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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway: Mary of Carisbrooke by Margaret Campbell Barnes

This is a rich and engaging story of a young girl who tries to help a King.
by Margaret Campbell Barnes
    Mary of Carisbrooke: The Girl Who Would Not Betray Her King
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark; Reprint edition (April 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781402255953
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402255953
Genre: Historical Fiction
My Rating: 4.25

Product Description
"Margaret Campbell Barnes has been one of the most reliable of England's historical novelists."
-Chicago Tribune
A Girl, A King, and the castle that changed them both Forever...
Charles I, king of England, thought that Carisbrooke Castle would be safe, an Isle of Wight refuge far from the madding crowd of Cromwell. But Charles ran straight into the arms of betrayal, his retreat morphing to prison and his allies few and far between.

Mary, a quiet servant girl in awe of her king and country, vaults into intrigue and danger as she helps to plot the king's escape.

A moving story of royal hopes and misfortunes, Mary of Carisbrooke is at its heart the tale of a charming girl who is as romantic and alluring as she is smart and bold. Loyal to herself and to the Crown, Mary's brush with history reveals just how quickly fate can shift the paths of power.
Review: A beautifully written tale blending sweetness and sadness.

Mary is a quiet girl of 17 with a sunny disposition and a helpful nature. Her father is the Sergeant of the Guard at Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight.  Mary helps her Aunt Druscilla who is the housekeeper of the small household. Although they have to deal with the soldiers who came recently from London, the political struggles between the Cromwellian Parliament and King Charles I mean little to Mary and the other Islanders.

Mary’s quite life changes when the King, with several faithful retainers, escapes from Hampton Court, and seeks refuge at Carisbrooke Castle. Although the King and his supporters thought he was being granted sanctuary, the Governor is a staunch “servant of Parliament” who promptly sends word to Parliament for instructions on how to handle the King’s ‘visit.’

The story portrays Mary’s dedication, gentleness, caring nature and quiet courage. She serves the King with dignity not only as a laundress but also by becoming involved with the intrigue of passing secret letters, planning and helping with escape attempts. Unfortunately, poor planning, problems and betrayal beset the escape efforts and one by one the King’s friends are removed from him.  Mary becomes a source of comfort listening to his distress and trying to encourage him.

All of the King’s men, old and young, find Mary’s innocence and steadfastness to be charming. Mary blossoms into womanhood responding to the warm friendship of Harry Firebrace, the Groom of the Bedchamber. One of the other servants of the King, Richard Osborne, who has a bit of a reputation, tries to warn Mary to protect her heart.  Meanwhile Mary is threatened by the unwanted attentions of the leering Captain Rolph who is fiercely ambitious and opposed to the King.

The author does a wonderful job setting the tone as I felt a sense of sadness and tragedy even though I did not know how the King’s story would end. The characters are developed with unique depths that make them very real, whether likeable or detestable. Some of the characters are caught in the political machinations and their ambivalence is conveyed as they are caught between official duty and private feelings.

The book started a bit slowly but I think that is part of the somber ambiance. It soon picked up and the intrigue, dangers, and personal relationships kept me engaged and wanting to know what happened to the King and to Mary. There are plenty of rich details creating a vivid picture of the Isle and Castle. These enhance the smooth flow of the story.  If you enjoy historical fiction don’t miss this tender story.
Thank you to Sourcebooks for the book to read and review.

1. Comment on the review and/OR tell me if knowing the historical outcome effects your reading of historical fiction...Do you ever stop while reading and look up the real people?

Please leave your e-mail!

2. For an extra entry, become a follower or tell me if you are already a follower.

3. For two extra entries, blog, facebook, tweet (any of those networks!) about this giveaway and tell me where you did.

(Four total entries possible.)
It isn't necessary to use separate entries unless you want them in different chronological order.

* This contest is open US and Canada only.
* No P.O. Boxes Please - for shipping reasons.
* This contest will close 10:00 PM (Central) on June 17, 2011.
The winner will be randomly selected from all entries.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Monday Mailbox May 30, 2011

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week.

This Meme started  with Marcia at The Printed Page but is now hosted at Mailbox Monday and through various blog hosts. The host for May is MariReads.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Because I have so many books on my TBR shelves and plenty in my review box I have not been entering too many giveaways. Not even the blog hops which are huge, have great prizes but are just too time consuming.
But I have managed to win a few books/giveaways since my last post in March.

A Courtesan's Guide to Getting Your Manby Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan
To be honest I am not positive how I came by this ARC which releases June 1.
I know I saw it in THE HOT SHEET newsletter on March 2 from She Loves Hot Reads and St. Martin's Press but I can't quite figure out where I signed up to read or win it.

Andy McDougal and the Crypt of the Chimera (Book 1)
I won this book from a comment entry at Bookaholics.
by Kevin Richardson.
Thank you Kevin and Aik.

 I won an Amazon Gift Card for $15.00 through the Wednesday Review party at Cym's. This is a favorite weekly event for me. I love posting a review there  and getting to check out other reviews.  Winner a GC is icing on the cake! Thank you CYM.

I received Fated
by Rebecca Zanetti
and a Kensignton TShirt from the
Thank you DeNita and Kensington.

A Blue and Gray Christmas (Ladies of Covington)
I also received A Blue and Gray Christmas (Ladies of Covington)
by Joan Medlicott. 
This was my book choice form a win at Book Journey one week when I visited more than 10 It's Monday posts.
Thank you Sheila. :-)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

It's Monday! What are you Reading May 30, 2011?

