Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #tudor #Histfic Mary: Tudor Princess by @tonyriches

Today’s team review is from Suraya, she blogs here http://www.thestorymint.com/blog/suraya-dewing/

#RBRT Review Team

Suraya has been reading Mary: Tudor Princess by Tony Riches

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Writing historical fiction that doesn’t lose its authenticity while also remaining enjoyable to read requires great skill. As the writer creates the story he or she is drawing on a vast reservoir of knowledge and choosing which pieces will serve the story well is a challenge.

Tony Riches manages this juggle exceedingly well.

He keeps enough information in the story line so we understand the period and the political tensions of the time. Historical fiction is a wonderful way to learn more about a period without labouring through text books and I felt better informed about Mary Tudor after reading MARY. It was easy to read and thoroughly enjoyable.

I did not feel at any time that the author slipped into giving me information he felt I needed to know. For example, he brought Mary’s sister, Margaret, into the story and by contrasting hers and Mary’s lives we gained a deep understanding of how life was for aristocratic women and particularly these two key historic figures. This was cleverly done. With the writer making no judgement on their situations the reader was freed to reach his or her own conclusions.

However, the biggest challenge a writer of historical fiction faces, is to create believable characters and win empathy for them from readers and yet not stray too far from fact. He achieved this admirably.

I also thought he handled Mary’s loss of her first son sensitively and realistically. Having given the reader insight into Catherine’s desperate attempts to give King Henry VIII a son, the reader was already sensitised to what losing a son meant in those times.

This is a most enjoyable read and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in history.

Book description

From the author of the international best-selling Tudor Trilogy, the true story of the Tudor dynasty continues with the daughter of King Henry VII, sister to King Henry VIII. Mary Tudor watches her elder brother become King of England and wonders what the future holds for her.

Born into great privilege, Mary has beauty and intelligence beyond her years and is the most marriageable princess in Europe. Henry plans to use her marriage to build a powerful alliance against his enemies. Will she dare risk his anger by marrying for love?

Meticulously researched and based on actual events, this ‘sequel’ follows Mary’s story from book three of the Tudor Trilogy and is set during the reign of King Henry VIII.

About the author

Tony Riches is a full-time author from Pembrokeshire, West Wales, an area full of inspiration for his writing. After several successful non-fiction books, Tony turned to novel writing and wrote ‘Queen Sacrifice’, set in 10th century Wales, followed by ‘The Shell’, a thriller set in present day Kenya.

His real interest is in the history of the Tudors and now his focus is on writing historical fiction about the lives of key figures of the period.

Best known for his Tudor Trilogy, Tony’s other international best sellers include ‘Warwick ~ The Man Behind the Wars of the Roses’ and ‘The Secret Diary of Eleanor Cobham’. In his spare time Tony enjoys sailing and sea kayaking.

Tony Riches

Goodreads | AmazonUK | AmazonUS | Twitter

Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT Fran reviews Bend With The Wind by Suraya Dewing

Today we have a review from Fran, she blogs at http://disappearinginplainsight.com/

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Fran chose to read and review Bend With the Wind by Suraya Dewing

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4 stars on Amazon

Title: Romance, Maori Traditions and Suraya Dewing’s Adept use of Language

Bend with the Wind is a novel that provides breathtaking descriptions of New Zealand locations, a good bit of history with an inspiring focus on Maori traditions and a romance that is not accepted on either side of a racial divide.

Sophie is a white, privileged, young woman who steps out of her own comfort zone and that of her parents when she falls in love with Joe, a Maori police man who has his own struggles – neither fully accepted by his Maori people or the white police force he is part of. The parts of the story I enjoyed the most revolved around the ways Sophie and Joe go about meeting the challenges of their evolving relationship.

Much of the couple’s early struggles are set against a protest of the 1981 Springbok soccer team’s visit to New Zealand. Sophie, an idealistic, student activist, is right in the middle of the protest opposing the team’s visit due to South Africa’s system of apartheid. Joe finds himself on the opposite side of the mess as a police officer who has to remove the protesters. There is a good deal of irony in all of this as Joe must act against his own people and his ideals while Sophie, the rich, white girl ends up on the receiving end of the violence set in motion by the protests.

