A Kingdom’s Cost by J.R. Tomlin

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Title: A Kingdom’s Cost
Series: The Black Douglas Trilogy
Author: J.R. Tomlin
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: 2011
Format Read: Kindle
Pages: 262
Rating:

3feathers

“Back of Book” Summary:

Scotland is occupied; Scottish resistance is crushed. Eighteen-year-old James Douglas can only watch as the Scottish freedom fighter, William Wallace, is hanged, drawn, and quartered. But even under the heel of a brutal English conqueror, the Scots may still have one hope for freedom: the rightful King of the Scots, Robert the Bruce. James swears fealty to the man he believes can lead the fight against English tyranny.

The Bruce is soon a fugitive, king only in name. The woman James loves is captured and imprisoned. Yet James believes their cause is not lost. He blazes a path in blood and violence, cunning and ruthlessness as he leads a guerrilla war to restore Scotland’s freedom. James knows if he is captured he will share Wallace’s fate, but what he truly fears is that he has become as merciless as the conqueror he fights.

My Review:

A nation that fights for its very existence doesn’t have the luxury of chivalry.

This turbulent period of time in Scotland’s history has been used for some great historical fiction. A Kingdom’s Cost had potential to be really great. The story of James Douglas and Robert de Bruce is attention-grabbing and entertaining. There are many scenes in which I cringed from the depictions of blood and guts in battle. There are horribly tragic and upsetting scenes such as the death of James’ dog in France and having to kill the imprisoned Isabella that pulled on my heart-strings. However, ignoring the formatting problems on the edition, the book was in desperate need of an editor. Misspellings, grammar errors, and the repetition of certain words again and again should be corrected.

I understand that this book fits within a trilogy. However, the ending was very unsatisfying. Sometimes books leave off on cliff-hangers, but within a series this would be acceptable and encouraging to the reader to continue onto the next book in the series. This book did not leave off on a cliff-hanger. It built up to a grand battle, and not following with the flow of how the book had been written, ended within a few pages leaving the reader wanting more of a closure. A few more pages, or even just a few more paragraphs, may have made a huge difference in a reader’s overall satisfaction of the book.

The book could be edited, and the ending elaborated a bit, but this is an entertaining book that I would recommend to those interested in this period of history. I am undecided if I will read the remaining books in the series.

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Darlin’ Druid by Lyn Horner

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Title: Darlin’ Druid
Series: Texas Druids
Author: Lyn Horner
Genre: Historical Romance, Fantasy
Release Date: 2010
Format Read: Kindle
Pages: 320
Rating:

3feathers

“Back of Book” Summary:

Set in the American West of 1872, Darlin’ Druid is a tale of epic adventure, stormy romance and family strife, sparked by flashes of Druid magic. Jessie Devlin, a daughter of Irish immigrants and a survivor of the Great Chicago Fire, is descended from the “Old Ones,” her mother’s name for their ancient Druid ancestors. Gifted with second sight, Jessie suffers nightmares in which an unknown man saves her from burning to death. A prophetic vision convinces her the man truly exists and to find him she must look west. But will her quest lead her to love or into a deadly trap?

Captain David Taylor is a Texan who sided with the North in the Civil War, earning his father’s abiding wrath. Now serving on the frontier, David longs for home and a family of his own. After a trip east, he encounters Jessie in the Omaha train depot. He’s entranced by her beauty but has no taste for her firecracker temper. She brings to mind a ghost from his past who he’d rather forget. As the two journey westward, their clashing personalities war with fiery passion that threatens to overwhelm common sense. Violence dogs them along the rails and explodes amid the unexpected beauty of Mormon Utah and in an isolated mountain mining camp. Whether love will win the day or be lost forever is a question that hangs in the balance until the terrifying conclusion on the broad Texas plains.

My Review:

I don’t generally read romance novels, but I occasionally read paranormal romances. I guess somehow supernatural powers in a storyline makes it seem less cheesy. It’s like a Lifetime movie, but with mysticism. Or in the case of Lyn Horner’s Darlin’ Druid, Druids. This book takes place (mostly) in Utah and Texas in 1872. Jessie Devlin, the daughter of Irish immigrants, has Druid blood that gives her the gift of foresight. In her visions she saw both a man she would fall in love with and a devil trying to destroy her. Jessie follows her brother Tye west as her vision told her to do and meets Captain David Taylor, the man of her dreams, except they don’t exactly get along very well for much of the book. Jessie eventually does run into her devil who charms her for a short while but quickly turns on her and attempts to kill her and David Taylor. Long story short, this is a typical girl meets guy and guy is anything but sweet and romantic, but eventually guy’s heart melts after he almost loses girl and girl realizes that she cannot resist guy kind of over-used, but still keeps you wanting to finish the book, sort of storyline. It was a good story with elements of a Western tale that I find fascinating. There are several more books in this series, but at this point I think I’ve had my fill and probably won’t be interested in reading them for quite a while. However, I would recommend this to those looking for a just post-Civil War era Western-themed paranormal romance.

