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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Rosetta A Scandalous True Story by Alexandra Joel

(Empress Eugenie painted by Winterhalter, Wikipedia)

This intriguing story of Alexandra Joel's 'wicked' great-grandmother reads like a novel.  It's a fascinating Edwardian tale.

Beautiful dark-eyed Rosetta broke every social convention in Edwardian Australia by leaving her husband and daughter for an oriental fortune-teller.  Unhappily married, Rosetta immediately fell for the charming exotic half-Chinese Zeno and her new life began... They worked at Sydney's amazing Wonderland City for a while, but true success came when they 'ran off' to London where Zeno pretended to be a Japanese professor and started rejuvenating radiation treatments and Rosetta pretended to be an American! These treatments became popular with aristocrats such as Lady Diana Cooper and even royalty. Princess Charlotte of Prussia and even former Empress Eugenie were clients.

Joel combines this tale with the details of her detective-like search for Rosetta in a moving way. Questions about her great-grandmother remained in the back of her mind, and she felt that the fact that Rosetta had deserted her only child was part of her identity so one day she decided to search for the truth...

I just loved this book. This is highly recommended for lovers of biography and history.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Blackstone And The Rendezvous With Death

Blackstone, a Scotland Yard detective, feels that he is somewhat out of his depth when he has to deal with the death of a young aristocrat. Why is Charles's sister the only one who appears to care about him? What has her fiancée got to do with it? What is the involvement of the Russians?

This is an excellent mystery with likeable characters, a vivid Victorian atmosphere and interesting details of London's Little Russia. Sally Spencer also examines the class-consciousness of the age in this well-written novel which is part of the Endeavour Press Virtual History Festival .

Monday, April 18, 2016

Villa Normandie by Kevin Doherty

A French Resistance leader who has to cope with the death of her brother and two rebellious daughters, a priest who tries to mediate between the Nazis and the villagers and an archeologist who never fails in his missions to France. These are the main characters in Doherty's wonderful thriller which captures the tense atmosphere of the run-up to D-Day and the misery of the French villagers with lyrical writing.

Even though this novel is very long, it is always exciting and it even has some added history about archeology which I enjoyed. It is extremely harrowing, however, so be prepared for that.

I was given this free book by Endeavour Oress in exchange for an honest review because I joined their Virtual Historical Festival.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Virtual History Festival

Sign up to Endeavour Publishing's Virtual history Festival and win competitions and enjoy free ebooks, including biographies and historical novels.