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CarpeLibrum

Carpe Librum

Reviews and bookish conversation with author Samantha Wilcoxson.

If I am lost, you will find me in medieval England.

You can also find me - and my books - on my blog.

Historical Novel Society

Currently reading

The Enterprise of England (The Chronicles of Christoval Alvarez) (Volume 2)
Ann Swinfen
Challenger Deep
Brendan Shusterman, Neal Shusterman
The Naked Public Square: Religion and Democracy in America
Richard John Neuhaus
A Year with Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Carla Barnhill, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jim Wallis
The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears
Mark Batterson

Life in the time of Mary I

I am a guest of Mary Anne Yarde today with a look at life during the mid-16th century. Mary's day was much different than that of those she reigned over!

 

Source: http://maryanneyarde.blogspot.co.uk/2018/01/life-in-time-of-queen-mary-i-by.html

Reginald Pole and the Papal Conclave of 1550

Did you know that Reginald almost became pope?

 

https://samanthawilcoxson.blogspot.com/2018/01/reginald-pole-and-papal-conclave-of-1550.html

 

Source: http://samanthawilcoxson.blogspot.com/2018/01/reginald-pole-and-papal-conclave-of-1550.html

Tudor Book of Days by Tudor Times

Tudor Book of Days - Tudor Times

The Tudor Book of Days is a more lovely and useful book than I had anticipated. Set up as a perpetual calendar, it can be used for multiple years with notes about special days accumulating through time. It comes fully stocked with Feast and Saints days that would have been an important component in the Tudor era Books of Hours that were prized possessions of their day. Each day also includes a notable event of the Tudor era, providing one with a link to the past to begin every day.

 

Besides all of this, an index is included which provides a summary of each person mentioned in the daily facts. Therefore it is easy to learn more if the notable person or event of the day is one that is unfamiliar to the user, and the book becomes much more than a simple daily diary.

 

This book is an example of the high quality standard I would expect of Tudor Times. A sturdy yet beautiful hardcover and thick pages make this a perpetual diary that will last for years to come. It is so lovely that I was at first hesitant to write in it!

 

I look forward to making use of this book to track important historic dates and organize my blogging schedule with relevant information. I have attempted to develop something like this diary on my own with mediocre results, so I am especially thrilled to have the Tudor Book of Days as an addition to my desk that is both useful and attractive.

A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War

This looks like something to look forward to!

The Fate of Kings

Mark Stibbe is a guest on my blog today, announcing his new release The Fate of Kings and discussing the relevance of late 18th century politics to modern times. 

 

Source: http://samanthawilcoxson.blogspot.com/2017/12/the-fate-of-kings-and-its-relevance-to.html

Interview at The Writing Desk

Tony Riches has interviewed me for his blog today. Check it out.  :-)

Source: http://tonyriches.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/special-guest-interview-with-author_5.html

12 Days of Christmas Tudor Book Giveaway

 

I am honored to be part of the 12 Days of Christmas Tudor Book Giveaway at On the Tudor Trail! Check it out for a chance to win a copy of Queen of Martyrs, and make sure you sign up for the many other fabulous books as well.

Source: http://onthetudortrail.com/Blog/2017/12/04/on-the-fourth-day-of-christmas-book-2

The House of Beaufort by Nathen Amin

House of Beaufort: The Bastard Line that Captured the Crown - Nathen Amin
This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the late Plantagenet era. The Beauforts are a family that hovers around the edges of royalty for a century before they seemingly disappear . . . . except that the last Beaufort, by blood if not by name, is on the throne. 

Amin unravels the complicated family ties of the Beauforts, creating clarity for anyone who has wondered how this 'bastard line' managed to hold such incredible power. By the time of the Wars of the Roses, the Beaufort family had spread and married into enough noble lines that there were truly those with Beaufort blood on both sides, including Edward IV himself through his mother, Cecily Neville. Somehow, the author manages to explain all these interwoven relationships without making the reader's head spin. For that alone, this book deserves every one of those 5 stars.

I appreciated that this was a balanced look at each person included. Yes, the focus is the Beauforts, but their weaknesses and mistakes are covered just as thoroughly as their strengths and triumphs. Unlike some modern non-fiction, I do not feel a need to label this as a narrative leaning in any particular direction or favoring a certain point-of-view. It is simply a comprehensive and understandable record of the Beaufort family from its birth, through a tumultuous and stunning rise, until its tragic end. (Unless you count Henry Tudor as a Beaufort, then they claim the ultimate victory.)

