"The Firebird" is Susanna Kearsley's latest (and may I suggest greatest?) release. As you know from last month, I love Ms Kearsley's writing, but this one was a real treat. Not only did she bring back a couple of beloved characters from the mystical "Shadowy Horses," she also wove two beautiful love stories together (she is the Queen at doing that!) spanning two time periods, and simultaneously (and smoothly) taught me so much history I was practically salivating throughout. I have crushes on far too many of her male characters, I have to admit. Five stars for sure. How am I going to handle waiting until 2015 for her next novel?
Note: Ms Kearsley is also a Canadian ... I love sharing Canadian talent!
Julianna MacLean is a talented, prolific, USA Today Bestselling author from Halifax (near me!), so when I discovered she wrote Highlander Historicals I raced out to get one. As I'd expected, her books are lots of fun, with enough battles and romance to keep the multiple series popular.
I have to admit … I never expected the artistry of her contemporary book (which was originally published under her pseudonym, E.V. Mitchell, and my cover still says that), "The Color of Heaven." I had no idea what to expect, but I had high hopes. And those hopes were well realized.
The story journeys through the tragic yet beautiful love stories of two women connected on so many levels, and the men who have helped shape who they are. Absolutely beautiful writing.
Beautiful, beautiful book. James Markert masterfully painted a time and a place that most people would like to forget and made it a place we almost wished we could be. The TB epidemic was a plague, an almost certain death sentence, and yet there were those rare souls who believed it was worth chancing their lives so they could help the victims, possibly even save a few. And within that world, they had their own lives.
Wolfgang Pike is a musician and a doctor. He is also studying to be a priest. But above all he is a man. Emotions squeeze in when he should be thinking science, and bravery often takes the rightful place of caution. He believes in what is now called Music Therapy in a time when it was considered nothing more than folklore … and yet the quick rate of death around the sanitorium takes a little breather when he brings patients together to share music.
There are a few stories in this world where you really can say you laughed and you cried. This was one of those gems. Mr Markert's storytelling is wonderful, taking us from person to person, place to place, touching on such time relevant things as bootlegging, the KKK and extreme prejudice, jazz, the fallout of WW1 in the hearts and bodies of men … and leaves us with the timeless poignancy of love.
I am now going in search of his earlier books and can't wait to dig in.
There’s often a definite separation between what people call Historical Romance and what they call Historical Fiction. “Historical Romance” as a genre is usually painted all with the same brush, and the expectation is for illicit love affairs, violations of salon etiquette, lords and ladies ripping off corsets and roaring around on horseback so randy couples can frolic in heather-filled green pastures. Historical Fiction is often portrayed as serious, passionless, and dull. Or at least void of sex.
This book is a perfect example of what happens when you mix two excellent examples of both. I loved “Dare the Wild Wind.” The research was beautifully done, digging deep into the tough dirt, and the writing gave dimension to every character, which is a tough skill to master. I know I may be the oddball here, but I tend to snap books shut when I see too many episodes of “thrusting manhood” or “bulging” whatever. When I ran across a few in this book, I let them go, reminding myself the book is called a “romance” and thus must contain scenes like this. But they were just enough to whet my appetite, not leave me nauseous. I highly recommend this book to all Historical Romance readers.
What an amazing debut! Katherine Scott Crawford let herself sink deep into Keowee Valley — she must have, because every aspect of the book is beautifully done. Her characters were multi dimensional (including secondary characters) and believable, and even though there wasn’t one clear cut “evil” guy, there still managed to be some wonderful tension and scary moments. She wrote skillfully and lovingly of the beautiful, rugged Keowee Valley and its people, going so far as to include Cherokee language in places (just enough, not too much!) and even include an index for those of us who wish they could remember those sorts of details! Her descriptions of the countryside were like masterful oil paintings. Beautiful colour and style.
If you’ve read my reviews, you know I’m an “adventure” reader, not into fluffy romance and (what I call) overdone sex, but Ms Crawford’s sex scenes were wonderfully written. There’s no denying the passion sparking between the feisty and adorable Quinn and the yummy Jack Wolf, and when they finally get together, they are delicious as a couple. I love that she left the ending open for future novels, and I will be looking forward to reading her next book!
I was fortunate to receive a copy of Kaki Warner's first novel, "Pieces of Sky" when I was first introduced to Berkley/Penguin. I'll admit, I've never read westerns before and I was skeptical when I picked this one up.
Well, I was blown away. Ms Warner paints gorgeous images of the 1800's, love and adventure on the ranch, grudging heroes and their no-nonsense ladies. "Pieces of Sky" won the RWA Rita award for "Best First Book", and apparently Ms Warner was only getting warmed up. She has a couple of series out there, and they're all terrific.
I write because
There is nothing
quite so bittersweet
as reading the final line
of your favourite books.
What comes next?
Where can you turn to find another favourite author?
I hope I can send you a few leads from here. I'm not reviewing books, only recommending those I've loved in the past.