This novel involves some time-shifting from the present to the not so distant past and then the distant past. Each time the reader is shifted from the past to the present he or she comes with a few more pieces of the puzzle the author has woven. For me, this time shift worked well between present day Sophie and Sophie as a young woman. I did feel as though the 1800’s Maori history with Te Whiti o Rangomai took me too far from the story I wanted to read. But that is only one reader’s opinion.

The book is worth reading for the romance, for the wealth of information on Maori traditions and for Suraya Dewing’s adept use of language. Consider this description of a street – “ . . . bright with flashing neon, car-beams and light-leaking shop fronts.” Brilliant. And these few lines could be autobiographical – “She was back being a word washerwoman, carrying her sentences in a basket, shaking them out and hanging them with care on the line, placing them in the sun to dry.”

Find a copy from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

My Book Reviews In November Issues of Fleet Life & Elvetham Heath Directory

I’m really lucky in that I have another outlet for my book reviews where I can help spread the word to others about some of the books I’ve read.

I get a page in each of these monthly local magazines, which benefit from on-line versions to reach a world wide audience.

This month’s Fleet Life books were;

The Soul and The Seed – Arie Farnam

Stranger at Sunset – Eden Baylee

Frenzy – Mark King

Seaside Dreams – Melissa Foster

How I Changed My Life In A Year – Shelley Wilson

View the online version http://www.fleetlife.org.uk. Click on the online directory tab and load the magazine. Find my reviews on page 27

Fleet Life Nov

This month’s EHD books were;

Lost Souls – Penny de Byl

Spirit Warriors: The Scarring D.E.L. Connor

The Landland Chronicles – Dallad Sutherland

Patriot – A.S. Bond

Bend With The Wind – Suraya Dewing

View the online version http://www.ehd.org.uk. Click on the online directory tab and load the magazine. Find my reviews on page 6

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Please note this is a voluntary task I get no monetary rewards for my reviews and the editors decision about which books we use is final.

Good Deeds Challenge Year 2, Week 25

Welcome to my second Year of Good Deeds, a challenge I set myself during April 2013. I decided to do at least one Good Deed a day for a whole year, now I an into my second year.

New Good DeedsThis week I’ve been doing the following;

October 5th – The October editions of Fleet Life and Elvetham Heath Directory are out with their on-line versions, here s a link to my post with details of the books and authors I’ve featured. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5OH

Written and posted my review of The Wannabe Author by Mary Papas.

October 6th – My morning helping out at school. They had a coffee morning for MacMillan Cancer, so bought cakes and donated to the charity. Am reading Back Packs and Bra Straps by Savannah Grace. The second book about selling up and taking your family backpacking. Savannah was just 15 when her Mum decided to take her out of her school in Canada for an education on the road, along with her older siblings these books tell of the hardships and wonders of the world.

October 7th – Walked to town in some late sun and picked up litter on my route. Spontaneously walked into Superdrug and had my flu jab, this is a good deed in that I won’t get the flu and spread it around.  Good Deeds received, took delivery of a lovely jewelled book mark from author Jill Hughey which I’d won in a prize draw. Returned the deed by offering to review her latest book Eruption: Yellowblown (What would happen if the Yellowstone Volcano erupts?)

October 8th – Looking around University courses this afternoon. Noticed a friend no longer had her umbrella, as it had stopped raining she had forgotten about it. She went back to the lecture theatre to find it.

October 9th – Busy day whizzing all over the place, fitted in a visit to my parents, took over a copy of a book I’d read. Good Deeds received: Came home with a lovely dozen of fresh eggs.

Am Reading Under His Protection by Lily Bishop.

October 10th – A day at home baking and reading. Sorting out a new feature for the blog. Rosie’s Avid readers, where people who love reading tell us about a book they’ve just read. There won’t be a big review or any connection to my author friends these are just people I know who say “I’ve just read a good book….” First post coming on Tuesday.

