Kindle Countdown Celebration for Lady Cecylee’s 600th birthday: TWO MURDERS REAPED

As part of the celebrations for CecyleeAngryLady Cecylee’s 600th birthday on May 3, I will be running Kindle Countdown deals of all of the volumes of her memoirs.

 

The Kindle Countdown Deal for TWO MURDERS REAPED will commence TODAY 26 April 2015  at 8 of the clock Pacific Time for the US market, and 8 of the clock GMT for the UK market. Please click on the pictures below to get the links, left for the US Market, right for the UK Market.

51cMpjYYIXL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX324_SY324_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA346_SH20_OU02_

Please NOTE that this deal ONLY APPLIES to the KINDLE version of TWO MURDERS REAPED. On the other hand it is running in the Amazon.com  and Amazon.co.uk51cMpjYYIXL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX324_SY324_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA346_SH20_OU02_ markets.

 

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Kindle Countdown Celebration for Lady Cecylee’s 600th birthday: THWARTED QUEEN

As part of the celebrations for CecyleeWhiteRosesLady Cecylee’s 600th birthday on May 3, I will be running Kindle Countdown deals of all of the volumes of her memoirs.

 

The Kindle Countdown Deal for THWARTED QUEEN will commence TODAY 25 April 2015  at 8 of the clock Pacific Time for the US market, and 8 of the clock GMT for the UK market. Please click on the pictures below to get the links, left for US Market, right for UK Market

41gyHAd9wAL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

Please NOTE that this deal ONLY APPLIES to the KINDLE version of THWARTED QUEEN. On the other hand it is running in the Amazon.com  and Amazon.co.uk41gyHAd9wAL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_ markets.

 

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Kindle Countdown Celebration for Lady Cecylee’s 600th birthday: ONE SEED SOWN

As part of the celebrations for CecyleeHeaddressSmileLady Cecylee’s 600th birthday on May 3, I will be running Kindle Countdown deals of all of the volumes of her memoirs.

 

The Kindle Countdown Deal for ONE SEED SOWN will commence TODAY 24 April 2015  at 8 of the clock Pacific Time for the US market, and 8 of the clock GMT for the UK market. Please click on the pictures below to get the links, left for the US Market, right for the UK Market.

51mJB2WLReL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

Please NOTE that this deal ONLY APPLIES to the KINDLE version of ONE SEED SOWN. On the other hand it is running in the Amazon.com  and Amazon.co.uk markets.51mJB2WLReL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

 

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Kindle Countdown Celebration for Lady Cecylee’s 600th birthday: ROSE OF RABY

CecyleeHeadressLady Cecylee is a little reluctant to share this news…

but shhh! Did you know she is going to be SIX HUNDRED YEARS OLD on May 3?

She was born 3 May 1415, about 5 months BEFORE King Henry V’s glorious victory at Agincourt.

As part of the celebrations, I am running Kindle Countdown deals for my e-books in BOTH the US AND UK markets.

AND I have re-issued the paperback versions in a new format, so that each paperback volume now matches each e-book.

Lady Cecylee hopes that you all enjoy perusing her memoirs. She will be celebrating the occasion with several glasses of wine!

 

The Kindle Countdown Deal for ROSE OF RABY will commence TODAY 23 April 2015 (St George’s Day) at 8 of the clock Pacific Time for the US market, and 8 of the clock GMT for the UK market. Please click on the pictures below to get the link, left for US Market, right for UK Market.

51Q2w6aWZiL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

Please NOTE that this deal ONLY APPLIES to the KINDLE version of ROSE OF RABY. On the other hand it is running in the Amazon.com  and Amazon.co.uk markets.51Q2w6aWZiL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

 

 

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RESTLESS by William Boyd

RESTLESS by William Boyd is one of those novels with a parallel plot, there is the present-day told from the point-of-view of Ruth Gilmartin a 20-something PhD student at Oxford and a single Mum. Then there is the story of Eva Delectorskaya, a woman of Russian-English heritage, working as a spy for Britain in New York in 1940 and 1941. Her job was to pose as a journalist spreading disinformation about the progress of the war in an effort to encourage the United States to join the fight against the Nazis.

51j-Z7md5sL._AA160_This may sound only moderately interesting, but in William Boyd’s hands it becomes completely gripping. Both POV characters, Ruth and Eva, are so real. While it is true that inevitably Ruth’s story is not that interesting, nevertheless, her story kept me glued to the page, partly because I’m old enough to remember the Baader-Meinhof gang, and I kept wondering if she were harboring some of the members in her apartment.

As for Eva, well she is completely compelling. Strikingly beautiful and breathtakingly smart she is astonishingly good at her job, and manages to wriggle out of a couple of very difficult situations. Most of the pleasure of this novel is in watching such a smart woman outsmart some pretty smart men.

I have never heard of William Boyd before, but I will certainly be reading more of his novels. Five stars.