Black Angel by Barbara Samuel

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Title: The Black Angel
Series: St. Ives Family
Author: Barbara Samuel
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: 1999
Format Read: Kindle
Pages: 368
Rating:

3feathers

“Back of Book” Summary:

Ardor once foolishly led Lady Adriana St. Ives into the arms of a rake, an affair that cost her everything she held dear. Though that was five years ago, this golden English beauty still vows that no man will ever again ignite the sensual passion hidden deep in her soul–not even her new husband, Tynan Spenser, Earl of Glencove, a darkly handsome and rich Irish rogue. Known as “The Black Angel” for his wild and lascivious ways, Tynan is as determined to melt his icy bride as she is to resist his seductive charms. Vowing that she will be his in just one hundred kisses, Tynan sets out to win her with a kiss each day–a challenge Riana is sure she can withstand. But the willful beauty has no idea of the power of a single kiss…

My Review:

The Black Angel is an historical romance set in 18th century England. I did like the story, but it wasn’t entirely original in the sense of the storyline of Adriana’s father arranging a marriage with an unfamiliar Tynan Spencer, a mysterious Irish lord, prior to his death. Adriana fights against any feelings for a husband she is forced to marry, but in an obvious twist she falls for him when he defends her brother who is on trial for killing a man in a duel. Despite this overused plot, an aspect of the book that made it more entertaining was Andriana’s past that created quite the scandal and the element of Tynan’s planned revolutionary actions to free Ireland from British control. Overall, a good read. However, I would only recommend this for a light read with some romance. I had wished for more politics and less romance. I most likely will not read any of the remaining St. Ives Family books in the series.

Freedom of the Monsoon by Malika Gandhi

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Title: Freedom of the Monsoon
Series: N/A
Author: Malika Gandhi
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: 2012
Format Read: Kindle
Pages: 356
Rating:

3feathers

“Back of Book” Summary:

“From a village in 1947 India, five individuals struggle against the Quit India movement. Each with a story of their own. Rakesh, a brave freedom fighter, determined to make India a better place faces execution by the hands of the British Raj. Pooja, a girl whose life is altered after a rape attack, marries into an abusive arranged marriage to an older man with children of his own. Plunged into despair, she fights back for a better life.
Dev, a troubled young man is disturbed by the decision his brother Rakesh took. Little was he aware the impact it would have on his future. Amit fell in love with the wrong woman, a white Memsahib – but she has secrets, something that would take everything away from him. Sunil, a man in love is forced to grow up when his close ones are faced with their struggles. Can he help them? Will he understand why it is happening? Five lives, five stories. Death and sacrifice is knocking on India’s doors. The British Raj has to go; the Indians must have their country back. Re-live the determination that dwelled in the hearts of the natives as they fought hard and long. Follow the five individuals as they faced fear, love, sacrifice and anger.”

My Review:

Dawn broke and India witnessed a new revolution: Gandhi. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. His strong, forceful words spread to the North, the South, to the East and to the West. ‘Free India’.

This is the first novel I’ve read that takes place in India. I don’t think I could have picked a better book to introduce me to the time period or the Indian revolution. Filled with descriptions of Indian clothing, language, food, and customs, the cultural imagery in this book was incredible. The book details the lives of several men and women as they struggle through tough times and (several of them) fight for the Quit India Movement, the movement towards Indian independence from Great Britain. The author, Malika Gandhi, was born and raised in Mumbai, India and now lives in England. Although Malika married a Gandhi, she has no family relation to the Mahatma Gandhi of the Quit India Movement that is so highly regarded as a national hero in this novel. Malika’s Amazon.com biography says, “after reading numerous books and watching films on the devastation the Quit India Movement brought about, Malika wanted to show the ‘human’ side of the Independence era. She wanted to show the effects of the movement in everyday life, getting away from the politics. Freedom of the Monsoon is set in 1940’s India and shows the story from five points of view.”

Malika Gandhi

This is not a happy book. It is actually rather sad. India did win its independence. However, it shattered many lives in the process and divided the country into Hindu-India and Muslim-Pakistan. Although Gandhi advocated for non-violent resistance, not everyone agreed with that approach. This book illustrates how tough life was for many people under British rule but also during the movement for independence. I rate this book 3 Feathers and would recommend it, especially to anyone interested in Indian culture or this time period. The book contains almost 200 Hindustani words with a glossary in the back of the book. I loved this addition to the story and this is a great example of an Indian cultural element added to the novel. However, in the Kindle version of this book these words are hyper-linked to the glossary and when returning back to the page you are reading there are major formatting issues.

Visit Malika’s blog: http://malikagandhi.wordpress.com/