My February reading was pitiful with only three books completed.
1) The Queen’s Fool – Philippa Gregory
If I had to choose my favorite reading genre it would be historical fiction. Philippa Gregory’s Tudor series very nicely fits that bill. She has an incredible way of taking historical events and weaving them with a fictional story without compromising the facts. With each book I read I become a bigger fan of her’s.
The Queen’s Fool covers the span of time from right before King Edward’s death to the death of Queen Mary. It’s told from the viewpoint of Hannah, a Jewish girl from Spain pretending to be first Protestant, then Catholic – depending on the monarch – who has The Sight. Robert Dudley comes across her when she’s 14 and takes her to be King Edward’s fool. When Edward dies she’s sent to Princess Mary, who then becomes queen.
This series is a fascinating look into the lives of the Tudor Court which was as fickle and corrupt as any government has ever been. It also tells the interesting fictional story of Hannah Verde who becomes Hannah Green and includes a bit of romance, which never hurts a book.
2) Grave Peril – Jim Butcher
This is the third book in the Harry Dresden Files. If you’ve never read these books, but have watched the SciFi Channel show, you don’t know what you’re missing. The books are infinitely better. And if you don’t know, Harry Dresden is a Private Detective in Chicago who does some consulting work with the Chicago PD. What makes him interesting is that he’s a wizard and the cases he works on are inexplicable. And yes. I watched the X-Files religiously for years.
3) Beyond Temptation – Mary Reed McCall
I bought this book for two reasons. One reason is because Mary frequents one of the same message boards I do and I always like what she has to say. I figured I might like her books. The other is because I like medieval era books and they’re far and few between.
This is the first in a series about Templar Knights. It starts on Black Friday, which was October 13, 1307, when King Phillippe of Frances rounded up the Knights Templar and had his priests conduct a horrible and false inquisition.
This book is historical romance, so while there’s an interesting bit of history involved, the romance is the main thing. The hero, Richard de Cantor, is a Templar and returns home after five years away. His emotionally unstable wife is being cared for by her cousin, Lady Margaret, who was sent as penance for a scandalous indiscretion. I don’t think I’m giving anything away when I tell you the wife dies, Meg and Richard both mourn, and fall in love.
They encounter numerous obstacles – both past and present – and there’s a bit of a twist at the end that I never saw coming. Looking back I can’t believe I didn’t see it. But I’m glad I didn’t because I love a good surprise like that.
I enjoyed the book very much and am looking forward to the next one. Mary’s writing is very reminiscent of Julia Garwood’s historicals, but it’s a bit edgier and has more history. And I love me some well-researched history!