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MOON TIGER by Penelope Lively

51Sclf-mlNL._AA160_I can see why Penelope Lively’s novel MOON TIGER won the Booker Prize in 1987. It is a beautifully written novel, awe-inspiring over its control of multiple points of view and in its non-linear story telling.

We start in the present, with elderly Claudia Hampton ill in hospital, dying of cancer. As she lies in bed, memories of her past flicker through her consciousness, but not in chronological order. Reading this novel is like delving into someone’s past, like peeling layers off an onion, until we get to the core of the story, which is…But I don’t want to spoil this novel for you, so I’ll let you discover that for yourself.

We learn about Claudia, her quiet mother, her unusually close relationship with her brother Gordon, her disdain for Gordon’s wife Sylvia, her partner Jasper and her daughter-whom-she-doesn’t-understand Lisa. We also learn about another man in her life.

Without spoiling the plot, I will say that I found the characterization of the lover, Tom, wanting. Claudia is portrayed as such a sharp-tongued, opinionated, fiercely intelligent woman that for the life of me I couldn’t see why she was attracted to quiet, decent Tom. I couldn’t figure out why he made such a powerful impression on her. By contrast, her relationships with her argumentative brother Gordon and the sexually powerful Jasper were easy to understand and imagine. I know it seems awfully presumptuous NOT to give a Booker-prize-winning novel five stars, but I’m going to give this four stars, taking a star off for the problematic Tom.

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THE MASQUERADERS by Georgette Heyer

51qDiPICMZL._AA160_THE MASQUERADERS by Georgette Heyer turned out to be the most unexpected delight. I cannot remember now why I put it on my reading list, but as I opened it to read I hoped it would give me a little pleasure as I am very fond of historical novels. Part of the joy in reading this novel is that the characters have such fun, even while the stakes are so high:

The door opened, and the page let in fat Marthe, a tray in her hands. It was a very colossus of a woman, of startling girth, and with a smile that seemed to spread all over the full moon of her face. Like her mistress, from one to the other she looked, and was of a sudden smitten with laughter that shook all her frame like a jelly. The tray was set down; she clasped her hands and gasped: “Oh, la-la! To see the little monsieur habillé en dame!”

Robin sailed up to her, and swept a practiced curtsey. “Your memory fails you, Marthe. Behold me – Prudence!”

She gave his arm a playful slap. “My memory, alors! No, no m’sieur, you are not yet large enough to be mademoiselle.”

“Oh, unkind!” Robin lamented, and kissed her roundly.

“Marthe, there is need of secrecy, you understand?” My lady spoke urgently.

The need for secrecy is that brother and sister are both Jacobites, and have fled to London after the failure of the 1745 rising to put Bonnie Prince Charlie on the throne. As Robin, the brother, is under attainder and could be hanged for his part in the rebellion, he is now dressed in petticoats and answers to the name of Kate Merriott, while his sister Prudence is dressed as a man and presents herself as Peter Merriott.

The plan is for the pair to lie low in London for a while, awaiting instructions from their father who has disappeared. But no member of this charming, highly intelligent and incorrigible family is good at actually disappearing, and they win hearts and a great deal of attention from the bon ton.

Apart from the high spirited pranks and witty dialogue, what gives readers so much pleasure in reading this novel is how fascinating the three main characters are, as well as how devilishly clever they are. The reader is going to be glued to the pages of this gook as they see how this family saves itself from disaster and is accepted into London society. Highly recommended. Five stars.

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MISTRESS OF MELLYN by Victoria Holt

Mistress of Mellyn really creeped me out. There I was sitting up in bed at midnight, the dark only relieved by the light from my iPad screen. And I really felt uncomfortable. Uncomfortable enough to turn on my bedside light.

51onsSulJiL._AA160_That is how good Victoria Holt’s writing is. She had me swept up in this Gothic romance set in Cornwall. Even though there were obvious references to Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, Wilkie Collin’s The Woman in White, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Henry James’ novella “The Turn of the Screw,” nevertheless this story of the governess’s love for her employer and her attempts to solve the mystery surrounding his wife’s death kept me up. Until 4 am!

What is it about Victoria Holt that is so compelling?  She immediately creates sympathy for her heroine by writing in first-person in such a way that we are in Martha’s head, and privy to Martha’s thoughts. And what does Martha think of herself?

“…my brown velvet bonnet, tied with brown velvet ribbons under my chin, was of the sort which was so becoming to feminine people like my sister Phillida but, I always felt, sat a little incongruously on head like mine. My hair was thick with a coppery finger, parted in the center, brought down at the sides of my too-long face…My eyes were large, in some lights the color of amber, and were my best feature; but they were too bold…”

Re-reading this passage in the light of the events that happen to Martha it is possible to see that she is a beautiful young woman. However, she doesn’t think she is, and that is what makes her so endearing to the reader. So we are invested in Martha from the start, and as we follow her on that train down to Cornwall, meeting an impertinent young man who pretends to read her hand:

“I see a child there and a man…perhaps it is the child’s father. They are wrapped in shadows. There is someone else there…but perhaps she is already dead.”

