About Jennifer Jones

Love being healthy and keeping fit by cycling, gym, and bushwalking. Other passions are genealogy, family history research and reading

#AtoZChallenge V: Voyage to Australia – Private Journal of James Bell

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge  is for bloggers who wish to participate by publishing a blog post every day in April except for Sundays. Each blog post will focus on a letter of the alphabet. For example April 1 will be A, April 2 will be B and on it goes. By the end of April, a blog post for every letter of the alphabet will have been posted.

Summary

Private Journal of James Bell
Edited by Richard Walsh with an introduction and epilogue by Anthony Laube

This book is the personal diary of James Bell, who took the long voyage to Australia in 1838, leaving his family and friends, and not knowing what to expect of the new country, so far away.

The story of how this diary came to be published is incredible.  Firstly, it’s very survival  is worthy of mentioning.  The original diary turned up at a country bookstall in England, 150 years after it was written, and The State Library of South Australia managed to raise the necessary funds to buy the diary at auction.

James Bell , aged 21, set out in the sailing vessel, the Planter, from St. Katharine Docks in London to travel to Adelaide, Australia, an infant colony, half a world away and not yet two years old. He left behind family, good friends and the mysterious C.P, a young woman with whom he hoped one day to be reunited.

The voyage that James Bell undertook was meant to take about 130 days, but due to the incompetence of the Captain, and many misadventures along the way, it actually took six months to arrive in Australia. The many unforeseen events and dramas that occurred along the way, made the voyage extremely difficult. There was a mutiny, drunken fights, orgies and a storm resulting in the loss of the ship’s sails.

It is obvious in reading his words, that James Bell has a great sense of adventure. He also has a love of poetry, great religious faith, and is very nostalgic about his memories of those he left behind.

More than a century after the diaries were written, the reader can’t help but be reminded of the dangers of such an adventurous voyage. I am also reminded how lucky we are, that adventurous people like him, and like my ancestors, were brave enough to take the long voyage to a land that at the time was little known.

An excerpt from the preface written by James Bell:

“The following is not merely an account of the Ships course, and a mere mention of the places passed during my voyage to South Australia, but a noting down from day to day of the thoughts and ideas that occupied my mind at the moment – and my reason for this was that I might bring my observation of the events, as well as manners, to be more directly upon my own conduct, and in this way correct any thing that might be amiss, as well as tending to the strengthening of those principles, with which my mind has been imbued, as I am convinced that this is the best way of fixing occurrences upon the memory” – James Bell

 My Thoughts

The story of how the diary came to be published had me intrigued. I couldn’t wait to get into this book and when I did, I found it hard to put it down.

I really enjoyed James Bell’s descriptions of the other passengers and his very detailed account of their comings and goings. He doesn’t hold back at all, in expressing his opinion of most of them.

My interest and passion for genealogy and Australian history also contributed to my enjoyment of this book. I’m not really sure if readers without those interests, would rate this book as highly as I do. Perhaps I am slightly biased towards the subject matter.

For those who decide to read A Voyage to Australia, I hope you enjoy this beautifully presented book, as much as I did.

The Epilogue

The epilogue traces the lives of many of the passengers after they reached Australia, with information of how they coped with life in the new, unknown country. There is also a passenger list with names of all passengers and crew.

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Published by Allen & Unwin in 2011.
Hardcover with dustjacket – 202 pages including bibliography

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#AtoZChallenge U: Untold Story by Monica Ali

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge  is for bloggers who wish to participate by publishing a blog post every day in April except for Sundays. Each blog post will focus on a letter of the alphabet. For example April 1 will be A, April 2 will be B and on it goes. By the end of April, a blog post for every letter of the alphabet will have been posted.

 

Summary

The most famous woman in the world.
Her death mourned by millions.
What if she hadn’t died after all…..?

What if Princess Diana didn’t die? Her seemingly idyllic life was both nightmare and fairytale. She may have been living a priveleged life, but she often felt lonely and trapped. Could she have been tempted to take the opportunity to start her life over again, but this time live her life quietly, and out of the spotlight of the media glare.

Fictional English Princess Lydia, thought someone was plotting to assassinate her, so she decides to stage her own death and and start a new life in a quiet area of Midwest America. Life abroad goes well for her, as she makes Kensington her new home. She makes many new friends but she cannot forget the family she left behind.

