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Here Lies Bridget
Here Lies Bridget
by Paige Harbison
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.21

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining insight into the perspective of a mean girl, 21 July 2011
This review is from: Here Lies Bridget (Paperback)
I've been meaning to read more contemporary books for a while and Here Lies Bridget seemed to fit the bill with its bright summery cover and high school setting. I also liked the premise because I've never read a 'girl in limbo' book before such as Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver and I know they are very popular in YA. Also, the concept of a mean girl being the main character sounded really interesting because it's an angle I hadn't come across before.

Bridget Duke is your typical high school Queen Bee, pretty and popular but downright mean. She's the kind of girl who will advise her friends to wear an unflattering dress so she looks better and doesn't think about other people's feelings or spend any quality time with her friends and family. In short, she rules the school with her selfish, catty and spiteful nature. Characters are one of the most important elements in a book for me and usually I have to like the protagonist to enjoy the book but instead I hated the way Bridget acted for the majority of the book. Despite this I was still rooting for her to change the way she treats people and clean up her act because although she was mean, she wasn't without a heart but just thoughtless. I pitied her because she has a rough time at home with her father away and a stepmother she always argues with. Deep down in her, I could see the reason the way she behaves the way she does is she has surrounded herself with ‚~fans‚(tm) to feel loved and wanted even though this is not an excuse. My favourite thing about her is that she's not just your stereotypical mean girl character you'll find in lots of books but Paige Haribson has created her to be more three-dimensional and complex with a detailed background and events that have influenced who she is.

Another character that deserves a mention is Bridget's ex-boyfriend Liam who she secretly still loves and longs to be with. Despite him breaking up with her, he was waiting for her to return to the girl he once knew and see the error of her ways and this belief in her was adorable, even though Bridget is completely indifferent to him caring about her at all. Their broken relationship was not a big focus of the story at all and it was refreshing to read a contemporary high school book not focused on romance.

It was the second half of the book that really grabbed me and had me racing through the pages to find out Bridget's fate. Seeing her develop and see the consequences of her actions and remarks through the eyes of other people when she was in limbo was great and that part of the book I loved the msot because it left me guessing as to what would happen. Some people may find this part repetitive but I found it really interesting although I won't go into detail why to avoid spoilers.

Haribson presents a good moral to the story and as she has just left high school, I took notice of the fact that the '~teen speech'was spot on and not cliched or awkward. This added an extra depth of reality to the story combined with what I thought was a realistic portrayal of the stresses and social dynamics of high school. Combined with the easy flowing and smooth narrative and great sense of humour, I think she has promising potential as a young author.

Verict: Here Lies Bridget gives a entertaining insight into the perspectives of a high school mean girl forced to face up to her behaviour and I had a love-hate relationship with it because Bridget's behaviour was maddening but her story of insecurities, second chances, friendship and love was surprisingly compelling. It's a contemporary Christmas Carol story mixed with a dash of Mean Girls and I'd especially recommend it to teenage girls and contemporary fans. This is Paige Haribson's debut and she's definitely an author I look forward to reading more of!

Rating: 3.5

by Robin McKinley
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative and original but a disjointed narrative, 14 July 2011
This review is from: Pegasus (Paperback)
Apart from the absolutely stunning cover, what made me want to read Pegasus was the fairy tale like fantasy plot of it because these kind of worlds are so fun to read about. It turned out that this was one of the aspects of the book I enjoyed the most because the kingdom that the protagonist Princess Sylvi lives in is so original and creative. I love the idea of the races of humans and Pegasi being bonded together and the special but complicated relationship that has stretched out through history starting with the Alliance from over 1,00 years ago. My favourite part of the fantasy side was the descriptions and imaginings of the pegasi who are neither horses nor unicorns because there civilisation and home land was unique and unlike anything I'v e ever read before. The world and concept held such premise but whilst the concept really appealed to me, the thing that didn't work well was the slow pace and the lack of action. I found this especially in the first chapter because it was mainly a long description of the history of the land and the Alliance between the humans and pegasi, which made me skim over some sections.

