Saturday, July 20, 2013

Sissi: The Fateful Years of an Empress

Once again, the last film in the Sissi trilogy of films does not disappoint.  A wonderful film of magnificent settings and beauty.  These films are well recommended.

Sissi at one time leaves the Viennese court and travels to warmer climes.  The backdrop of scenery is magical and the pageantry of the times magnificent.  This is a film which will warm the very soul.  It is lovely..  The music and song and dancing are also wonderful.  The Viennese dances at court seem very different from the traditional folk music of Hungary.  The film is a splendour of romance and

Sissi travels to Hungary Madeira and Italy.  To see this film is a visual beauty

I now look forward to watching the film of Queen Victoria in Dover which complements the set of
the Sissi trilogy.

My best wishes

Friday, July 19, 2013

Daniel Deronda (film)

I enjoyed watching this fascinating film of Daniel Deronda.  A fascinating drama and also a social commentary of the times as this film also portrays the plight of the Jewish people in nineteenth century England and their struggle for acceptance and a place of their own in a promised land.  I actually found the film compelling viewing. 

I loved the costumes, the drama, the beauty of the settings and the artistry of the characters.  The singing and music.  It was wonderful.

 A wonderful script and character portrayal depicted in an era of charm and high society living.
A well recommended film!

Beautiful singing in the film in this you tube video:

Best wishes from Sandra

Thursday, July 11, 2013


I have recently watched two films of the trilogy of Sissi starring Romy Schneider and what beautiful films these are to view! So magical and wonderful!

I would recommend these films to people who love a romantic story and a beautiful setting.

Sissi was a princess of Bavaria who married the Emperor of Austria, Franz Joseph and became Empress.  I was enchanted by the beauty of the Austrian alps, the mountains where Sissi grew up
and where her family home was located.  In many ways I am reminded of the film The Sound of
Music, for the beauty of the settings and the charming household of siblings.

  Sissi was of a naturally happy and joyous nature with a
beautiful personality.  Her charm and natural ways enchanted the Emperor, who was very much also
under his mother's guidance.  His mother let it be known to him that she had stepped aside but she was also very much in control of political matters to a certain extent.

  Sissi was different from her mother-in-law with firm views of her own.  The people loved her.

The second film is of the story of Sissi as a young Empress.  This film is also wonderful.
The Austrian Alps and the Tyrol feature in this beautiful story in which Sissi is also crowned Queen of Hungary at Franz Joseph's coronation by popular acclaim.

The pageantry, music and beauty of these films remain in my imagination.  They are so beautiful.  I look forward to watching the third film of Sissi, the fateful years and there is also a film of Victoria in Dover, the Story of Vickie, which I also look forward to watching.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A beautiful poem by James Henry Leigh Hunt

A beautiful poem by James Henry Leigh Hunt: I found this poem on poem after it was mentioned to me yesterday.  I certainly do love this wonderful poem of inspiration and light.

Abou Ben Adhem

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:—
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the Presence in the room he said
"What writest thou?"—The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered "The names of those who love the Lord."
"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still, and said "I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men."

The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blessed,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.

Anonymous Submission
Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

The Chance by Karen Kingsbury

The Chance by Karen Kingsbury

This wonderful novel by Karen Kingsbury is an inspirational story of love.

It tells the story of two young people who are separated by circumstances beyond their control and over the years the love for each other is not forgotten. If anything, the love between them increases. Ellie and her true love make a compact promise that they will meet again in eleven years' time. This was to be at the old oak tree in the park where they spent so much of their time and was a favourite spot. So much happens in these eleven years and it is beyond comprehension that so many favourable and unfavourable circumstances occur in Ellie's life and yet she finds the strength and will power to survive and do well. She overcomes so many obstacles to make good her life, from raising a child on her own and overcoming the harsh uncompromising attitude of her father in her early days.

The settings of the story are wonderful and Ellie often reminiscences of her earlier days in a small town in the south where she was often the companion of her friend Nolan who lived close by and Ellie often also attended his basketball games where he had a great talent and will to succeed in his chosen sport and career.  This also because he wanted to excel for the memory of his father who had been his coach.

Ellie for many years would be cheering him on from the stands, always enjoying watching him play his marvellous game.

There is also the gift of promise in this beautiful story. A gift of hope, inspiration and beauty. There is redemption for Ellie's parents and forgiveness as Ellie had been prevented from seeing her mother for eleven years.

The truth at the end of the story is all clear. It is wonderful and magical as all doubts, misgivings and misunderstandings are put to rest and Ellie can finally move on with her life. The beauty of the human spirit which is capable of achieving great things!