Unexpectedly, she has an encounter with paparazzi and the new life, and her anonymity, that she has worked so hard to create for herself, are put under threat and she wonders if she will ever be able to put her past behind her.

My Thoughts

The topic and plot of this story drew me to it. However, I didn’t enjoy the way the story went from the present day, where it is narrated by Lydia and the photographer who is sure he knows her real identity, to the butler in her past, who helped her to disappear. The story is also told from the letters that Lydia wrote to the butler ten years earlier.

I was irritated by the way the chapters seemed to jump back and forward from past to future and to the letters.  This spoiled my enjoyment of the book. The premise and plot could have made an engrossing read, but the style that this book was written in, just didn’t do it for me.

My rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️

About the Author

Monica Ali

 

Monica Ali is a British writer and novelist, born in Bangladesh.  When she was three years old, her family moved to England, where she still lives today with her husband and children.

 

First published in Great Britain by Doubleday, 2011.
This edition published by Simon and Schuster UK Ltd 2012. Paperback, 342 pages

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#A-ZChallenge T: Toymaker by Liam Pieper

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge  is for bloggers who wish to participate by publishing a blog post every day in April except for Sundays. Each blog post will focus on a letter of the alphabet. For example April 1 will be A, April 2 will be B and on it goes. By the end of April, a blog post for every letter of the alphabet will have been posted.

Summary

Bold dark and compelling, The Toymaker is a novel about privelege, fear and the great harm we can do when we are afraid of losing what we hold dear – blurb

Adam Kulakov is middle aged and owns a toy company which brightens the lives of children all over the world. He is wealthy and seems to have everything that anybody could ever desire. But Adam makes  mistakes that threaten to destroy everything.

Adam’s grandfather, who began the toy business, was an Auschwitz survivor. But to survive, he had to make a very difficult choice. That choice has remained secret for his entire life. As he is now coming to the end of his life, he is watching his grandson managing the family business in such a way,  that it’s obvious to him that he will likely destroy it, and all he worked for in his life. But he must continue to keep his secret, so as not to destroy his family.

Written in both the present and the past, contrasting Melbourne, Australia today and life in Auschwitz in WW11.  The Toymaker is both dark and compelling. It tells the story of how close we all can be to losing what we love the most.

My Thoughts

I found most of the characters easy to dislike but the story is amazing. The subject matter  is at times quite challenging, especially towards the end, where the reader may question their moral attitude to doing what needs to be done to survive, at any cost.

The final chapters of this book are extremely powerful and meaningful with the best ending that I’ve read in a long while. I just didn’t see it coming. Pieper adds a twist to the novel that changed my entire perception of the story. As soon as I read the last page, I wanted to read the book again, knowing the ending.  Were there hints along the way that I missed?  

Recommendation

I couldn’t put The Toymaker down and have it on my list of best ever reads. It is a Holocaust book with a difference, like no other I have previously read. 

“His writing is electric” – Weekend Australian

“Pieper is a sharp, smart and classy writer” – Saturday Paper

“Hugely memorable, The Toymaker is an unflinching examination of the dark instinct for survival that lies in all of us” – Hannah Kent, author

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

About The Author

Liam Pieper is a Melbourne based author and journalist. His first book was a memoir, The Feel Good Hit of the Year, shortlisted for the National Biography Award and the Ned Kelly Best True Crime award. His second was the Penguin Special Mistakes Were Made, a volume of humorous essays. He was co-recipient of the 2014 M Literary Award, winner of the 2015 Geoff Dean Short Story Prize and the inaugural creative resident of the UNESCO City of Literature in Prague. The Toymaker is his first novel.

Published by Penguin Random House Australia in 2016. Paperback – 263 pages

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Image:  Goodreads

 

 

#AtoZChallenge S is for Stasiland by Anna Funder

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge  is for bloggers who wish to participate by publishing a blog post every day in April except for Sundays. Each blog post will focus on a letter of the alphabet. For example April 1 will be A, April 2 will be B and on it goes. By the end of April, a blog post for every letter of the alphabet will have been posted.

Summary

Stories from behind the Berlin Wall.

Shortly after the Berlin Wall fell, in 1989, East Germany ceased to exist, after the reunification of East and West Germany.  In Stasiland, Anna Funder tells the amazing tales of what life had been like in the former East Germany.

