Join Kate’s VIP Club Now!

Follow Me

FacebookPinterestTwitter

Kate's Blog

Subscribe RSS

BOOK REVIEW: MADEMOISELLE CHANEL by C.W. Gortner

Friday, January 29, 2016


THE BLURB:

Born into rural poverty, Gabrielle Chanel and her siblings are sent to orphanage after their mother’s death. The sisters nurture Gabrielle’s exceptional sewing skills, a talent that will propel the willful young woman into a life far removed from the drudgery of her childhood.


Transforming herself into Coco—a seamstress and sometime torch singer—the petite brunette burns with ambition, an incandescence that draws a wealthy gentleman who will become the love of her life. 

She immerses herself in his world of money and luxury, discovering a freedom that sparks her creativity. But it is only when her lover takes her to Paris that Coco discovers her destiny. 

Rejecting the frilly, corseted silhouette of the past, her sleek, minimalist styles reflect the youthful ease and confidence of the 1920s modern woman. 

As Coco’s reputation spreads, her couturier business explodes, taking her into rarefied society circles and bohemian salons. But her fame and fo::rtune cannot save her from heartbreak as the years pass. 

And when Paris falls to the Nazis, Coco is forced to make choices that will haunt her.

WHAT I THOUGHT OF THIS BOOK:


Like many people, I have long been fascinated by the life of Coco Chanel, the famous French designer, and have read a number of biographies about her life.

Christopher Gortner is one of my favourite contemporary historical novelists and – with his background in the fashion world – is ideally suited to bringing this enigmatic woman to life. 

The first person voice rings startlingly true, revealing her steely determination to escape her childhood of poverty and abandonment, her passionate and impetuous nature, her loneliness and longing. 

Gortner does not shy away from the more troubling aspects of her life, such as her involvement with the Nazis in German-occupied France, and her hard-heartedness towards many around her.

This clear-sightedness makes the book feel much more true than some of the biographies I have read – this is a must-read for anyone who has ever longed to know the story behind the creation of the iconic Chanel No 5. Perfume and the famous little black dress.

I WOULD LOVE TO GET YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK


BOOK REVIEW: The Tudor Vendetta by Christopher Gortner

Wednesday, November 19, 2014



Title:
THE TUDOR VENDETTA
Author: Christopher Gortner 
Publisher: St Martins Press
Age Group & Genre: Adult Historical
Reviewer: Kate Forsyth


The Blurb:
Winter, 1558: Elizabeth I has ascended the throne but the first days of her reign are already fraught with turmoil, the kingdom weakened by strife and her ability to rule uncertain.
Summoned from exile abroad at the new queen’s behest, Brendan Prescott arrives in London to face his shattered past. He soon finds himself pitted in deadly rivalry with his life-long foe, Robert Dudley, but when a poison attempt overshadows the queen’s coronation, Elizabeth privately dispatches Brendan on a far more dangerous assignation: to find her favored lady-in-waiting, Lady Parry, who has vanished in Yorkshire.

Upon his arrival at the crumbling sea-side manor that may hold the key to Lady Parry’s disappearance, he encounters a strange, impoverished family beset by grief, as well as mounting evidence that they hide a secret from him. The mystery surrounding Lady Parry deepens as Brendan begins to realize there is far more going on at the manor than meets the eye, but the closer he gets to the heart of the mystery, the more he becomes the quarry of an elusive stranger with a vendetta— one that could expose both his own buried identity and a long-hidden revelation that will bring about Elizabeth’s doom.

From the intrigue-laden passages of Whitehall to a foreboding Catholic manor and the prisons of the Tower, Brendan must risk everything to unravel a vendetta that strikes at the very core of his world, including his loyalty to his queen.

The Tudor Vendetta is the third book in Gortner’s Elizabeth I Spymaster Trilogy.


What I Thought: 
I’ve enjoyed this book hugely, as I’ve enjoyed every book in Christopher Gortner’s Spymaster series. He has a beautiful, easy writing style and each book is a fast-paced, action-packed, rollercoaster ride that still manages to bring the world of Elizabethan London roaring to life. 

The characters are absolutely spot-on, and the historical background is leavened into the dough of the story with a light, sure touch. The young Queen Elizabeth is made human in these books – an intelligent yet vulnerable woman who must fight to survive and rule. I also love the characterisation of the story’s protagonist, the illegitimate Brendan Prescott who is torn between love and duty in a way that rings very true. 

I’m hoping that Christopher will write many more books in this series – as long as he writes them, I will buy them. 

I interviewed Christopher a couple of years ago - you can read it here or read my reviews of his other books here. Or check him out on the web: 

Christopher's website 


PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT – I LOVE TO KNOW WHAT YOU THINK




Subscribe RSS

Recent Posts


Tags


Archive


Blogs I Follow