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Columbine by Dave Cullen

“The tragedies keep coming. As we reel from the latest horror . . . ” So begins a new epilogue, illustrating how Columbine became the template for nearly two decades of “spectacle murders.” It is a false script, seized upon by a generation of new killers. In the wake of Newtown, Aurora, and Virginia Tech, the imperative to understand the crime that sparked this plague grows more urgent every year.

What really happened April 20, 1999? The horror left an indelible stamp on the American psyche, but most of what we “know” is wrong. It wasn’t about jocks, Goths, or the Trench Coat Mafia. Dave Cullen was one of the first reporters on scene, and spent ten years on this book-widely recognized as the definitive account. With a keen investigative eye and psychological acumen, he draws on mountains of evidence, insight from the world’s leading forensic psychologists, and the killers’ own words and drawings-several reproduced in a new appendix. Cullen paints raw portraits of two polar opposite killers. They contrast starkly with the flashes of resilience and redemption among the survivors.

ColumbineColumbine by Dave Cullen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book took me through so many emotions. Those who remember the tragedy unfolding first hand, as well as those less aware will find the events related to the shootings at Columbine High School to be well documented in this book.

The author, Dave Cullen, did an excellent job presenting the timeline of events through the lens of an observer as well as from the perspective of the two boys, the victims, the community, media, and law enforcement personnel. I can’t imagine the amount of time and research put into the collecting the testimonials and subject matter never mind deciding how to approach, organize, and give clear, unpersuaded perspective to the story. The writing elements were somewhat journalistic in style with a straightforward manner, yet incorporated real time language with unstructured, unfiltered prose. At the same time, the author managed to explore the complexities and depth of human thought, bringing forth reasoning and reconciliation to each viewpoint.

For myself, this book has more impact on me from a relational standpoint. Remembering exactly where I was at the time it happened (20 years ago now) with teachers at school relaying a carefully worded message, being let out of class early, continuing to watch the news at home, all the conflicting reports, so many conversations taking place, discussions about what-ifs, prevention strategies being thought out and put in the place, the possibility of copycats, everyone internalizing their own suspicion of students who wore black trench coats and those who had concerning emotional disturbances in my own school, they were really brought to the forefront of my mind as I read this book. The shock, the horrific imagery, the confusion, the questions, as it were unfolding again in real time. I did have to put it down for several days about half way through to allow myself to process it all.

I was really surprised at the myths that were dispelled and the amount of information that I was completely unaware of. From contradictory reports of what was happening as it took place, to significant discussion of nature vs nurture, they were all outlined in great detail.

I feel like reading this book brought some closure for me in some ways. I don’t think I realized my own grief and the impact on my life at the time. Certain aspects brought on a sense of high school nostalgia for me and it was met with deep compassion for those who suffered from the horror. I really appreciated the writer’s effort to bring honor to the victims and not glorify or sensationalize the evil acts.

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Book Clubs Book Reviews Books Featured Historical Nonfiction Nonfiction

We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Voices from Syria by Wendy Pearlman

LONG-LISTED FOR THE CARNEGIE MEDAL

Reminiscent of the work of Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich, an astonishing collection of intimate wartime testimonies and poetic fragments from a cross-section of Syrians whose lives have been transformed by revolution, war, and flight.

Against the backdrop of the wave of demonstrations known as the Arab Spring, in 2011 hundreds of thousands of Syrians took to the streets demanding freedom, democracy and human rights. The government’s ferocious response, and the refusal of the demonstrators to back down, sparked a brutal civil war that over the past five years has escalated into the worst humanitarian catastrophe of our times.

Yet despite all the reporting, the video, and the wrenching photography, the stories of ordinary Syrians remain unheard, while the stories told about them have been distorted by broad brush dread and political expediency. This fierce and poignant collection changes that. Based on interviews with hundreds of displaced Syrians conducted over four years across the Middle East and Europe, We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled is a breathtaking mosaic of first-hand testimonials from the frontlines. Some of the testimonies are several pages long, eloquent narratives that could stand alone as short stories; others are only a few sentences, poetic and aphoristic. Together, they cohere into an unforgettable chronicle that is not only a testament to the power of storytelling but to the strength of those who face darkness with hope, courage, and moral conviction.

