks if one can really turn I wish I had into I’m glad I did.

The Author

Andra lives in Charleston, South Carolina. A non-practicing CPA, she has a degree in accounting from
Francis Marion University. She’s still mad at her mother for refusing to let her major in musical theater,
because her mom was convinced she’d end up starring in porn films. In addition to her writing talent,
Andra is an accomplished public speaker. Her acclaimed first novel To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis was published by Word Hermit Press in 2014. She writes about her experience as the first living person to walk the Natchez Trace as the pioneers did in her upcoming memoir Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace, coming January 15, 2015 from Word Hermit Press. andrawatkins.com.

http://andrawatkins.com/

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