Beauvallet by Georgette Heyer

311156Now this is a swashbuckler to make your heart race! Notorious pirate Nicholas Beauvallet is haunting the waters of Spain, plundering and sinking any ships that come across his path. It’s this way that he meets Dona Dominica and her ailing father. He leaves the two in Spain, but not before giving Dominica a promise–a promise to infiltrate Spain and bring her back to England, regardless of the fact if caught he would certainly be put to death.

I love this book so much and I can’t believe that I waited this long to read this Heyer book! I have mostly read her Georgian and Regency era books (though I’m nearing the end of my read through of her historical works…) and I guess I was a little wary to branch out. Worried that it wouldn’t seem like a Heyer novel, or be as good. I was wrong on all accounts and I’m so glad I was. I can’t express enough love for this book, and I can’t wait to include it in my regular rotation of Heyer re-reads.

What I have left to read of Heyer: An Infamous Army, The Spanish Bride, The Great Roxhythe, Simon the Coldheart, The Conqueror, Royal Escape and My Lord John.

★★★★★

Review: Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

fingersmithFingersmith made me realize that I really should not have put off reading Sarah Waters for so long. Fingersmith has been sitting on my shelf for a couple of years now. Since I’m officially trying to work my way through the women writers on my shelf however, Sarah Waters was an obvious choice. I’ve been hearing fantastic things about her work for years and all of it was completely right!

This is a fantastic novel with several twists and turns that I did not see coming. The story is about two orphaned girls, Maud and Sue. The only reason that Sue ever meets Maud is because she’s going to tip her the double. Both girls don’t know is there is something else guiding all the events, and the two girls are caught up in a plot that neither of them expected. Separated, both girls struggle with the longing that they feel for each other.

Needless to say, I love this book! It’s got it all: a tender and forbidden romance, a murder, a sane person trapped in an asylum, conspiracies, double agents, betrayals (after betrayals!), twists, turns, perverts, mysteries and suspense.

★★★★★

10 Awesome Books Written By Women!

therobberbrideThe Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood
“Set in contemporary Toronto, the novel revolves around the lives of three fascinating women. Classmates from university, Roz, Charis, and Tony all shared the seductive and destructive experience of a past friendship with the flashy, sensuous, smart, irresistible Zenia. As the novel opens, they are twenty years past their college days and have met at Zenia’s funeral. At lunch, after the funeral, they spot Zenia — not dead at all and up to no good.”

The Luminaries by Eleanor Cattontheluminaries
“It is 1866, and young Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On the stormy night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men who have men in secret to discuss a series of unexplained events: A wealthy man has vanished, a prostitute has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely ornate as the night sky.”

thedispossessedThe Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
“Shevek, a brilliant physicist, decides to take action. He will seek answers, question the unquestionable, and attempt to tear down the walls of hatred that have isolated his planet of anarchists from the rest of the civilized universe. To do this dangerous task will mean giving up his family and possibly his life. Shevek must make the unprecedented journey to the utopian mother planet, Anarres, to challenge the complex structures of life and living, and ignite the fires of change.”stlucyshomeforgirls

St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell
“In the collection’s title story, a pack of girls raised by wolves are painstakingly reeducated by nuns. In “Haunting Olivia,” two young boys make midnight trips to a boat graveyard in search of their dead sister, who set sail in the exoskeleton of a giant crab. In “Z.Z.’s Sleepaway Camp for Disordered Dreamers,” a boy whose dreams foretell implacable tragedies is sent to a summer camp for troubled sleepers (Cabin 1, Narcoleptics; Cabin 2, Sleep Apneics; Cabin 3, Somnambulists . . . ). And “Ava Wrestles the Alligator” introduces the remarkable Bigtree Wrestling Dynasty–Grandpa Sawtooth, Chief Bigtree, and twelve-year-old Ava–proprietors of Swamplandia!, the island’s #1 Gator Theme Park and Cafe.”

thenightircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called “Le Cirque des Reves,” and it is only open at night. But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway–a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love–a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.”

When She Woke by Hillary Jordanwhenshewoke
“Bellwether Prize winner Hillary Jordan s provocative new novel, “When She Woke,” tells the story of a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate an America of a not-too-distant future, where the line between church and state has been eradicated and convicted felons are no longer imprisoned and rehabilitated but chromed their skin color is genetically altered to match the class of their crimes and then released back into the population to survive as best they can. Hannah is a Red; her crime is murder. In seeking a path to safety in an alien and hostile world, Hannah unknowingly embarks on a path of self-discovery that forces her to question the values she once held true and the righteousness of a country that politicizes faith.”

grotesqueGrotesque by Natsuo Kirino
“In her riveting new novel “Grotesque,” Kirino once again depicts a barely known Japan. This is the story of three Japanese women and the interconnectedness of beauty and cruelty, sex and violence, ugliness and ambition in their lives. Tokyo prostitutes Yuriko and Kazue have been brutally murdered, their deaths leaving a wake of unanswered questions about who they were, who their murderer is, and how their lives came to this end. As their stories unfurl in an ingeniously layered narrative, coolly mediated by Yuriko’s older sister, we are taken back to their time in a prestigious girls’ high school–where a strict social hierarchy decided their fates–and follow them through the years as they struggle against rigid societal conventions.”

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolverthepoisonwoodbible
“The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it — from garden seeds to Scripture — is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.”

thelakeofdeadlanguagesThe Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman
“Twenty years ago, Jane Hudson left the Heart Lake School for Girls in the Adirondacks after a terrible tragedy. Now she has returned to the placid, isolated shores of the lakeside school as a Latin teacher, recently separated and hoping to make a fresh start with her young daughter. But ominous messages from the past dredge up forgotten memories that will become a living nightmare.”

The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oatestheaccursed
“Princeton, New Jersey, at the turn of the twentieth century: a tranquil place to raise a family, a genteel town for genteel souls. But something dark and dangerous lurks at the edges of the town, corrupting and infecting its residents. Vampires and ghosts haunt the dreams of the innocent. A powerful curse besets the elite families of Princeton; their daughters begin disappearing. A young bride on the verge of the altar is seduced and abducted by a dangerously compelling man-a shape-shifting, vaguely European prince who might just be the devil, and who spreads his curse upon a richly deserving community of white Anglo-Saxon privilege. And in the Pine Barrens that border the town, a lush and terrifying underworld opens up.”

Putting together this list made me think that I really need to focus on reading some modern female authors–it was really hard for me to not include writers from the 19th century! Which books written by women are are your favorite?

Review: The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy

scarletI first heard of The Scarlet Pimpernel when I was in 7th grade. My homeroom teacher read a passage of it aloud and I remember being completely enamored by the book, but for some reason, despite the fact that I thought about it now and again, I never read the book.

Reading it ten years or so later, I don’t remember what passage my teacher had read aloud, but I still like the book. Not as much as I had hoped, I did feel myself getting tired of it in the beginning for a little bit but eventually the story got going along. While I knew it was a swashbuckling tale of adventure, I was not aware of what an awesome love story there was included! Enough to make you swoon.

In the end however, it may have been years of holding it on a pedestal, but it did not fulfill my expectations and I’m left a little disappointed. Despite the grisly backdrop of the French Revolution, perhaps it was just a little too lighthearted for my taste.

4/5 stars.