This is the fourth novel I've read by Virginia Henley, and while there are things I loved this novel, there are things I really did not like. Which is kinda disappointing, but you win some, you lose some. I'll start off by saying I loved the exploration of the reign of King John, and some of the characters were memorable. The writing was spot on and it was certainly an entertaining read.

Series: The Medieval Plantagenet Trilogy, #1
My Rating: 3/5
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But. But, but, but...but. This book had its flaws. First off, it got caught in the willfulness of both heroine and hero. Jasmine was dead set against marriage, Falcon was determined to have her. She saw herself as a witch, free to cast her spells and at no man's command. He was a high minded, fierce soldier who commanded everything and everyone around him. And he wanted her. He wanted to tame her, make her his. Love her. And this is a serious flaw. The characters strength of will got in the way of the romance.

Don't get me wrong. It's fun to have the couple clash and warrior, especially in a novel like this. But their words cut too deep, their actions and reactions were too extreme and it got in the way of the love that I expected to grow between Falcon and Jasmine.  In fact, Jasmine's reaction and feelings once she is wedded and bedded is that of a rape victim. Because King John is evil and desires Jasmine, he allows one of his cronies to take her and wed her before Falcon and she marry. In exchange, the crony will share his wife with John. Falcon rescues her, marries her immediately and forces the consummation for Jasmine's own safety in the region of a mad king. By today's standards, this scene is a rape. It just frustrated me as it didn't make for good reading, or good romance and Jasmine's refusal to trust a man who clearly cared for her seemed illogical to me. I also hated that even though Falcon knew how afraid Jasmine was, he still derived pleasure and did not even apologize for hurting her or feel badly about the situation. Later sex scenes were even worse as Jasmine retreats into her mind whenever Falcon beds her.

Older romances let you down in this way sometimes. I think if Jasmine's character hadn't been so stubborn and afraid, if she had had more courage to face the reality of the situation they were in, she might have made a better heroine and the romance would have worked better. But, for me, it just failed in the romance department.

I did however like the character of her grandmother Estelle, who was crafty and had an inner strength that me made smile. The exploration of King John's England was interesting as well, as I'd always heard of King John being nasty, so the history woven into the story was a winner for me. Overall, interesting reading, and I'm glad I gave the book a chance.

Happy Reading,
I was on a bit of a historical fiction binge this summer, specifically Tudor England. Let's face it, my fascination with this era is never going away. As soon as I saw the fourth instalment in Weir's series, I snatched it up and proceeded to read it very quickly. These novels provide a glimpse into the lives of Henry VIII's wives, from their youth right up until their deaths, and each thus far is riveting.

Series: Six Tudor Queens, #4
My Rating: 5/5
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This novel opens with Anna's engagement, but to King Henry VIII. Anna is young, and has been raised to adhere to her role as a daughter and a princess, and although the engagement is not one of her choosing, she's willing to follow through it as is her duty. However, in a surprising twist, she falls in love with a young aristocrat and experiences her first kiss which ends with the loss of her virginity. This encounter leaves Anna sorrowful as she can never be with the man she truly loves. And it ties beautifully into history as it provides the grounds for King Henry's suspicions that Anna is "no maid."

For this is the reason that Henry VIII wanted nothing to do with his fourth wife; or at least one of them. It's no secret that he found Anna unattractive, and that he stated she smelled foul and had a soft belly and breasts, among supposed other truths that confirmed in his mind that his bride was not a virgin. I thought this rather a brilliant stroke by Weir, who imagines that Anna engages in a sexual encounter early, gives birth to a baby and that Henry, who had both wives and mistresses immediately saw that her body was altered by that pregnancy. Could this have been why the king so disliked his fourth wife? Or were these words said merely of a woman Henry had no desire to bed? We'll never really know, but it certainly made for interesting and realistic story telling.

Anna navigates  the political waters of Henry VIII court wisely even though she time and again is pressed to debase her royal status. Luckily, she is much loved by Henry once their marriage is annulled and well kept, and Anna even finds love again. In this novel, we side a King Henry that sometimes history forgets, that Henry Tudor was sensitive and even kind hearted. Since Anna outlives Henry, we see him age and hear his last words to Anna and I was very moved by that scene in particular. We also saw how Anna manages after the death of this infamous king, into an era of Protestantism and financial waste.

A novel spans three Tudor monarchs, this study of Anne of Cleves was poignant, polished and praise worthy.

Happy Reading,
This novel was historical romance to the letter. Fiery, strong willed heroine. Dark, passionate and commanding hero. A marriage with a couple at odds, it made for easy reading. I've read a couple of novels by this author before, and enjoy them and The Raven and the Rose was another I really thought devastating.

Genre: Historical Romance
My Rating: 4/5 
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I really liked this novel, as the heroine Rosanna so thoroughly dislikes her husband. She never thought. to marry her betrothed, but despite her efforts to avoid the marriage, she ends up the bride of a man she dislikes, and promises to make him wretched. And for a time, she does. What interested me in this novel as well was that Rosanna was the illegitimate child of Edward IV, and as I've been learning more about the War of the Roses, and the Plantageants, it was certainly interesting to read about people who lived during those times, even if they were fictional. I also liked that there was a bit of intrigue woven into the story as well surrounding Rosanna during the time the Earl of Warwick was moving against King Edward.

