Savvy Verse & Wit.
Thanks in large part to a fabulous sale at my favourite bookstore, many new books found there way into my home this week (unless otherwise stated, synopses courtesy of Chapters.indigo.ca):
The Secret Philosopher by Matthew Plampin
years later, as Sebastopol burns, Thomas returns to England under
mysterious circumstances. Desperate to forget the atrocities of the
Crimea, he takes a job as a 'street philosopher', a society writer
reporting on the gossip of the day. But on the eve of the great Art
Treasures Exhibition, as Manchester prepares to welcome Queen Victoria,
Thomas's past returns to haunt him in the most horrifying way...
The Final Act of Mr. Shakespeare by Robert Winder (synopsis courtesy of amazon.co.uk)
The Countess by Rebecca Johns
Was the "Blood Countess" history's
first and perhaps worst female serial killer? Or did her accusers
create a violent fiction in order to remove this beautiful,
intelligent, ambitious foe from the male-dominated world of Hungarian
In 1611, Countess
Erzsébet Báthory, a powerful Hungarian noblewoman, stood helpless as
masons walled her inside her castle tower, dooming her to spend her
final years in solitary confinement. Her crime-the gruesome murders of
dozens of female servants, mostly young girls tortured to death for
displeasing their ruthless mistress. Her opponents painted her as a
bloodthirsty škrata-a witch-a portrayal that would expand to grotesque proportions through the centuries.
In this riveting dramatization of Erzsébet Báthory's life, the
countess tells her story in her own words, writing to her only son-a
final reckoning from his mother in an attempt to reveal the truth
behind her downfall. Countess Báthory describes her upbringing in one
of the most powerful noble houses in Hungary, recounting in loving
detail her devotion to her parents and siblings as well as the
heartbreak of losing her father at a young age. She soon discovers the
price of being a woman in sixteenth-century Hungary as her mother
arranges her marriage to Ferenc Nádasdy, a union made with the cold
calculation of a financial transaction. Young Erzsébet knows she has no
choice but to accept this marriage even as she laments its loveless
nature and ultimately turns to the illicit affections of another man.
Seemingly resigned to a marriage of convenience and a life of
surreptitious pleasure, the countess surprises even herself as she
ignites a marital spark with Ferenc through the most unromantic of
acts: the violent punishment of an insolent female servant. The event
shows Ferenc that his wife is no trophy but a strong, determined woman
more than capable of managing their vast estates during Ferenc's
extensive military campaigns against the Turks. Her naked assertion of
power accomplishes what her famed beauty could not: capturing the love
of her husband.
The countess embraces this new role of
loving wife and mother, doing everything she can to expand her
husband's power and secure her family's future. But a darker side
surfaces as Countess Báthory's demand for virtue, obedience, and, above
all, respect from her servants takes a sinister turn. What emerges is
not only a disturbing, unflinching portrait of the deeds that gave
Báthory the moniker "Blood Countess," but an intimate look at the woman
who became a monster.
The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy
A gripping tale of passion and courage set in World War II-occupied
Guernsey, "The Soldier's Wife" tells the story of housewife and mother
Vivienne de la Mare, as she is torn between loyalty and love.
The Traitor's Daughter by Paula Brandon
Here's the beginning of a lush, epic, wholly original new trilogy that shines with magic, mystery, and captivating drama.
On the Veiled Isles, ominous signs are apparent to those with the
talent to read them. The polarity of magic is wavering at its source,
heralding a vast upheaval poised to alter the very balance of nature.
Blissfully unaware of the cataclysmic events to come, Jianna Belandor,
the beautiful, privileged daughter of a powerful Faerlonnish overlord,
has only one concern: the journey to meet her prospective husband. But
revolution is stirring as her own conquered people rise up against
their oppressors, and Jianna is kidnapped and held captive at a rebel
stronghold, insurance against what are perceived as her father's
The resistance movement opens Jianna's eyes―and her
heart. Despite her belief in her father's innocence, she is fascinated
by the bold and charming nomadic physician and rebel sympathizer,
Falaste Rione-who offers Jianna her only sanctuary in a cold and
calculating web of intrigue. As plague and chaos grip the land, Jianna
is pushed to the limits of her courage and resourcefulness, while
virulent enemies discover that alliance is their only hope to save the