Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Constant Princess, Philippa Gregory

The Constant PrincessThe Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am giving The Constant Princess four stars simply because I think Philippa Gregory always does such a wonderful job giving a voice to intriguing historical characters. I had always felt that Katherine of Aragon was sort of a boring character, overshadowed by the much more dramatic and scandalous stories of Anne Boleyn and the rest of Henry VIII's life. But after reading The Constant Princess I have a greater appreciation for her fascinating life. I must say that the event of reading the book itself was not always 100% engaging (especially when compared to The Other Boleyn Girl and The Boleyn Inheritance), and I had actually put the book down for a very long time before finally finishing it. But overall, Philippa Gregory can always be counted on for well-researched, richly detailed historical fiction.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Blameless, Gail Carriger (Parasol Protectorate Bk. 3)

Blameless (The Parasol Protectorate, #3)Blameless by Gail Carriger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The delightful world of Alexia and her Parasol Protectorate is one that I absolutely adore. Gail Carriger's development of her charming and quirky characters continues endear the reader to them in this third installment of the series. We are able to strike an emotional connection with many of the characters in the book... with Alexia's eventual acceptance of her "infant inconvenience," and the love between Lord Akeldama and his young drone Biffy. The sense of getting down to the essential nature of what the books are all about comes out as well. We have the phrase "Parasol Protectorate" used for the first time by the characters, and we are a little bit closer to understanding more about the life of Mr. Tarabotti, which may play a big role in future books.

What I love most about these novels is the way that Gail is able to suffuse propriety with a sharp dose of humor and wit. Blameless was a really fun read, endlessly hilarious with a laugh-out-loud quality to it (as are all of her books). For your enjoyment, I will share with you some of my favorite chapter titles and excerpts from Blameless...

In Which Lord Maccon is Likened to a Small Cucumber
Tea and Insults
How Not to Cross an Alpine Pass
Wherein Alexia Encounters Both Pesto and a Mysterious Jar
"The site was lovely, shaded with trees of various bushy Mediterranean inclinations that took being leafy and green quite seriously." (p. 274)

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