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'New' Books I have read during 2011

Sarah
 
Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy)
Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy)
"An 'epic' novel (at over 1,000 pages!) which ranges across World War I Europe. The first of a trilogy. Excellent characterisation, and provides a good overview of key events of the early 20th century."
The King's Daughter
The King's Daughter
"A speculative first-person novel of King James I's daughter, Elizabeth of Bohemia (her early life and betrothal). Not a bad read, certainly ends as if there is a sequel in the works!"
Heartstone (The Shardlake Series)
Heartstone (The Shardlake Series)
"The fifth Matthew Shardlake Tudor mystery. Packed full of very authentic historical detail, but marred by a some rather unbelievable plotlines!"
Heresy
Heresy
"A rather slow-moving mystery novel set in Elizabethan Oxford."
The People's Queen
The People's Queen
"Another slow-moving book, Publicised as the story of Alice Perrers, the mistress of King Edward III, and Geoffrey Chaucer. Storyline actually has a very strong focus on trade in Medieval England."
Elizabeth's Women: The Hidden Story of the Virgin Queen
Elizabeth's Women: The Hidden Story of the Virgin Queen
"Non-fiction - the women in Queen Elizabeth I's life, and the mechanations of her court"
The Scarlet Contessa: A Novel of the Italian Renaissance
The Scarlet Contessa: A Novel of the Italian Renaissance
"A novel of Caterina Sforza - feels rather rushed in its research and execution, The sort of book that you finish and forget about!"
The Passion of Artemisia
The Passion of Artemisia
"The trials and tribulations of Artemisia Gentileschi, a 16th century Italian female painter. Well-written, but rather fragmentary (and a little frustrating) in relation to telling the story of Artemisia's life."
Homestead
Homestead
"A collection of short stories about the lives of women in a small Alpine village - written in a 'slice of life' style which raises many more questions than it answers."
Queens Consort: England's Medieval Queens
Queens Consort: England's Medieval Queens
"Non-fiction - the story of Medieval Queens from Matilda of Flanders to Elizabeth of York. Rather disappointing with regard to structure and content."
Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I
"Title is a bit misleading - this first-person novel doesn't tell Elizabeth's life story, but focuses on the final years of her reign, the Armada threat, and her relationship with Essex. It didn't set my world alight!"
Lady of the Butterflies
Lady of the Butterflies
"A novel of Eleanor Glanville, a Stuart-era entomologist with a passion for butterflies. A good premise, but somewhat historically inaccurate, and sadly teeters into Mills and Boon territory in parts."
Revolution
Revolution
"This is actually a book for 'young adults/teens' but sold in the adult section ... 'light' but very readible, and gives a good summary of the French Revolution for those new to that historical era."
The Last Templar (A Medieval West Country Mystery)
The Last Templar (A Medieval West Country Mystery)
"The first in a series of Medieval mysteries - plot doesn't set the world on fire, but appears very well researched with regard to middle and lower class life in Medieval England."
Elizabeth & Leicester
Elizabeth & Leicester
"Non-fiction account of the life of Elizabeth I and her enduring favourite, Robert Dudley, No startling revelations for those familar with the period, but interesting and informative nevertheless."
Katherine
Katherine
"This is a 'classic' historical romance written in the 1950s - enduringly popular, somewhat 'dated' but a good overview of Katherine Sywnford's (little documented) life"
The Abbot's Gibbet (A Medieval West Country Mystery)
The Abbot's Gibbet (A Medieval West Country Mystery)
"Another novel from the 'Knights Templar' mystery series - well researched with regard medieval life"
The Girl in the Mirror
The Girl in the Mirror
"The Essex Rebellion of 1601, told through the eyes of a young 'clerk' working for Robert Cecil. Enjoyable, but the integration of the main character into historical events is a little unconvincing."
His Last Duchess
His Last Duchess
"A 'readible' (probably three-star) novel inspired by Robert Browning's poem "My Last Duchess" (which was itself inspired by historical characters). Set in 16th century Italy."