Genre: Historical

Falling in Love with Books: The Sherwood Ring

Falling in Love with Books: The Sherwood RingThe Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope, Evaline Ness
Published by Houghton Mifflin on January 1st 1970
Genres: Adult, Historical, Mystery
Pages: 272
Goodreads

Newly orphaned Peggy Grahame is caught off-guard when she first arrives at her family's ancestral estate. Her eccentric uncle Enos drives away her only new acquaintance, Pat, a handsome British scholar, then leaves Peggy to fend for herself. But she is not alone. The house is full of mysteries and ghosts. Soon Peggy becomes involved with the spirits of her own Colonial ancestors and witnesses the unfolding of a centuries-old romance against a backdrop of spies and intrigue and of battles plotted and foiled.

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Welcome to Lory, one of my favorite bloggers, who blogs at The Emerald City Book Review! You may remember that she participated in Falling in Love with Books last year, and I’m so happy she’s back with another book she loves and wants us all to fall in love with as well! Enjoy!

Are you allergic to historical fiction?

Maybe the mere mention of the American Revolution brings on yawns induced by your school days, and you can’t see how any book that includes George Washington as a character could possibly be interesting. Or perhaps you just prefer romance, or fantasy, or mystery, and find enough to satisfy you in those genres without having to dig into the dusty past.

Well, in that case I hope you’ll consider trying a romance/fantasy/mystery that also happens to be partly set during the American Revolution, because if you do I’m quite sure you’ll find it a charming and delightful experience that might even change your mind about George Washington. The Sherwood Ring opens with a young woman of the present day (more or less – the book was first published in 1958) coming to an old house in upstate New York after the death of her father has left her an orphan. While her eccentric uncle tries to defend the estate against the scholarly advances of an attractive neighboring Englishman, Peggy tries to unravel the mysteries of some of her ghostly ancestors, who relieve her loneliness by sharing their stories.

There are no supernatural horrors here, as all the ghosts are benign, but there is suspense and human drama and, yes, a certain amount of history.

Although really it just serves as an atmospheric backdrop for some marvelous characters, most notably a romantic couple that will steal your heart: the dashing British rogue who’s causing trouble for the American rebels, and the clever young lady who is more than a match for him. There are two other couples to be paired up in the course of the novel, but this is the one that makes it memorable.

So please, do try The Sherwood Ring, and see how much fun historical fiction can be. And I hope you’ll move on to Pope’s other book, The Perilous Gard, a Tudor-era historical novel which is even better. You might even find you’ve fallen in love with a new genre, and that would be a wonderful thing.

I don’t know about your, but I had never heard of The Sherwood Ring before Lory mentioned it. I’m definitely going to check this title out as I am an avid reader of historical fiction. Thank you, Lory, for sharing this book with us, and I sincerely hope we have some readers who begin to fall in love with historical fiction after encountering The Sherwood Ring!

What Katie Read

Falling in Love with Books: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake

Genres: Adult, Historical

Welcome to Day 2 of Falling in Love with Books 2016! I am so pleased to host Isalys on the blog who is an expert on all things Historical Romance related. At least that’s what I think…So enjoy today’s romantic post from her today!

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Title: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing A Rake
Author: Sarah MacLean
Genre: Adult Historical Romance
Release Date: Published March 30th 2010 by Avon
ISBN: 0061852058
(ISBN13: 9780061852053)

A lady does not smoke cheroot. She does not ride astride. She does not fence or attend duels. She does not fire a pistol, and she never gambles at a gentlemen’s club.

Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried—and more than a little unsatisfied. And so she’s vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she’s been missing. But to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss—to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner. Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking. Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston—charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile. If she’s not careful, she’ll break the most important rule of all—the one that says that pleasure-seekers should never fall hopelessly, desperately in love.

Historical romance is my comfort food!  I get so excited every time someone asks me for a recommendation or better yet, tells me they’re new to the genre.  If you do ask me for a recommendation, my first choice will always be Nine Rules to Break When Romancing A Rake by Sarah MacLean. In all the books I’ve read, it’s still one of my absolute favorites!  I also think it’s the ideal book to start with if you are new to historical romance.

Calpurnia – aka Callie – is not your typical heroine.  She’s not a perfect specimen of femininity, in physical appearance or temperament. Do not doubt that she is a proper lady, but even proper ladies need to have fun, right? In her quest for fun, she makes a list of nine unacceptable things she’d like to do; things ladies do not do.  After all, if she’s going to be a spinster, she may as well get her kicks while she can.  In pursuit of these nine things, Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston gets sucked in and hilarity & romance ensues. 

Gah, I loved these two!  Callie was committed to completing her list and Gabriel, honorable rake that he is committed himself to keeping her out of trouble! Together they were fun and sexy and romantic and everything I look for in a romantic couple.  I loved that she had real insecurities but didn’t let them slow her down and I loved that he was able to see past those insecurities to the strong, playful, sexy and beautiful woman that she was.