We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Voices from SyriaWe Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Voices from Syria by Wendy Pearlman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This books shares powerful testimonials of Syrian refugees and the tragedies they have faced. I think everyone should read it. I read this one for Life’s Library Book Club.

The book largely presents a compilation of narratives about life in Syria as a refugee. I think the author did a fantastic job organizing and curating each story to give an overall picture of the horrific tragedies and conflicting circumstances that people have faced in Syria. It was incredibly heartbreaking to read about and each person so brave and strong for sharing.

The beginning paragraphs of the book took an informative, somewhat introspective approach to the conflict faced in Syria. Within the introduction, I did find some of the seemingly avoidant inclusion of religious and social ideology as part of a driving forces of oppositional groups interesting choices to note. It touched a bit on the topics later on in the book, but didn’t go into expanded detail. I found some of the translations of terms and phrases, such as “Allah akbar” or the use of ISIS as an organization instead of ISIS militants, ISIS fighters, or other variants to be an interesting approach by the author as well. I would have been interested in these additional details as I think it would have helped to convey the internal conflict that some of the people experienced.

The writing built upon a thought-provoking focus on the political motivation of forces and the emotional responses of the Syrian people which ended up being the overall theme in the rest of the writing. I really appreciated the extensive time and effort the author put into this book as well as the courage of the people who were willing to talk about their experiences and the compassion they had for others who would be willing to hear them.

I imagine trying to convey a complete picture of the historical context and meaning was probably difficult for the author to hone down in the beginning paragraphs, especially when it came to the overarching theme in supporting personal testimonials rather than depicting a complete account of the opposition’s biogeographical movement and underlying motivation.

This book will really bring perspective into your life and help you understand the oppression, hope, and endurance experienced by the Syrian refugees.

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The Republic by Plato

Presented in the form of a dialogue between Socrates and three different interlocutors, this classic text is an enquiry into the notion of a perfect community and the ideal individual within it. During the conversation, other questions are raised: what is goodness?; what is reality?; and what is knowledge? The Republic also addresses the purpose of education and the role of both women and men as guardians of the people. With remarkable lucidity and deft use of allegory, Plato arrives at a depiction of a state bound by harmony and ruled by philosopher kings.

The RepublicThe Republic by Plato

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this one! I read it for PewDiePie’s Book Review/Literature Club.

Though I was already quite familiar with the published pieces, having taken philosophy classes in undergrad, I still found the content intriguing. I started out reading it in digital format, but ended up listening to the rest of it via audiobook. My version didn’t list the narrator, but it was perfect for this particular book which consists of a lot of dialogue. The audio version allowed it to be an enjoyable conversation to listen to. I think those familiar and less familiar with the notions and key figures of philosophy will be able to understand the flow and concepts and the audiobook version makes it just that much more easy to follow and understand.

I’d recommend it to anyone, especially those who are in high school or college as I think students would find it particularly insightful and helpful in developing their worldview, exploring habits of thinking, bringing relevant human behavior and perspective into discussions and debates, and for an overall general must read about historical key figures who contributed so much to the world of philosophy even as we know it today.

I really liked the dialogue style format. Basically this book reads like a real time conversation between philosophers, most notably Plato and Socrates among a few others.

As far as content is concerned, the philosophers discussed interesting perspectives of the most basic and abstract needs of humanity. They commented on topics such as aging, wealth, deeds, death, tales, and fears. They talked about contrasting viewpoints on the just and unjust, intention vs action, as well as wisdom and virtue. Each conversation took each viewpoint to the extreme for exploration purposes, almost lost in minutia but ultimately became helpful for establishing boundaries as well as creating and assigning meaning.

It can be a heavy read at times and definitely one you will want to take your time with.

Here is a photo of the complete collection of Plato’s works that I took while visiting the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. back in February. The Library of Congress is a marvelous place!

The Republic by Plato, collection located at the Library of Congress © 2018 ericarobbin.com | All rights reserved.

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Book Clubs Book Reviews Books Classics Featured Fiction Mystery Romance

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .

The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.

RebeccaRebecca by Daphne du Maurier

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the story, the writing, not so much. I read this for SunBeamsJess Book Club. I would recommend it to those who enjoy a bit of mystery and romance within a gothic setting.

