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Topic: 2010 H/F Challenge #1 - Bonus – Color Me

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Subject: 2010 H/F Challenge #1 - Bonus – Color Me
Date Posted: 11/26/2009 6:10 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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Discuss the book you read for the Bonus category.

Read a historical novel with the word for a color in the title or in the author’s name. The word may stand alone as in Green Darkness by Anya Seton or it may be part of a word in the title or author’s name; e.g., The King’s Persons by Joanne Greenberg.

Date Posted: 1/29/2010 10:09 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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Review by REK (bigstone)

The Sword in the Stone by T.H. White:  After all the serious reading one does about King Arthur this one is a delight.  Focusing on Merlyn's education of the young king (The Wart - rhymes with art), the book goes from one experience to another (almost all humorous) during Arthur's young life.  Meet Archimedes (Merlyn's familiar), Sir Ector (adoptive father), King Pellinore, Sir Grummore Grummersum, Robin Wook (not Hood), Kay (adoptive brother) and more.  Even the removal of the sword from the stone proving who he is must be done again and again and again.  This book is a wonderfully humorous read.  I highly recommend it.

Date Posted: 1/29/2010 10:42 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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 We read this in my high school after doing some lessons on the legends and everyone enjoyed it. I might need to do a re-read one day!

Thanks for the review!

Date Posted: 1/30/2010 12:22 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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Just finished The Black Tulip by Dumas (it served a dual purpose -- fits this category as well as one of the Classics challenge categories).  This story begins with the 1672 murder of the DeWitt brothers in Holland by a mob of followers of William of Orange. Knowing nothing of the climate or politics of this time (this year is apparently referred to by the Dutch as the "rampjaar" which means year of disaster), I immediately went online to do a little research. A book that makes me do that always go up a notch or two from my perspective.

One of the DeWitt's godsons is (fictional) Cornelius van Baerle who cares only about growing tulips -- but is caught unwittingly in a political snare fueled by intense envy. He is jailed and sentenced to die. What follows is essentially a sweet love story -- filled with none of Dumas' swashbuckling and derring-do but it does have a villain, a hero and heroine (of sorts), and much charm and humor. It's been a long time since I've read Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers so I don't really remember Dumas' style. The first three paragraphs of this book (or, at least, of this translation) were each one sentence -- long, convoluted sentences so I was a bit nervous. But my doubts were quickly erased -- Dumas is indeed a superb writer.

It's a short book (200 pp) and one worth reading -- a simple story (essentially, a fairy tale) that is interesting and entertaining and gives a little insight into the political climate and "tulipmania" of late 17th c. Holland.

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 2/3/2010 9:29 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 39,675
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I just Finished Phillipa Gregory's  The White Queen. I can't decide if I like it or not. I really like the twist at the end. I like Gregory for her wonderful character development. Generally I feel like you really get to know the characters whether it be Henry VIII or a fictional character. This book didn't have the characters jump out and grab me.  If I had to rate it I would say 6.5.

Alice

Date Posted: 2/3/2010 9:53 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,393
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It's just pretty nifty when an author can be referred to by just his last name ...

Thanks for the great review of the The Black Tulip, Deb. Always happy to have another book to add to the list ...

Kelly



Last Edited on: 2/3/10 9:54 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/9/2010 1:32 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,393
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Just finished Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor.   What a saga!

 

Linda



Last Edited on: 2/9/10 1:33 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/12/2010 10:17 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,295
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Last night I completed The White Queen by Philippa Gregory. In spite of lots of battle info and the first person narrative, I was hooked! Good book.

Date Posted: 3/20/2010 5:15 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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I finished Green Darkness by Anya Seton for this category. I liked the book, although at times I found it slow. At the end, I even found it preachy, which I really don't like. But overall I enjoyed this unusual love story.

The focus of the story is on reincarnation, in particular the belief that wrongs done in a past life are revisited in the future. While this is a strong theme throughout, there is also a story of star-crossed lovers, betrayal, forgiveness and redemption.

Green Darkness takes place mostly from 1552-1559, although parts occur in 1968. It covers the reigns of Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey, Mary and the very early reign of Queen Elizabeth. The history is very detailed, especially that of the struggle between the Catholics and the Protestants. I learned much that I did not know.

4/5 stars because parts here and there were a bit slow. Still, the book is a keeper for me.

Date Posted: 4/20/2010 10:07 AM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,456
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I finished The Scarlet Lion by Elizabeth Chadwick and everyone who said that this book was better than The Greatest Knight  were so right.  Both books are very well written, you really feel and taste and smell the era.  Many have said that the author excels in this (I believe it too).  Lion deals with the later portion of William Marshall's life and I just have to marvel at what an amazing individual he was.  Possibly because he and his wife find themselves stretched to the limit with problems familial, political and ethical, the story is just that much more enthralling.  I have only been aware of Marshall as a side character in all the books I have read about Henry II and Eleanor and their brood, but he truly did epitomize for me that perfect chivalrous knight so extolled by the troubadours of the day.  This one is highly recommended!

