The Lost Boys of London (Bianca Goddard Mysteries #5) by Mary Lawrence

The Lost Boys of London (Bianca Goddard…

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Set in the final years of King Henry VIII’s reign, an alchemist’s daughter uses her skills to aid the living and helps seek justice for the dead…

While her husband fights the Scots on behalf of King Henry VIII, Bianca Goddard earns her coin by concocting medicines that offer relief to London’s sick. Some unfortunates, however, are beyond any remedies she can provide—like the young boy discovered hanging from a church dripstone. Examining the body, Bianca finds a rosary twined around the child’s neck. A week later, another boy is found dead at a different church. When Bianca’s impish acquaintance, Fisk, goes missing, she fears he may become the third victim…

There are many villains who would prey on wayward, penniless boys. But Bianca suspects the killings are not brutal acts of impulse, but something far more calculated. In her room of Medicinals and Physickes, she examines the sole piece of evidence: a sweet-smelling, stained cloth. If Bianca can unravel its secret, reputations and lives will be saved. The expected hour of the next murder is approaching, and a single misstep may mean another boy is lost forever

REVIEW

A thoroughly enjoyable murder mystery set in London during Henry VIII’s tumultuous reign. Bianca Goddard is one persistent sleuth as she unravels a series of crimes where there are many persons of interest and motives. Tis a plot full of surprises including the fate of her husband, off fighting for Henry in Scotland. The author has once again got me to wondering how people lived in any big city. Her descriptions of the city are wonderful, the markets, the churches, heck the smells alone eke out from the pages; a heady mixture of human waste, rotting garbage, and the ever pleasant aroma of tanneries. The main characters are enlivened with the speech of the streets; the patois of constables and street sellers, making the narrative not only realistic, but page turning as well. So, my fellow readers follow along as Bianca struggles to solve the crimes while emotionally burdened with the loss of her baby, and the unknown fate of her husband. A fitting conclusion to the series awaits you.  4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Katharina Fortitude by Margaret Skea

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Eagerly-awaited conclusion to Katharina Deliverance – Runner-up in the Historical Novel Society New Novel Award 2018.

‘Beautifully written and meticulously researched – historical fiction at its best.’ BooksPlease
Fans of Hilary Mantel, C J Sansom and Winston Graham will love this book.

‘We are none of us perfect, and a streak of stubbornness is what is needed in dealing with a household such as yours, Kat… and with Martin.’

Wittenberg 1525. The unexpected marriage of Martin Luther to Katharina von Bora has no fairytale ending.

A sign of apostasy to their enemies, and a source of consternation to their friends, it sends shock waves throughout Europe.

Yet, as they face persecution, poverty, war, plague and family tragedy, Katharina’s resilience and strength of character shines through.

While this book can be read as a standalone, it is also the powerful conclusion to her story, begun in Katharina: Deliverance.

If you like your historical Fiction to be authentic, immersive and packed with drama, this book is for you.

REVIEW

One of the aspects of historical fiction that I look for in my reading is authenticity where the history is concerned coupled with fiction that could very well be part of the actual history being told.  In Katharina Fortitude, the author has created just such a narrative. The struggles to keep hearth and home together are daunting enough given the obstacles and the emotional toil that Kat faces, and on top of all of that she is married to an unrelenting, firebrand reformation theologian who is prone to irascible outbursts at any perceived deviation to his reformed beliefs. That is the Martin Luther she married, but what I really love about this story is the way Martin is portrayed when not dealing with his ‘calling’. His tenderness, the joy he exhibits with his children, the way he gradually succumbs to Kat’s industriousness, and sharpness of mind. It is a captivating tale that reaches into your heart; an emotional journey of love and loss.  5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Lucia’s Renaissance by C.L.R. Peterson

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A most interesting subject, locale, and time, to say the least. I cannot imagine having to deal with a theocratic rule; a believe what we tell you or suffer the consequences. The protagonist, an inquisitive young girl, finds herself enmeshed in a quandary regarding her faith after reading a book by Luther.  Lucia’s naivete about the Lutheran heresy; her words and actions, brings danger to her and her family, and that makes for a tension filled story line. I enjoyed the portrayal of 16th century Italy, especially Venezia; the sights and sounds, the market, the churches, the canals. The author highlights the fierce determination of the Church to maintain it’s supremacy and it’s stranglehold on the populace.   My only real problem with the tale is a too simplistic approach to dialogue.  Other than that, I can recommend it as a book worth your while.  3.2 stars

 

Katharina – Deliverance by Margaret Skea

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One of the things I like about historical-fiction is the way an author can take a subject, be that a place, an event, or in this case a person, and tell a story that is so compellingly real that you think you’re reading a non-fictional account.  That is, in the opinion of this humble, yet moderately astute reviewer, precisely what Margaret Skea has done in Katharina – Deliverance.  Little is known of the woman who became the wife of Martin Luther, but by the time I finished this portion of her story, I felt as if she had sprung out from the pages of history, so fully depicted, so fully a part of that time.  As for the historical bits of this early period of Luther’s reformation, I have to admit to a certain ignorance.  Of course, I knew the basics and was aware of the incredible repercussions that resulted, but I was somewhat unaware of the schisms among the reformers, though certainly not surprised.  What the author has done is to skillfully blend the fiction with the fact, and like a good medieval tapestry weaver, leaves no trace of the seams between the two.  4.8 stars  Note: the sequel is expected in 2018, and is already on my ‘to be read list.’