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Recommended Read – ‘Paris’ by Edward Rutherfurd

City of love. City of splendour. City of terror. City of dreams.

Inspired by the haunting, passionate story of the city of lights, this epic novel weaves a gripping tale of four families across the centuries: from the lies that spawn the noble line of de Cygne to the revolutionary Le Sourds who seek their destruction; from the Blanchards whose bourgeois respectability offers scant protection against scandal to the hard-working Gascons and their soaring ambitions.

Over hundreds of years, these four families are bound by forbidden loves and marriages of convenience; dogged by vengeance and murderous secrets; torn apart by the irreconcilable differences of birth and faith, and brought together by the tumultuous history of their city. Paris bursts to life in the intrigue, corruption and glory of its people.

Author of Sarum, London and New York, Edward Rutherfurd illuminates Paris as only he can: capturing the romance and everyday drama of the men and women who, in two thousand years, transformed a humble trading post on the muddy banks of the Seine into the most celebrated city in the world.

Mr Rutherfurd has written an engrossing saga of interwoven stories of four families who lived and loved in the city of Paris, families which come from all aspects of society – nobility, bourgeois, revolutionary and labourer. The lives of these fictional families are skilfully entwined with the history of the city from its earliest days to the Second World War and beyond, which makes the novel ideal for someone who wants to get an overview of the history of Paris and how different social groups influenced, or were influenced by, events. Each family history is carefully plotted and although there are rather a lot of co-incidences these are necessary to bring the characters together in a complex yet coherent plot, ‘Paris’ is, after all, historical fiction not fact.

Mr Rutherfurd has obviously conducted a great deal of detailed research into the history of France and Paris which is evident in the complexities of both the culture and politics of France which he has handled with skill. Whilst the main portion of the novel covers the period from 1875 to the mid-1960’s this story is interspersed with cameos of the families from 1261 onwards, the abiding theme being the socialist and revolutionary spirit of many of the city’s inhabitants. This is an effective way of telling the story of Paris without overwhelming the reader with too much detail or including information just for the sake of it. Mr Rutherford seems to get the right balance here, and anyone who wants to find out more about any of the periods will be able to conduct further research for themselves.

‘Paris’ is a story of divided loyalties, lies, deceit, love, honour, and a whole raft of other emotions, all told against the backdrop of this vibrant city. One fascinating aspect of the novel is the descriptions of the landscape and architecture and how these changed over the centuries. The physical space of the city is so well written that you can feel yourself there, and anyone who has ever visited Paris will recognise the authenticity of the descriptions from Versailles to Notre Dame, the Eifel Tower to Montmartre.

Mr Rutherfurd has a writing style which is engaging and moves the story on at a good pace. The one thing which readers may find difficult to follow is the relationships of the characters and family histories but the author has provided excellent family trees to help with this, and the more you read the less you need to use them. What draws the reader in is the believable characters who elicit a variety of responses, from sympathy to anger; what is interesting is that you are able to see the history of France from many different perspectives and find your sympathies residing with different parts of society at different times. It takes a very clever wordsmith to create such a believable world for his characters to inhabit.

I would recommend ‘Paris’ to anyone who enjoys historical sagas. The novel is an easy and engaging read from which it is possible to learn a great deal whilst also being entertained. Based on my enjoyment of this book I shall certainly be reading more novels written by Edward Rutherfurd.

‘Paris’ can be found on Amazon

Mr Rutherfurd’s website can be found here

More of my Recommended Reads can be found here

Happy New Year

2016 had its ups and downs for all of us, wherever we live. But 2016 is over and we face a new year full of new promises and new possibilities. We all have our hopes and dreams for the coming year, and I hope that 2017 brings you all that you wish for yourself.

Wishing you a happy, fulfilling, peaceful and prosperous New Year,

Dorinda

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A Merry Christmas to all my readers

We are coming to the end of another busy year. After much hard work my novel The Cavalier Historian has finally made it into print and is already proving popular. I am now working on a story set during the Second World War. So far I have spent many happy hours researching the war in North Africa and have now put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard!) on the new novel.  I have also written a novella about the main characters in the new book which you can access here. Please help yourself to a free copy for Christmas!

I hope  that your year has been equally successful. I wish you a very Happy Christmas and hope that 2017 is all that you wish for.

Dorinda

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Book Review – ‘The Secret Wife’ by Gill Paul

the-secret-wifeA Russian grand duchess and an English journalist. Linked by one of the world’s greatest mysteries . . .

Love. Guilt. Heartbreak.