I really got into the story as I found the plot to become more intriguing. I stumbled over the excessively descriptive writing style though. I restarted this one twice. There were just too many adjectives. Just about every noun was preceded by one, sometimes several, and it was distracting to me. I was distracted to the point that it sort of stole the joy out of my reading and I had a hard time getting over it. I liked the way the characters where set up and the atmosphere that the writer, Daphne du Maurier, created.

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If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson

Both Elisha (Ellie) and Jeremiah (Miah) attend Percy Academy, a private school where neither quite fits in. Ellie is wrestling with family demons, and Miah is one of the few African American students. The two of them find each other, and fall in love — but they are hesitant to share their newfound happiness with their friends and families, who will not understand. At the end, life makes the brutal choice for them.
If You Come SoftlyIf You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I read this one for the Life’s Library Book Club. I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it. Perhaps I’m not the target demographic or can hold my attention enough to appreciate it. I’d recommend it to those that are more in the middle school age group.

The premise and tone were definitely there but the writing style, character development, and plot reveal were so incredibly slow for my style. It’s one of those books where you can read the first and last page and know the entire book.

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The Woman in the Dunes by Kōbō Abe

The Woman in the Dunes, by celebrated writer and thinker Kobo Abe, combines the essence of myth, suspense and the existential novel.

After missing the last bus home following a day trip to the seashore, an amateur entomologist is offered lodging for the night at the bottom of a vast sand pit. But when he attempts to leave the next morning, he quickly discovers that the locals have other plans. Held captive with seemingly no chance of escape, he is tasked with shoveling back the ever-advancing sand dunes that threaten to destroy the village. His only companion is an odd young woman, and together their fates become intertwined as they work side by side through this Sisyphean of tasks.

The Woman in the DunesThe Woman in the Dunes by Kōbō Abe

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book. I read it for PewDiePie’s Book Review/Literature Club. I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys literary fiction that looks into the mystery of the mind particularly as it relates to isolation and relationships. I listened to it via audiobook, narrated by Julian Cihi, which was excellent.

The writer, Kōbō Abe, wrote in a beautifully expressive style that merged an intriguing storyline with philosophical theories of human attributes and behaviors that were taught in many of my college freshmen courses which added depth and richness to the characters.

It was an interesting depiction of impulse and cumulative response. I loved the interjections of entomology and the descriptions of sand and all its properties. It was completely engrossing within its allegorical context. I’d be curious how it reads in the original language it was written in, that being Japanese.

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Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

Antonio Marez is six years old when Ultima enters his life. She is a curandera, one who heals with herbs and magic. ‘We cannot let her live her last days in loneliness,’ says Antonio’s mother. ‘It is not the way of our people,’ agrees his father. And so Ultima comes to live with Antonio’s family in New Mexico. Soon Tony will journey to the threshold of manhood. Always, Ultima watches over him. She graces him with the courage to face childhood bigotry, diabolical possession, the moral collapse of his brother, and too many violent deaths. Under her wise guidance, Tony will probe the family ties that bind him, and he will find in himself the magical secrets of the pagan past—a mythic legacy equally as palpable as the Catholicism of Latin America in which he has been schooled. At each turn in his life there is Ultima who will nurture the birth of his soul.

Bless Me, UltimaBless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the premise and most parts of the story, but the writing was incredibly dry for me. I read this for Dulce Candy’s Book Club. I’d recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning about the American southwest culture and stories of mysticism as told from an individual’s perspective.

The premise of the story and perspective-driven plot was interesting. I appreciated the experiences being told, as well as the cultural references as they related to daily life within the setting, and the integration of Spanish language.

I liked the idea but the delivery came across as overly embellished and was dull for much of the book. I felt myself getting stuck in the overly descriptive and play-by-play details which took away from the overall flow of the book, which ultimately moved very slowly. The writing lacked appeal and reveal. I had a difficult time getting into each scene and following them all the way through.

It contained some interesting aspects of family dynamics and culture though!

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The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Color Purple is a classic. With over a million copies sold in the UK alone, it is hailed as one of the all-time ‘greats’ of literature, inspiring generations of readers.