Anna Funder was working in Berlin, when she became interested in the fall of the Berlin Wall. She placed an advertisement in the newspapers, inviting people to be interviewed by her, about their experiences at the time. As a result, Funder met with both ordinary people, trying to survive, and members and ex members of the Stasi. The stories they told were truly intriguing and shocking.

“In this land
I have made myself sick with silence
In this land
I have wandered, lost
In this land
I hunkered down to see
What will become of me.
In this land
I held myself tight
So as not to scream.
-But I did scream, so loud
That this land howled back at me
As hideously
As it builds its houses.
In this land
I have been sown
Only my head sticks
Defiant, out of the earth
But one day it too will be mown
Making me, finally
Of this land.
-Charlie’s poem”
Anna Funder, Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall

 

‘’Peter Fechter, the eighteen-year- old shot trying to escape in 1962 and left to die on the death strip, because each side thought the other would retaliate if they went to help him. Someone has thrown him a roll of bandages, but he lies immobile and bleeding.’’ – Stasiland

My Thoughts

I am a fan of Anna Funder’s novels, but her writing and the subject matter of Stasiland, touched me to the core. The stories in Stasiland read more like fiction, but because they are true, the harrowing nature of the stories some had to tell, are both horrifying and unimaginable.  This is a book I will definitely read again, but it had such a huge affect on me that I need a little space between the first and second reading.

Stasiland is extremely powerful writing at it’s best. I found it was like a punch to the stomach to read about the suffering that should never have happened. Anna Funder does not mince words at all. She tells it as it was, as  she takes us to the falling of the wall, which is earth shattering and very real to the reader.  The consequences of the fall and subsequent stories we read about the people who were living behind the wall at the time, are unforgettable.

Even though the subject matter is very heavy and dark and extremely sad, there are also many funny and bizarre moments to balance out the darkness. and unhappiness.

Recommendation

‘Anna Funder explores, in the most humane and sensitive way, lives blighted by the East German Stasi. She allows ex-Stasi operatives an equal chance to reflect on their achievements, and finds—to her dismay and ours—that they have learned nothing.’
— J. M. Coetzee, author

‘Stasiland is a brilliant account of the passionate search for a brutal history in the process of being lost, forgotten and destroyed. It is a masterpiece of investigative analysis, written almost like a novel, with a perfect mix of compassion and distance.’
– Elena Lappin, Sunday Times

My Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

About The Author

Anna Funder

 

Anna Funder was born in Melbourne in 1966. She has worked as an international lawyer for the Australian Government, focusing on human rights and constitutional law. She grew up in Melbourne and Paris and now lives in Sydney with her family.

Published in 2004 by Granta Books.
Paperback, 288 pages


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#AtoZChallenge R is for Ransacking Paris by Patti Miller

 

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter R

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge  is for bloggers who wish to participate by publishing a blog post every day in April except for Sundays. Each blog post will focus on a letter of the alphabet. For example April 1 will be A, April 2 will be B and on it goes. By the end of April, a blog post for every letter of the alphabet will have been posted.

Summary

Patti Miller was a mother of adult boys, when she arrived in Paris,  where she intended to write for a year. She felt as though all her dreams had come true. In her words: ‘As if the light that comes after the sun has gone down, has spilled gold on everything’.

Patti grew up on Wiradjuri land in rural Australia, where she had a happy childhood and where her heart and soul still belonged. But she asked herself what she thought she would find in Paris that she couldn’t find at home. How could she feel a sense of belonging in this city made up of centuries of other peoples stories?

To find out, Miller jumps between the reality of her world, and the fantasty of chatting with French writers of the past, Montaigne, Rousseau, de Beauvior, and other memoirists.  They travel with her through the streets of Paris, and have coffee with her, as she chats to them about their lives, discusses with them, the important things in life – family, love, suffering, desire, motherhood, truth telling, memory and how we discover who we are in the world, and our relationship to place and identity.

This is the story of Patti Miller’s year in Paris, in 2005, where she writes her memoir and discovers who she is in the world.

‘This great world of ours is the looking glass in which we must gaze to come to know ourselves from the right slant’ – Michel de Montaigne

My Thoughts

The format of Ransacking in Paris is a chapter for each month of the year that Patti Miller is in Paris, which to me really worked. I  loved the way she wove her memories sentimentally into her thoughts today and into her conversations about the lives of the famous authors from the past. 

