Vivien Leigh.

Occasionally, I like to break away from the monotony of historical fiction. I couldn’t be happier than when I was looking through biographies and found the sultry gaze of Vivien Leigh looking back at me. Naturally, I found my next selection. Upon looking through, I was pleased as punch to find images of her strewn throughout the pages. One can forget that Vivien portrayed some of the most fascinating women in literature upon the silver screens and simply be struck by the woman herself. With that gaze and a face that shows a thousand emotions, the graceful way she moved and her almost musical voice, Vivien Leigh is certainly a legend and is a reminder of the years where Hollywood women were classy and sophisticated. They were known for their talent and their looks…not for who has a sex tape or not. Of course, some might say that she was more infamous for her marriage to Sir Laurence Olivier. Truly though, Vivien was her own woman. A multi-layered, complicated, hard-working woman who was famed for her beauty and her talent.

This book is wonderful as it begins with the author expressing a warm memory of Vivien and looking at a gift Vivien gave her. Instantly, there is a connection made betwixt the author and reader. The book covers everything. From her beginnings in Darjeeling, India to the very end of her (too short) life. Vivien L’s career brought her high and low and everywhere inbetween. It truly is a fascinating roller coaster and one can’t help but feel that they know the enigmatic actress a little better. Perhaps it is the mystique of Vivien that there shall always be somewhat of a mystery to us.

Regardless, what she left us was a critically acclaimed film and theatre theatre career. She left us Cleopatra and Anna Karenina, Blanche du Bois and of course, Scarlett O’Hara. There were more films and even more theatre roles. She always endeavored to do her best and despite that, critics were oft hard on her. It was only after her death did they see what a diamond she was in a world full of pearls. Death does that. It makes us see things differently that we did before. Critics are kinder, awards more forthcoming…things you would endeavor in life but are often denied.

This is definitely a book I recommend. I give it a 4 out of 5. I hope you’ll enjoy this and I hope you’ll sound off in comments to let me know what you thought of it.

True love never dies!

“I love you more than ever; and so revenge myself on him. I will still love you with all the tenderness of my soul till the last moment of my life. If, formerly, my affection for you was not so pure, if in those days both mind and body loved you, I often told you even then that I was more pleased with possessing your heart than with any other happiness, and the man was the thing I least valued in you.” –Héloïse d’Argenteuil

 

6ad0d3a5557129f3cc63df13562543abI am finding it so difficult to come up with enough words to describe how much I adored this book. Sherry Jones is an absolute tour de force in this. If you haven’t tried her books before, I cannot emphasize enough how much you’re missing out by not reading them. She has written “Four Sisters, All Queens,”, “The Jewel of Medina”, “The Sword of Medina,” and an e-novella, “White Heart,” which is a prequel to Four Sisters. I have read all of these and I assure you, whatever Sherry writes next, I will be in line to read. She is an absolutely stunning author and a wonderful, warm person who I am honored to know…and share a birthday with!

Writing from Heloise’s point of view, she brings us to the first day that Abelard and Heloise meet and the road they traverse down. It is beautifully written and I found myself being brought to tears, laughing with them, feeling anxiety, wanting the happiest of endings…but alas, if you know the story then you know, that is a fate that will elude them both, unfortunately. They eventually have a child, secretly marry and are cruelly separated, with Heloise eventually taking vows and becoming a nun and eventually becoming an abbess, which is the last thing she wants to become.   Abelard is brutally attacked by some of Heloise’s uncle’s friends…there’s so much I want to tell you all but that would be unfair. I don’t want to give everything away!

There are moments where you will ponder, why is life so cruel? Why couldn’t they simply be allowed to be together? (Consequences be damned!) The medieval years were truly an oppressive time if you were a woman; bound to do as a man told you and what the church tells you to do. That Heloise was allowed to be the scholar that she was is astounding, as most women back them were restricted to learning housewifely duties.

Only in death were they brought together once more, being buried together. Though their story has survived the ages and their letters to one another remain, I like to think that they’ve been reunited in the next life (if you believe in such a thing).