October 11th – For the last couple of days I’ve posted a book review and guest author piece for Suraya Dewing and her book Bend With The Wind, a fascinating book giving lots of background to the Maori’s in New Zealand and it’s has a lot of interest. Just starting to read Shared Skies by Josephine O’Brien

Guest Author Suraya Dewing

Our guest today is Suraya Dewing author of yesterday’s book Bend With The Wind, here is a link to the post if you missed it. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5JC

Suraya

 

Where is your home town?

My home town is currently Auckland, New Zealand. However, I grew up in a remote part of New Zealand, Hokianga. The Hokianga shaped me. Auckland educated me.

How long have you been writing?

When I graduated from University I began a career as a trainee television director then went on to Public Relations. So, in that sense, I have been writing for 30 years. Like many creative writers I always wanted to write creatively but put that on hold because I needed certainty of income while we raised our family. In 2008 I returned to University and completed a Master of Creative Writing in 2009. I worked on ‘Bend with the Wind’ during 2009-10. Before that I had written short stories whenever I got the time (pretty average I must confess) and had a go at a novel which was awful.

What was the one idea which parked off Bend With The Wind?

The premise behind the novel is that a group might feel they have got away with an act of oppression. For a time the repercussions are hidden. However, resentment gathers momentum and eventually explodes. Usually an unrelated catalyst ignites the fire and violence becomes inevitable.

Where about in New Zealand did you set the settlement that Joe’s parents live?

Joe’s parents lived in a settlement called Parihaka which is in Taranaki, North Island of New Zealand. It is about ten miles out of New Plymouth.

Can you tell the readers a little about Colonel Messenger

Col. Messenger was a long serving member of the military in Taranaki and commanded an Armed Constabulary Post for a number of years.   In 1871-72 he was in command of the unit that pursued Titokowaru, a Maori leader and a government opponent. After the campaign Colonel Messenger returned to the Armed Constabulary Post and a nearby mountain was named after him in recognition of the period he spent surveying the area and protecting the land. He led, along with Col. Bryce, the troops into Parihaka. He was well regarded by settlers but for Sophie, being related to anyone associated with the history of the occupation was an anathema. This explained her reaction when she finds his name on their family tree.

How did they stop the Maori people from returning to their lands?

When the militia occupied the area they posted guards and no-one was allowed to return. Later, some received passes. At the time of the occupation and arrest of Te Whiti and Tohu homes were plundered, livestock killed and crops destroyed. The women were raped. Anyone who tried to get back was threatened and chased off. The land was in the hands of the militia for five years.

What were the Black Power group all about?

The Black Power gang lives outside the law and is largely made up of marginalised Maori and Pacific Island men. They live off income from drugs and the proceeds of crime.

Tell us some of the things that Joe did for young people to help them.

Joe helped the young people get back to their roots and to regain a sense of self worth. Many people were disenfranchised by the loss of their land. They were also banned from speaking Maori at school and the only legitimate history was that of the English which bore no resemblance to the world they knew. Afraid their children would be disadvantaged later in life, many Maori parents wouldn’t allow the children to learn anything of their heritage including language. He would have taught them their language, te reo, carving, whaikorero (speech making), local history going back many centuries and carving.There was a commonly held belief that being familiar with Maori culture would not allow Maori to get ahead in the world. This was true. Any connection with their culture was frowned upon by Pakeha authorities and often Maori parents supported this stance. He would have given them back a sense of pride in their heritage by taking them back to Parihaka, to the elders to hear the unacknowledged stories belonging to them.

Tell us what you are working on at the moment.

My publisher has requested a book of short stories so I’m working on those. Once they are finished I will go back through Bend with the Wind before my publisher produces it in hard copy.

Tell us about The Story Mint and where readers can find out more about you.