I've mentioned before when reviewing older romance novels, that I sometimes fear as I delve into them that the love scenes might not align with more modern conceptions of romance and healthy relationships. I do find that that the roles of men and women are portrayed very traditionally, and as a modern reader they do sometimes irk me, even though they are appropriate for the times, I find them sometimes overtly sexist. This I can overlook given the age of the novel, so I try not to fault older romances for this as thirty to forty years ago, the world was more sexist. However, given that I did feel this way reading this novel at times, I was very glad that the hero did not force his wife to be his wife. He waited for a time instead of forcing her in the bedchamber. I can respect that in his character, and as a modern reader, appreciate it. I also appreciated the build up as it made everything sizzle. Like, really sizzle.

I am so glad to be once again reading amazing romance novels and this novel is one that has helped me out of a long reading rut. I can absolutely recommend this is if you enjoy historical romance and if you need something that is just fun and allows you to escape to another world.

Happy Reading, 

I added this book to my collection a while back and finally began reading it and I am so thrilled by this novel. I've become really interested in true crime, and this novel is not based on real events, but its premise is one that we know to be real, which made this a bit like true crime for me. But I also love that this book does not dwell on the grittier aspects of the crime perpetuated against the main character, Lauren.

My Rating: 5/5 stars
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women's Fiction

The novel opens with the abduction of Lauren, which does kinda get your heart pumping, and then skips ahead six years where we see her family continuing to search for their missing little girl. It was quite a page turner as we got to get into the heads of different characters--Lauren's mother and father, her sister Sierra, and even Lauren herself. The writing really draws you in as it come to understand how the abduction of Lauren has affected her family, and how each perceives the situation and how it has affected their lives. I felt compassion for these fictional characters, especially as what has happened to Lauren is laid out. 

And then, suddenly, Lauren is found. A miracle. One parents of missing children everywhere hope for every day. It was wonderful to know Lauren would be going home, but now the novel begins to deal with her recovery. This could be difficult. It could be ugly. It could cause you to feel sick. It might make angry. All of this is possible when you divide into a novel with this premise. But I think the author did a fabulous job in focusing on Lauren's recovery and integration with her family rather than the suffering Lauren endured. We do get glimpses into that, but this novel does not focus on the victimization of Lauren, but rather on Lauren. And I liked that a lot. 

So, for those of you who like crime and mystery, this has enough of that to keep you engaged, and for those of you looking for a good summer read, this might be up your alley as well. It's definitely a page turner so it makes for easy reading. I loved it, and hope that I can continue to find gems like this among the many books on my shelves. 

Happy Reading,

This book certainly took me by surprise. It was nothing like I expected, and made for some interesting reading although it's likely not everyone's cup of tea when it comes to romance. First off, it's an older romance and love and romance were handled differently I find in romance novels in the past. Secondly...well, that's what mostly of my review will be about. Secondly. I'd like to thank you for hanging around if you are a follower of my blog as I have not been reviewing books lately. I cannot believe this is the first book I've read in 2019, but there you have it. I did dive into several others, but I guess I was just too all over the place to really get sucked into any book. A first for me but I am back to steady reading now and am hoping to keep it again as reading is my first love in life. 

Series: Wyhnham Saga, #2
Stars: 3/5
Genre: Romance

Love, Remember Me was first written in 1994, and I went into this novel knowing full well that the portrayal of women and relationships might give me some pause. However, I adore historical romance and I just decided to plunge. I thought maybe something that might strike me as overly dramatic and even ridiculous might just be the thing to get back into reading. But this book surprised me, as really opens with young Nyssa Wyhnham making her way to the Tudor court after a visit to her family home from Henry VIII himself. She is there to serve his new queen, Anne of Cleves, and to catch a husband. A simple enough device, and after some times Nyssa does meet the Earl of March, her future husband. Here is where things started to take me by surprise, and even delight me as the plot follows Nyssa's service to Anne of Cleves quite closely, and her separation from the king. 

Courts are usually full of politics and intrigues, and there is not doubt that the court of Henry VIII had many factions and intrigues swirling around at all times, and the author cleverly made use of this to throw Nyssa and the Earl of March together. Once they are married, quite against Nyssa's will, I thought the novel would largely focus on the couple living their life and falling in love. However, I was once again surprised, as the novel does not merely use these historical characters to throw Nyssa and Varian, the Earl of March together, but then follows the rise of Catherine Howard, the king's fifth wife, as well as her downfall. 

This is the secondly I mentioned. This novel really does not focus on the main characters. It's more of a historical fiction in my opinion, with Nyssa and Varian being some minor couple at court caught up in the pages of history. There is not much development of the relationship between the heroine and hero and I hardly felt that devastating feel that I named the blog for, if at all sadly. However, I must say that the plot is well paced, the characters are compelling and the history that this story is steeped in is well researched. If you like history, this might be a good read for you. Otherwise, you're sure to be disappointed. 

I'm so happy to be back to reading and reviewing books! I will have another review coming for you soon so please stay tuned. 

Happy Reading,