I've never read any Robin MKilney books before but I was impressed with the way the setting was built up with rich and gorgeous descriptions so that the fantasy world became more vivid to me throughout the book. The intricate detail included because of the word building is amazing but I found it was a case of too much of a good thing. Whilst the descriptions were a treat to read at first, too much became boring and tedious at times so that I wasn't able to lose myself in the story as much. Another reason for this was the diversions in the plot that revert to earlier memories that don't move the plot forward and left me feeling confused.

Princess Sylvi was very easy to like and sympathise with because although she's a Princess she's not proud or spoiled but shy and kind. She knows her duty to the Kingdom's people as the fourth daughter of the King and has a cute sense of humour. Oh, and did I mention she goes flying? Her relationship with Ebon was one of the things that kept me reading because their friendship was so sweet as they bought the best out in each other and were prepared to take risks for each other despite what it might mean for their kingdoms. Ebon made such humorous remarks in their conversation too and Sylvie's banter back was fun to read and bought some light hearted comic humour to the book.

The other secondary characters had well drawn personalities such as her mother, the fighting Queen; her father, the dependable King, and the family of Ebon. As there were so many Pegasi characters introduced in a short time frame, only a sketch of themselves could be presented and I struggled to keep track of all their names but I'm interested in finding out more about them in the next book.

One thing I must mention is that this book is one of two parts instead of the first book in a series so unfortunately it's left on a major cliffhanger that stopped right in the middle of the action. I was thinking finally something crucial happens when I realised I'd come to the end. I suppose it's a good thing to enjoy reading a book enough to want to know what happens next but it would have been nice to have a note at the beginning to explain it's part one of a two part book.

Speed Read/Verdict: I liked Pegasus overall because the world spun around the bond between the Pegasi and the humans was really imaginative, the flowery descriptions were vibrant and the loyal friendship between Sylvi and Ebon was lovely to see develop. However it didn't work well as a whole for me and I couldn't become engrossed in it because of the disjointed narrative and overly long descriptions. I would reccommend it to fantasy and fairy tale lovers who are patient in their reading because hiding under the surface is a beauitful tale.

Rating: 2.5 stars

Thank you to Puffin UK for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Rogue's Princess (The Other Countess)
The Rogue's Princess (The Other Countess)
by Eve Edwards
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.24

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully romantic- I savoured every word!, 5 July 2011
This third instalment of the Lacey family tales follows the story of the Lacey boy's illegitimate half brother Kit who was estranged from the family after their father died and enjoys a life on stage as a player at Richard Babbage's famous company whilst Mercy Hart is the daughter of a well respected London tradesman who belongs to the Puritans. All the unwritten laws of society declare that they cannot be together- is there love strong enough to overcome this and sacrifice part of themselves for each other?
I loved the previous two books in the Lacey Chronicle series, The Other Countess and The Queen's Lady so I was really hoping that The Rouge's Princess would live up to my high expectations and it did! I fall every time for the 'will they, won't they' romances in books and this was no exception.

Kit made an appearance in the Queen's Lady and at first I was unsure of whether I liked him because he came across as irritating so I was apprehensive about him being a main character. However, I couldn't have been more wrong because out of the male leads so far, I think he is the most fun to read about because he leads such a different life than his half brothers. His gift with words and use of poetic flowery language makes him a real charmer complete with gorgeous looks- swoon! I doubt I will be the only reader crushing on him. At the beginning of the book, he has his heart in the right place but also likes a good drink down the pub like the other theatre boys but the thing that really won him over as a worthy hero of the book was his resilience in his pursuit of Mercy. He treated her with the utmost kindness and respect and was even willing to change his character to fit in with her Puritan ways by toning down his bright fashionable clothes. It was so sweet because it was clear that he really loved Mercy and she wasn't just a passing fancy because he was determined to continue his courtship even at the opposition of the Hart family.