The Chance is a wonderful story of love and faith. The truth is in the pages which are so elegantly written. A story of life. A story to cherish and a story of love.

The Red Rose of Anjou by Jean Plaidy

The Red Rose of Anjou is a wonderful story of the life of Margaret of Anjou who marries King Henry VI of England.
 It gives a fascinating account of the life of Margaret in her early years at the castles of
Saumur and Angers and her visits to the French Court during the reign of Charles VII of France. The story of Charles VII, his life as the Dauphin and his subsequent crowning at Rheims Cathedral by Joan of Arc all comes alive in this wonderful story of the times. As a Dauphin, Charles VII lacked confidence but gradually he became a strong king over time.

Margaret was the daughter of Isabelle of Lorraine and King Rene of Naples and Sicily and grand-daughter of Yolande of Aragon. Margaret did receive the title of princess which was beneficial for her when arragements for her marriage were being made. Her parents were a king and queen in title only and not in possession of their kingdom. Her mother was the daughter of the duke of Lorraine but because of the Salic law she was unable to inherit her father's castle or title and the dukedom went to a male relative. This did not occur without hostility from both sides of the family and whilst in battle King Rene was taken prisoner.

The Duke of Burgundy, who was a powerful ally for the Vaudemont family which was claiming the inheritance and title of the duchy of Lorraine, had disapproved of Rene and Isabelle succeeding to the duchy of

Lorraine. They were already in possession of the castle and duchy which greatly improved their standard of living and Margaret's childhood had been quite impoverished. Rene (subsequently known as Good King Rene, who had a love of painting, poetry and the arts) had shown himself to be loyal to King Charles VII of France previously and not shown his loyalty to the Duke of Burgundy. After a lengthy time of imprisonment, in which he had occupied himself by painting beautiful portraits and stained glass at Dijon Castle, he finally was granted his freedom on the condition that he allow his elder daughter, Yolande, to marry a son of the family,

whom Yolande ended up growing up with, befriending and eventually wishing to marry. It was very sad for all concerned when Rene's daughter, Yolande, left the family home. Rene always stalled the marriage until at the time of Margaret's wedding, of which the celebrations were arranged by Charles VII, that Yolande and Ferri de Vaudemont made it be known that they did wish to marry.

The processions through France and the magnificent pageantry are described in great detail when
Margaret eventually makes the journey to England to become the new queen. An English party come to France to escort her on her journey and she befriends the Marquess and Marchioness of Suffolk,

who become loyal allies for her and the king. It is interesting to read of the customs at the time and what was expected of a queen on a royal procession.i.e. to look like a queen and to give dresses and shoes away for the number of years of her age in one town as was a tradition. Margaret was grateful for the kindness and assistance shown her by the Marchioness of Suffolk in these matters.

I love the descriptions of old towns of England where the sense of history gives an added measure to the story, as for example, the descriptions of Coventry, which was an old town named for a convent which had been destroyed before the time of William the Conqueror and the Norman conquest. However the earl of Leofric and Lady Godiva had founded a Benedictine monastery. Henry VI enjoyed and loved this city and was responsible for various of the buildings there, as for example, St Mary's Hall with its fascinating style of carvings and figures and a beautiful coloured tapestry. There was also a St Michael's Church which had dated to the time of the first Henry and had been given to the monks of Coventry by Earl Randulph. It was a wonderful peaceful time at Coventry in which Henry VI recovered from his debilitating illness. His
new born baby, Prince Edward of Wales, was also brought to him at the castle of Coventry.

The book gives vivid and compelling descriptions of the times, the politics and the family of Richard, Duke of York and his wife, Cecily, the Duchess of York, the parents of the future Edward IV. The characters represented in the story are quite fascinating in themselves and the author has written of riveting times. The story flows with characters of history written as though the writer had an inside knowledge. Many of the chracters are likeable in their own way and the story is set amongst a background of conflict and aspirations, belief of a true claim to the throne of England which of course causes controversy, resulting in the wars of the Roses.

For aficionados of the genre of historical fiction this book is a gem.

The stories of kings, the history of the conflicts in France, the wars of the Roses and settings in historical towns of England make for a fascinating tale. In all of this Margaret is a compelling character of strength and tenacity in her role as the queen, often having to take matters into her own hands when the need arose because of the recurring illness of Henry VI. In this she had her role models in her own mother and grand-mother who were also strong women. The story is quite compelling and well recommended.