Saturday, April 18, 2015

To-Read List -- Updated Once More!


The Red Queen -- Philippa Gregory
The Boleyn Inheritance -- Philippa Gregory
The Queen's Fool -- Philippa Gregory
The Virgin's Lover -- Philippa Gregory
World Without End -- Ken Folleett
The Norton Anthology of: (complete sets)
English Literature
World Literature
American Literature
The Mists of Avalon -- Marion Zimmer Bradley
Her Fearful Symmetry -- Audrey Niffenegger
The Time Traveller's Wife -- Audrey Niffenegger
Pirate Latitudes -- Micheal Crichton
Selected poems of Seamus Heaney
A-Z Aromatherapy -- Patricia Davis
On Writing -- Stephen King
The Book of Virtues -- William J. Bennett
Game of Thrones -- George R.R. Martin
The True History of Tea -- Victor H. Mair and Erling Hoh
The Bedford Anthology of World Literature
The Doctor's Wife -- Elizabeth Brundage
The Essential Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe
Wives and Daughters -- Elizabeth Gaskell
The Faerie Queene -- Edmund Sepnser
Robert Browning's Poems
Sherlock Holmes -- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Shogun -- James Clavell
Les Miserables -- Victor Hugo
Dragon Rider -- Cornelia Funke
Jesus, CEO -- Laurie Beth Jones
Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World -- Joanna Weaver


Philippa Gregory creates another masterfully written account of the life of queens in King Henry the VIII's court. This tale brings in dear Anne of Cleves firstly, who is ever so kind and sweet down to her core, Katherine Howard, a naive girl who thinks mostly of pretty possessions, and Jane Boleyn, a woman with a dark past haunted by the ghosts of her late husband George and his sister, former queen Anne Boleyn. This story, much like the book before it, is filled to the brim with family plotting and innocent desires for happiness and freedom, and it is all wrapped in a thick layer of court life affected by a very irritable king who, in his old age, suspects everyone of treason. Gregory has crafted a novel that is not only worthy of being classic historical fiction, but a thriller in its own right, and I highly recommend it to those who favor these two genres and day-in-the-life stories undermined by plotting and deceit.

As I read through these books, I am constantly amazed by Gregory's ability to portray an unlikeable character in a light that makes you pity them. Such is the case with Jane Boleyn, whom the reader does pity very greatly as she comes to grips in the novel that she is, indeed, human and has feelings. Dear Katherine Howard, while a young girl when we first meet her in the story, is vain and a little on the ditsy side. By the end of the book, though, we learn that she, while still very, very vain, is only ditsy because of her youth. Anne of Cleves, the poor dear, is perhaps the sweetest character I have read in a Gregory novel, and goes from being an awkward foreigner in England to a graceful lady who was loved by the country she looked over for such a short time. She was my favorite character in this novel, and I admire her kind nature and concern for the people she was brought in to rule beside the tumultuous King Henry VIII. 

All in all, a joyful novel full of emotion and the human nature!

On a side note, I am quite happy to have finished this novel, and not because I was tired of reading it. This is the fastest I have finished a book in about three years. I am overjoyed about that, truly! I used to be able to finish 300+ page books in four to five days. This one was 500+ pages and it took about a week, but that is better than several months! 

Onto the next book in the series, the Queen's Fool!