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Monday, January 08, 2018

They Came For Freedom by Jay Milbrandt

This is an interesting story, but, unfortunately it is written in  a rather 'textbookish' manner. Still, it's
an important part of American history which has been somewhat neglected, surprisingly.  I am not American but I like to read American history and I have been to Plymouth a few times so I am very interested in the Pilgrims.

The Pilgrims are often regarded as quaint and backward. Milbrandt shows that they were the opposite. Most, if not all, were well-educated and some came from moneyed backgrounds. They found the relgious laws of England oppressive to Non-Conformists and they faced a difficult struggle because of their beliefs leading to their fateful journey to the U.S. Although their experiment was a failure, they created a 'remarkably ordered society,' established the rule of law and separated church and state.

Milbrandt writes in detail about their terrible difficulties. Even before they arrived in America, many had to endure prison terms in England and  working in harsh factories in Holland. Once they arrived, there were fights with the Indians, severe weather conditions and near-starvation. It's certainly harrowing to read!

This is worth reading, especially if you like American history.


Saturday, January 06, 2018

Cousins by Salley Vickers

I know that this book was given good review and I usually like the wonderful Salley Vicker's novels, especially when they have references to Catholicism, but I just couldn't get into this one at all, and I tried to read it about three times. It was just too dreary and depressing. I also found most of the characters a bit unlikable and not well-drawn.

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

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Princess Margaret by Theo Aronson

William Timym [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Princess Margaret saw Tommy Lascelles (the Queen's Private Secretary) walking by one day and remarked: ‘There goes the man who ruined my life’.  She blamed him for preventing her marrying handsome and divorced Captain Peter Townsend, the great love of her life. She could have married him, but it would have meant a civil marriage, giving up her title and privileges and a long exile overseas. It probably wouldn’t have worked out anyway, but it was extremely unfair.

Theo Aronson in this rather factual and not terribly sympathetic biography, written while the Princess was still alive, rightly emphasizes this love affair and the huge effect that it had on her life. For example, he writes that she only accepted Lord Snowden’s proposal after she learned of Townsend’s engagement.  As her remark showed, the Princess probably never got over Townsend, not a good way to start a marriage!

Aronson discusses Princess Margaret’s personality, which seems to have been full of contradictions. Her royal duties were underestimated, for example, and she was also very religious with a preference for Anglo-Catholicism. However, this didn’t prevent her living a rather purposeless and jet-setting life which made headlines in the press and having affairs, including a strange one with a much younger and unknown man called Roddy Llewellyn.  She could also be extremely rude, according to this book, and stand very much on privilege.

This is worth reading if you are interested in the Royals or just Princess Margaret. I couldn’t help feeling that some of the anecdotes were rather nasty, however.

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

EDITION  Paperback

ISBN9781909609204

PRICE$16.99 (USD)