Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Book Birthday Shout Out #5

   Today we are celebrating a Book Birthday!  Book Birthday Shout Out, hosted by Bewitched Bookworms, is a meme to celebrate new releases, or 'book birthdays'. Each week, participants will post one or more new release they are looking forward to reading, along with synopses and cover art. Read more about it here at Bewitched Bookworms.

   Those of you who read my blog will probably not be surprised to see that I have focused on historical fiction for this week's book birthdays. So HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY to....

'Before Ever After' by Samantha Sotto

   I love the cover on this book. This is historical fiction, but with a bit of a twist. A woman, a widow for 3 years, is told by her husband's grandson that his is alive and well. The ratings are all over the place at Goodreads, with a composite 3.62 stars. Here is the synopsis.

Three years after her husband Max's death, Shelley feels no more adjusted to being a widow than she did that first terrible day. That is, until the doorbell rings. Standing on her front step is a young man who looks so much like Max; same smile, same eyes, same age, same adorable bump in his nose; he could be Max's long-lost relation. He introduces himself as Paolo, an Italian editor of American coffee table books, and shows Shelley some childhood photos. Paolo tells her that the man in the photos, the bearded man who Paolo says is his grandfather though he never seems to age, is Max. Her Max. And he is alive and well. 
As outrageous as Paolo's claims seem; how could her husband be alive? And if he is, why hasn't he looked her up? Shelley desperately wants to know the truth. She and Paolo jet across the globe to track Max down; if it is really Max and along the way, Shelley recounts the European package tour where they had met. As she relives Max's stories of bloody Parisian barricades, medieval Austrian kitchens, and buried Roman boathouses, Shelley begins to piece together the story of who her husband was and what these new revelations mean for her "happily ever after." And as she and Paolo get closer to the truth, Shelley discovers that not all stories end where they are supposed to.

   Visit the author's website here. You can pick up a copy from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

'Rival to the Queen' by Carolly Erickson

   This book has been available in hard cover for almost a year, but the paperback version is being released this week. I have read one other book by Carolly Erickson, 'The Last Wife of Henry VII' and couldn't put it down. I knew then I had to read more by this author, but have not yet done so. Here is my chance. (I read this book before I started blogging....sounds like a good choice for Before the Blog. Watch for it!) This book rates just above 3 stars at Goodreads, which surprised me a bit. Here is a synopsis.

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Last Wife of Henry VIII comes a novel about the bitter rivalry between Queen Elizabeth I and her fascinating cousin, Lettice Knollys, for the love of one extraordinary man.

Powerful, dramatic and full of the rich history that has made Carolly Erickson’s novels perennial bestsellers, this is the story of the only woman to ever stand up to the Virgin Queen— her own cousin, Lettie Knollys. Far more attractive than the queen, Lettie soon won the attention of the handsome and ambitious Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, a man so enamored of the queen and determined to share her throne that it was rumored he had murdered his own wife in order to become her royal consort. The enigmatic Elizabeth allowed Dudley into her heart, and relied on his devoted service, but shied away from the personal and political risks of marriage.
When Elizabeth discovered that he had married her cousin Lettie in secret, Lettie would pay a terrible price, fighting to keep her husband’s love and ultimately losing her beloved son, the Earl of Essex, to the queen’s headsman.
This is the unforgettable story of two women related by blood, yet destined to clash over one of Tudor England’s most charismatic men.

   You can visit the publisher's website here for reviews and a readers guide. The book is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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