Real life is better than fiction

History dramatized in historical fiction is so entertaining.  So many times it is better than fiction!

I love the era of the Tudors and the War of the Roses, it is full of intrigue, beauty and so much drama. The lives of these kings and queens is unbelievable sometimes. Some authors do so well in bringing us back to those times and immersing us into the lives of these extraordinary people. Two of my most favorite authors are Phillipa Gregory and Bernard Cornwell, but I have another favorite, Maurice Druon.

I have really enjoyed the first 2 books of the series of the Accursed Kings, and highly recommend the books to any lover of historical fiction.The iron king & The strangled queen This series follows the reign of Phillip the Fair, King of France. The king is ridding himself of the Knights Templar by way of torture and gruesome deaths through burning at the stake. Then a prophecy is proclaimed from the burnt mouth of the Grand Master of the Templar before he dies and everything changes for the worse for the Iron King of France. Soon, the kingdom is shaken by the treasonous lives of the King’s son’s wives and chaos presumes.

The second book speaks about the daughter of the Iron King and the adulterous wife of his son. If you remember the beautiful French queen in Braveheart, well that’s the daughter of Phillip the Fair. This book continues the line of the Iron King and is full of so much betrayal, death and torture!

Happy endings are nice and all, but in real life sometimes there are no happy endings.  Main characters die, beautiful princesses and queens don’t find true love, powerful kings fail and innocents are wrongly executed. This is probably why I enjoy historical fiction because I get an incredible story and I may not know how the story ends, or I may not like how it ends.  That’s totally okay with me.

To the Christian, this series gives us a glimpse of the history of the church. In the 1300’s the Catholic Church wielded a lot of political power. There was a lot of corruption and most of Europe was Christian. It was a dark time in Europe. Only a select few could read His Word and whatever a bishop or priest said became what the people believed. It is a very sad time in our history. There were voices, though, in that time, crying out in the wilderness. Very few voices, but God’s Church prevailed. These were the dark ages and soon the black plague would wipe out almost half of them.

I highly recommend these two books if you enjoy historical fiction. I am looking forward in reading the whole series and have them on my summer reading list. If you would like to buy the books, click here.

#historicalfiction #mauricedruon #books #read #bookreview

The Illuminator – Book Review

This book begins with John Wycliffe and quickly had me hooked because of this. The setting is in the millumination 2id 1300’s and we find ourselves in the dark ages. The Word of God is only in Greek or Latin and Wycliffe dares to give it an English voice. How exciting! Unfortunately, the plot quickly disintegrates from there and turns into a convoluted love affair, thankfully not involving Wycliffe.

The writing style and descriptions were done well, but the plot wasn’t that intriguing. The problem I had was that I was just hoping there would be more history on Bible translation, on the wars going on, on the kings making havoc, or on the church’s darkness than the love interests of the illuminator or the crazy sayings of a female hermit. Oh well. This is what happens when part of your reading challenge is to read a book from an author you have never read before.

An illuminator was the person who drew pictures in Bibles. I spent some time looking at these exquisite pieces of art and was amazed at the craftsmanship. I also found that there is a new Bible out called the Illuminated Bible – specifically for those who journal and write a lot in their Bibles. If you are interested in knowing more about this Bible click here. illumination 3

I recommend this book to those who like romantic historical fiction. If you like Ken Follet, you will like this book. There wasn’t much history in it unfortunately.

The Last Tudor – Book Review

The Last Tudor is about the three Grey sisters during Tudor times, and like all Philippa Gregory book it is written in the first person. The book starts off with Jane Grey, then Katherine Grey and ends with little Mary Grey. Their stories are generally sad and they end up losing to Queen Elizabeth. I am not spoiling anything, because everyone knows that Queen Elizabeth is never usurped and there is reason she stayed on the throne for so long.

Like almost all of Mrs. Gregory’s books, I really enjoyed the read. This one really didn’t stick out  much like “The Taming of the Queen” did for me but it wasn’t a bore either. I was unfamiliar with the stories of these women and I was quiet intrigued by their lives. Mrs. Gregory is a great story teller and it was a good way to end the Tudor dynasty.

I really wish she would write about Queen Isabella of Castile and her family. There is some very interesting drama there!

The book does have about three loves scenes, but they are not descriptive and they didn’t go on for long. There is no swearing and there is some theology in this book about “learning to die”. I would let only my older teen daughters read this book (16+) due to these themes.

You can buy the book here.

Alias Grace – Netflix Review

The movies produced by Netflix are getting better and better visually. I remember the days when a mini movie series would come out and it was nothing compared to what we would see on the big screen. Times are changing.

“Alias Grace” has beautiful cinematography. It is a story about a young woman and the hardships she faces as an Irish immigrant. She is charged with murder and the movie goes back and forth from the past to the present as she re-tells her story.

This series is rated mature for its adult themes and gore. Thankfully, there wasn’t any blatant nudity. There are several times Grace is molested and one sex scene involving fully clothes people.

Sarah Gadon did a great job in portraying the very complicated character of Grace Marks. I did find the acting of Dr. Simon Jordan a bit sub-par. I am not sure if they were trying to portray him as a bore, but he was rather dull and his voice was monotonous.

There have been many who say this movie shines a light at the horrible plight of women in a man’s world and how we still have to suffer these prejudices today. As a woman, I really don’t see it today. I am not naïve to the misogyny against women in the past, but today? I just haven’t experienced it. I can not think of one person or institution that has oppressed me solely based on my sex.

To me, this series wasn’t advocating for women’s rights today, it was speaking of the horrors done to a woman in a time when women had to endure so much because of the lack of resources given to them.

“Alias Grace” is a somber movie. The colors are dark and grey. It is not a thriller but a true mystery. The end is what I had guessed about half way through the series, but it was still a great story.

I recommend this movie to those who like gothic period movies or historical fiction.