“All those Mountain years, I wanted to live in Paris, it was my dream, but everyone has unfulfilled dreams. C’est la vie. I began to turn to memoir, more and more interested in exploring the self in writing, ‘the self’ as a physics and metaphysic as Montaigne put it. Why on earth couldn’t the self be a respectable subject for literature? It was a territory as complex, as vast, as any other, a moment-by-moment hallucination of sense impressions, emotions and thoughts, continuously creating the experience of a shady, chestnut tree, an itchy leg, a smiling face, a sense of belonging, of love, and grief and delight. isn’t an ungraspable sense of being, in fact, the only thing that connects each one of us” – Ransacking Paris, page 12

The paragraph above to me is beautiful descriptive writing and warms my heart. It makes me want to put everything aside and spend time writing my memoir.

This book is a very personal account of Patti Miller’s year in Paris, as she makes friends, and tries to live her life to way the locals do.  The book goes very deeply into her thoughts and feelings, about stepping out of her life in Australia, and away from her family for a full year. Ransacking Paris evokes a very strong sense of identity and place.

Recommendation

‘Miller produces compelling prose…beautifully rendered and perceptively evoked” – Australian Book Review

I’ve read this book twice now and would recommend it highly.

My Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

About The Author

Patti Miller was raised on a farm in Central western NSW.  She has written many books and in 2012 won the NSW Premier’s History Award. She has taught writing for over twenty years, including at the innovative Faber Academy in Sydney. Miller regularly takes groups to Paris to write for extended periods.

Published in

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#AtoZChallenge Q: The Queens Colonial by Peter Watt

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge  is for bloggers who wish to participate by publishing a blog post every day in April except for Sundays. Each blog post will focus on a letter of the alphabet. For example April 1 will be A, April 2 will be B and on it goes. By the end of April, a blog post for every letter of the alphabet will have been posted.

Summary

The Queen’s Colonial is the first in Australian author, Peter Watt’s new series featuring Captain Ian Steele, commander in the British Army, in the mid 1800s.

The story starts in Sydney in 1845, where Ian Steele, is supporting his frail and widowed mother, while dreaming of how much he yearns to live a life in uniform, in Queen Victoria’s army.

Meanwhile, in New Zealand, Second Lieutenant Sam Forbes, a gentle soul and a poet, from a wealthy and aristocratic, but treacherous, English family, wants nothing more than to leave the army, and live a more gentle life. Due to his family and his upbringing, he knows that is not likely to ever happen.

Later, these two men happen to meet in Sydney, and realise there is a striking likeness to their appearance. They very quickly devise a plan for Ian to take Sam’s identity and go to England, convince the family that he is their son that they haven’t seen for many years, and accept a commission into the British Army, who are about to face the Russians in battle.

My Thoughts

 At first I thought the story line about the swap of identities was ridiculous and unbelievable, but the author quickly convinced me that it made sense and it would work.

I have a love of history and war history, so this book was a pleasure for me to read. Even though The Queen’s Colonial is a novel, Watt has based it on thoroughly researched archival information. The battle scenes are taken from the actual eye witness reports of a newspaper journalist who posted war zone reports from the battle front via telegraph. These reports titled Reports From The Crimea were published frequently in The Times of London.

This is the first of Peter Watt’s books that I’ve read, and it seems that I’ve found a new favourite author. I will be watching out for the second book in this series.  I love the title, The Queen’s Colonial and very much look forward to the title chosen for the second book in the series. The book is beautifully presented with extremely beautiful artwork on the front cover.

My Rating: 4.5 star

About The Author

Peter Watt

 

Peter has been a soldier, articled clerk to a solicitor, prawn trawler deckhand, builder’s labourer, pipe layer, real estate salesman, private investigator, police sergeant and adviser to the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary. He has lived and worked with Aborigines, Islanders, Vietnamese and Papua New Guineans and speaks, reads and writes Vietnamese and Pidgin. He now lives at Maclean, on the Clarence River in northern New South Wales. He is a volunteer firefighter with the Rural Fire service, and is interested in fishing and the vast opens spaces of outback Queensland. – Pan Macmillan

Published in 2018 by Pan MacMillan. Paperback 396 pages, including author notes.