The Story Mint is a service that aims to give writers an opportunity to develop their writing skills, to get to know other like-minded people and to grow their profiles by demonstrating their story telling skills. We provide ways for them to do that including writing chapters and starters for serials, putting writing up on the Writers’Pad and getting engaged in the forum. We also have an active Facebook page and Linked In group. I have created an online analysis tool called the Style Guide™ which analyses writing styles. The writer submits a piece of writing and is immediately given feedback on the style and how to change it if it doesn’t fit with the intended audience’s preferred style. For example someone writing a romance novel will not want to have his or her writing land in the section where business articles land. The Style Guide™ is currently being tested for training writers who are second language users.

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http://www.thestorymint.com

Find a copy of Bend With The Wind here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Bend With The Wind by Suraya Dewing

Bend with the WindBend with the Wind by Suraya Dewing

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Bend with the Wind is set on New Zealand and weaves a story around the Maori people and their struggle for survival under White rule, over a period of just under 130 years.

We meet Sophie first at a Maori funeral. Then the story steps back thirty years to a time when Sophie was just nineteen years old and setting out to study a course in History about New Zealand and South Africa. This coincides with a planned rugby tour by the Springboks which is causing widespread protest due to the apartheid in South Africa.

Sophie and her friends are white teenagers and she has had a privileged upbringing. She meets Joe a Maori police officer. Joe introduces her to his family and through her college course she learns of the settler disagreements which took place in the 1800’s and of the Maori leaders in those disputes Te Whiti and Tohu who preached peace and fair sharing of the land.

Their mixed race relationship causes plenty of hardships and these are mixed with the parts that both play in the Springbok tour. It was a harrowing time for many involved and their relationship is stretched to breaking point many times.

This is a very powerful book full of very strong emotions and humbling lessons. Throughout the book the chapters are interspersed with the Maori language, some of which the reader can guess at, but I was pleased to find a Maori translation section at the back of the book. The messages in their words are beautiful and their traditions are uplifting. I shed a tear or two at the final funeral send off in this lovely book.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Good Deeds Challenge Year 2, Week 20

Welcome to my second Year of Good Deeds, a challenge I set myself during April 2013. I decided to do at least one Good Deed a day for a whole year, now I an into my second year.

New Good DeedsDuring my week I’ll also being updating you on My Kindness Challenge which I’m also doing. I read about a new challenge to make the world a better place to live in. “Speak Kind Words, Receive Kind Echoes” see the inspiration on  The Kindness blog . During my learning process I’m donating money to charity for my slip-ups to make me work harder to achieve results. I earn no money from any of my book reviews, so having little to spare should focus my mind.

August 31st – A lovely sunny day for the last day of August, I went for a long walk and picked up litter along the way. Finished reading Dark Water by Jan Ruth. Am now reading Bend With The Wind by Suraya Dewing

September 1st – It’s the first day of Romancing September and I’m co-hosting the event with fellow author Stephanie Hurt. We are promoting 30 authors and their books in 30 days. We started off promoting Caroline Storer and her book The Roman. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5Ee

Sent a letter to an aunt whom I haven’t seen for a couple of years, really feel I need to make the time for a visit. Sorted out another family visit, this one to my husband’s aunt.

September 2nd – Played tennis this morning and picked up some litter. Day 2 of Romancing September and it’s the turn of Sonya Loveday and her book The Summer I Fell. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5C8

September 3rd – Bought birthday presents for my God-daughter today. Day 3 of Romancing September and it’s Terry Tyler with her book Round and Round. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5Ge

September 4th – Helped my Mum pick beans from her garden today. Had a big boost on the book review team and got lots more requests for books. Day 4 of Romancing September and it was the turn of Lizzie Lamb and her book Boot Camp Bride. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5CU

September 5th – Had a lovely chat with my hairdresser who have her little girl starting school for the first time on Tuesday, passed on little tips that I found worked for me and left her a big tip. Day 5 of Romancing September and it was the turn of Romanian author Carmen Stefanescu and her book Shadows of the Past,http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5EI we are really lucky and have authors spread across the world on this tour.

September 6th – A lovely walk this morning and I picked up loads of litter. Day 6 on Romancing September was Jill Steeples and Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off. http://wp.me/p2Eu3u-5Ey

Started reading The Immortal Greek by Monica La Porta