Since I haven't had time to post a Mailbox Monday over the past few weeks, this Mailbox Monday shares some of the books I've received since my last post.
All synopses courtesy of Chapters.Indigo.Ca
Received For Review:
The Flower Reader by Elizabeth Loupas
Rinette Leslie of Granmuir has the ancient gift of divining the future in flowers, but her gift cannot prepare her for the turmoil that comes when the dying queen regent entrusts her with a casket full of Scotland's darkest secrets. On the very day she means to deliver it to newly crowned Mary, Queen of Scots, Rinette's husband is brutally assassinated.
Devastated, Rinette demands justice before she will surrender the casket, but she is surrounded by ruthless men who will do anything to possess it. In the end, the flowers are all she can trust-and only the flowers will lead her safely home to Granmuir.
The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani
The majestic and haunting beauty of the Italian Alps is the setting of the first meeting of Enza, a practical beauty, and Ciro, a strapping mountain boy, who meet as teenagers, despite growing up in villages just a few miles apart. At the turn of the last century, when Ciro catches the local priest in a scandal, he is banished from his village and sent to hide in America as an apprentice to a shoemaker in Little Italy. Without explanation, he leaves a bereft Enza behind. Soon, Enza's family faces disaster and she, too, is forced to go to America with her father to secure their future.
Unbeknownst to one another, they both build fledgling lives in America, Ciro masters shoemaking and Enza takes a factory job in Hoboken until fate intervenes and reunites them.But it is too late: Ciro has volunteered to serve in World War I and Enza, determined to forge a life without him, begins her impressive career as a seamstress at the Metropolitan Opera House that will sweep her into the glamorous salons of Manhattan and into the life of the international singing sensation, Enrico Caruso.
From the stately mansions of Carnegie Hill, to the cobblestone streets of Little Italy, over the perilous cliffs of northern Italy, to the white-capped lakes of northern Minnesota, these star-crossed lovers meet and separate, until, finally, the power of their love changes both of their lives forever.
Lush and evocative, told in tantalizing detail and enriched with lovable, unforgettable characters, The Shoemaker's Wife is a portrait of the times, the places and the people who defined the immigrant experience, claiming their portion of the American dream with ambition and resolve, cutting it to fit their needs like the finest Italian silk.
This riveting historical epic of love and family, war and loss, risk and destiny is the novel Adriana Trigiani was born to write, one inspired by her own family history and the love of tradition that has propelled her body of bestselling novels to international acclaim. Like Lucia, Lucia, The Shoemaker's Wife defines an era with clarity and splendor, with operatic scope and a vivid cast of characters who will live on in the imaginations of readers for years to come.
Spartacus: The Gladiator by Ben Kane
The first of two epic novels which tell the story of one of the most charismatic heroes history has ever known -- Spartacus, the gladiator slave who took on and nearly defeated the might of Rome, during the years 73-71 BC.
In historical terms we know very little about Spartacus the man -- partly because most contemporary Roman historians were keen to obliterate his memory and prevent him from attaining mythic status. This of course is grist to the novelist's mill. Ben Kane's brilliant novel begins in the Thracian village to which Spartacus has returned, after escaping from life as an auxiliary in the Roman army. But here he quickly falls foul of his overlord, the Thracian king, who has set his heart on Dionysian priestess, Ariadne -- later to become wife of Spartacus. Betrayed again to the Romans by his jealous king, Spartacus -- and with him Ariadne -- are taken in captivity to the school of gladiators at Capua. It is here -- against the unbelievable brutality of gladiatorial life -- that Spartacus and Crixus the Gaul plan the audacious overthrow of their Roman masters, escaping to Vesuvius, where they recruit and train a huge slave army -- an army which will keep the might of Rome at bay for two years and create one of the most extraordinary legends in history. Spartacus: The Gladiator takes the story up to the moment when the slave army has inflicted its first great defeat on Rome.
Inquisition by Alfredo Colitto
A mighty Archbishop. A brilliant scientist. And a killer about to strike . . . A.D. 1311. Mondino is a university anatomist - a man of science in a land governed by the Catholic Inquisition. But the corpse brought to Mondino's laboratory one stormy night defies natural law: The victim is a Templar knight, and his heart has been transformed into a block of iron. Is it alchemy? Or the diabolical work of an ingenious killer? Aided by his headstrong student Gerardo - a young man concealing a deadly secret identity - Mondino must outwit both ruthless Inquisitors and vengeful Templars if he's to stop a murderer who threatens to shake the very foundations of Christendom. Audacious, gripping, and lushly atmospheric, set against the dramatic backdrop of one of history's most dangerous eras.
The Noble Assassin by Christie Dickason
Court beauty, Lucy Russell, Countess of Bedford, feels frustrated by life with her weak husband. Poverty stricken, they are confined to their country estate and excluded from court life in London after her husband disastrously allies himself against Elizabeth I.
Now, some years later, James I is seated on the English throne. His daughter, Elizabeth Stuart, former confidant of Lucy, has married the King of Bohemia. The precarious political situation in Europe is fraught, setting father against daughter. When Elizabeth and her husband are deposed, exiled and forced on the run, James is in no mood to come to Elizabeth's aid.
Hearing of Elizabeth's predicament, Lucy sees an opportunity to re-establish the Bedford name and offers herself as a peace envoy between the two parties. Setting out on a daring mission across the channel, Lucy discovers she is being manipulated by unscrupulous men, not least the calculating and darkly handsome Duke of Buckingham.
Can Lucy tread this most dangerous path or, by risking everything, will she pay the ultimate price?
In The Victorians, the author told the story of Great Britain in her pre-eminence. It ended with Britain as the mightiest, richest nation on earth, possessed of a huge empire. That book, however, is full of forebodings and harbingers of disaster. This follow-up book is the story of the decline of Britain - and with it, the decline of many of the things that Victorian Britain stood for. Furthermore, Wilson will show, the seeds of its undoing had been there from the beginning.
As in The Victorians, this book has a panoramic sweep, building up a portrait of the age - the Communist Revolution, two world wars, the Spanish Civil War, and the unstoppable growth of America as a dominant world power and the beginnings of the Cold War. This is the era in which Britain was sidelined from its importance in world politics. Alongside this is the story of the beginnings of Modernism in art and music, and radical new philosophical systems of thought. A.N. Wilson visits the novelists, the philosophers, the poets and the painters to see what light they threw on the activities of the politicians, the scientists and the generals.
Putting together military, political, social and cultural history, After the Victorians creates a panoramic view of the era, and skillfully identifies the sources and causes of Britain's decline.
That's it for me. What did you get in your mailbox?