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Search tags: A-Song-of-Ice-and-Fir
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review 2018-08-06 21:16
Song at Dawn by Jean Gill
Song at Dawn - Jean Gill

Estela de Matin has secrets and that made her an engaging character right from the beginning. Alienor is intrigued too and takes her into her household out of curiosity. The women build a kind of trust even as politics and scheming threaten Queen Alienor and those around her. The Victomtess of Narbonne, Ermengarda, has to put her people first and the whole of France second. Estela is talented in both singing and playing her mandora, so she’s placed as a troubadour in training.

I thoroughly enjoyed this historical fiction. The history aspect was first and foremost. I loved all the details that made me feel like I was learning even while I was entertained. The fashion and gender roles of 12th century France are well incorporated to the tale. For example, it was fashionable for the ladies to have high foreheads, so some would modify their hairline by shaving part of their hair off to extend their foreheads.

While there were strong gender roles during this time period, the ladies were not sidelined in this tale. There is indeed romance, but they don’t spend all their time on it. So refreshing! I loved that the female characters would talk about all sorts of things and not just romance. They drove the plot and didn’t always have to rely on bedroom skills to do so.

Dragonetz was an interesting character as well. He’s a knight and a troubadour. He is sworn to serve the Queen but he also has a secret lover. He also has a dedicated spy and confidant – Sancha (spelling?). She’s a unique character in that she’s really a man who has chosen to live as a woman for decades. I really hope the series explores her character more.

I did leave the story feeling a little confused on three points. First, would Estela really have left home with so little? She comes from a privileged family and it’s not clear to me what could have forced her out on her own, literally sleeping in ditches. Second, I don’t get why Estela gave up her virginity when she did to who she did. I was left wondering if she just wanted it over with so she could stop worrying about it. Third, I don’t get Arno. The one weak thread in this novel is this idea of love above and beyond station, family, marriage, etc. I think  Arno was caught up in that and was supposed to be this example of unrequited courtly love… and yet it didn’t feel like a complete picture to me. With that said, some of these points might be made whole in the sequel.

The story ends with several dramatic scenes, wrapping up the main mystery of who has been leaving threats for the Queen. There’s still a larger mystery that Dragonetz must solve plus the politics of Narbonne are practically on fire at this point. The crusades weren’t all glory and profit and I loved that several aspects were displayed through the characters. All told, 4.5/5 stars.

The Narration: Jake Urry is always a treat to listen to. He has an excellent voice and I have enjoyed several stories that he has narrated. With that said, his female character voices could use a touch more variation. He can do a decent female voice, but all the ladies sounded like alto ladies. There wasn’t much difference from lady to lady. There was some singing in this book and often it was in a foreign language – and Urry did a great job with these songs. I also liked the little snippets of music between chapters. I know this is a small thing, but it took me forever to figure out that it was ‘Moor’ and not ‘maul’ that Urry was saying, referring to the one Moorish character in the story. 4.5/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Jake Urry. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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review 2018-07-29 15:14
Review: “A Love Song for the Sad Man in the White Coat” by Roe Horvat
A Love Song for the Sad Man in the White Coat - Roe Horvat

 

~ 5 STARS ~

 

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review 2018-07-29 12:40
A Love Song for the Sad Man in the White Coat
A Love Song for the Sad Man in the White Coat - Roe Horvat

“I regret the wasted time and energy. I regret what you went through. I will forever doubt there’s more to life than a limp shuffling toward a grave with just a few bright spots in between…”

Matěj snorted at the last one. “That’s a neat way to sum it up,” he commented sarcastically, making Simon smile into his hair.

Simon breathed in and out, the warm scent coming from Matěj’s nape underlined by the crisp air around them. “But tonight, my beautiful boy, the light is so bright I might as well be blind.”

 

I am going to try very hard as I write this review not to completely fall apart.  It has been a while since a book has impacted me quite as emotionally as this one has.  And while the tears have fallen, behind them was such beautiful and heartfelt emotion for these characters.  The writing is quite captivating and like with all of Roe’s books, quite unique. The structure of this one drew me in from the start and while it is the journey of 2 characters, it is the story of a group of friends as well.  It is about finding Home, about finding YOUR family and about finding “happiness and peace of mind”.

 

This is not what I would call a traditional romance but it is a love story.  As the title indicates, this is in fact “A Love Song”.  For me music can be felt in your soul.  It can impact you with no words at all.  And like with this beautiful “Love Song”, not everything is said with words.  To end one section of a book and simply turn a page, only to find yourself so emotionally impacted takes a talent that is hard to fully understand.  This book does that.  You will feel every emotion.  Every act. Every touch. Every breath and every action.  There are small gestures which read in the context of the book, mean everything.  This is about darkness and light and the colors in between.  This is about finding the person who helps you see though the darkness to find happiness and joy, love…to see light.

 

Matěj treated life like delicious food, just like he appreciated Simon’s books and hummed around a beer bottle. The boy knew how to enjoy things, how to marvel at things, how to savor impressions, how to feast on a pleasurable moment to its maximum capacity. It was a singular skill, wildly to be admired. When Simon found himself at the center of the man’s attention, those were easily the happiest minutes of his entire life. Everything in between lost color.

 

Let me not forget all the little things (which are actually quite big things)…the stick figures (yes, I just caught my breath and shed a tear); Tom Waits (who alone can conjure the right feelings and emotional tone of this story); dear Simon’s black and white apartment, and one of the most memorable and heartwarming trips to an ER I have read.  Add to this a cover that alone captures so much emotion and relates brilliantly to the darkness that surrounds these characters.

 

I know I have not said what this book is about.  Honestly I can’t put it into any words that will make sense.  It is a Song that must be heard for yourself…because how can you describe music that touches your soul?  You can’t.

 

*An ARC was received from the Author in exchange for an honest review.*

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text 2018-07-29 00:10
Reading progress update: I've read 56%.
A Love Song for the Sad Man in the White Coat - Roe Horvat

He surrendered himself to the sensations of roaming hands, a warm body pressed to his back and wet kisses on his neck. How long would Matěj stay? Could Simon say he didn’t really care who fucked whom as long as he was allowed to touch his beautiful boy? Simon wished there was a way to ask his lover to hold him until he fell asleep. Then Matěj could go, Simon wouldn’t mind. He only wanted to be held while falling asleep. He could imagine things then, and those things could spill over into his dreams. He could dream about being in love and about being loved back.

 

❤️ Simon ❤️

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text 2018-07-28 17:43
Reading progress update: I've read 45%.
A Love Song for the Sad Man in the White Coat - Roe Horvat

“And what else are you wondering?” Simon asked on a whisper, gathering courage.

There was a beat of silence. Matěj smiled, parting Simon’s lips with his thumb, and leaned in. “Mostly whether you’d let me do all the things I want to do to you. And how it would feel.”

 

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