“I’m not a wife, or a mother, or a pillar of the ton,” she waved her
unharmed arm as though the life she was describing was just beyond the
room. “I’m invisible. So, why not stop being such a craven wallflower
and start trying all the things that I’ve always dreamed of doing? Why
not go to taverns and drink scotch and fence? I confess, those things
have been much more interesting than all the loathsome teas and balls
and needlepoint with which I have traditionally occupied my time.” She
met his gaze again. “Does this make sense?”
He nodded seriously. “It does. You’re trying to find Callie

I loved that he understood her and ultimately, isn’t that what we all want from a great romance, to be loved & understood?

Now we are quite a few years into the future from the time this story is set in so the things that are off limits and therefore considered rebellious for Callie to do are probably every day occurrences to us. However, wouldn’t we all love to go on a few adventures and try different things.  If we could make our own list of nine things, what would our lists include?

Below is mine and as a fun little twist, I created it based on some of the adventures a few of my other favorite heroines have been on. (Below each item, I included the title and GR link the the book I referenced to you can add it to your historical romance TBR).

Like Nicholaa in The Prize by Julie Garwood
 
 
Like Susana in The Rogue You Know by Shana Galen

Like Eloise in To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn 

 Like Beth in The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie
 Like Lydia in Bound by Your Touch by Meredith Duran 

 

I love that you can find such empowered heroines in this genre, especially when set in times of such class and gender-based adversity. As my awesome friend Ang at @Ang_Writes puts it “strong females facing social challenges during interesting parts of history. What’s not to love?”

So if YOU are new to the genre, or maybe you’re not but just haven’t gotten around to reading Nine Rules to Break When Romancing A Rake, I really hope that you do!  And if you do, I hope you love Callie & Gabriel as much as I do.  Tweet me @IsaBookSoulmate if you wanna tell me all about it.

But before you go, what’s on YOUR list???

What a delightful post from Isalys! I love the suggestions she makes at the end of her post and all the books you can add to your Goodreads. So fun! Feel free to tweet Isalys or leave a comment here, and let her know if you have read or plan to read any of these books. See you tomorrow for the next post in Falling in Love with Books!

What Katie Read

Mini Review: The Bookseller (2015) by Cynthia Swanson

Mini Review: The Bookseller (2015) by Cynthia SwansonThe Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson
Published by Harper Collins on March 3rd 2015
Genres: Psychological, Adult, Historical
Pages: 352
Goodreads
four-stars

A mesmerizingly powerful debut novel about the ways in which past choices can irrevocably define the present—and the bittersweet confrontation of what might have been
1962: It may be the Swinging Sixties in New York, but in Denver it's different: being a single gal over thirty in this city is almost bohemian. Still, thirty-eight-year-old Kitty Miller has come to terms with her unconventional single life. She was involved, once—with a doctor named Kevin—but when things didn't work out the way she had hoped, she decided to chart her own path. Now she dedicates herself to the bookstore she runs with her best friend, Frieda, returning home each evening to her cozy apartment. Without a husband expecting dinner, she can enjoy last-minute drinks after work with her friends; without children who need to get ready for school, she can stay up all night reading with her beloved cat, Aslan, by her side.
Then the dreams begin.
1963: Katharyn Andersson is married to Lars, the love of her life. They live in a picture-perfect home in a suburban area of Denver, close to their circle of friends. It's the ideal place in which to raise their children. Katharyn's world is exactly what Kitty once believed she wanted . . . but it exists only when she sleeps.
At first, Kitty enjoys her nighttime forays into this alternate world. Even though there is no Frieda, no bookstore, no other familiar face, Kitty becomes increasingly reluctant to open her eyes and abandon Katharyn's alluring life.
But with each visit to her dreamworld, it grows more real. As the lines between the two worlds begin to blur, Kitty faces an uncertain future. What price must she pay to stay? What is the cost of letting go?

I was first drawn to The Bookseller because of its premise. Kitty is in her 30s, managing a bookstore with her best friend, and she leads a contented life with her work as a bookseller and her cozy home and cat. And plenty of time to read.

Then, things start to get a little strange.

She begins to dream of a parallel life: in it, she’s married with three children and her life is entirely different than the one she knows as a bookseller. In fact, the bookstore doesn’t even make up a part of her life in this alternate reality. Her best friend and she aren’t really best friends anymore, and a guy she only talked to once on the phone in her single life reality has become her husband! 

WHAT IS GOING ON?

overwhelmed

The book takes place in both 1962 and 1963, and bounces back and forth between the two realities. The pace of the book trips along and this was a delightful read for me earlier in the spring of this year. To be honest, I was a bit surprised at what happened to Kitty at the end, and I suppose I applauded the author for that.

I found The Bookseller to be an interesting exploration of the perspective of a single woman living a fulfilled life, considering if she’s missing anything in the way of marriage and family. At the same time, it’s thought-provoking to consider the other side—what freedom and opportunities does a married woman with children miss?

This is a “Sliding Doors” type book and I definitely enjoyed it. This garnered a solid 4 stars from me and I would  recommend it for those of you who enjoy a lighter read situated in the earlier time period of the 60s. 

four-stars
What Katie Read
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