Set in the deep American South between the wars, it is the tale of Celie, a young black girl born into poverty and segregation. Raped repeatedly by the man she calls ‘father’, she has two children taken away from her, is separated from her beloved sister Nettie and is trapped into an ugly marriage. But then she meets the glamorous Shug Avery, singer and magic-maker – a woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually, Celie discovers the power and joy of her own spirit, freeing her from her past and reuniting her with those she loves.

The Color PurpleThe Color Purple by Alice Walker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Though this was a heavy hearted read for me, it was an excellent book. I read this for SunBeamsJess Book Club. I’d recommend it to anyone.

The author, Alice Walker, matched the writing style to the storyline perfectly. It was written using the strengths of epistolary form. The diary entries themselves reflected the growing maturity of the characters and used relevant colloquialism which gave great insight into life and culture of the time, that being the American south, during the 1930s. It took me a few pages in to appreciate the dialogue, which was depicted as a form of unrefined Southern speech that gave power to the narrative through its beautifully written expressions of emotion, identity, authenticity, self reflection, innocence, joy, pain, hardship, discovery, and transformation.

It contained graphic scenes of highly controversial subject matter, while manifesting the hopes, joys, struggles, and despair of each character without a tone of contempt which made for an even more powerful story. It paralleled personal happiness and conflict with social injustice and gain which made for a work of high value and importance.

FAVORITE LINES:

“I look over at him too. For such a little man, he all puff up. Look like all he can do to stay in his chair.”

“She looks like a wet cat.”

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Book Clubs Book Reviews Books Fantasy Featured Fiction Science Fiction

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Twelve-year-old Jonas lives in a seemingly ideal world. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver does he begin to understand the dark secrets behind this fragile community.

The GiverThe Giver by Lois Lowry

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I read it for SunBeamsJess Book Club. I’d recommend it to people who are looking for a read that explores ideas of extreme societal concepts.

I enjoyed reading about the main character’s overall life and behavior that gave rise to setting up the plot in which there was a society that boasted about its ability to achieve perfection through sameness and oppression. I thought most of these parts were well-written and that this initial idea was going to take off to help build up to an eye-opening message. I found myself a tad disappointed when it built up to a climax that that ended up pivoting its strength on pure fantasy.

The writing started out with choppy sentences that read like an overworked attempt to not start sentences with the same word. The story moved incredibly slow for about the first half of the book and some parts felt a bit repetitive when attempting to set up the scene. However the second half got significantly better once everything started to happen in present tense.

I found it a tad difficult to fully embrace the direction the writer was trying to take me and what I was already supposed to know. Perhaps it was because the storyline developed into strange separations of function and dysfunction without much definition or distinction of either.

It presented a family unit that pretty much only lived on only concrete thinking and the main character, Jonas, was eventually introduced to abstract thinking, but it’s only through the supernatural transposition of memories that he was able to do this. So it left me wondering, what was the point of having forbidden books? In a way, the abstract concept of feelings existed the whole time (even when they weren’t exactly referenced that way). But why would books be forbidden for citizens to read when they wouldn’t be able to conceptualize them through memories which they supposedly never had in the first place?

It was an interesting idea but there were many humanistic qualities that were put into boxes of black and white thinking that were ill-defined from the beginning which threw off the whole concept of co-existing societies with extreme contrasting norms. This resulted in plot holes that were filled in with fantasy. Then it ended.

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An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

In his much-anticipated debut novel, Hank Green—cocreator of Crash Course, Vlogbrothers, and SciShow—spins a sweeping, cinematic tale about a young woman who becomes an overnight celebrity before realizing she’s part of something bigger, and stranger, than anyone could have possibly imagined.

An Absolutely Remarkable ThingAn Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had mixed feelings about this one. I enjoyed parts of it, other parts I didn’t. I read this for the Nerdfighteria Book Club. It’s a mix of genres but I think those who enjoy sci-fi, young adult, and books with pop culture references relative to this particular time period, give or take 10 years, would enjoy it.

The writing style was a mixed bag for me. I enjoyed it on one hand because I appreciated the casual conversation-like structure and dialogue that was relevant to its time. I typically enjoy books that are written this way to a point because most writers will make each word count and many are written with a prose that is deep and lyrical. This was not that style and therefore came off as a bit sloppy to me. Often it was: Say, explain, say, explain. There was a lack of cohesiveness and structure even for prose. I just wanted something more allegorical to compliment the Carls and to help me embrace the reach for the ultimate let’s feel good acceptance of the ending.

