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review 2017-03-31 12:30
Book Review: Rebel Queen
Rebel Queen: A Novel - Michelle Moran

"Rebel Queen recounts the story of Sita, a beautiful young woman from a remote village in nineteenth century India, who is granted a rare opportunity to serve in Queen Lakshmi's elite all-female army, the Durga Dal. Leaving behind her widowed father and young sister, Sita travels to the Kingdom of Jhansi and begins a new life of opulence and excitement, all while saving money for her sister's dowry. Her good luck is short-lived, however, as the British army gains a stronghold in India and threatens to take over Queen Lakshmi's throne. Intrigue, deception, murder, and culture clashes ensue, but the queen does not give up her kingdom without a fight. Sita, ever faithful to her queen, pledges her allegiance to the kingdom, even though it means she must sacrifice her beloved family and a way of life that can never be reclaimed."

It seems to me that a lot of wars could have been prevented if the British hadn't had such an inflated idea about themselves and just stopped trying to take over everywhere they went. I mean come on man... couldn't you just have traded and enjoyed the hospitality shown to you by these countries? No... of course not... you had to conquer it all... it kind of reminds me of my son not wanting to share his toys... but also wanting his friends' toys at the same time!

I'll admit my ignorance when it comes to the history of India, so while this book was very informative, it wasn't quite as exciting or good as I think it could have been. I guess those are the limitations when writing historical fiction and trying to stick to the facts as much as possible? Either way, I think the author didn't do herself a lot of favors by skimming over the action-y scenes, as it would have lent a bit more oomph to an otherwise just okay book.

The characters were generally well developed, with a few misses here and there. Sometimes they seemed deep and sincere, and at other times they were superficial and unreal. Especially Anu didn't ring true in the end, although I guess what she went through could change someone as completely as it did her... thank God I don't know, and I sincerely hope I never find out.

If nothing else, I found myself googling India and Jhansi and the palace, so at least I'm better informed now than before I read this book. And while I respect other cultures and think it's wrong to wage war to force them to conform to your own culture and religion as has been and still is the case... I am so grateful that I was not born a woman in India! Purdah sounds like the worst kind of punishment devised, and I find it so hard to try and understand why!? And these poor women don't even know what they're missing... as Sita says in the book... that's just the way things were, and they didn't know there was any other options.

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text 2017-01-03 00:20
January TBR 2017
Victoria: A Novel from the Creator/Writer of the Masterpiece Presentation on PBS - Daisy Goodwin
Mata Hari's Last Dance: A Novel - Michelle Moran
Assault and Beret - Jenn McKinlay
A Perilous Undertaking - Deanna Raybourn
Médicis Daughter: A Novel of Marguerite de Valois - Sophie Perinot
One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd - Jim Fergus
The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street: A Novel - Susan Jane Gilman

Hello everyone!

 

One of my reading goals for 2017 is to read from a set TBR. I found in 2016,  I wasted a lot of time searching for my next read. I want to pick up the next book on my listed TBR and if it doesn't wow me in about 50 pages, just move along. Since I get most of my books from the library I don't have an issue with a ruthless DNF. In reviewing my goals from last year, I did pretty well with reading from different genres and reading more than watching television. So I'm going to stick with that for this new year and start off 2017 by focusing on some historical fiction. I have two much anticipated new mystery releases I will be reading as well.

 

I look forward to reading some of your goals as well! I find they inspire me to stick with mine.

 

Happy reading!

 

 

 

 

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review 2017-01-02 15:02
The Second Empress
The Second Empress: A Novel of Napoleon's Court - Michelle Moran

Another enjoyable read from Michelle Moran. This author consistently writes historical fiction novels I enjoy.

I knew very little about Marie Louise, the second wife of Napoleon. This book paints her as a young princess forced into a marriage to keep the peace and save her family. The story is told from three different point of views - Marie Louise, Pauline (Napoleon's sister) and Paul a mixed race chamberlain who takes care of Pauline and Napoleon. I believe Paul's character is meant to shine light on Napoleon's involvement with slavery and his effect on Haiti. I'm not quite sure it was that effective. It did make me want to read more about what happened there, so I guess that's a win.

Napoleon is portrayed as crazy and terrifying. I've never seen him portrayed any other way so I didn't learn much new about him. The battles take place off stage, the focus of this book are the people surrounding him.

As usual, I did enjoy the chapters at the conclusion explaining what is fact and what Ms. Moran took liberties with. I was surprised at how much was actually fact.

I recommend this book for historical fiction fans. It was a quick, entertaining read.

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review 2016-07-19 15:34
"Mata Hari's Last Dance", by Michelle Moran
Mata Hari's Last Dance: A Novel - Michelle Moran

In this latest tale inspired by Mata Hari, Michelle Moran brings to life the infamous and enigmatic dancer, courtesan and suspected spy. In the narrative we follow Margaretha Zelle MacLeod “M’greet” better known as Mata Hari rise to fame as a dancer and courtesan to the decline of her career and finally her fall from grace as she is accused of espionage.

Michelle Moran is one of my favourite historical fiction writers, this time she brings to the forefront the lives of strong, independent women to WW1 and has giving us a vivid look at how they lived in a stifling era. M’greet had a hard start in life and to escape her fate she created the mystic that became Mata Hari, used her charms to conquer men’s devotion and spent her time dancing and horizontally entertaining them. Although, Ms. Moran’s fast-paced tale is not graphic at all it does leave a vivid impression. M’grett promiscuous, flirtatious and carefree lifestyle captivated not only her audience but a myriad of male admirers from high ranking military officers, politicians and powerful men in influential position in many countries….. In time of war it was a dangerous way of life and in February 1917 spy agent H21 known as Mata Hari was taken into custody, later to be accused and put to death.

This book is not overly taxing and is rather short (less than 300 pages) In fact I think Ms. Moran made a right decision to cut short her narrative. Too many dances, too many conquers to describe would have made this story boring by focusing on the important points and getting the point across we have the base needed to better know who was Mata Hari, her background and who she became. Well-done Ms. Moran

Thank you Simon& Schuster and NetGalley for the ARC “This is the Way I see it” my thoughts are mine and have not been influenced by the offer.

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text 2016-03-23 02:28
Rebel Queen: A Novel - Michelle Moran

DNF at 36%. I may come back to this someday: it's not bad. But it is shallow in its characterization and description, and with so many more books to read than I have time, I just can't afford to waste hours on one I don't love.

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