Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Mists of Islay

Another enchanting song from Hayley Westenra:

The Mists of Islay:

This song seems to evoke a beautiful place in Ireland.

Best wishes

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dear Heart, How Like You This? by Wendy J Dunn

Is it possible to write a perfect book? This book comes close
to perfection in its well crafted descriptions of beauty, sensitivity and poetry.

This novel tells the story of Anne Boleyn
and Sir Thomas Wyatt and his enduring love for the doomed queen.

A beautiful gem of a novel full of insight and the magical, beautiful
times of the earlier tudor years.

The story is told by Sir Thomas Wyatt from his early years of
childhood spent at the childhood home of Anne Boleyn at Hever
Castle. He often reminiscences of his earlier, happy years spent
in the company of Anne and George Boleyn.

The majestic and inspirational poetry of Sir Thomas Wyatt often
seems to tell its own story written from the heart. This is an exquisite story
of beauty, truth and love. It is a historical
fiction novel. It is mentioned in the notes in a biographical sketch
of Sir Thomas Wyatt that Anne
Boleyn gave to one of her ladies her treasured prayer book for Sir Thomas Wyatt.
This was moments before her impending execution at the scaffold.

I loved following the story, the travels of
Sir Thomas Wyatt to the French
court and also to Italy. He was a diplomat of the tudor court and in his work often spent time
away from the court on government business.
Set during the earlier years of the reign of Henry
VIII this book gives valuable insights into the court of Henry VIII and the
politics of the time during these quite turbulent years.

A story which captures emotion, drama and the mood of the times so well and
is often written from a reflective view point. Quite beautiful!

Some novelists have a gift. Another novel of great beauty and sensitivity is brought
to mind: “Farewell, My Queen” by Chantal Thomas which is a story of the reader
who sat with Marie Antoinette during the final years of the court
and who subsequently wrote her story many years later in Vienna.

Sea Witch by Helen Hollick

Romance and adventure set during the times of the
the swashbuckling seventeenth century and early eighteenth century
give splendour to the story of “Sea Witch” which is a ship named after
Tiola Oldstagh, whose name in an anagram means “All that is good.”

The two main characters, Jesamiah Acorne and Tiola Oldstagh come
from very unlikely backgrounds which tend to fascinate and also shock. Tiola,
from a coastal village in England from which she had been forced to flee with the assistance of family members and Jesamiah from a plantation in the New World, where
he had been obliged to move on and make a new life for himself. Tiola and Jesamiah learn to overcome their background family traumas to hopefully
move on to a better life.

Tiola and Jesamiah both seem to have been
victimised as a consequence of events beyond their control. Tiola should have been free to
pursue a happy life and eventual marriage in her home village which would have been expected
in those times. Jesamiah should have been
welcome to work or pursue a career at his father's plantation.

The story is quite enchanting with a romance between Tiola and Jesamiah The fantasy aspects of the story appeal and are quite refreshing. Sometimes mystical, sometimes magical or was it only a drream? Quite fascinating!

Tiola is beautiful. Almost like a sea nymph. She is also gifted with special healing talents aided by concoctions from medicinal herbs. Jesamiah seems to be more of
a complex character. He is fascinating and popular with his sea going
friends. Jesamiah, with his blue ribbons in his wind-swept hair on board a ship appeals. This is the first time Tiola glimpses him from the deck of another ship.

The settings of the story are exotic and different.e.g. Cape Town in South Africa and the Bahamas,
Nasau and Port Royal. The descriptions given in the story bring the reader to the far off and distant places, often portrayed with vivid landscapes, as for example the beautiful scenery at Table Mountain, Cape Town in the early days. The author has realistically evoked the far off times and the places well with wonderful descriptions which give colour, brightness and beauty to the novel.

Piracy on the high seas
and the adventures of a likeable pirate, Jesamiah Acorne, make this story believable and wonderful. Other characters in the story, e.g. Rue, a friend and sea-going companion of Jesamiah and
Jenny, a companion/nurse/governess of Tiola give added depth to the story. Several of the characters are fascinating to read about, including William Dampier, Mr Overvanstratton, governors, sea-captains, sea-crew and acquaintances,
including people Jesamiah has known from his past.

It was interesting to read of nautical terms and learn more about the sailing of the ships. The book
gives very good descriptions of the complexities involved during those times of the master and crew sailing the ship.
There is an index given in the book of the nautical terms.

I look forward to following the story of Tiola and Jesamiah in the following
books in the series “Pirate Code” “Bring It Closer” and “Ripples in the Sand.” I loved the romance and adventure of the story and the descriptions given on land and on the ocean wave were magnificent. Sea battles, chases, the lure of the ocean, romance and humour make for an enjoyable read!
This book is bright and wonderful. Jesamiah is a bold and adventurous pirate.