It was the deep sepulchral note in his voice rather than the words he said which momentarily unnerved me.

I snatched my hand away. “What nonsense!” I said.

He ignored me and half closed his eyes. Then he went on: “You will need to watch little Alice, and your duties will extend beyond the care of her. You must most certainly beware of Alice.”

I felt a faint tingling which began at the base of my spine and seemed to creep up my neck. This, I supposed, was what is known as making one’s flesh creep.

Here, Victoria Holt deftly drops in hints that all is not well at Mellyn House where Martha is to take up the post of governess. Is this young man just toying with Martha? Or should she heed his warning? And who is Alice? The little girl she is to take care of is called “Alvean.” The reader is intrigued and hooked, and turns the page wanting to find out more. If you have never read Victoria Holt before, you are in for a treat. Five Stars.

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THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy by Suzanne Collins

Author Suzanne Collins mentions that the idea for 41jG4xQjjsL._AA160_THE HUNGER GAMES came from channel surfing between reality TV games and the Iraq war. While the reality game show element is really obvious, it seems to me that this whole series is a metaphor for the wars of the recent decade, with each volume of the trilogy serving as a metaphor of those hellish places. No wonder Katniss behaves so badly and in such extreme and violent ways. No wonder this book is so dark. No-one is ever quite the same again. And that is where the power of this work lies, in it’s linking of dystopian fantasy with unpleasant realities of the present day.

This is a strong work that doesn’t sag and will keep you glued to the page. What makes it so outstanding is the way the trilogy ends. Ms. Collins provides a satisfying ending that ties up a lot of loose threads and make the reader feel that there was no other way this story could have ended. It is not a happy-ever-after ending, which would not have been appropriate for such a dark story. But it is the kind of ending that throws everything into relief and makes you realize what the emotional heart of the story is.51tK519fUHL._AA160_

For those of you who haven’t yet read or viewed HUNGER GAMES, you might want to stop reading at this point, as what I have to say contains spoilers.

What the ending meant for me was that the emotional heart of this story is with Katniss’ relationship with her sister. Which is surprising, as this is a book for teens. Authors who write for this audience are almost obliged to have the romance-between-good-looking members-of-the-opposite-sex-which-involves-love-triangle, and I must say I found this aspect of the trilogy the least interesting. Mainly because Katniss (not surprisingly) is so unsure of where she is, being spoiled for choice. But the suspense just stretches out and out and out, and I felt the work would have been stronger without so much emphasis on 51zkheo7x8L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_the romance element.

However, the ending suggests that we are being encouraged to look at the wrong relationship. Because the person whom Katniss really and truly loves is her sister. And when Prim dies, we feel Katniss’ terrible pain. Especially as she had to see it happen. I thought the scene with Prim’s cat was just wrenching, and it is a mark of the quality of this work that it is hard for me to get those scenes out of my head. Five stars.

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THE KING’S CURSE by Philippa Gregory

Philippa Gregory has done it again, found a compelling, forgotten woman, in the shape of Margaret, Countess of Salisbury, and woven a whole tale around this character.

Margaret of Salisbury had an impeccable pedigree. She was the elder child of George, Duke of Clarence, brother to both Edward IV and Richard the III. Her mother was Isabel Neville, daughter and co-heiress with her sister Anne, of Warwick the Kingmaker. Margaret was comfortable at court and knew most of its players. She was a cousin to Queen Elizabeth of York, wife to Henry VII and mother of Henry VIII. She became close friends with Henry VIII’s first wife Catherine of Aragon. 51feeg5HssL._AA160_So she is an excellent choice for the ending of Gregory’s series on the Cousin’s War (aka The Wars of the Roses).

Gregory is known for her unorthodox takes on history, and this novel is no exception. She found an eerie corallary between the actions of some of the characters in her previous novels (LADY OF THE RIVERS and THE WHITE QUEEN ) and modern-day science. I will let her explain it to you in the following, taken from her Author’s Note:

There has been much work on the loss of Henry VIII’s babies. Current…research from Catrina Banks Whitley and Kyra Kramer suggests that Henry may have had the rare Kell positive blood type, which can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, and infant deaths when the mother has the more common Kell negative blood type. Whitley and Kramer also suggest that Henry’s later symptoms of paranoia and anger may have been caused by McLeod syndrome—a disease found only in Kell positive individuals. McLeod syndrome usually develops when sufferers are aged around forty and cause physical degeneration and personality changes resulting in paranoia, depression and irrational behavior.

…Whitley and Kramer trace Kell syndrome back to Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford, the suspected witch and mother of Elizabeth Woodville. Sometimes, uncannily, fiction creates a metaphor for an historical truth: in a fictional scene in the novel, Elizabeth, together with her daughter Elizabeth of York, curse the murderer of her sons, swearing that they shall lose their son and their grandsons, while in real life her genes—unknown and undetectable at the time—entered the Tudor line through her daughter and may have caused the deaths of four Tudor babies to Katherine of Aragon and three to Anne Boleyn. (582)

Reading this gave me the shivers. Five stars.

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