This meme starts at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books!
What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

I finished six books (almost seven) this week, which surprised even me since both Historicals were on the long side.  Reading the audio/audible books certainly speeds things along. I posted three reviews, one with ARC Giveaway and one with Audio and older print book Giveaway.  I also posted a Splash into Summer Hop Giveaway, the Friday Pick Giveaway; Enquiring Mind Meme with Giveaway, Sunday post and a winners' post.

I visited a few blogs last week  - still not as many as I would like.
These were last week's posts plus a Winners' posts not listed.

Finished Reading:
Kitty Goes to Washington: Kitty Norville Book 2
by Carrie Vaughn
I enjoyed this paranormal. 
I'll post a review this week.

Mary of Carisbrooke: The Girl Who Would Not Betray Her KingPrint:
by Margaret Campbell Barnes
A wonderful story. 
I will post the review and 
giveaway on Tuesday 5/31.

Print and Kindle:
This is a very enjoyable, sweet medieval.
I will post the review soon.
by Rick Riordan
There is a lot of fun in this book.
I will do a review post this week.
Product Description 
What would happen if you discovered that your family was one of the most powerful in human history? What if you were told that the source of the family's power was hidden around the world, in the form of 39 Clues? What if you were given a choice - take a million dollars and walk away...or get the first Clue? If you're Amy and Dan Cahill, you take the Clue - and begin a very dangerous race.

Audio Cassette:Morning For Flamingo
A Morning For Flamingos by James Lee Burke
I posted a review and giveaway for this as well as a giveaway of a print copy of Black Cherry Blues: A Dave Robicheaux Novel. They are linked above.

Line Edits/Releases:
I completed and released the second Historical Novella:
 by Miranda Heart
I have finalized formats on Sword of Virtue by Joy Brooks so it is ready for final author read through and approval so this might get released this week.

Currently reading:
VirginVirgin (Cat Star Chronicles Book #7) 
by Cheryl Brooks
I started this for a review next week. 
I do like sci fi romance. :-)
I am reviewing this for Sourcebooks.
Product Description
Zetithians have a feline gene that gives the males remarkable sexual prowess. Refugee Dax is no exception-but as a virgin, he has no idea how to use it. His fumbling attempts at romance fail to tempt the beautiful Ava, but he is determined to learn the art of love. Let the seduction begin...
Praise for Fugitive:
"This is a series that just gets better and better... It's sexy space travel at its finest."
-Night Owl Romance
"A wonderful read full of excitement and action."
-Romance at Heart
by Grace Burrowes
I have just started this 
for review, giveaway 
and Author Q&A on June 9.
A Sourcebooks review.
Product Description
Be among the first to discover rising star Grace Burrowes, whose searing debut, The Heir, captured awards, rave reviews, and a crusade of fans who can't stop talking about it.

Even in the quiet countryside he can find no peace...

His idyllic estate is falling down from neglect and nightmares of war give him no rest. Then Devlin St. Just meets his new neighbor...

Until his beautiful neighbor ignites his imagination...

With her confident manner hiding a devastating secret, his lovely neighbor commands all of his attention, and protecting Emmaline becomes Deviln's most urgent mission.
by Johanna Lindsey
I am almost finished this.
I will post a review and print book giveaway this week.
Johanna Lindsey presents a sparkling, passionate Regency-era novel in which a beautiful but ruthless gossip meets her match in a dashing rake who sets out to change her wicked ways. Featuring two enthralling characters from the unforgettable bestseller The Heir, The Devil Who Tamed Her is a spirited new tale about the transforming power of true love.

Kindle: Undecided. I will probably get one of the June review books to read on Kindle.

Audible: Soulless: An Alexia Tarabotti Novel by Gail Carringer
OR Rapture in Death (In Death, Book 4) by J.D. Robb - I have the book but don't see me getting to read it anytime soon.

I am listening to The Listener's Bible NIV 
read by Max McLean. I am at 1 Samuel 31, Psalm 145 and Acts 1.

Line Edits:    Started formats on Life After the Undead by Pembroke Sinclair and Soylent Red by Jamieson Wolf.
I didn't intend to be so busy this month but somehow I took on more books than I realized - 13 commitments!
June 2011 Scheduled reviews:
6/9 The Soldier - Review, ARC Giveaway and Author Q&A (Sourcebooks)
6/13 From Mason to Minister: Through the Lattice by Neill Cullan McKinly - Review and Author Q&A (Pump up Your Books)
6/15 Beg for Mercy by Jami Alden - Review and Giveaway (Hachette)
6/20 Ex-Girlfriends United by Matt Dunn - Review and Author Q&A (Sourcebooks)
6/21 Demons Prefer Blondes by Sidney Ayers - Review, ARC Giveaway and Author Q&A (Sourcebooks)
6/27 Wish You Were Here by Phillipa Ashley - Review, ARC Giveaway and Author Guest Post (Sourcebooks) 
6/29 The Constantine Codex (Skeleton Series) by Paul L. Maier - Review and Giveaway (Glass Road PR)


A Courtesan's Guide to Getting Your Man by Susan Donovan, Celeste Bradley (St Martins)
My Dangerous Pleasure by Carolyn Jewel (Hachette - Forever Romance)
Taming Rowan by Suzanne Barrett
The Showboat Affair by Gwyneth Greer (Author)
To Be Sung Underwater: A Novel by Tom McNeal (Hachette Fiction - Little Brown)
Virgin by Cheryl Brooks (Sourcebooks)


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