If you do take the plunge and read this–which, you absolutely should!–I promise you that you’ll forget your surroundings and be brought to the time period and back to France. It’s a stunning piece of literature. Brava, Sherry!

Can’t wait until October 7th? Head over to Goodreads and enter the contest to win a copy! There are 30 of them up for grabs!

5/5! (Obviously!)

(ARC was received for a fair and honest review.)

An 'Inferno' will begin in April…

Since I’m expressing excitement for movies based upon books, I thought I’d spaz over Tom Hanks and Ron Howard reteaming for another ‘Robert Langdon’ film. Filming shall begin in April and I’m excited. I absolutely love Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series and I’m hoping that ‘Inferno’ will be just as good–if not better- than the last two. Curiously, they skipped over ‘The Lost Symbol’, the third book in the series, however, I am not really complaining. Ron and Tom are an excellent team and make amazing films together. I remember when ‘The Da Vinci Code’ came out and I read it in four hours. I sat on the bed and read. I was absolutely enthralled with the story and I wanted more. I’m glad Dan Brown is sticking with Robert Langdon. He’s a great protagonist and his attention to detail is fantastic. I know there are some who would disagree but, well, I’m an odd duck.

Another fun note; when I read the book, I almost instantly thought of Tom Hanks as Robert. It was one of the few times that I read a book, thought of an actor and actually saw him up on screen. I love Tom’s movies and I will almost always see it if I can. I don’t know the release date for this one, but they start filming in April…and whenever ‘Inferno’ comes out…I’ll be there. I imagine they’d aim for a Christmas 2015 release, however they may not want to compete with ‘Avatar 2’. (Another film I’m looking forward to!) Whenever it comes out, I’ll be ready. Allons-y!  (I couldn’t resist.)

 

O, Africa…more like oi vey.

I hate when there is crazy hype for a book and when you open the book, it falls flat within the first few pages. However, I went on a bit more in the hopes that it would improve. I thought perhaps that it was just me being fussy (which does happen) and it would get better. It didn’t. I found that it got worse. I’m glad I didn’t pay for the hardcover tome that I recieved because if I had, I would have returned it. As it is, I’ll probably donate it to the local library. I don’t even want it on my shelf.  The only character in the book who I liked at all was Rose; however, whilst this book was meant to be hilarious and was hyped up to be, it was not. In fact, I found the obsessive mentions of bodily functions and the racism too overpowering to be entertaining. Yes, I understand that this book is based in the 1920’s and racism was common. However, I felt maybe the author should have covered it in a way that didn’t make me feel like that was just his personal feelings.

I felt that he (Andrew Lewis Conn) tried too hard at times. He also used ridiculous words and phrasings that didn’t need to be used at all. He made me feel like he went to college and learned all of them and needed to show off that he knows big words. They’re tripe. Absolutely unnecessary in the long haul. Also, back up off the similes. I don’t think they were meant to be used as often as are used.

There’s not much more I can say beyond that I’m not going to recommend this book to anyone and I hope the library finds people who’ll enjoy it.

 

 

You'll be enchanted…

Synopsis: Fantastic tales of demons and the Evil Eye, magical incantations, and powerful attractions abound in Enchantress, a novel that weaves together Talmudic lore, ancient Jewish magic, and a timeless love story set in fourth-century Babylonia.  

One of the most powerful practitioners of these mysterious arts is Rav Hisda’s daughter, whose innate awareness allows her to possess the skills men lack. With her husband, Rava–whose arcane knowledge of the secret Torah enables him to create a “man” out of earth and to resurrect another rabbi from death–the two brave an evil sorceress, Ashmedai the Demon King, and even the Angel of Death in their quest to safeguard their people, even while putting their romance at risk.

The author of the acclaimed Rashi’s Daughters series and the award-winning Rav Hisda’s Daughter: Apprentice has conjured literary magic in the land where “abracadabra” originated.  Based on five years of research and populated with characters from the Talmud, Enchantress brings a pivotal era of Jewish and Christian history to life from the perspective of a courageous and passionate woman.

 

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