Likewise, Mercy has a different personality than the other ladies in the books so far because she's quiet, shy and extremely modest about herself because of her Puritan upbringing and will not even allow herself the pleasure of a pretty new dress. Kit bought out the more wild side in her character, which was hidden inside at the start but started to show in her half shy cheeky flirtations with Kit when they first meet by chance. I admired her for the courage she showed and she is the kind of girl I'd like to have as a friend because she has a fun sense of humour that emerged but a sensible head.

The main characters from the other books with Will, James and Tobias Lacey as well as Milly Porter and her husband Diego appearing in person and Ellie, Jane and Sarah being mentioned. I particularly loved Tobias's mischievous neature and his witty and affectionate brotherly banter with Kit. That bought a lot of comic relief to the story and was funny to read.

Again, the Tudor era was described vividly and I found myself right in the heart of the streets of London and I could visualise the bawdy roar of the crowds at the Globe Theatre and sense the political atmosphere at the taverns that Kit visits. As in the other books, historical events were involved heavily in the plot and this book focused on suspicion of plots to overthrow Mary Queen of Scots and gave a glimpse into the start of William Shakespeare's career. I particularly enjoyed learning about the Puritan beliefs because I've heard things about them in other historical books but never in detail. Their simple and harsh way of life fascinated me and fitted in perfectly with the plot and setting. The author's biography says that she dined at a Tudor banquet in order to get the sounds and smells of the era right and this really shines through in her writing.

I loved curling up with the Rogue's Princess and it left me with a smile on my face. The character cast that Eve Edwards has created is wonderful and it feels like I know them. It's not often I feel that way about book characters and when you do find that special series, it feels like you've struck gold. I really hope that there will be more books in the series because I've thoroughly enjoyed reading them and of course, there's still the youngest Lacey brother Tobias and sister Sarah to write about.

Verdict/ Speed read: Eve Edward's evocative depiction of Tudor England took me to Elizabethan London along with well crafted and loved characters. Mercy and Kit's romance was adorable and I was so glad to see some characters from the previous books in the series. The Lacey Chronicle books are now firm favourites of mine and The Rogue's Princess is no exception to this. I savoured every last word and hope that we will see more books in the series! Highly recommended for fans of YA historical and those who are looking to escape in a wonderfully romantic book.

Jenna & Jonah's Fauxmance
Jenna & Jonah's Fauxmance
by Emily Franklin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.23

3.0 out of 5 stars Cute and fun love-hate relationship but nothing special, 13 Mar 2011
Charlie Tucker and Fielding Withers are hit Hollywood TV stars on The Family Network show playing the characters of puppy- love struck teenagers Jenna and Jonah but their off screen romance has made them really famous. It looks like the perfect romance but Charlie and Fielding/Aaron actually can't stand being with each other and their relationship is a publicity sham. They are so bogged down in celebrity culture and so used to playing their characters that they have lost their true selves. Fielding just wants to get past the acting stage of his life and retire comfortably on his money and dreams of writing the next greatest American novel whilst Charlie feels trapped since she was forced into acting from a young age by her money-crazed parents and fears she wouldn't have a purpose if her career went down the drain.

It was the perfect book for me to read at that time because I has just a book which dragged a bit for me and I just wanted something light, fun and predictable that I didn't have to think too much about to enjoy. That's what I found in Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance.

The first chapters set the scene really well and bit by bit the world of celebrity culture and false pretence over their real-life 'romance' was pieced together and I found it quite easy to relate to how they felt about growing up in the public eye because they're just regular teenagers who have been sucked into a world of money and fame that they can't avoid. Being a teenager when you're worrying about your career falling apart and whether the paparazzi have got the right shots of you to give the impression that everything is as normal must be very hard. I found this exploration of celebrity culture very interesting and it made me ask questions about the secrets and contract restrictions of real life celebrities.

I liked the fact that the book was told through alternating points of view between Charlie and Fielding because it was interesting to see their differences of opinion and private view of each other. However, there were a few times when it almost felt that there was no distinction between the two voices and they kind of merged together sometimes even though they were written by different authors. My favourite narrator was Fielding because he was a more complex and interesting character than Charlie. Also, Charlie could sometimes be irritating because she thought of herself and her career more than the feelings of others.

