First line: The gondola sliced silently through the dark water of the canal.
Summary: Adriana d’Amato has spent years of her life sequestered in her family’s palazzo in Venice. Ever since her mother died she has not been allowed to study the violin or music of any kind. But daringly she sneaks out of the palazzo to find the renowned violinist, Antonio Vivaldi, in the hopes of private lessons. When he agrees to her request she thinks that the only rule she is breaking is practicing violin until she starts to fall for her maestro.
My Thoughts: I finally got around to reading Palombo’s first book and the only one I haven’t read yet. It was just as beautiful as the rest of her works. She creates interesting storylines with fantastic historical characters. Venice nearly becomes a character of its own in this story. With its own charming traits such as Carnavale, the gondolas and the romance of an Italian city on the water, it is easy to get swept up in Adriana’s story.
I visited Venice in 2006. Many of the places Adriana visits are vivid in my memory. Venice is a beautiful town filled with history and beauty.
Normally I do not read romance novels but this is a perfect mix between historical fiction and romance. I was frustrated with several of the choices made by Adriana but needing to know the outcomes kept me reading. As a reader I felt for her plight. Life for a wealthy merchant’s daughter could be easy but also had its challenges. I think many readers, myself included, believe that to live in these times would be wonderful. The gorgeous dresses, parties and life without much of the drama we have today. But historical fiction can do a great job of dulling these dreams when you see how women were treated or restricted in their lives. Palombo did a great job portraying this through Adriana’s life.
I know very little about Vivaldi, so this was a great introduction to the musical genius. Plus it also fulfilled a requirement for the Dia de los Muertos read-a-thon!
First line: The ramshackle warehouse was on the wrong side of the river, the south side, where the buildings jostled for space and the little boats unloaded pocket-size cargos for scant profit.
Summary: Twenty-two years have passed since the events at Foulmire. Alinor and Alys have established themselves in a warehouse along the Thames with a decent income from sailors and merchants. But on the same day two people happen into their lives that will change it once again. Sir James who has spent years in exile is looking for his child. And Rob’s widow from Venice arrives with their young son. The women try to deal with these changes the best they can.
On the other side of the ocean, in New England, Ned has traveled in the hopes of starting a new life where he is free and far from the reaches of the King he hates. But even with an ocean between his old and new life he finds that things are still the same. He has befriended the native people and learned much from them but he is looked down upon for this from his fellow Englishman. He is stuck between two worlds and doesn’t know which side to choose.
My Thoughts: Once again Philippa Gregory writes a stunning book! I loved this just as much as the first one in the trilogy but for different reasons. The first part was very character driven and where the landscape plays an important role. This one is more plot driven but has strong characters and amazing locations. From the very beginning I was strongly invested in the story. At one point I had to put the book down because I was so frustrated with the characters.
I loved being back with Alinor even though she was not the main character anymore. This centered more on her brother, daughter and granddaughter. A new generation of the Reekie family in a new time. The picture of these poor women striving for a living along the Thames is perfectly done. And then we visit Venice in the second half of the story. I can picture the canals, gondolas, and beautiful buildings. I visited Venice years ago and loved the city on the water.
Ned’s life in New England reminded me so much of Gregory’s book, Virgin Earth, with her beautiful descriptions of the forests of America before the settlers cleared the lands. The plants, the people and wildness of the land comes alive in her telling. It is so hard to read about the past at times when you see all the injustices that were done. Settlers took advantage of the natives and treated them terribly.
Recently Miss Hannah and I recorded a podcast where we gushed about how much we love the author Cassandra Clare and her work. If you love everything Shadowhunters then you should listen to our podcast episode and check out her newest book, The Red Scrolls of Magic.
First line: From the observation deck of the Eiffel Tower, the city was spread at Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood’s feet like a gift.
Following the Mortal War against Valentine Morgenstern and his
followers, it is time for a much needed vacation. Alec Lightwood and his
warlock boyfriend, Magnus Bane, are on a romantic adventure through
Europe. However, everything does not go as planned. With the arrival of
an old friend, Magnus is warned that there is a demon worshipping cult
making trouble in Europe. And the rumored leader is none other than
Magnus Bane himself. In order to clear his name and bring down the cult
he and Alec travel across Europe fighting demons and attending some
rather exciting parties.
My Thoughts: I have been waiting
for this for years! I love Alec and Magnus. I have been a huge fan of
their relationship from the very beginning. And now they are traveling
across Europe. Yes please! One of the best things about Clare’s
characters, especially Magnus, is their wit. He always has perfect
The story started a little slow and the pacing
seemed a little off from Clare’s other works but that may be due to
having a co-writer on this novel. However, once I got into the story I
was hooked. I read the last 200 pages in one day. I could not put it
down. I loved their banter. I was happy to see some characters from
later timelines make an appearance. Even though this novel is much
shorter than her more recent ones it does not lack any of the pieces
that makes her other books so gripping. There is a lot of action,
romance and demons.
And this novel is her first adult novel in
the Shadowhunter universe. It is evident that this is written for a
little older audience because there is some more graphic scenes but it
does not go too far. At the end Cassie writes about how she wanted to
write this novel for a long time and left a gap in her timeline in case
she was able to get it written. I could tell that it was a project she
felt very passionate about.
FYI: This is the first in a new trilogy, The Elder Curses. It takes place after the first three books in the Mortal Instruments series.