Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Thoughtful and provocative



Complex collection of stories reminiscent of Grim's fairy Tales. From the absurd to the horrific, there is something for everyone here. An eclectic assortment, they range from the wonderfully descriptive fairy tale of the Lemon Bee to the darker stories that talk of zombies and flesh eating old ladies. All the tales are multi-layered examining love, beliefs, and redemption. Thoughtful and provocative, Patricia Lynn Dompieri has written a fascinating collection of stories that can be revisited and reread, a perfect companion for a cold, winter evening.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Colorful and full of interesting personalities



"The reign which now opened to be the unhappiest in English history. The black legend had begun before the King even ascended the throne. For the rest of his short life he was to be a byword, inspiring more dread and terror than any other monarch before or since." Very readable history of Richard Gloucester's rise and fall. Desmond Seward captures the violence of England during this time period. He details the personalities as well as brutality of the times. His descriptive prose gives key players depth with a realistic sense of how and why things unfolded. The entire aristocracy was a bubbling mass of personalities, each who felt more important than the next and looked for any way to push their advantage forwards. This network of strong minded people lived their lives in a cocoon of entitlement, assured that their superiority justified every evil deed. While Seward lays blame for the murder of the princes in the tower on Richard's shoulders, I think he draws a vivid picture of a corrupt population. The Woodville's greed, Buckingham's anger, Clarence's desperate bid to usurp power, Tudor ambition, create a climate of distrust and hatred where people who were allies in the morning, can find themselves enemies by nightfall. It was where loyalty took a back seat to advancement and the excuse that every beheading, each battle was done for the sake of peace, was in reality a symptom of the megalomaniac quest for power. There is not one murderer, but an entire class of murderers. Machiavelli's ideology thrived in this climate, and while many have said that "God and his saint slept" during Stephen's reign, I think he must have been napping a whole lot here too.
I like the way Seward writes. He's interesting, and throws in colorful and detailed descriptions of real people. He explains why Richard was endowed with so much land and power by his brother. He delves into the crushing insult that divided Warwick from Edward. His Richard is diverse, with humor and bonhomie, as well as a ruthlessness that feels only too real. With the same confidence that Seward writes about Richard's withered hand and his bones being thrown into the river, he is very sure of his guilt with his nephews murder. However, his vivid descriptions of the other personalities, creates multiple plausible murderers without pointing a finger. Despite his perception that Richard was the killer, I believe it is a scholarly and interesting book. I received a copy of this book for an honest review.


Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Friday, May 15, 2015

Renaissance woman



Well written biography about Katherine Willoughby, Duchess of Suffolk. Daughter of Mary De Salinas, lady in waiting to Catherine of Aragon, she was sent to live with Henry's sister Mary and her husband, Charles Brandon with the intent that she and her fortune would be married to their son. When Mary died, Charles, Duke of Suffolk married the fourteen year old girl instead of his son. Katherine Willoughby became a key player in Henry's court, acting as a lady in waiting to several of his wives. Along with Katherine Parr, Henry's sixth wife, she embraced Protestantism, enough so that when Henry died and his Catholic daughter became Queen she had to flee. It was rumored she had an affair with Henry, and when his sixth wife flirted dangerously with the reformation, Henry cast his eye on the widowed Duchess. She married a man of lesser rank, but maintained importance in the Protestant Reformation when she returned to England. Katherine Willoughby was a fascinating person, a woman ahead of her time. In a time when women appeared to be little more than chattel, married off for dynastic reasons, spunky Katherine Willoughby refused to be a victim of her circumstances and made the most of what she was handed. This was a woman that used her resources to send her life in the direction she desired. Faced with inconsolable tragedy when both her sons succumbed to the sweating sickness, she picked up the pieces of her life to carve out a new existence and create a family with Richard Bertie. She was a woman of both fortitude and courage, unafraid to forge ahead and speak her mind in a time when that could cause a beheading. I think Katherine Willoughby is often eclipsed by the bevy of woman who graced Henry's bed, and I loved this book that brought her out to shine as a rare example of a renaissance woman, perhaps even a precursor to the feminist movement in that she was a woman who thought for herself and wasn't afraid to show it.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Beautiful



