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.


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Paris Was Ours


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








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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:

http://www.dianagabaldon.com/   Diana Gabaldon's Website

http://www.pariswasours.com/ 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.

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35 comments:

  1. You got to meet one of the authors? That is very cool!

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    1. It was very cool, Diana was elegant, very personable and very comfortable to talk to. Her son, Sam Sykes, a fantasy writer, I met as well. He was at the next table at the writer's conference.

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  2. My wife is hooked on the Outlander series, but I haven't read it yet. I plan to, though.

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    1. Well, Rick, your wife must have good taste. I'll be looking for the first Outlander book, soon.

      I dropped by your blog - you have an interesting discussion going on there.

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  3. i am on the voyager book in her outlander series--my daughter-in-law started me on them--and the paris books sounds really fascinating!

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    1. That's another recommendation. Thanks Lynn.

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  4. Cool that you got to meet Diane. I've read her Outlanders, which is very good.

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    1. Good to know. I'll be looking for a copy soon. I have your button (for your book) in my sidebar now.

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  5. In the first book, Sir George Stanley is obviously a relative of my husband, sharing the same name. My husband's ancestor fought beside King Harold at Battle. The kind died of an arrow through the eye and his defendants all perished. Love history.

    http://francene-wordstitcher.blogspot.com/

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    1. I'm a history fan, too, Francene. That's very interesting about how the king died. Not a nice way to go.

      Thanks for stopping by.

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  6. I have heard of The Outlanders, but haven't read the book. These were great reviews. I also wanted to thank you for you kind word on Angel's passing.

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    1. I liked hearing about the sheep at your blog doing 'fire prevention' by eating! A very Green approach.

      Glad you liked the book reviews.

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  7. I haven't read the Lord John books, but I've read all of the Outlander books. They are the most entertaining books I've ever read. Love them. And I would love to meet Diana Gabaldon. She's very smart and funny from what I've seen of her interviews.

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    1. She had a pleasant warm way about her,and she's accurate at a blue pencil (critique) appointment. On top of that, I like the way she writes, her style.
      Thanks for the follow, LG, and welcome!

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  8. Glad you got to meet one of your new favorite authors. Writers tend to be a friendly bunch (with a few notable exceptions)

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    1. Thanks, Sean. I've met a few writers, and that's been true so far.

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  9. Very cool that you got to meet the author. Yes, happenstance. And then you met her son, also an author. Sounds like an awesome experience. I haven't read her books, but this one sounds exciting.

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    1. Glad you could drop by, LynNerdKelley, and I like her writing. You might too. A little historical, a little romance, and a lot of intrigue.

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  10. Those look like intriguing books-- more fodder for my Kindle!

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    1. I loved them both. I try to feature only books that I recommend.

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  11. I haven't read any of Diana's books in over ten years. I loved the ones I read, but then grew bored of the series.

    I've visited tons of places that have a special memory for me.

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    1. Well, guess I've got a bit of catching up to do with Gabaldon's books.

      It's nice to have memories of a place, usually tied to something or someone.

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  12. Michael - Welcome and thanks for the following. You always sound like you're in a whirl of activities on your blog.

    JennaQuentin - Welcome to one of my blogs, and thanks for the follow.

    Hope both of you will drop by when you can.

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  13. Hi, DG -- I read what you wrote about liking New Orleans and Jazz. Send me your email address, and I will send you free either THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH (it has modern New Orleans and modern jazz) or THE RIVAL which has a long look at 1834 New Orleans and its personalities like Annie Christmas, Marie Laveau, the riverboat gambler John Powell, and visitors like Jim Bowie (the first 34 pages focus on Victor's adventures as a 7 year old in a transformed Detroit,) Just send me the email and let me know if you want one or both.

    They are yours free, Roland

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    1. Thanks, Roland. I've got them sitting in virtual library now. Merci.

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  14. I've heard a lot about Gabaldon, but have yet to read one of her books. Outlander is what I hear the most about, though. The anthology sounds fascinating!

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    1. Outlander is what I've heard the most about, too, Shannon, but I just happened to pick up the Lord John book.

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  15. Hi there, thanks so much for your recent e-mail and for the nice review of my Paris Was Ours! I'm so glad that you enjoyed it and thrilled that you included it in your blog (enjoyed that, too)!

    I'll keep reading...

    Best of luck, Penelope Rowlands

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    1. I'm so pleased, Penelope, because your book brought back so many memories of my own trip to Paris.
      Thanks for dropping by to comment.

      Now I'm wondering about that other book of yours on '...Carmel Snow. . .

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  16. I have not read any of Diana Gabaldon's books, but I have seen them in stores before. Getting to meet an author like that is very cool!

    I enjoy going to DragonCon in Atlanta for many elements, but meeting authors there is certainly one of them.

    I do not recall a time I intentionally read memoir or fiction about or set at a place prior to visiting there or visiting a place only because I was inspired by something I read. I've read travel guides, but that is obviously not the same.

    With my own "Toddling..." series of blogs, I try to balance purely informative posts with more memoir-like pieces.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, J.

      It must be interesting attending the DragonCon in Atlanta. I've seen some of the photos.

      I'd probably put my money on a writing conference where I could meet an author or lit agent or editor for a crit or pitch appointment. I'm practical. . .

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  17. Those look like some interesting books. I'll have to keep them in mind for summer reading. Thanks for the reviews. I've read some of the Outlander series and they were gripping.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Julie. I plan to read some of the Outlander series, but I'm reading a few other books first.

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  18. These sound intriguing. I wish I had a better Paris experience. All I remember is getting lost on foot at night in a low-rent area and being told the next day "We are CLOSED!" at a cafe -- even though the doors were wide open and a couple guys were sitting at the bar. Maybe I was obviously too American. I should've worn the Canadian maple leaf...

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    1. We got that treatment once or twice but we just took our business elsewhere. C'est la vie.

      We went into local cafes in the Marais and the Latin Quarter. Seemed friendly there.

      Look for continuous service cafes and bistros. I named a few great places in my post about Paris bistros, but I only wrote about the ones I viisited.

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