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hornist "I enjoy historical fiction and classics, mainly, but am always up for a good mystery." (Chatham, Ontario, Canada)
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Mozart's Sister
Mozart's Sister
by Nancy Moser
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The lesser-known Mozart, 22 Feb 2010
This review is from: Mozart's Sister (Paperback)
I came across this book as it was sat next to the book I went in search of in the stacks at the library. Of course, the name appealed to me, so I borrowed it.

Although not my usual genre, I found this quite interesting to see how life may have appeared through Nannerl's eyes. Even more interesting was the personal touch of seeing day-to-day life with the Mozart family, rather than just snippets of the highlights. If you're looking for a good music book and enjoy historical looks at composers, then this might just appeal to you.


Labyrinth
Labyrinth
by Kate Mosse
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.03

1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A look at Carcassonne during the Crusades, 22 Feb 2010
This review is from: Labyrinth (Paperback)
Labyrinth was an enjoyable read. Kate Mosse found a way to successfully link the past (1200s) with the present and make it believable.

Labyrinth follows the life of Alais Pelletier du Mas in the early 13th century and her plight in Carcassonne during the Crusades as she attempts to fulfill the tasks set before the Noublesso de los Seres. The book looks at various religions of the day, paying particular attention to Catharism.

Kate Mosse successfully intertwines Alais's life with that of Alice Tanner of present-day England, who is destined to assist in protecting the secret of the labyrinth. Although Alice's quest begins by unknowingly stumbling upon a cave during an archaeological dig outside Carcassonne, her role slowly becomes clear as the plot unfolds.

This masterfully-written book soon drew me in and kept my attention through to the surprising ending. I learned much about life in present-day France in the 13th century as well as the history of the Crusades. Truly an enjoyable as well as educational read.


Tuesdays With Morrie: An old man, a young man, and life's greatest lesson
Tuesdays With Morrie: An old man, a young man, and life's greatest lesson
by Mitch Albom
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Not just another Tuesday!, 22 Feb 2010
After covering a class where this was required reading, my interest was piqued and I felt I must read it. I wasn't disappointed. Once I picked it up, I had completed it within 36 hours.

Tuesdays with Morrie is the story of Mitch Albom's favourite professor. After seeing him on television, Mitch decided to rekindle their friendship and thus they resumed their Tuesday get-togethers. The difference? Morrie Schwartz had been diagnosed with ALS and had little time left.

On their Tuesdays, Morrie and Mitch would discuss matters that many would shy away from as they neared death. Morrie had accepted his path and wanted to make sure he would have no regrets when his day came. They discussed death, fear, aging, greed, marriage, family, society, forgiveness and the meaning of life. Morrie, having been a sociology professor, had many interesting views and aphorisms, which developed as his disease progressed, such as "When you're in bed, you're dead" and "Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live."

This book helps put things into perspective. It looks at death with a unique perspective that makes you realize that "Death ends a life, not a relationship." We shouldn't shy away from those we love because death is around the corner, but cherish the time we have with them.


The Five People You Meet In Heaven
The Five People You Meet In Heaven
by Mitch Albom
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.91

4.0 out of 5 stars Unique!, 22 Feb 2010
The Five People You Meet in Heaven takes a unique look at Eddie's life, starting with his death. Eddie was the head maintenance man at Ruby Pier who passed away on the job on his 83rd birthday.

The story follows Eddie as he passes through the first five pockets of heaven, where he meets five people from his past who made a difference. He didn't remember all of them, but as their stories unfolded, he realized their importance. No matter how fleeting a meeting may be, the people you meet may have an irreversible impact on your life.

Albom imparts five life lessons during the novel, each attached to one of the people that Eddie meets on his journey. There is the underlying theme that everything happens for a reason. Albom has found a way to seamlessly intertwine all the lives and stories in the book in such a unique way to truly get and keep the reader's attention.

The Five People You Meet In Heaven reminds us to reflect on how our smallest actions may affect others. A very introspective read.