War is hell an often leaves people scarred and victimized even if they never saw combat. Freddie Watson is on holiday, clearly struggling with the loss of of his adored older brother who was lost in combat in World War 1. While driving, he crashes and meets a girl who captivates and causes him to look outside his depression and investigate her whereabouts. *** Spoiler alert*** The Winter Ghosts is so well written, so compelling, so thoughtful, and full of suspense, for me it's an instant classic. Kate Mosse teases the reader, her slow and simmering build to where worlds collide and Freddie is able to put his ghosts to rest. War is the age all demon that destroys humanity, leaving nothing but the wreckage of ruined lives behind. When Fabrisa writes, "We are who we are because of who we choose to love and because of who we love.", says it all. War may try to wipe out someone's existence, destroy culture, and kill, but as long as they are loved, their soul survives.

Happy Reading!
Carole P. Roman

Apples

A little girl was holding two apples with both hands.
Her mom came in and softly asked her little daughter with a smile: my sweetie, could you give your mom one of your two apples?
The girl looked up at her mom for some seconds, then she suddenly took a quick bite on one apple, and then quickly on the other.
The mom  felt the smile on her face freeze. She tried hard not to reveal her disappointment.
Then the little girl handed one of her bitten apples to her mom ,and said: mommy, here you are. This is the sweeter one.

No matter who you are, how experienced you are, and how knowledgeable you think you are, always delay judgement.  Give others the privilege to explain themselves. What you see may not be the reality. Never conclude for others. 


author unknown

Friday, May 8, 2015

Mother's Day- the Mother of reinvention


Mother's Day is Sunday and for me it's a time of reflection. Writing had always been a long time dream of mine, but life got in the way. I married young, started a family, and had to help with my husband's business. He was on the road and needed someone to field his calls, so I stepped in, and the business took over my life. It's hard to believe that it all began over forty years ago, in a small kitchen, but it did. The kaleidoscope of my life winks back to me in an array of bright colors and images that flew so fast, I hardly realized time was passing.  It was so busy. You try to hold onto moments, but they flutter away in the winds of our fast paced lives.

The writing started on a whim, this second career born from the grief of losing my own mother. She got sick and her illness invaded our lives. I emerged after her death, angry, shocked, and worn out. You all have heard that my sons dared me to write, and I did. Captain No Beard was my lifeline back into the land of the living. It was the lifesaver thrown to me, that hauled me from the miasma of sadness back into the bright lights of life again.  

Mother's Day is a day to thank your mom for all she's done for you. My mother was the best I'd ever known. I miss her greatly. She always encouraged me to stretch myself, take chances, and never be afraid. Even with her own passing, I could feel her pushing me to explore this new career. She is always the supportive mother.

My children made me a mother. They played as much a role in my creation as a person as my mother. Just as my mother helped shape and define me as a youngster, my children finished the job, teaching me as much as I taught them. Being a mother was what I wanted more than anything in my life. My sons constantly make me reinvent myself, holding my hand as I step into the new realities of a career, whether it's in the business world or the creative one of writing. As I stood behind them for all those years in their childhood urging them to try new things, I feel them behind me, supporting me to fly into the face of excitement without fear. I was there for them, and in kind, they are there for me. They brought me my daughters-in-law who have embraced me with kindness and warmth, showing me the joys of being with "the girls" after years of a stag only atmosphere. I am blessed.

Now, that brings me to the mother of all mother experience- being a grandmother. The unconditional love of my grandchildren. The little hands that caress your face with adoration. The unbridled joy and humor that fills your house when they arrive and stays long after they've gone home. Being a grandmother is like being a mother, only better! 

So, I must take this day to thank for mother for setting up the example of what life was to be for me, creating the road-map and giving me the direction to live my life. I want to thank my children for enjoying the ride, shaping and sharing our time together so that I could learn what I really wanted and be there with me when I find it. While Captain No Beard often laments, "Being a captain is hard work," I want to say being a mother was hard work, but the most rewarding job I've ever known.