This book is the brilliant result of tireless research and a passion to reveal the truth about a family that is always mentioned on the periphery of historical events without often managing to be the focus. The Beauforts deserved this book, and it will help clarify the family's role to anyone who has only encountered them through historical fiction. 

I received an electronic copy of this book from the author for review purposes, but I will be purchasing it in hardcover because I see it being a source that I will wish to reference again and again.

Socrates in the City by Eric Metaxas

Socrates in the City: Conversations on "Life, God, and Other Small Topics" - Eric Metaxas

A series of talks on 'life, God, and other small topics,' this book is the thinking person's alternative to pop psychology and prosperity gospel (that will seem much more clever and applicable if you listen to the book).

 

Based upon other reviews, I can see that listening to the audio version of this book is much more enjoyable than reading the paperback. That makes sense, since the audiobook is a recording of the Socrates in the City events with different lecturers taking on a variety of topics before opening up the session to Q&A.

 

Listening to this made me think and added several new books to my TBR. Definitely worth a listen.

The Outcasts of Time by Ian Mortimer

The Outcasts of Time - Ian Mortimer

This novel is beautiful in its prose, fascinating in its historical detail, and emotive in its themes on humanity and the passing of time. I was first drawn in by the promise that renowned historian Ian Mortimer would be taking readers on an adventure through time. Finding that this book does that while also making thought provoking statements on the human condition, I was helpless to put it down once I started it.

The story of John of Wrayment and his brother begins in 1348 during a devastating outbreak of the plague. One would think that any time might be preferable as an escape from the fate of man during that time, but such does not prove the case through John's eyes. He sees the plague as 'a second Flood. God is clearing the land. Not with water but with pestilence.' Yet, he is even more horrified by what he discovers when he accepts a supernatural offer to live his remaining six days on earth, each 99 years further into the future than the last.

The brothers explore Exeter and its surrounding area through the ages, the cathedral where John has sculpted those he loves into the faces of angels and disciples, serving at their centering point regardless of the century. John at first finds comfort in finding the face of his wife there, but his fear and anxiety is enhanced as the statues that seemed so permanent crumble and wear away the further he gets from his own time. Out of all the changes he sees, this seems to impact him the most. The loss of his own work and what was supposed to be eternal memorial of his family.

When we think about traveling into the future, I think we expect to see progress and increased happiness. Certainly, we would think that one leaving the time of the plague would see that, but that is not what John notices. He is confused by what we would call advances. 'We worked long days and had straightforward pleasures. But now, so many things are easier - yet what does the world do? It revels in causing suffering and killing.' John is horrified at the loss of faith that he observes. 'We were far more united and accepting of God's will. In this new century, people are all divided and unsatisfied, hoping that God will smile on them personally.' 

John wishes only to do good in order to please God, but the further he gets from his own time, the more he realizes that is no longer a key goal of the people. He is also frustrated by his inability to perform a heroic deed in any era. Due to his bedraggled state and lack of possessions, he finds himself at the mercy of others rather than able to help them. 'If Christ were living in this day and age, would He not have ended up in a workhouse?'

'Every day is composed of . . . of an unpredictable horror - no, of a horrific unpredictability.'

It seems that time travel is not all it is cracked up to be.

Each day/century brings John closer to his death and he grows eager for it. Though he is disappointed in his failure to do a great deed for God, he cannot tolerate what he witnesses occurring in the world. 'Men are starting to direct things that rightly only God should control.....Men've strived to compete and outdo one another, as if nothing is the will of God and everything is the will of man.' Instead of being impressed by progress, John sees only disintegration of faith and character.

Thankfully, there are a few bright spots included in John's six day journey. He meets at least one kind person in each time, and it is these small comforts that enable him to move forward.

I was eager to discover what would happen to John once his time was up, but I will not reveal it here. I will only say that the ending was satisfying and reiterated the message that John had already taught us, 'What is important is what does not change - that mothers and wives are so happy when they hear that their sons and husbands are alive that they run around the house yelling for joy; that men do their duty in the face of great danger not purely for themselves but for all their community.'

An amazing read - my favorite of this year.

The man who has no knowledge of the past has no wisdom.

I received this book through NetGalley. Opinions are my own.

The Counter-Reformation of Queen Mary I

I am back at EHFA today looking at Queen Mary's attempt at counter-reformation in England.