My favourite part of Charlie and Fielding's relationship was their time alone whilst hiding from the paparazzi because they acted more of their true selves when they were away from the media and got to know each other more. The romance was really sappy and sweet, if a little cheesy, particularly at the end of the book and makes for a feel-good, happily ever after reading experience.
There were quite a few flaws though and it sometimes felt like I was reading a script from a TV drama where the characters are trying to get one up on the other when Charlie and Fieling/Aaron were talking to each other. On the other hand, there were some good one liners and genuinely funny parts but at times it was a bit much.

Verdict: I did enjoy it overall (which is what my rating is solely based on) and read it very quickly but I felt that the story could have been expanded on so much more because of the brilliant premise and I wouldn't read it again. I'd especially recommend it to reluctant teenage readers . If you're looking for a fun, cheesy and fast paced book with a cute love-hate romance, then this would be a good choice.

Dark Mirror
Dark Mirror
by Mary Jo Putney
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.94

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Escape into a wonderful and magical world, 13 Mar 2011
This review is from: Dark Mirror (Paperback)
I've always loved historical fiction but I haven't read many mixed with elements of fantasy and magic so I was very excited to get the chance to review Dark Mirror and see what I thought of this cross genre.

Lady Victoria Mansfield (Tory) has everything that a young Victorian girl from a wealthy family could ever want and she is soon to be presented to society as a young lady in order to try and find an eligible match. Except when her secret is revealed to her friends and family in a dreadful accident(someone who has magical abilities, she is packed off to Lackland Abbey in disgrace, a school to try and `fix' sons and daughters of members of the aristocracy with magical talents. Tory is determined to do everything she can to learn to control her magic as quickly as possible so that she can return home to her family and live as much of a normal life as she can. However, Lackland Abbey is very different from the life of luxuries that she has always known and everything she has taken for granted is challenged.

Tori was an admirable heroine because she gave up a glittering place at the top of society to save a person who was very close to her when she could so easily chosen not to do anything. Her feelings about being ostracized by the family and the rest of high society and finding herself in a strange new environment where she knows no one were believable and relatable. I was rooting for her throughout and liked seeing the character development she went through from a lady of leisure whose main concern in life is marrying a titled and wealthy man to a determined, independant and hard working young women who doesn't care about class and titles as much. Despite this, I would have liked to know more about her and her interests rather than just her personality in order to make her a more rounded and well developed character who feels more alive.

The romance between Tory and one of the Lackland boys was sweet, clean and bought a lighter element to the story but it was very predictable. I could tell where it was going the moment Tory claps eyes on her potential love and launches into a praising description of him . This was quite cute but I just wish that there had been a lot more interation between the two before they completely feel for each other to give their relationship more depth. I hope that their romance will be developed better in the sequel and that the deep and magical connection they feel pulsing between them is explained.

I think that the author pulled off the two time periods of the early Victorians and World War Two really well with distinctly different feels in the two. I especially enjoyed Tory's descriptions of the unfamiliar new inventions that were used in the 1940s such as cars, planes and radios. The time travel also made me think about the similarities between events in history and the way history repeats itself over time.

At times I felt a bit detached from the writing even though I loved the story and I felt this was the one downfall of the book even though it wasn't that the writing was bad. There were some lovely descriptions, dialogue flowed smoothly between the characters and the tension at the end kept me absorbed

Dark Mirror works well as a standalone novel with a wrapped up ending that left me satisfied and I'm looking forward to the release of the sequel. It has a lot more to give because the characters were really starting to form strong relationships by the end and there are so many ways that the storyline could be carried forward.

Verdict: I loved escaping into the wonderful and magical world of Dark Mirror and being transported between the early 1800s and 1940s with likable characters despite some of the flaws. Therefore my rating is based on enjoyment because the flaws didn't effect that. Dark Mirror is a fabulous start to the Dark Passage series and would recommend it to all history and fantasy lovers.