The characters weren’t as fully developed as I’d hoped. There were just too many explanations of the character’s thoughts and thought process itself. Basically everything about the characters was told to me rather than shown which made them quite shallow and less relatable. There was a lack of emotional resolution for the hurts that were experienced. For an ending like that, I wanted a little more satisfaction or justice or some type of persuasion, importance, or purpose for including certain attributes mentioned in the book. Many of the character qualities that were introduced in the beginning never found their way to be either celebrated or overcome in the end. I was hoping the main character, April, would have perhaps used her appreciation for fine art to help drive her scene descriptions since it were being told from her point of view, maybe we’ll see that develop in the next book.

My favorite part of the book was the narrative surrounding the Carls, the concept was absolutely creative! It was playful and fun. It included supportive themes that make for good science fiction. And I really appreciated the integration of modern day pop culture both in reference and in plot building. I also liked the way the book was organized as far as the titling and timing of events.

However my love for these aspects stopped there though. There was an overshadowing tone that vacillated between being over-scrupulous to complete disregard. It often felt like a push toward underlying personal agendas which didn’t quite fit into the main premise of the plot when I thought it was going to be about the Carls and the cool concept I built up in my mind about them. Instead to me it read like: Here is my one chance to share all of my deeply personal thoughts and feelings about my worldview and by the way we were visited by awesome space aliens that made us solve puzzles in our dreams and they parked themselves in front of Chipotle.

It felt too trying in sharing philosophical notions. It came off as preachy and far-reaching with the overindulgent sharing of political and moral positions and ideals into a plot that is less supported by them. There just was a lot of going out of the way to prove a point. There were interruptions and distractions throughout the changing in the of POV, sentence structure, over explanations, or over simplified definitions in effort to keep multigenerational appeal.

And back to the characters, I think April’s story could have added so much interest and depth to the tone once we were introduced to her as a person who appreciated fine art. It would have been neat to have seen the art appreciation and preservation and how April would have used this to “save the day,” especially if the author really wanted to support a shift in focus.

As far as the plot itself was concerned, it lacked complete resolution and closure. It did not evoke the emotional depth I hoped it would have. Basically it was a narrative overshadowed by a tossing of facts without a call to action. It was ranty, rambly, and confusing to me as to whether each line was an opportunity to make a case for educating the audience, an opportunity to vent, or support the main idea of Carls in the storyline. It lacked solidarity as to what me as the reader should be doing with the information that I just read. And interestingly enough, the actual plot about the Carls moves slow when looking beyond all the interjections and chatter. There were just too many concepts and layers being built on top of the plot (instead of developing it) and so I found myself speed reading rather than truly enjoying it. And after all that building of the climax, when the conclusion came, I really saw how uninvested I was.

Two questions: Why would the EMTs be so concerned with potential litigation by oversharing or giving a prognosis of possible false hope, yet do such a ridiculous thing like give water to a trauma patient? And the surprise visit by the president? I almost wanted to give up reading when there was no mention of what would have taken place as protocol in preparation of a visit with the commander in chief. Perhaps waking to the sound of a sniffing dog would have sufficed, something, anything to help bridge these gaps in the scene when building up momentum for a story.

I will be looking forward to the next book though, I love and respect the concept about the Carls and I really do hope that there is more to them!

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The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

The second book in Philippa’s stunning new trilogy, The Cousins’ War, brings to life the story of Margaret Beaufort, a shadowy and mysterious character in the first book of the series – The White Queen – but who now takes centre stage in the bitter struggle of The War of the Roses.

The Red Queen tells the story of the child-bride of Edmund Tudor, who, although widowed in her early teens, uses her determination of character and wily plotting to infiltrate the house of York under the guise of loyal friend and servant, undermine the support for Richard III and ultimately ensure that her only son, Henry Tudor, triumphs as King of England.

Through collaboration with the dowager Queen Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret agrees to a betrothal between Henry and Elizabeth’s daughter, thereby uniting the families and resolving the Cousins War once and for all by founding of the Tudor dynasty.

