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review 2018-12-01 20:34
An Army, a Parliament, a King, and a dash of idealism
Garland Of Straw - Stella Riley

 

'It was never going to be anything other than it was. The route to being rid of him.’

 

Second in Stella Riley's Roundheads and Cavaliers series, we're once again immersed into political, societal, and familial drama during the second part of the English Civil War (1640s). The first in the series (The Black Madonna) was about the build up and first part while also introducing us to three families and other assorted characters that represented sides of the war. While the first installment mainly followed a Roundhead family along with an outsider's perspective, our heroine is a Cavalier and forced to marry a Roundhead.

 

While in the first, I thought the author had too many irons in the fire that lead to a somewhat fractured story, she nails the inclusion of real historical events and people with her fictional characters. Our hero Gabriel is a Colonel in the Roundhead army and thus, we are given an amazing inclusion and relay of the events of the day.

 

So that,’ concluded Venetia, ‘is it. I’m required to forget the man I’ve been betrothed to for five years in order to marry a base-born Roundhead usurper.

 

If you read the first in the series, you'll remember Venetia and her betrothal to Ellis Brendan. She's a heroine that will make you feel like she takes stubbornness and obstinate actions to the next level for the majority of the story. Her forced hand and lack of control in instances of vital importance are worth remembering but mirrored against Gabriel's strong, steadfast, and generous attitude, will have you feeling very frustrated with her. Their romance is very slow burning and the turmoil swirling around them are much more front and center; this is historical fiction with a thread of romance. That is not to say that their romance isn't inspired, Gabriel is a hero you'll fall in love with, just that I couldn't help reveling in all the historical drama taking place.

 

Said Algernon Sidney, ‘The King can be tried by no Court; and no man can be tried by this Court.’

I tell you,’ replied Cromwell, ‘we will cut off his head with the Crown upon it.’

 

The way the author relayed history and wove it into a story that was entertaining along with intellectually stimulating deserves a standing ovation. I was lost into the various different factions of the Army, Parliament, rising up of Levellers, and various others fighting for control, and bringing and introducing new ideals that pop up in our government today. This was living breathing history that directly shaped and impacts us today. I felt the passion of Free-born John, the self-righteousness of Cromwell, the weariness and fear of the people, and the monumental moment of trying a King.

 

Our heroine and hero have a bit of side story and drama but I thought the author did a better job, than the first, of integrating it into the overall and spotlight deserving Army and Parliament battles of the Civil War. Books like this is how you reach people who think history is boring, they'll learn, it will spark thinking, and be entertained. I can't wait to read on in the series to follow along with these characters Riley has created to see what becomes of them, not mention England's growth struggle.

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text 2018-11-30 17:39
50%
Garland Of Straw - Stella Riley

‘It’s starting all over again, isn’t it? The taking of sides and being at odds with your neighbours … and the killing.  And for what?  So the Parliament and the Army and the King can go on squabbling endlessly amongst themselves while the rest of us suffer?’

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text 2018-11-27 00:32
15%
Garland Of Straw - Stella Riley

 

 

‘Nothing can convince me why any man born in England should not have his voice in elections,’ snapped Rainsborough hotly. ‘All Englishmen are subject to English laws – and the foundation of all law lies in the people.  Where does it say “I am a poor man – therefore I shall be oppressed”?  And I would know what we have fought for, if not for our laws and liberties!’

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text 2018-11-26 17:35
Reading Update: 5%
Garland Of Straw - Stella Riley

 

George was to stop the Parliament denuding the Army of artillery [and thus hastening its disbandment] by securing the Oxford magazine; and then, with a troop of volunteers at his back, he was to proceed to Northamptonshire and prevent a second civil war by making sure that neither the Scots Commissioners nor their Presbyterian allies in the Commons put an ace up their collective sleeve by carrying off the King. 

 

I could't find an actual Fawkes themed story on my shelves but this takes place a few decades after (1640s) and is dealing with the end of the English Civil War and how now parliament and the army are fighting. 

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review 2018-05-19 00:00
The Black Madonna
The Black Madonna - Stella Riley The Black Madonna - Stella Riley Without a buddy read (with my dears Whiskey/Kyra and Joanna...) I might have DNFed. I'm so glad I didn't. I also don't really have the energy to write about this-it was a hugely intricate (more-historical-fiction than-romance) novel with so many threads (the first 20-30% was hard to keep straight, and POVs switched often), but after the styling and set-up was there, there was wonderful interactions, family dynamics etc.

And Kate. And Luc, and Luc and Kate. Who get all the stars. After Richard and Dorothy anyway. The middle 40% was mostly about the historical, family and dramatic intrigue, and the final bit was so exciting and paced so nimbly it was near impossible to put down. If you like your romance with a heavy historical bend, not to mention another interesting subplot or six, rich/ nuanced characters and a perfectly matched couple...this is well worth a read.

I have a bunch of highlights, but I'm feeling drained...like I said before I started babbling.
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