Monday, October 29, 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Because it sometimes takes a few days for reviews to be posted to amazon.uk, I decided I would go ahead and copy and paste my review here so I could get the word out about this absorbing, superb (insert more gushing here) historical novel by Elizabethe Chadwick. I can't say enough good things about it! I do believe I'm slightly (okay, rabidly) in love with John Marshal. Do yourself a favor and seek this one out at amazon.uk. You won't be sorry. I swear.
~taminator40 (Review posted below)
Elizabeth Chadwick's historical novels never fail to engage from the first word, and A Place Beyond Courage is yet another excellent example of first-rate history brought to life. The story of The Greatest Knight's father, John Marshal, A Place Beyond Courage treats us to the equally full and engaging life of a man who knew his own mind and lived his life with gusto and fortitude.
Ms. Chadwick begins her tale with John's early years as Marshal to Henry I, King of England, and follows him through the tumultuous period of warring factions for the crown after the king's death. John is shown to be very adept at achieving his goals and maintaining his own fortunes as he switches sides between Henry's daughter Matilda and Henry's nephew, Stephen; his personal life, however, leaves him feeling cold as his marriage to the mouse Aline dwindles into random meetings in the hall. Enter Sybilla, the sister of the Earl of Salisbury, and equal in fire and spirit to John; the hapless Aline is set aside as a love of deep understanding and desire develops between the two. Chadwick does an outstanding job of balancing the romantic aspect with the historical; never once does the novel steep into the vein of overblown romance as she shows the commitment between the two.
Following the steps of John Marshal through history is as well-told by Chadwick as it can possibly be. As I finished the predecessor to this novel, The Scarlet Lion, I'd thought I loved William Marshal. If that was the case, I'm now in love with John Marshal. Don't miss out on one of the best historical novels I've read in a very long time. It just doesn't get better than this.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
So for all of you wonderful people who have wondered, the news is good...and keep the faith that it'll stay that way. We all deserve a friend like Carol in our lives.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
To keep it safe, the kids are only using their initials in reviews at this point. But they would be beyond thrilled to think others had taken the time to stop by and comment. For middle schoolers, they're doing a great job and I'm happy to reinforce the love of reading in their lives. Please stop by and do the same.
Monday, October 08, 2007
Lord John is a fascinating character. He's complex, he has integrity, and he's deliberately deceitful when the circumstances warrant. He is also a homosexual in a time when just the thought of such unnatural love would banish a man into exile and possibly even cost him his life. Gabaldon gives Lord John a well-rounded personality so that his homosexuality is not what defines him; it's what complicates him. Well-written and intriguing, this is a good addition to the series and a nice companion to the Outlander stories.
The reviews at Amazon range from the gushing to the digusted, and many of those who are disgusted seem to be most offended by the graphic sex scenes. I tend to believe that if the sex was heterosexual rather than homosexual, there would be more praise for the novel as a whole than cries of depravity. I admit to feeling as though I didn't really need all the information I was given, but I do feel it made me understand Lord John the person better and it did make a gut-wrenching betrayal even more poignant. As I state in my own review, more puzzling to me was a scene between Jamie Fraser and Lord John late in the book; I'm still unclear why Lord John felt the need to say what he did, though I do understand his need to speak frankly and honestly to someone who could be objective.
My own amazon review can be found at http://tinyurl.com/2mprlx. I hope you'll take a look and decide for yourself if you like it. I can recommend this one, but I'd advise anyone who is at all squeamish when dealing with homosexuality to take a pass.