1914 Russia is on the brink of collapse, and the Romanov family faces a terrifyingly uncertain future. Grand Duchess Tatiana has fallen in love with cavalry officer Dmitri, but events take a catastrophic turn, placing their romance – and their lives – in danger . . .

2016 Kitty Fisher escapes to her great-grandfather’s remote cabin in America, after a devastating revelation makes her flee London. There, on the shores of Lake Akanabee, she discovers the spectacular jewelled pendant that will lead her to a long-buried family secret . . .Haunting, moving and beautifully written, The Secret Wife effortlessly crosses centuries, as past merges with present in an unforgettable story of love, loss and resilience.

 ‘The Secret Wife’ is an engrossing read which takes the reader back to the days of the Russian Revolution and on through the years of the 20th century. It follows the life and loves of Dmitri, an aristocrat who has to flee from the communist regime not knowing where the woman he loves is, or even if she is still alive. It is a tale of war, romance, lost love and redemption. The book also follows the troubled life of Kitty, Dmitri’s great-granddaughter, whose research into the life of her ancestor helps her to come to terms with problems in her own life and helps her to make a decision about what she wants for her future. The two stories are expertly woven together into a novel which I found difficult to put down.

Ms Paul has written a truly captivating novel with strong characters and a strong, believable story line. The history, particularly the turbulent times surrounding the lives of the Romanov’s, has been well researched and is presented in a style which is easy to read yet immerses the reader in the political intrigue and violence of revolution and the life of a political refugee. Ms Paul also expertly delves into the psychological impact that such events would have on an individual. It is easy to sympathise with Dmitri as he struggles to come to terms with his changed circumstances, with Tatiana as she copes with violence and loss, and with Kitty as she understands why she is the person she is and finds a new direction for here future.

Many of the characters in this novel are actual historical figures about whom we know quite a lot, but historical evidence for what happened to some of them disappears after 1916/17. We do know the fate of some (no spoilers!), but it would be nice to think that Ms Paul’s story could be true!

If you like historical fiction, sagas, intrigue, strong characters and a story which draws you in right from the start then please give this book a read. I will certainly be reading more of Ms Paul’s books in the future.

Ms Pauls website can be found here

The Secret Wife can be found on Amazon

You can find more of my Recommended Reads here

 

Great books for Christmas

Christmas is fast approaching, and books are as popular as ever as gifts. The question is, how do you make a decision with so many to choose from? Maybe this will help:-

Do you know someone who likes
Heronfield

Historical fiction
Epic stories
Family sagas
World War 2
Books which are character driven
Great dialogue
Intriguing plot lines
A little bit of romance
If so, then ‘Heronfield’ could be just the book for them!

 

Check it out here,
or buy now

Print edition
Kindle
Other ebook formats

The Historical Novel Society says of ‘Heronfield’The characters are incredibly realistic; it is difficult to set Heronfield down. It would not be possible to write a story about the bravery of the soldiers or the Resistance without making sure that the reader is aware of just why they were so brave, and this is put across tactfully, but still gives the reader an idea of the horrors faced by these people. An amazing read.

‘Heronfield’ not the book for the person you are thinking off? Do they like

The Guardians

 

Supernatural stories
Ghosts
A little bit of history
A little bit of horror
Intriguing plot lines
Interesting characters

Then maybe ‘The Guardians’ would make a great sticking filler!

 

Check it out here, or buy now
Print edition
Kindle

Whatever you choose, I wish you and your loved ones a very Happy Christmas!

Book launch – The Guardians

If you have been waiting for my second book – the wait is over!

‘The Guardians’ is available on Kindle from today. Print version will follow soon.

The Guardians

The gold of El Dorado belonged to the Aztecs. Their gods will do anything to protect it.

It is all too easy to lose focus on what is really important in life when surrounded by the pressures and demands of modern living. It can take something extraordinary, something out of this world, to re-focus us on life’s priorities.

For archaeologist Rick Gibson the priority is to discover a ‘great find’ which will make him a household name, and he is prepared to sacrifice everything – his home, his wife, his son – to achieve this. After years of disappointment Gibson’s luck changes with the discovery of an ancient manuscript detailing the hiding place of the Aztec treasure of Montezuma. Gibson leads a dig to Mexico to uncover the famous treasure of El Dorado, but it is not as easy as he had assumed for the treasure is guarded. ‘The Guardians’ come from the world of the dead to protect the treasure and, one by one, the members of Gibson’s party suffer the consequences.

The suspense builds from a gentle beginning in suburban England to a terrifying climax with supernatural forces of good and evil battling for supremacy. Woven skilfully into the narrative are the questions which all humans face, and the answers to which will bring life, or death, for Gibson.