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#A-ZChallenge P: Places We Swim By Caroline Clements and Dillon Seitchik-Reardon

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge  is for bloggers who wish to participate by publishing a blog post every day in April except for Sundays. Each blog post will focus on a letter of the alphabet. For example April 1 will be A, April 2 will be B and on it goes. By the end of April, a blog post for every letter of the alphabet will have been posted.

Summary

 From lap pools to ocean pools to hot springs. Places We Swim covers the breadth of Australia, bringing you the sixty best places to swim, dive, jump, paddle and float, around the country. You’ll discover just what makes each swimming spot unique, learn the best time to go, gain some useful local knowledge and find out the best things to see and do in the area.

With destinations ranging from the neighbourhood city pool to remote outback waterfalls , this book is a celebration of not just these magnificent swimming spots, but of the diverse landscapes and communities that make up Australia.

The chapters are divided by the States of Australia, with each state claiming very diverse types of swimming pools. The photographs invoke the typical ideas of summer in Australia.

The two page foreword is written by Benjamin Law. Here is just one paragraph:
“And every body of water in this country has a compelling story behind it. Australian swimming spots tell this country’s social and political history” – Benjamin Law, author, journalist, radio host and TV personality.

My Thoughts

This is an amazingly beautiful coffee table book. Before reading it, I couldn’t resist the temptation of flipping through the stunning photos. Immediately they  brought back memories of long, hot summers when I was a child. On the weekends my grandparents would take us to different neighbouring towns to swim at their local pool. I have very happy memories of all those pools we visited. Some were formal swimming pools and others were designated areas in rivers.  

I loved the Top Five lists that were included:
Beaches

Nudie Swims
Best for relaxing with a cold beer
Best Waterfalls

Places We Swim is a stunning photo book, including essays about the relationship between Australians and bodies of water. As I read Places We Swim, I found myself day dreaming of leaving my day job and wandering off to explore this beautiful country and it’s swimming pools.

My Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

About the authors

Caroline Clements is writer, editor and creative producer originally from Melbourne.
New Mexican by birth, Australian by choice, Dillon Seitchik-Reardon is a photographer, writer, and videographer.

      Published by Hardie Grant Travel in 2018.
Large, softcover book – 192 pages, including index

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#AtoZChallenge O: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge  is for bloggers who wish to participate by publishing a blog post every day in April except for Sundays. Each blog post will focus on a letter of the alphabet. For example April 1 will be A, April 2 will be B and on it goes. By the end of April, a blog post for every letter of the alphabet will have been posted.

Summary

In 1946, Claire Randall is taken from the Scottish Highlands where she is on a second honeymoon with her husband, back to 1943 where the first person she meets is a British army officer. He is her husband’s six times great grandfather, who she has often heard her husband talk of, as he researches his family’s genealogy.

“People disappear all the time. Ask any policeman, better still ask a journalist. Disappearances are bread and butter to journalists. Young girls run away from home. Young children stray from their parents and are never seen again. Housewives reach the end of their tether and take the grocery money and a taxi to the station. International financiers change their names and vanish into the smoke of imported cigars. Many of the lost will be found, eventually, dead or alive. Disappearances, after all, have their explanation. Usually” – written at the front of Outlander

Claire eventually finds herself torn between two very different men, living two totally different and irreconcilable lives.

My Thoughts

I have been resisting reading this book. Not because I didn’t think I would enjoy it. I enjoy historical fiction and the genealogy included in this book intrigued me. However, at over 800 pages, Outlander takes a huge time commitment. And then there are the subsequent books in the series at a similar number of pages.

But finally I gave in and I’m so glad I did. Gabaldon is a great story teller with a huge attention to detail as she asks: What if your future was the past?

I found this book to be very ‘unputdownable’ and read it fairly quickly, despite the huge number of pages. As I read the last line, I couldn’t wait to get started on book two in the series.

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

About The Author

Diana Gabaldon

 

Diana Gabaldon grew up in Flagstaff, Arizona and is of Mexican-American and English descent. She has earned three degrees – B.S. in Zoology, M.S. i Marine Biology and a Ph.D in Ecology.

 

Published in 1991 by Arrow Books, Penguin Random House.  Paperback – 863 pages

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Images: Goodreads

 

 

#AtoZChallenge: N: Nowhere Child by Christian White

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge  is for bloggers who wish to participate by publishing a blog post every day in April except for Sundays. Each blog post will focus on a letter of the alphabet. For example April 1 will be A, April 2 will be B and on it goes. By the end of April, a blog post for every letter of the alphabet will have been posted.

