Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Moonstone / Review

Author: Wilkie Collins
Paperback: 560 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0199536724

Book Description:

Called "the first and greatest of English detective novels" by T.S.Eliot, The Moonstone is a masterpiece of suspense. A fabulous yellow diamond becomes the dangerous inheritance of Rachel Verinder. Outside her Yorkshire country house watch the Hindu priests who have waited for many years to reclaim their ancient talisman, looted from the holy city of Somnauth. When the Moonstone disappears the case looks simple, but in mid-Victorian England no one is what they seem, and nothing can be taken for granted.Witnesses, suspects, and detectives each narrate the story in turn. The bemused butler, the love-stricken housemaid, the enigmatic detective Sergeant Cuff, the drug-addicted scientist--each speculate on the mystery as Collins weaves their narratives together. The Moonstone transcends the genre of detective novel or murder mystery.

My Review:
Being a fan of Wilkie Collins, I have read many of his novels, my favorite being The Woman In White. Some will say The Moonstone is his best work; although, I tend to differ. I found it a bit slower than Woman In White, but still a good victorian read that no one should miss.

Friday, August 27, 2010

To Sin With A Scoundrel / Review

Author: Cara Elliott
Mass Market Paperback:
384 pages
Publisher: Forever; Original edition (March 1, 2010) ISBN-10: 044654129X

Book Description:

A reclusive widow known for her scientific scholarship, Lady Ciara Sheffield is shadowed by rumors that she poisoned her husband . . . A rakehell rogue notorious for his devil-may-care antics, Lucas Bingham--the Earl of Hadley--is not accused of murdering anything--save for the rules of Polite Society. The only thing they have in common is seeing their names featured in the lurid gossip columns of London's newspapers. Until an ancient manuscript draws them together. Ciara needs a titled fiancé to quell the slanderous speculations which may send her to the gallows. Lucas needs brilliant scholar to help his elderly uncle decipher the secrets of the mysterious manuscript. So when her friends urge her to accept the earl's proposal of a temporary alliance, Ciara decides that she has no choice but to make a deal with the Devil.

And so begins a seductive dance of sinful pleasures and hidden desires as the two of them waltz through the mansions of Mayfair. Lies, intrigue, treachery, sex. They find themselves facing slanderous whispers, unscrupulous relatives-not to speak of their own simmering passions, which quickly ignite into dangerous flames. It's a potent mix and the result may be explosive-and perhaps deadly-if they don't watch their step.

My Review:
Cara Elliott has skillfully created a five star, exciting, sexy read. Well-written. Magnificently compelling! I've become a fan!
(Thanks to Hachette Book Group for my review copy.)

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Randolph Women & Their Men / Review

Author: Ruth Doumlele
Paperback: 292 pages
Publisher: Book Publishers Network;
1st edition (March 10, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1935359258

Book Description:

The Randolph Women and Their Men paints a rich and vivid portrait of post-Revolution life in the South on the scale of Gone With the Wind--only this story is true. A professional historian, Ruth Doumlele has cleverly woven the many lives of the famous and infamous of that time into one seamless narrative. While the Randolphs hold center stage, their exploits bring them together with those influential people--such as Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Madison--who determined our nation's legacy. Not only does Doumlele bring to life the significant event of those turbulent years, she also provides a scintillating view of the private lives of the privileged. Incest, betrayal, unrequited love--this book reveals the sometimes shocking, often poignant, always fascinating details of these remarkable women and their men.
About the Author:

Ruth Doumlele lives in Powhaten County, Virginia, a few miles from the Randolph family plantations. She is a member of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution and her Hailey ancestors fought in the same battles as the Randolphs. She holds a bachelor's degree from Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia, and a master's degree from the University of Richmond. Ruth writes local and regional history and is a docent at Virginia's circa 1813 Executive Mansion in Richmond, where Thomas Mann Randolph lived as governor, 1819-1822.

My Review:
Informative, historical, exceptional, skillfully written. A must read.
(Thank you to the author for my review copy.)

Alice I Have Been / Review

Author: Melanie Benjamin
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press;
First Edition edition (January 12, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0385344139

Book Description:

Few works of literature are as universally beloved as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Now, in this spellbinding historical novel, we meet the young girl whose bright spirit sent her on an unforgettable trip down the rabbit hole–and the grown woman whose story is no less enthralling.

But oh my dear, I am tired of being Alice in Wonderland. Does it sound ungrateful?Alice Liddell Hargreaves’s life has been a richly woven tapestry: As a young woman, wife, mother, and widow, she’s experienced intense passion, great privilege, and greater tragedy. But as she nears her eighty-first birthday, she knows that, to the world around her, she is and will always be only “Alice.”

Her life was permanently dog-eared at one fateful moment in her tenth year–the golden summer day she urged a grown-up friend to write down one of his fanciful stories. That story, a wild tale of rabbits, queens, and a precocious young child, becomes a sensation the world over.

Its author, a shy, stuttering Oxford professor, does more than immortalize Alice–he changes her life forever. But even he cannot stop time, as much as he might like to.

And as Alice’s childhood slips away, a peacetime of glittering balls and royal romances gives way to the urgent tide of war. For Alice, the stakes could not be higher, for she is the mother of three grown sons, soldiers all. Yet even as she stands to lose everything she treasures, one part of her will always be the determined, undaunted Alice of the story, who discovered that life beyond the rabbit hole was an astonishing journey.

A love story and a literary mystery, Alice I Have Been brilliantly blends fact and fiction to capture the passionate spirit of a woman who was truly worthy of her fictional alter ego, in a world as captivating as the Wonderland only she could inspire.

My Review:

Alice I Have Been is a beautifully written book. The book is expertly crafted and even poetic. It draws the reader in and makes it almost impossible to lay aside until one is finished. I loved it from beginning to end. 5 stars*****
(Thank you to the author for my review copy!)