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Showing posts from May, 2008

A Lesser Sacrifice: Edward VIII and Mrs.Simpson by Frances Donaldson

Donaldson analyses Edward VIII's complicated character very well in this old, but definitive biography. Remarkably even-handed, she shows the charm, the sense of honour and the selfishness and irresponsibility of the handsome prince. You have to be very interested in the story to read this book, however, because it is rather detailed and long-winded. It's not dull but it's a little bit heavy-going at times.

The young prince was actually very likeable, according to Donaldson. His desire to fight in the First World War and his anxiety to help the veterans afterwards show him in his best light. He started clubs and charities to help the veterans and the unemployed and his mistress, Freda Dudley did this as well. He also, famously, wanted to help the Welsh miners but he made promises to them which were unkept.

Edward annoyed his strict and rather cold parents by drinking at nightclubs and associating with married women. He could fulfill his royal duties with great charm, …

Books Read In May

Tree of Angels by Penny Sumner. I've just reviewed this.

Dancers in Mourning by Margery Allingham: This was a rather dark mystery featuring Allingham's appealingly deep detective, Albert Campion. He becomes involved with a bohemian group of actors on a large estate. When one of them is murdered he attempts to solve it. Falling in love with the owner's wife, who is really Campion's true soulmate, doesn't help his investigations! I enjoyed this but I prefer Dorothy L.'s writing.

I am also reading King, Kaiser, Tsar by Catherine Clay and Anna Karenina again.

Well-Written Epic by Brisbane Author: Tree of Angels by Penny Sumnor

This is a well-written epic which sweeps from Russia to England and even Brisbane, Australia. It's a charming story and very good.

Nina is the main character for most of the book. When the novel begins, she is living an idyllic life on her family's large estate in Russia before the First World War. Her life quickly changes, however, when her mother dies and her father, who cannot overcome his grief, decides to run a hospital on the estate. He insists that Nina become a nurse and his personality begins to change. Nina has to find a way to escape...

I liked Nina, a very sympathetic character, so I was disappointed that the book wasn't entirely about her.

The only other faults that I can find with the book are that the Russian part didn't seem authentic enough to me - it was well-researched but I didn't feel that it was real for some reason. The Queensland part of the book certainly did, by contrast.

I also found the story somewhat sordid in parts but probably mos…

Eclectic Tastes

Some readers may be slightly shocked that I enjoy historical novels, mysteries, and even chick-let as well as classics and literary fiction. What can I say? I love to read many different types of books and this is reflected here.

My favourite author is Jane Austen, but I also like many other classic English writers. I'm also very interested in Russian literature and one of my all-time favourite books is the wonderful Dr.Zhivago.

Boycott Philippa Gregory's Books

Philippa Gregory has single-handedly practically ruined Anne Boleyn's reputation and is now accusing her of murder! Here is the article: Philippa Gregory's Article in the Age She writes that Anne Boleyn didn't 'shy away from murder in the past." Who did she murder? There is no evidence that she committed any murders! Most historians agree that she was innocent of the charges Henry VIII laid against her as well.

Philippa Gregory's book, The Other Boleyn Girl, has Anne going to bed with her brother in a desperate attempt to have a male heir to please Henry. The heroine is Anne's sister Mary who was certainly not the sweet and innocent girl that she is in the novel.

The author, Robyn Maxwell has defended Anne Boleyn in a recent article:

what excuse have author Philippa Gregory in The Other Boleyn Girl and screenwriter Michael Hirst in TV's The Tudors for perpetuating the scurrilous rumors and trumped-up charges that insured one of history's most …