Saturday, 21 October 2017

Do I read as well as write?

Happy Saturday wishes to you!

I'm not actually in the 'zone' for  Storm Brian- it's currently hitting other parts of the UK - but we are in Aberdeenshire having more of the persistent downpours that my country of Scotland is famous for. So, What's new?  Weather wise, I've got another excuse for sitting at my keyboard and the autumn leaf tidy will have to wait for a drier day. 

I'm continuing with my non-fiction reading which now includes anything I can glean on the earliest road building in Scotland. My latest book is 'Britain's Last Frontier A Journey along The Highland Line by Alistair Moffat. It's packed full of information, as I expect it to be, so I'm reading it fairly slowly.

Other research reading is anything that keeps apace with my current FutureLearn course on Rome: A Virtual Tour of the city. It's a fabulous course and I thoroughly recommend it for anyone who wants to go beyond the tourist information gathering stages but not nearly to the depth that a degree course would entail. It is designed to encourage interest in the subject and, for me, it certainly does. Now I want to amass as much as I can about the Rome specifically of the era from AD 70 - AD 95. Updates on my progress will hopefully follow after some new writing this weekend. 

On the fiction front, I've read a couple of very different novels during this past couple of weeks.  The first mentioned below is the second in a series by a fellow Crooked Cat author, Jennifer Wilson. Jennifer is a seriously dedicated historian ( a marine biologist in her real world of work) and gets to grip with thoroughly researching the time period she writes about. Her concept of intermingling historical fact with fantasy is an interesting one, her cast of ghosts interacting among themselves in  public places of historical and current significance. 

In Kindred Spirits: Royal Mile, I liked reading about Scottish figures I had already read about and happily learned about new ones I hadn't encountered before but I have to confess to not really knowing the actual purpose of this well written tale. If I had had a clearer understanding of the story arc from start to finish as Queen Mary (Mary Queen of Scots) went through various scenarios, I would more likely have given it 5 * because the language of it is very well written, it flows easily and is a well edited novel. 

Here's what I've posted on Amazon and Goodreads.  

Knowing the Royal Mile in Edinburgh reasonably well, the next time I walk down it I’m pretty sure to be looking over my shoulder for all of Queen Mary’s ghostly retinue! Like Book 1 of the series, this well written novel is jam packed full of historical characters though they are now conducting ‘afterlife existences’- some in a different way from their mortal ones had been. An example would be the relationship of James V to Mary, Queen of Scots. The hierarchical strata, separating royalty from courtiers and commoners in real life, continue in this novel and these deferential roles emphasise the degrees of favouritism that once existed.  Darnley- what can I say? Is he getting a good deal in his ghostly life? No spoilers here, so you’d need to read yourself to decide.   

My next review will be on Reclaim My Heart by Donna Fasano. 

Happy Reading to you! I'm now onto a combination of a reread of Diana Gabaldon's 'Outlander' novels and I've also started one called 'Shieldmaiden' by Marianne Whiting


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