 

Summary

A two year old girl named Sammy vanished in Kentucky USA.  Twenty six years later, Kimberley, a photography teacher in Melbourne, is contacted by an accountant from America. He tells her that he is sure she is that missing girl. At first, she brushes him off, convinced he has the wrong person. But when she thinks about her past, Kimberley starts to wonder. To find out the truth, she must travel to America, on a quest to solve the mystery of her true identity.

“As the mystery of Sammy’s disappearance unravels, and the town’s secrets are revealed, this superb novel builds towards an electrifying climax” – blurb

My Thoughts

I first came across The Nowhere Child and it’s author, Christian White, when I attended his session on crime writing at The Bendigo Writers Festival. He read the first chapter of the book out to us and I was hooked. It sounded like a great story line and that first chapter was very suspenseful. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the book to find out what happened next.

Nowhere Child is a quick read but you will be kept wondering and in suspense from start to finish. As the climax builds I found myself with my heart in my throat at an unexpected turn of events which led to the climax.

Recommendation

Winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript.

“White skilfully builds an uncertain, noxious world of dysfunctional families and small-town secrets – The Nowhere Child is a gripping debut from an exceptional new talent” – Mark Brandi, author

My Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

About The Author

Christian White

Christian White is an Australian author and screenwriter. The Nowhere Child is his first book. An early draft of this novel won the 2017 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript, and rights were quickly sold into fifteen countries. He lives in Melbourne, Australia, with his wife and their adopted greyhound, Issy.

 

Published by Affirm Press in 2018. 371 pages, paperback.

Have you read this book. If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts. I promise to always reply to comments made in the section below.

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#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary badge

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https://annualbloggersbash.com/2019/04/10/the-annual-bloggers-bash-awards-2019-vote-is-live/

*photos: Goodreads

#AtoZChallenge M: MyHeart Is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots by John Guy

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge  is for bloggers who wish to participate by publishing a blog post every day in April except for Sundays. Each blog post will focus on a letter of the alphabet. For example April 1 will be A, April 2 will be B and on it goes. By the end of April, a blog post for every letter of the alphabet will have been posted.

Summary

This book is a biography of Mary Queen of Scots, however it reads like a novel of intrigue and drama.  She had such a life! The way her life is assessed, depends of your point of view. Some would say she was a traitor, an adultress and a murderer. But then again, some would say that she was a courageous heroine, who stuck to what she believed. She could even be considered to be a martyr.

This is an extremely well researched book, using historical documents from the archives to build the story of the life of Mary Queen of Scots. The truth is told about the myths that have been created around her.The author says she is the most charismatic but also the most unlucky monarch in British history.

My Thoughts

I found this true story to be incredible and riveting.  As I was reading, I would find myself forgetting that the events outlined are actually true, and not the figment of an author’s imagination in a novel. Mary Stuart was crowned Queen of Scotland at nine months of age and Queen of France at age 16 and on it goes. There are so many highlights and low lights to her life that make this book an absolute page turner. I couldn’t put it down.

Recommendation

“A triumph of biography, artistry, and a historical detective work. A masterpiece full of fire and tragedy. This book will be required reading for years to come” – Amanda Foreman

“Absorbing…..meticulously researched……scholarly and intriguing….the book will not disappoint” – Peter Ackroyd, The Times

My Rating:  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

About The Author

John Guy

 

John Guy is the author of many English histories, including Tudor England which has sold more than a quarter of a million copies. He is a fellow at Clare College, Cambridge, and also lectures in the Faculty of History. He became a Honorary Research Professor at the University of St. Andrews in 2003.

 

Have you read this book. If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts. I promise to always reply to comments made in the section below.

To keep up with the latest book reviews, please pop your email into the box in the side bar. This will ensure you are notified of all updates.
Find me here: Facebook and Instagram and Goodreads
Published in 2004 by Fourth Estate
Paperback 573 pages including imdex

 

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary badge

This blog has been nominated for the Bloggers Bash Awards in the category of Best Book Review Blog. If you would like to vote for me click on the link below and scroll down to the Best Book Review Blog Section. You will find Best Bookish Blog there. I do appreciate you taking the time to vote.

https://annualbloggersbash.com/2019/04/10/the-annual-bloggers-bash-awards-2019-vote-is-live/