 

Source: http://englishhistoryauthors.blogspot.com/2017/11/the-counter-reformation-of-mary-i.html

Killer of Kings by Matthew Harffy

KILLER OF KINGS (The Bernicia Chronicles) - Matthew Harffy

Killer of Kings is an enjoyable addition to Matthew Harffy's Bernicia Chronicles. From the time I read The Serpent Sword I have been hooked, and it has been quite the adventure watching Beobrand go from young, arrogant warrior to husband & father....and admittedly, he remains an arrogant warrior if he is now one with scars, aches, and regrets.

In this installment, Beobrand comes up against foes that he is powerless to claim victory over. What I love about this series is that, in the midst of violence and gore, we get some satisfying character development. Beobrand is almost broken by the fact that he cannot simply charge in and expect to win every time. He has to swallow his pride, leave people behind, and learn how to choose his battles. Not that he always learns from his mistakes, and part of the fun of this series is waiting to see how his infamous luck will hold out for him.

While Beobrand is off on his latest adventure, Reaghan is attempting to hold down the fort at home. This is understandably difficult considering Reaghan's uncertain status. Her rise from thrall to leading lady is jealously disdained by Rowena, a woman who considers herself far above this interloper. I have to admit that Reaghan is a disappointing substitute for Sunniva, who seemed to help Beobrand mature and evolve. Reaghan still comes across as little more than a bed-warmer. I found myself cheering for Rowena's evil schemes, and I'm pretty sure that was not the author's intent.

A trip to Beobrand's home village fills in many gaps and ties up some loose strings with surprising efficiency, so that, by the time Beobrand arrives home, one wonders where the next book will head. I know that I am eager to discover what trouble our impetuous hero will get into next.

In Three-Quarter Time by Pam Lecky

In Three-Quarter Time: A Short Story - Pam Lecky

So much happens in these few pages that I found myself wanting more. The characters were just starting to feel like friends when suddenly my time with them was over. What greater recommendation can I give than that?

Lecky gives readers a glimpse of life in Dublin during WWI, the excitement, the romance, the tragedy, the loss. There's a lot of emotion packed into this short story with the main character's sister suffering long-term illness, her brother enthusiastically volunteering to take his part in the glorious war, and the man she secretly loves hoping to find his fortune in America.

Did I say that I wish it was longer?

The Beaufort Dynasty?

New on the blog - my meanderings about the Tudors being Beauforts.

 

Source: http://samanthawilcoxson.blogspot.com/2017/11/the-beaufort-dynasty.html

Katharina: Deliverance by Margaret Skea

Katharina: Deliverance - Margaret Skea This novel convincingly portrays a young Katharina Von Bora, a woman who would have been long forgotten were it not for her own boldness and choice of husband. Like thousands of other young girls, Katharina was sent to a convent to relieve her family of the burden of raising and marrying her off. Unlike almost all who had come before her, Katherina chose a different path than the convent at great risk, a path one might say indicates greater faith in God than a lifetime in a nunnery. Skea does a marvelous job of filling in the gaps in Katharina's life - of which there are many - while working within the framework of known historical facts. It would have been tempting for an author to write Martin and Katharina's story as more romantic than it truly was, but Skea does not give in to this temptation. Katharina makes a decision based on much more than passionate love, a type of decision that is rarely made in modern courtships, and this story is faithfully told. Though Martin Luther is not heavily featured until later in Katherina's story, he is present through quotes that appear at the beginning of each chapter, giving the reader the sensation that the two were on paths destined to intersect long before they knew each other. While their courtship is not the stuff of a romantic blockbuster movie, we are given hints that they did indeed grow to love each other very much through glimpses of Katharina later in life. Neither Martin nor Katharina is perfect. Luther's fiery temper and impetuosity is on display, as is Katharina's willingness to firmly defend her own opinions. It is made clear that neither was the other's first choice, but they both determined to make the marriage work, not only for their own sake but for the greater glory of God. 'He is a good man, who, if some of his wilder impulses can be contained, may yet become great.' Become great he did, with an amazing woman to support him. I am excited to read more of Katharina's story in Skea's next book. I received this book through NetGalley. Opinions are my own.

The Reformation: Henry & Luther

I am at EHFA today blogging on - you guessed it - the Reformation!

 

Source: http://englishhistoryauthors.blogspot.ca/2017/10/the-reformation-henry-luther.html