Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Enchanting Chenonceau

The wonderful Chateau of Chenonceau


On a morning in June I visited this unique and wonderful chateau.

Its beauty certainly appeals set on the beautiful River Cher.

This chateau is famous for Diane de Poitiers, a mistress of Henri II, who was famously known

for her beauty.

The beautiful Chateau of Chenonceau was given to Diane by Henri II. Later Katherine de Medici

claimed the chateau and Diane moved to another Chateau of Chaumont.

There is a lovely walk through an avenue of trees which seemed to glimmer in the sunlight

and at the same time provide shade on the way to the entrance of the chateau.

Then, suddenly, a wonderful vision of a beautiful chateau which looms large as the visitors

of the group approach.

This is scenic wonder! So amazing and beautiful!

The salamander of Francis I, King of France, is visible over the doorway.

There is a beautiful chapelat the entrance, a wonderful hallway with a vase of flowers,

magnificent views over the river and surrounding countryside and a room dedicated to

Louis XIV as he visited the chateau in July 1650.

It is lovely to wander around this beautiful and stately chateau, view the open countryside

and flowing river from the windows high up in the chateau, visit the kitchens and the

bedrooms of previous queens. There is also a Diane de Poitiers bedroom and a bedroom of

Gabrielle d'Estrees, mistress of Henri IV.

There is an interesting little green room upstairs which is known as the room from where

Katherine de Medici reigned over France.

The gallery is magnificent and when I visited there was information regarding the time

when Rousseau stayed at the chateau as a guest of Madame Dupin. The chateau of

Chenonceau was a place of inspiration for Rousseau.

Beautiful tapestries, paintings and motifs from renaissance times adorn the chateau.

It is wonderful to visit.

The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer

The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer

I loved reading this book by Georgette Heyer.

A wonderful adventure story and romance.

This book is set in the countryside at many of the country inns

which were often habited by members of the nobility on their travels.

Characters, places, towns and settings add interest and sparkle

to this unique story.

The Corinthian is Sir Richard Wyndham of the Wyndham Fall,

made quite famous in fashionable London, by the tying of his

cravat. He is accused of being a dandy by a few people in the story, but he is not this at all.

At one time Sir Richard is told by a disgruntled matron
that she has “the greatest dislike of all forms of dandyism” and has “ever deplored the influence exerted by the Bow -Window set upon young men of respectable upbringing.”

This is at a time when the lady's niece, Miss Penelope

Creed, has run away and she is searching for her with a view to her marrying her son.

Sir Richard Wyndham and Miss Penelope Creed, who is living in disguise, unwittingly

come across a stolen necklace which needs to be returned to its owner and meet with

some unexpected happenings along the way when they encounter thieves and villains.

The story is amusing, enchanting and appealing. Humorous dialogue also carries the story.

I loved reading this story. The romance is quite extraordinary. The characters of the novel apealing.

There are two romances in the story and the parralel romance is quite unusual also, involving a mid-night excursion to Gretna Green for an elopement.

An extraordinary set of circumstances brings about this unusual twist in the tale. Two families who were at odds with each other as similarly in the story of the Montagues and Capulets in Romeo and Juliet gave an added dimension to this adventure story.

Georgette Heyer, known as the Queen of the Regency Romance,

writes well of these earlier times, with inclusion of thieves's cant,

a reference of the Rogues' Calendar, Bow Street Runners and the Beau Monde set,

the “haut ton” of the worldm, many who reside in London, including the mother, sister and brother-in-law of Sir Richard.

Sir Richard is also being pressured and expected to marry against his better inclinations to a daughter of a family whereby a business arrangement is expected as he is informed quite frankly and directly by the daughter of the family.

Sir Richard believes that Penelope Creed has come into his life in the guise of Providence, as he tells her, either that or of Disaster and at the moment in reflection he does not care which. The story is very humorous.

The story commences in London and it is a lovely story. Well worth reading!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The wonderful world of Charlotte Betts' books Part II

The Apothecary's Daughter

Having read and enjoyed “The Painter's Apprentice” I was keen

to read the story which preceded this wonderful book.

The Apothecary's Daughter tells the story of Beth's mother

Susannah, who grew up in Fleet Street, London at her father's

apothecary shop. Beth had grown up learning her craft from

her father of herbal rememdies and cures and enjoyed working in her

father's apothecary shop.

However, there were changes in the air, not always

for the best for Susannah at first glance, though she eventually

finds her place in the world. Susannah's father, a widow, had

decided to marry again which turned Susannah's world upside


This book is magnificent in detail with great descriptive writing.

However, as this book is set twenty years previously to “The Painter's

Apprentice” it brings the reader to the grim realities of London during

the plague years of 1665 and the Great Fire of London of 1666.

This book is emotional and sentimental with wonderful depictions of

life as it was in London during these troubled times of the seventeenth


This story is also a beautiful romance which appeals though I tend to enjoy “The Painter's

Apprentice” for the beauty of the romance. Many of the settings of London

were quite beautiful with golden sunsets, day trips and boat rides on the river Thames.

The romance is between Susannah and one of her father's customers at the apothecary shop,

Doctor William Ambrose, a fairly sombre professional man who works hard in London tending

his many patients. This romance evolves during the story.

There is some wonderful writing by Charlotte Betts describing the horror

and fear in London.

There are also beautiful descriptions given in the

writing of the sunsets, the River Thames, London streets and alleys

and also of beautiful Merryfields, the place

where Susannah eventually leaves London to live.

Strong writing and character make this book wonderful to read.

The wonderful world of Charlotte Betts' books:

I am constantly impressed by the talent and creativity

of contemporary authors of today.

I have recently read two books by Charlotte Betts which are

set in the seventeenth century.

I enjoyed reading both of these books.

The Painter's Apprentice is a wonderful descriptive story of London

set during the time of James II and depicts life as it was during

those fascinating times in London. Horses and carriages, an elegant style of living and the manners and mores of the times are evident in the writing.

The settings of London and its surrounds are quite fascinating and

the characters of the story are endearing.

I loved the romance of the story of Beth who falls in love with a

a budding and ambitious architect from the New World

who assists Sir Christopher Wren with many

of the new works including a church which are flourishing in London at this time.

Beth visits London to assist the Bishop at Fulham Palace with drawing and depicting the flowers and plants of his botanical gardens.

Beth has come from an unusual but loving home whereby her parents

helped and assisted unfortunate people of society who did not have

anywhere else to go to and would have been sent to the Bedlam Asylum

if not for the repose offered at Beth's home of Merryfields.

It was here

that Beth gained her invaluable skills as an apprentice painter to one of the

long term residents. This aspect of the story is quite fascinating with

variable descriptions of previous events in history which may have affected

some of the residents.

The story also gives an indication of the times and the way of life of seventeenth

century London. The mood of the times, the populace of London and

aspects of the reign of James II are also described.

The story gives descriptions of the events which eventually

lead to the Glorious Revolution and Princess Mary, daughter of James II and her

husband, William of Orange, succeeding to the throne of England.

The romance and sense of adventure, the fascinating portrayal of members of Beth's

family and the enduring beauty of many of the scenes with descriptive and expressive

writing give credence to this wonderful story.