As everyone knows, PILLARS OF THE EARTH is a huge novel that takes place in England over a 50-year period from about 1121 to 1172. The novel begins and ends in violence: […]
Cynthia Sally Haggard was born and reared in Surrey, England. About 30 years ago she surfaced in the United States, settling in the Mid-Atlantic region as she wound her way through four careers: violinist, cognitive scientist, medical writer, and novelist.
In June, 2015, Cynthia graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University, Cambridge MA.
Her first novel, "Thwarted Queen," a frustrating tale (hence the title) of a woman who was nearly crowned Queen of England, was shortlisted for many awards, including the 2012 Eric Hoffer New Horizon Award for debut authors. To date, sales have surpassed 38,000 copies.
Her second novel, "Farewell My Life," a Cinderella-ish tale with not-so-charming princes who inhabit the edgy setting of 1920s and 1930s Berlin during the rise of the Nazis, won a Pinnacle Award for Historical Fiction (2019) and was a Distinguished Favorite for the 2019 New York City Big Book Awards.
Despite its flaws, I absolutely loved this novel. From the very beginning, I found protagonist Clara Kelley compelling, and I loved the way that author Marie Benedict introduced a flavor of danger […]
THE LOST EMPIRE OF ATLANTIS ~ HISTORY’S GREATEST MYSTERY REVEALED by Gavin Menzies read by Gildart Jackson
Having absolutely loved 1421, I had to see what author Gavin Menzies would make of the mystery surrounding Plato’s Atlantis. For some reason, I was not expecting a compelling argument, nor was […]
I hadn’t intended to write about the war in Ukraine, but as the conditions there have deteriorated, as they have become beyond shocking, I decided I couldn’t just ignore what was going […]
I thought I was reading historical fiction about an Anglo-Saxon’s journey in the afterlife…(THE SUMMER COUNTRY by Lauren Willig, narrated by Nicola Barber)
I have never heard of Lauren Willig before, so when I picked up THE SUMMER COUNTRY, I honestly thought I was reading a tale about an Anglo-Saxon person’s journey to the afterlife. […]
1434 ~ The Year that a Magnificent Chinese Fleet sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance by Gavin Menzies, narrated by Simon Vance
Like many readers, I found this volume disappointing after Gavin Menzies’ stunning debut 1421. For starters, this book was a great deal dryer than 1421, filled as it was with descriptions about […]
How utterly fascinating it was to read about a long-forgotten Ming Emperor of China, who, in 1421, sent off a flotilla of 800? 900? huge ships, built of teak, their red square […]
Lady Cecylee had an affair with an archer on the Rouen garrison…in the summer of 1441. Her one night of passion changed her life, her family’s life and the Game of Thrones-like […]
This fourth novel by Marie Benedict (the pen-name of lawyer-turned-writer Heather Terrell) sets the tone for many of the novels that follow, in that it explores what it’s like to be the […]
Like her previous novel THE CHRYSALIS, this novel is also a parallel plot novel, or rather a triangular plot novel with three distinct time periods represented: the early 1400s, when the Chinese […]
I have read many of Marie Benedict’s novels. Some of them (BRIGID OF KILDARE and THE MYSTERY OF MRS CHRISTIE) I absolutely loved. Others (LADY CLEMENTINE) not so much. This debut novel […]
I have never heard of Rachel Hore before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect with this novel, based on the true story of “Miss X” who worked as a spy for […]
I would never have listened to this audiobook of the first four seasons of FOUL PLAY had not my sister put me onto it, saying that it kept her in hysterics while […]
Thwarted Queen, my medieval fic bio has a torrid love affair at its heart, which is why it is part of the “Valentine’s Day Is for Lovers” on bookfunnel. To head over […]
Barbara Ehrenreich’s DANCING IN THE STREETS is both a celebration of dancing and a condemnation of the authorities who are trying to prevent large groups of people from running amok in the […]
Barbara Ehrenreich’s BLOOD RITES is an investigation into the origins of war. Drawing parallels between ancient religions with their blood-soaked rituals, and the fact that for thousands of years a small band […]
I should have known from the title, that this would be a novel about a military family and tragedy. But somehow, that passed me by until the actual deployment to Iraq happened. […]
I knew this was going to be a dark novel as the cover and title suggested a tragedy. But I hadn’t expected to read something that was so all-encompassing in its emotional […]