Belle's Song
Belle's Song
by K.M. Grant
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.18

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sweet historical romance with dangerous secrets, 13 Mar 2011
This review is from: Belle's Song (Paperback)
I've been looking forward to this one since I started blogging back last August because it was initially scheduled to be published in December but it was delayed till this March. It follows the story of young Belle, the only daughter of a bell maker who decides embarks on a pilgrimage after she meets Luke, the son of an alchemist and scribe to the famous poet Chaucer. She hopes for a miracle if she travels to Canterbury: that her father will be able to walk again. On the pilgrimage she meets many new and interesting people such as handsome Walter, the son of a rich and influential knight but she'd rather not have met the disgustingly horrid Summoner Seekum who blackmails her to spy on Chaucer for him. Whilst the pilgrims make their journey, unrest is stirring up all around England as people turn against each other because they differ in opinions on the new young King. Some would do anything they can to support him whatever the risk and others would be just as quick to betray him.

Belle was an interesting character because she had lots of different sides to her, which made her seem very three dimensional and real. Sometimes she was impulsive and headstrong, whilst other times she came across as fragile and vulnerable. For example she has an issue with self harming and becomes obsessed with counting things in threes, which I think translates to a modern day obsessive compulsive disorder. It was unusual to see this in a historical fiction book because it hasn't been explored that much in the genre but I suppose people had the same emotional problems then. However, overall she was a caring and brave girl who was willing to risk everything for those she loved.

I loved the love triangle between Belle, Walter and Luke because it had a unique spin on it. It might appeal to those of you who feel that love triangles are becoming a bit of a cliche in the YA genre now. Although, I felt that the romance was a bit under developed and I would have liked to see some more romance and less of the evil Summoner.

I also really liked the historical setting because there aren't all that many medieval YA books about and having Chaucer as one of the main secondary characters was fascinating as the author included The Cantebury Tales in some parts. I've never really heard much about the royal court at that time either so I enjoyed learning about that too.

One of the only things I didn't like as much was that it sometimes felt that there were so many plot lines and things going on that they weren't all able to be expanded on or explored as much as I would have liked. They included : the pilgrimage, the uprising against the King and political intrigue, the evil Summoner Seekum blackmailing Belle, Belle's self harming and the love triangle. Whilst all these ideas are fantastic and helped to keep the plot fast paced, I thought it just started getting a little bit complicated for a relatively short 300 page book and each of the ideas would have been a good story in their own right.

Verdict: Belle's Song is a sweet book filled with dangerous secrets, adventure, wonderful romance and political unrest that I found really interesting and fast paced. Despite some of the issues I had with it, I enjoyed it and would reccommend it if you like the premise.

Rating: 3.5 stars
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 12, 2012 5:13 PM BST

The Fool's Girl
The Fool's Girl
by Celia Rees
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.03

4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully captivating and adventerous tale, 30 Oct 2010
This review is from: The Fool's Girl (Hardcover)
Despite Celia Rees being one of the few YA historical authors, I had not read any of her novels until this one even though I have 2 of them waiting to be read on my shelf so I was really looking forward to finding out what her writing was like.
I studied Twelfth Night last year at school and loved it, I've also been to see an open air staging of it so the premise of the book was very intriguing.

The book started off very well with the captivating setting of Illyria brought to life with colourful and 'flowery' descriptions and I loved the way that the story was told from the point of Viola's daughter Violetta. She spun a whole new world and identity for the second generation of the characters of Twelfth Night.
As the novel progressed into the world of Elizabethan London I soon realised Rees' unmistakable talent or transporting you to the past by building up your sense of being there with intricate details appealing to all your senses. The real test with historical description is how authentic it is and Rees definitely passes the test there as along with the descriptions of the bustling London streets and Shakespeares' playhouse, we are told about the gruesome lack of hygiene and the fate for the not so lucky.

