Can you believe it's Monday already? That weekend flew by way too fast. I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day. Mine was wonderful---I had all eight kids home with me to enjoy my favorite foods. And I got some beautiful flowers, chocolates, books, and hand-drawn gifts. Those are always the best.
But today, I have something special for you. TWO book reviews! Because I was a very busy girl last week when I found two incredible books and finished them both in a 48 hr. period. They were just that good. So I have to warn you about something.
There is going to be major gushing. MAJOR.
So prepare yourself.
Daughters of Jared by H.B. Moore
Daughters of Jared is a tightly woven Book of Mormon historical that honestly kept me in my comfy chair long after I should have been up making dinner and doing some other Mom-like things. (I know it's just after Mother's day and I probably shouldn't admit that.) But I just had to see how it all ended!
We are introduced to our heroine, Naiva, the long-suffering second daughter of ousted King Jared. She is level-headed and doesn't have much ambition when it comes to being a royal queen or getting her father's crown back. She seems to want to have a normal, quiet existence. Her sister, Asherah, on the other hand has a lot of ambitions. She wants her father's crown back, she wants to be queen, and she has thought of a cunning plan to do it. Unfortunately, her plan relies a lot on Naiva's silence and presence which puts Naiva in danger more than once and causes Naiva to have to make a choice---her own happiness or her family.
The relationship between the two sisters was exceptionally well done. I could completely empathize with Naiva, who has lost her mother, is largely ignored by her father, and is wanting that close sister relationship she's always had with Asherah. She is forced to make so many hard choices that I found myself wondering what I would do if I were in that position. The strength of the book for me was that the characters, the sisters, the family, the gray-shaded villains, and our hero, were so real, the royal intrigues so easy to believe and hard to predict, that it was easy to lose myself in the story.
And speaking of losing myself in the story, part of the reason that was so easy was that the setting was well-researched and completed the illusion of getting lost in that time period. Whenever I read a book by H.B. Moore I really feel as if I were there because she is so thorough as an author in paying attention to the details.
I couldn't find anything I didn't like about the book. It is easily one of the best historicals that have come out this year. Two thumbs up and more.
Click here for a link to the book trailer. I thought it was well done as well.
Here is the back copy:
Naiva, daughter of the dethroned King Jared II, lives in the shadow of
her privileged elder sister, Asherah. But when Asherah develops a secret
plot to return their father to the throne, Naiva's resentment turns to
fear. Thwarting the scheme becomes more complicated when Naiva discovers
that Akish, the first man who has shown interest in her, is an integral
part of the plan. Asherah traps Akish in a ploy to make him marry her,
breaking Naiva's heart and leaving her feeling more alone than ever.
Somehow Naiva must find the strength to stand against the encroaching
evil in the kingdom and a sister who will stop at nothing to become
queen. When Akish's wickedness escalates and threatens to destroy the
bonds of sisterhood, Naiva must decide between protecting her sister and
honoring her new belief in the true God,a forbidden belief that could
cost her life.
Dangerous Favor by Joyce DiPastena
When I finished Daughters of Jared, it was late at night and I had that let-down feeling, wishing I had something else just as captivating to read. There, just staring up at me was Dangerous Favor by Joyce DiPastena. It was already late, but I thought to myself, I'll just read one chapter. Wow, was I ever sucked in. Reading until 2 a.m. sort of sucked in. The next day I carried that book with me everywhere, desperate enough to read even a paragraph or two while I was at a red light, just so I could see what happened! I read whenever I had two minutes during the rest of the day and finished by supper time. (Yes, my kids got a great dinner that night. I promise.)
This is a medieval adventure romance that had it all---mayhem, massive misunderstandings, medieval jousting, and of course, murder. It was like an incredible French mille-feuille with all the layers of delicious intrigue mixed in with the cream of romance and love.
Mathilde, our heroine, is determined to find a man to help her prove her father's innocence since he was accused of being a thief. She meets Lord Therri and knows from the instant she sees him, after he's accidentally knocked her to the floor, that he is the knight of her dreams. His friend, Etienne, with his laughing eyes and teasing voice takes a favor from Mathilde to wear on the jousting fields the next day, but Mathilde, an innocent, believes Etienne to be a seducer only trying to make the lovely Lady Violette jealous. The laugh out loud misunderstandings and hijinks that follow quickly become serious when an assassins' crossbow cuts through the air and murderous demands are dealt with. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, a new layer was introduced and I was quickly turning pages wondering who could really be trusted and if our fair hero would prevail.
I would highly recommend this book to any historical lover. The medieval setting is incredible, and the author has given her readers plenty of action, intrigue, and clean romance---all the ingredients of a book that will remain on my keeper shelf.
Here is the back copy:
Her father has been accused of stealing from the king, an allegation that
has reduced her family to poverty. She has one chance to find and marry
a man who can help her prove her father's innocence. Lord Therri, heir
to a rich barony, has the wealth and connections Mathilde needs to delve
into the mysteries of her father's past. Furthermore, Therri embodies
all her romantic dreams.
Etienne, the younger son of a disgraced
family, has neither wealth nor connections, but is smitten with Mathilde
at a glance. She finds the knight intriguing, but believes he is only
out to seduce her. While she seeks for a way to win Therri's attention,
Etienne tricks her into granting him her favor, an embroidered white
ribbon, for a tournament, setting in motion a dangerous chain reaction
of events. Can Etienne save Mathilde from a nightmare from her past and
prove himself the true hero of her dreams?