The Red Queen (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels, #3)The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thoroughly enjoyed this book! I read this for Allthatglitters/Glitterature Book Club (yes it’s been in storage for over 10 years). I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical accounts about the medieval period and English aristocracies or romance novels. More specifically, it focuses on the life of Margaret Beaufort who was a matriarchal influence during the time England experienced several civil wars over the throne of England during the 15th century.

The character of Lady Margaret was well distinguished from Elizabeth Woodville in this series. I appreciated the way the author Philippa Gregory depicted Lady Margaret as pious, yet was able to add an ambitious tone that helped to identify the qualities that came with her transition from powerless to powerful.

Though I’m typically not a fan of first person perspective and present tense, especially in combination, surprisingly, it actually made the story and Lady Margaret’s character much more palatable. I felt this style of writing helped to ease my dislike for Lady Margaret’s self-serving agenda and hyper-spirituality which dominated her life story. The writing accurately reflected both her sharp and clever perspectives during an age of innocence which in turn, further cut into Lady Margaret’s desire to constantly prevail and succeed in achieving her title and life for her son. Also the character’s loyalty to the House of Lancaster and well-learned interests were anchored in this style of writing. And I especially enjoyed reading about Lady Margaret’s introspective thoughts when her husband Thomas Stanley puts her in her place.

Like The White Queen, I appreciated the level of historical detail and character depth that Philippa Gregory delivered.

MY FAVORITE LINES:

“What was his coward’s way out? when the doors of the church open, and I have to walk forwards and take the hand of my new husband, and stand before a priest and swear to be a wife. I feel his big hand take mine and I hear his deep voice answer the questions, where I just whisper. He pushes a heavy ring of Welsh gold on my finger, and I have to hold my fingers together like a little paw to keep it on. It is far too big for me. I look up at him, amazed that he thinks such a marriage can go ahead, when his ring is too big for my hand and I am only twelve and he is more than twice my age: a man, tempered by fighting and filled with ambition. He is a hard man from a power-seeking family. But I am still child longing for a spiritual life, praying that people will see that I am special. This is yet another of many things that nobody seems to care about but me.”

“Gwyneth looks at me. “What does it say?” she asks.
“Nothing,” I say. The lie comes to my mouth so swiftly that it must have been put there by God to help me, and therefore it does not count as a lie at all.”

“For a moment out eyes meet, but we exchange nothing except a grim determination to get this parting over, to get this exile under way, to keep this precious boy safe. I suppose that Jasper is the only man whom I have loved, perhaps he is the only man whom I will ever love. But there has never been time for words of love between us: we have spent most of our time saying good-bye.”

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The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

Philippa Gregory presents the first of a new series set amid the deadly feuds of England known as the Wars of the Roses.

Brother turns on brother to win the ultimate prize, the throne of England, in this dazzling account of the wars of the Plantagenets. They are the claimants and kings who ruled England before the Tudors, and now Philippa Gregory brings them to life through the dramatic and intimate stories of the secret players: the indomitable women, starting with Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen.

The White Queen (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels, #2)The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thoroughly enjoyed the level of detail in this novel. I read this for Allthatglitters/Glitterature Book Club (yes it’s been in storage for over 10 years). I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical accounts about the medieval period and English aristocracies or romance novels. More specifically, it focuses on the life of Elizabeth Woodville, one of the queens of England during the 15th century.

The author Philippa Gregory wrote extensively about happenings within the royal lineage and her level of research did not go unnoticed in this book. I found it fascinating and enjoyed the storyline that went along with it. The characters and their thought process were well depicted and flowed flawlessly, especially given the creativity it took to marry the fictional and nonfictional historical timeline of events. I appreciated how the language and historical accounts were not overshadowed by over-the-top romanticism and undue drama for sake of the true story line.

But of course, which I knew I would have qualms about already, is the point of view of the writing. First person is hardly ever my cup of tea unless it’s an excerpt from a diary or autobiography. Then there’s my dislike for present tense. And this book was written using a combination of both. It was an enjoyable read anyway though!

MY FAVORITE LINES:

“This is a woman whose belly is filled with pride. She has been eating nothing but her own ambition for nearly thirty years.”

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