Told through the viewpoint of Violetta, Feste, Maria, Shakespeare and the third person which means we get to know them and their thoughts towards others with a broader aspect which I found very interesting since I have rarely encountered this before. Although, this took quite a while to get used to and I think it could be one of the reasons that I found it hard to connect with the book.
Violetta, whose story the book follows is a feisty and determined heroine who is not afraid to stand up and fight for what she believes in and comes across as a fiercely loyal girl to her friends and companions as well as her home land which she feels very passionately about.
Feste is Violetta's faithful companion and serves her just as devotedly as he did her mother before her and is ready to risk his life to protect her. He brings the sound laughter to the pages with the tricks of his trade as a fool/clown and is also full of wise words.
Shakespeare was put across differently to in the novels that I have read where he was portrayed as being on the bawdy or gallant side as he seemed to be a fairly quiet, kind and sensible man who did care for and love his family here. This is possibly quite a realistic impression of him and I also liked the way that I could see ideas for Twelfth Night forming in his mind in the narrative.

There is also some romance mixed in too between Violetta and Stephano, the son of Lord Sebastian which began in childhood- how sweet! However there appeared to be little chemistry between the two of them, which made the relationship unrealistic. I would have liked there to have been more of a focus on this though as it seemed to be a bit neglected and rushed.

Despite enjoying this novel and its richly woven story and believable characters, for the first half I didn't feel fully 'into' the story. The last couple of pages were the best with dramatic tension built up very well and helped to change my opinion of the book. However I began to care more about the characters towards the end and I think I will connect with it more when I eventually read it again.

It does not matter whether you have read or are familiar with Twelfth Night before, Rees explains everything you need to know and I think that some readers will be encouraged to read the original play that inspired the book. For those who are studying Twelfth Night, The Fool's Girl would make an excellent and useful addition to curriculum work or research.

Verdict: Mixing together Shakespeare, Illyria, characters from Twelfth Night, mystery, myths and legends and Elizabethan London pulled off fantastically overall with Rees' exquisite writing. I would recommend it to anyone age 13+ but with the advice that it is a good idea to keep on reading is they are a bit confused at the start.

Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Emotional and thought provoking, 29 Oct 2010
This review is from: Wildthorn (Paperback)
I was first drawn to this book by the striking but pretty cover when searching on Amazon and when I found out that it was set in the Victorian times (my favourite historical period), I couldn't wait to read it. I wasn't disappointed and was soon gripped by the story of Louisa as she is unsuspectingly locked away in a mental asylum. Here is my summary:
Now re- named Lucy Childs in the mad-house, Louisa must do everything she can to keep her wits about her throughout the terrifying pain of having everything from her previous life stripped from her. With seemingly no one and nothing in her life, she must solve the mystery of who had her locked up and try to free herself. However, she soon learns that she must also free her mind to discover her true self and keep hold of her dream career even when prejudiced Victorian society has everything against her.

This book is definitely a page turner with lots of suspense that will keep you reading into the night. As the book is written in the first person, you really feel the horrendous ordeals that Louisa went through and the injustice that she felt. This is helped by the detailed and clear description of what life was like in a Victorian mental asylum and also other issues in the book such as mental health problems, unconventional love and equality for woman. Jane Eagland's accessible flowing writing style that lets the character's emotions shine through makes these issues in the book still relevant in today's world but also keeping the Victorian atmosphere.

I look forward to Jane Eagland's next novel!

I would recommend this debut novel to all lovers of the YA and historical fiction genres for a emotional and thought provoking read.

The Remarkable Life and Times of Eliza Rose
The Remarkable Life and Times of Eliza Rose
by Mary Hooper
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful fairy tale like story with a hint of romance, 29 Oct 2010
Eliza's story is a fictionalised tale told through the third person, which allowed me to also get to know the other characters in the book besides herself. I found her plights and struggles in the unfamiliar and harsh world of Elizabethan London easy to relate to and credible. Her story was quite fast paced and full of twists and turns in Eliza's life that took me by surprise and through all of this, we get to meet a large cast of characters. Some of these characters were real such as Nell Gywn, the famous mistress of King Charles who is known for her charming wit and beauty. I found Nell particularly interesting because of the unstable life that she led and her carefree take on the world, I think she is a character than needs to be explored more in historical books. She also brought some light hearted humour to the book that was a great contrast against some of the darker themes running through the book.
Mary Hooper writes exceptionally well and through her vivid description of Elizabethan London, a sense of being back in that era was created and I love how the darker side of society was also shown so as to be realistic without being too explicit.
The only thing that I was let down by was the ending as although I didn't mind the fact that it was 'fairy tale' like and fairly predictable, I found that I was left wanting to find out how the other characters reacted to the ending so that it felt more complete. Having said that, it leaves brilliant scope for a sequel and I hope that Mary Hooper will eventually write one.

