Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Rainforest Book Reviews #7 - Historical Fiction, and Paris

From swords and suspense in England to writer memoirs in Paris, this is what I've been reading.  I purchased Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade at my local bookstore.  Five or so pages into the book, I was hooked.  After reading the novel, I met Diana at a writers conference during a blue pencil appointment and found her to be very friendly and supportive.

Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade

Diana Gabaldon, Fiction
Doubleday Canada, a div. of Random House, 2007

In London, the story begins when Lord John Grey meets his new brother-to-be, Percy Wainwright, the adopted son of General Sir George Stanley, who is marrying his mother, the widowed Benedicta Grey.  They know one another by sight, they have met before. The two men become close friends.  A call to arms puts them in close proximity and in jeopardy, narrowly adverting one scandal while fostering another.

Passion overtakes common sense and fortunes and troubles shift and settle.  Lord John is beaten in an alley and nearly murdered.  His new step-brother is in jail.  He suspects his deceased father's enemies. Pages of his father's journal surface which may be connected to his untimely demise.  Like ghosts from his father's past, these missives appear as if to remind the son of how much he doesn't know.  An older brother, Hal, hasn't told him everything nor has his mother, as they try to preserve the family dignity.  There's a bond between the two brothers, the older one protective, the younger one impulsive. 

Lord John addresses the hazards and mores of a military existence without belaboring the military procedure.  We see the dirty laundry of social standards, and the fortitude of the wife and sons of a nobleman who dies a tainted death. 
This was happenstance, that I picked up a book by an author I hadn't read, and ended up meeting that author.  Diana Gabaldon is a New York times bestselling author.  I'll be finishing this series, and looking at her Outlander series.


Paris Was Ours

Penelope Rowlands, Editor and Contributor, Nonfiction
Published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2011.


Paris was Ours is an anthology of writers' memoirs about their own experience in Paris. I received this book as a gift late last year.

Quote from Rowland's book:
"Few places can draw in as many diverse souls, then mark them as profoundly, as this city -- called 'that siren, Paris" by the writer Francine du Plessix Gray -- seems to do."

Take a walk down the streets of Paris via impressions from 32 different authors.  These are penned by journalists, a newspaper editor, students bunking together, a pastry chef, a single mother, and many award winning authors.  Coming to Paris from different countries, including Iran and Cuba, each author or writer tells how they were treated and what still stays with them, especially if they no longer live in the City of Light.

Seeing Paris through many different eyes reveals how unique our various perceptions can be.  Each person in this collection shares their first impressions and how they managed to fit in as a resident.  I enjoyed this book with my morning coffee each day before I entered into the blogosphere.  You'll like this book if you like Paris or have been there.  It's a city that's NEVER dull.


References:   Diana Gabaldon's Website Penelope Rowlands Novel site


Have you read any of Diana Gabaldon's series?  If so, let me know in the comments.  Have you taken a trip because of a special event or a special time in your life?  Do you have memories of that location?  Please share in the comments.