A Letter of Mary: A Mary Russell Novel (Mary Russell Novels)
A Letter of Mary: A Mary Russell Novel (Mary Russell Novels)
by Laurie R. King
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Letter of Mary? Not so much., 22 Feb 2010
Although enjoyable, this novel wasn't quite what I was expecting. I was hoping that the novel would delve into the discovery of a 1st century papyrus scroll in much more detail than it did. As it were, it merely added a touch more mystery to this novel.

The book followed Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell's investigation of the murder of a friend of theirs.

Overall, I found the plot rather thin. However, the brief appearance of Watson in the story brought much more humour to the book. It was nice to see a much more mature view of Sherlock Holmes as well.

I did run across my most favourite quote of all times in this novel: "...as patient as a concert pianist attending a children's piano recital."

A quick read, but one I will not return to.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 25, 2014 3:54 PM BST


Book of Unholy Mischief
Book of Unholy Mischief
by Elle Newmark
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars The Book of Captivation, 3 Sep 2009
The title and cover art are what first drew me to this book. After reading the teaser, I knew this would be a book for me. The novel takes place at the turn of the 16th century. Having visited Venice years ago, I was drawn in by Elle's descriptions of the places as they may had been in that time period.

The Book of Unholy Mischief follows Luciano, as the street urchin falls into an apprenticeship with the Chef of the Doge's Palace. The apprenticeship turns into more than Luciano could ever have hoped, as the Chef is part of a brotherhood that guard what is sacred. We get a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of the palace and the sinister nature of those associated with it. Seeing it through the eyes of a servant gives the novel a very interesting perspective.

Venice appears raptured by a book that is said to hold the secrets of alchemy, including the secret of immortality. When the Doge, the Council of Ten in Venice and even the Pope offer handsome rewards for the book's recovery, people from all walks of life hope to prosper from the book and the search is on!

I found the first part of the book a bit repetitive, making it hard to get into. However, I soon saw the purpose of the repetition, and could not tear myself away. We needed to see how Luciano found his place in the kitchen at the palace. The descriptions of the food and the speculations of how certain ingredients, such as love apples, appeared in the Old World, and how certain recipes came to be, brought delicious qualities to the novel. It made cooking seem magical. Recipes are more than they appear. We also saw how food affected the characters in the novel.

I loved the chapter titles. Each one was named after another book, such as The Book of Bones. Each chapter title ties in beautifully with the chapter contents, and add yet another dimension to the novel.

Although many liberties are taken, the places where the novel ventures from reality really do add to the plot. If you're looking for a work of fiction that parallels the reality of that time, perhaps this is not the best book for you. However, if you love a tall tale that puts much into question and gives you much "food" for thought, give it a try! It will leave you satiated.


Flint
Flint
by Margaret Redfern
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.35

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical Fiction at its best!, 17 Aug 2009
This review is from: Flint (Paperback)
To serve as a stronghold, Edward I of England (1239-1307) built a castle in Flint, Wales as he pressed to conquer Welsh territory. Although not followers of Edward, brothers Will and Ned, Fen lads, were forced to prepare the foundations for his castle. This is their story.

If written in present times, Flint would be seen as a coming of age novel. The story chronicles Will's pre-teen years through his amazing journey from home to north eastern Wales for their work as fossatores (ditch-diggers), and beyond. But truly, Will, shovel in hand, had little chance at a childhood as he looked out for his older brother during their travels.

A very affecting novel. Masterfully woven together with true tales, folklore, music and mystique, Flint is a satisfying read that will gratify a wide array of readers. With its vivid imagery, you'll be digging in the foul trenches with the Fen lads by day and enjoying the soulful music of Ned's swan pipe by night. The brilliant use of figurative language adds to the ambience of the story. Rich underlying themes tie the novel together beautifully, such as "the same, yet not the same": This theme haunts the book, and the characters' and readers' thoughts on the same subject transform as the plot develops. A must read for lovers of history, fraternal love and music alike. Historical fiction at its best!


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