Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Sunne in Splendour

This book was a MASTERPIECE!! I absolutely fell in love with Sharon Kay Penman's Richard III. This is the story of the last of the Plantagenets and the rise of the Tudors in 15th century England. This is a massive novel, but so worth the time it takes to read.

The book starts with a young Richard III and his brothers cavorting around a forest. The story follows the trouble of Edward IV and his journey to the throne, all the while being helped by his brother Richard. It's about the culmination of the War of the Roses (Lancaster and York), the rise and fall of Richard, the start of the Tudor dynasty. A bear of a book, but so emotionally involved that I had to take a couple of days off of reading when I had finished. I love when a book will make me cry, and Penman's writing ability is amazing!!

Marie Antoinette: The Journey

I picked this book up last January because I really liked the cover. I know, never judge a book by it's cover, but c'mon!!! You can't tell me that a pretty cover doesn't draw you in!! The author, Antonia Fraser, has written another one of my favorite books The Wives of Henry VIII, so I already knew I liked her writing style. Needless to say, when I started the book, I was disappointed. None of the pizazz of her other book seemed to be present in this one. I love it when I'm wrong about a book. Not only was this one of the best books I've read all year, it is written in such a way that you begin to feel like you are reading a novel rather than an historical biography.

This book was the inspiration for the movie Marie Antoinette with Kirsten Dunst. The movie couldn't be further from the book. I didn't enjoy it at all. The book was INFINITELY better!!
It starts with Marie Antoinette's childhood. Personally, I'm more interested in the French Revolution story of her than her childhood, which could be the reason why I didn't like the beginning of the book. Regardless, Fraser gives a very detailed account of what life was like for Antoine (as she was known before she went to France) in Austria. The story of her life continues with the tragic culmination of her execution by the guillotine. After spending 300+ pages with Marie Antoinette, I felt a weird sense of loss. Of course, if you know the history of her life, you know what is coming in the book, but it still was a incredibly moving moment.

I highly recommend this book, as it gives great detail to Marie's life, an interesting insight into what she lived through, and the reality that she was a woman who was one of the many casualties of Madame Guillotine.

Reading books

I read constantly. Reading is a great escape. When you delve into a good book, it can take you anywhere in the world. I've been reading books since I was four years old, and I haven't stopped!! When I read a really fantastic book, I have to talk about it to someone, anyone. Most of my friends don't read, or if they do, the books they pick up aren't something that I would read. So what did I do?? Create a blog! Where I can talk about different books I have read, get opinions from others, and share my genuine love of books and knowledge.

I'm really into history, so a lot of what I read revolves around different parts of history that I enjoy. I also read a lot of random things. I'm a member of the Good Reads community, and if you are really into books, I suggest heading over there and joining up!

This year, I have presented a challenge to myself: read 60 books by the end of December. I'm currently working on my 37th. So, I have a lot of material to start blogging about!!!