The Remarkable Life and Times of Eliza Rose definitely earns its title and transports you back to Elizabethan London through realistic depictions on a journey with a kind and beautiful protagonist who is trying to find her place in the world. This beautiful fairy- tale like story with a hint of sweet romance will definitely take you on an adventure!

The Queen's Daughter
The Queen's Daughter
by Susan Coventry
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.45

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully detailed YA historical debut, 29 Oct 2010
This review is from: The Queen's Daughter (Hardcover)
When I saw this synopsis I knew instantly that it was definitely the kind of book that I would love, especially as it is YA historical fiction!

Joan's mother is Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, the most beautiful woman in the world. Her father is Henry II, the king of England. She loves them both--so what can she do when she's forced to choose between them? As her parents' arguments grow ever more vicious, Joan begins to feel like a political pawn.
When her parents marry her off to the king of Sicily, Joan finds herself with a man ten years her senior. She doesn't love him, and she can't quite forget her childhood crush, the handsome Lord Raymond.
As Joan grows up, she begins to understand that her parents' worldview is warped by their political ambitions, and hers, in turn, has been warped by theirs. Is it too late to figure out whom to trust? And, more important, whom to love

I was very interested by the fact that the book is told from the point of view of Jone, who is a historical figure that I had never heard of before and not much information is know about her. When we first meet Jone she is a six year old child who is very naive but still knowledgeable for her years and is often neglected by her parents King Henry II and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine who are feuding. Whilst her brothers are fighting for the attention of her father, her mother teaches her about the politics of the country and court and how a good Queen should act. I was captured by the confusion that young Jone felt by loving two parents who hated each other and wanted to find out what her fate would be as she grew up as a political pawn for her torn family. Coventry's phenomenally descriptive writing really drew me into the story and Jone's world- I felt her pain and shared her heartbreak as she was married off to King William of Sicily-who is ten hears older than her and has no time or patience for a child bride except to one day produce an heir- and her joy in her later marriage to Raymond of Tolouse. Kept as a virtual prisoner in her apartments in Sicily, Jone proves herself to be a strong and determined young woman trying to make the best out of her situation even though she is homesick and lonely.
Susan Coventry did a wonderful job of padding out the character of Jone around the few basic facts about her life that we know about and I loved following her story from young Princess to a thirty year old strong and passionate woman through the many ups and downs that she experienced. I also liked the way that her 'voice' in the narration matured (even though it wasn't written in the first person), it was especially fascinating at the beginning to view the turmoil and undercurrents at court between her parents and her brothers the young King Henry, Richard Duke of Aquitaine, Geoffrey Duke of Brittany and John through the eyes of six year old Jone. By the end of the book I felt like I knew Jone inside out as I had `seen' her grow up and go through a journey and I wanted a happy ending and a marriage based on love for her.
Jone's story was rich in historical detail that was clearly well researched and I really enjoyed finding out about the 12th century in different countries, as this is something I have never read about before. I was particularly interested in the inclusion of the Crusades in the story and would like to read more about it. However, I sometimes felt that there were a few too many facts, which overpowered the story in places. This was partly why I found the beginning of the story slow paced and a bit hard to get into but it also meant that I was able to follow the story better and know the large cast of characters.

Verdict: The Queen's Daughter is a book that really brings the life and character of Jone to life, when she is so often overlooked in history through heart wrenching emotions and in depth and captivating setting as well as detail. I would highly recommend this book to historical fiction fans young or old, it makes a brilliant introduction to a famous historical family. The Queen's Daughter is an amazing and creative debut- I can't wait to read what Susan Coventry writes next!

Note: Whilst this is a young adult novel I would like to point out that there are a few sexual references although nothing is explicit at all otherwise I would not have read it

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