Date Posted: 4/23/2010 10:19 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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I read The White by Deborah Larsen - Genie mentioned reading it, and was kind enough to send me her copy.  It is about Mary Jemison, who I'd read a YA about as a kid and always rememered her story.  The book is very short, and a very quick read, but it is a bit odd in that it shifts between first and third person, and is often difficult to follow.

It was interesting, though, and I am glad I read it.

Date Posted: 4/25/2010 11:44 AM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2009
Posts: 298
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I read The Silver Chalice by Thomas Costain and found it disappointing.  I believe I saw another negative review in the forum and have to agree it's a big thumbs down.  Although the author is a fine prose writer, I thought the story and the characters bland and boring.

Date Posted: 4/25/2010 1:07 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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Amerigo, I have to laugh I have never read this book but.....  I saw the movie they made of it with Paul Newman in the lead, it was HORRIBLE!  I don't think Mr. Newman bragged to much about this one!smiley

Date Posted: 5/20/2010 7:51 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,755
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I just finished The Red Dancer: The Life and Times of Mata Hari by Richard Skinner.  Basially, an uninteresting book about an interesting woman. It wasn't bad. I just found it a tad boring. 

Date Posted: 6/21/2010 4:52 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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For this category, I read Tracy Chevalier's book, "The Virgin Blue".  This one was her usual mix of present and past. A woman in the modern day moves to France where she researches her ancestors and discovers a very grisly family secret. Not my favorite Chevalier book, but still a good, entertaining read.

I'm just glad I remembered that I read this particular book for this challenge! I was mad at myself for reading another "C" book, lol.

Date Posted: 6/21/2010 7:40 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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I was mad at myself for reading another "C" book, lol.

I did something similar, Valli. So you're not the only one. Just the most honest. angle

I read The Ten Thousand specifically because the main character is Xenophone and works for the letter X in the alphabet challenge. Then I forgot and put it down for the letter "F" for the author (Ford). It was several weeks later when I realized my mistake. I made the switch PDQ as letter X books aren't easy to find. LOL!

Date Posted: 6/22/2010 8:40 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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LOL, Genie! After publically moaning and groaning about reading the wrong letters, I had to 'fess up! I'm glad I'm not the only one who did it, lol.

Date Posted: 12/6/2010 2:21 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,393
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With The Turquoise, Anya Seton, I have completed the 2010 HF Challenge !!!

This book was an intriguing, fast read for me. I don't think I like it quite as well as some of her other books - namely Katherine and The Winthrop Woman, but it was compelling nonetheless.

Anya Seton's books all seem so different to me There is nothing very predictable about her at all. What the reader can count on is good character development, solid historical research and a well-thought out & skillfully delivered plot. There is not a lot of aimless, wandering around in a Seton novel.

In The Turquoise, we have quite a bit of symbolism - not the least of which is the turquoise from which the book takes it title. The book takes place during the time frame of late 1840's with the epilogue occurring sometime towards the end of the century. It starts in the small, sleepy, dusty town of Santa Fe, New Mexico and takes us to the glittering, high society of New York City.

There is also a moral lesson in this book which makes me wonder about Seton's inspiration when she wrote it. A struggle within herself? Perhaps a close friend or family member? Maybe just a tidbit she picked up in the newspapers. Regardless, a good book and one that I would recommend.

Kelly P.



Last Edited on: 12/6/10 2:28 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 12/6/2010 2:35 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 39,675
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Turquoise has been on myshelf for a while now. I think I will have to dust it off an read it.

Alice

Date Posted: 12/6/2010 3:09 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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Congratulations, Kelly!

Date Posted: 12/6/2010 4:10 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 1,356
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Congratulations, Kelly!

 

Seconded! It is a great feeling of accomplishment, isn't it?

Date Posted: 12/6/2010 5:21 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,393
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Thanks, Genie & Colleen! There were some days when this goal seemed unreachable! I still have two for the mystery challenge & unless they are both sitting on my TBR shelves, that challenge will go unfulfilled.

BUT, I'm really looking forward to the 2011 challenges!

KP

Date Posted: 12/6/2010 7:05 PM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2009
Posts: 9,495
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Congratulations Kelly!!!

Date Posted: 12/6/2010 10:00 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,709
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Way to go Kelly!

Date Posted: 12/6/2010 10:28 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,295
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Ooooh Vicky - nice touch on your HF challenge banner! BTW, I have a sneaking suspicion that DH is getting me a kindle for Christmas, so I may be asking you to keep an eye out for those great deals!wink

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