RSS Feed

Tag Archives: beautifully written characters

Book Review – Kings & Queens by Terry Tyler

Posted on

This book was received from the Author in return for an honest review

Terry Tyler’s seventh novel is a romantic drama spanning the years 1971 – 2007, with an unusual echo from history …

“KINGS AND QUEENS” tells of the life and loves of charismatic Harry Lanchester, which just happen to mirror the story of Henry VIII and his six wives. All the passion and suspense of the Tudor court, but set in modern times.

Harry’s realm is his South of England property developing company, Lanchester Estates, while his ‘wives’ are the twentieth century sisters of their historic counterparts: Anne Boleyn is reincarnated as the equally intriguing Annette Hever, and Henry VIII’s fifth wife with the risqué past, Catherine Howard, lives again in 1999 as Keira Howard, a former lap dancer.

The saga is narrated by each of the six women, in turn, interspersed with short chapters from the point of view of Harry’s lifelong friend, Will Brandon.

Don’t worry if you know nothing of this period in history – “Kings and Queens” can be enjoyed as a contemporary family drama, very much in the vein of Ms Tyler’s previous novels. Readers with an interest in the Tudors, though, will pick up on many similarities, references and metaphors, some quite amusing. For those non-Tudor fanatics who would like a brief look at the life of Henry VIII before reading, the author has included, in the Kindle book, a link to a mini-biography on her blog.

A sequel, following the lives of Harry’s three children, is already planned.

There was the promise that this novel would be something different. That it would entwine the story of Henry VIII and our (by comparison) very modern current day world. I knew that if it was done well I was going to absolutely be absorbed by it. I also knew that if Terry Tyler wrote the characters in this book nearly as well as she had done in the past books of hers that I’ve read then I would be well and truly enamoured. I’m very happy to report that my expectations were more than met on both counts.

I loved how the book was broken down. Having the women in Harry’s life tell the story kept the pace up and most importantly it kept it fresh. Because Terry Tyler is so great at really giving her characters their own ‘voice’ and making them as individual as you and I are, you really got a clear picture of each woman, of how people and their personalities and idiosyncrasies really can make everything so completely different from what it was and what it will be. It’s so true that some people bring out the best in each other and some bring out the worst.

Along with the ‘wives’ each recounting their time with Harry we also hear regularly from Will, who is Harry’s best friend. His chapters are integral to the story as he fills in gaps and fleshes out parts of the storyline that you just know there is more to tell…. (Obviously the wives don’t witness everything about their husband’s life!) I definitely did have my favourites from the six women in Harry’s life, but Will had to trump them all. Possibly because he had been a constant in Harry’s life since they were both children and he was the kind of friend that stuck by Harry even when he didn’t agree with him, the romantic minded soul in me loves the idea of that length of friendship, or possibly because he seemed to be one of the kindest characters in the book, or possibly because he always came through with the extra details to whatever scandal was going on at the time. Whatever the reason I love how sometimes a character can sneak up on you like that and become someone that you are very attached to.

It’s so true that you don’t need really any knowledge at all of the Tudors to enjoy this book. You absolutely could pick it up and read it for what it is and be very entertained, there’s absolutely no doubt about that. But like I said at the beginning of this review I LOVE that there is more to it than that if you want there to be, that you can draw parallels between the stories of Harry and Henry VIII. That this take on the Tudor history has you dying to know more, even though really you do know the path the story takes… but trust me, even though you know the direction of this story you will not sit there checking off the boxes. There is so much going on that you’ll just HAVE to know whats coming next.

Terry Tyler has cleverly written a mini history on the Tudors on her blog so that those who want to know all about the people and story that this modern day fiction is based on then they can, I popped on and had a quick read as a refresher (I had a basic knowledge but certainly nothing in-depth enough to think I knew this story.) Personally I’m really glad that I did this, I definitely felt like knowing the history that the book is based on really added to the complete package of this story, I could appreciate the links that wouldn’t have been so obvious if I hadn’t schooled myself on the subject first. It really did illustrate how much thought and skill has gone into writing this very absorbing, very entertaining re-imagining of the tales of Henry VIII and his six wives. I have to say, that this is my favourite Terry Tyler read so far.

Kings And Queens

By Terry Tyler

photo credit: joiseyshowaa via photopin ccphoto credit: Caucas’ via photopin cc

Book Review – Puddle Jumping by Amber L. Johnson

Posted on

I’m actually jumping the queue with this book review. I have a review that’s been waiting for me to finish up for a while but ever since I read Puddle Jumping I have not been able to get it out of my mind. Massive book hangover. So I’m thinking that if I write up the review and get aaaaall my feelings out, then I’ll be able to move on to other things.

When the dedication at the beginning of a book tugs so hard at your heart strings that it makes you tear up a little, I think that’s generally a pretty good sign that you’re in for a treat. 

“And for Emory.
Someday you will find your own Lilly Grace.
You paint the world in colors I’ve never seen and I’ll always love you blue because you always love me yellow.”

Beautiful. How can you not love this book already? It’s pretty obvious that the author has some personal experience with the subject matter in this book. It’s written beautifully, and from the heart. It never feels fake or forced or overly dramatic.

This is actually the third book I have read this year where one of the main characters has Asperger’s. Before this year I really knew very little about it, other than knowing Asperger’s is on the Autism spectrum. Even though reading these three books was more coincidence than design, the thing I have loved about all three of them is that I have been able to learn something important. While my knowledge on the subject is still very limited, I know a lot more than I did and I think that’s hugely because authors like Amber L. Johnson have done their research. 

Colton was a rich and vibrant character. Even though the book was a relatively short read, we got to know him well and get an inside peek into his life. His condition wasn’t romanticized. It was pretty clear, even at the end of the book, that Lilly Grace and Colton would always have their struggles but that it would be worth it. Although Colton didn’t communicate his feeling in the traditional way, he has his own way of making his feelings clear. 

“There, rounded in each corner, the colors overlapped his brush strokes that bore the words I Love You over and over and over…creating the backdrop of his heartbreak. And mine.”

Lilly Grace was an extraordinary character. She was such a strong and lively person. She tried hard with Colton, to get to know his quirks and the right way of going about things so that they could make a life together. She knew it wasn’t going to be easy but she stuck with it because she loved him for exactly who he was, and I absolutely adored her all the way through for it. 

“But I would never call loving Colton an accomplishment. It was an honor. It changed me. It made me actually become the person I’d tried so hard to be all those years ago.”

Lilly & Coltons story was written in such a way that you couldn’t help but be dragged into it even from the first page. After purchasing this book I thought I would have a quick peek before doing a few jobs then getting back into it in the evening.  Uh, no. That’s not what happened at all. Amber L. Johnson’s writing sucked me in immediately. The world faded away and by the time I read the last page and looked up from my Kindle I realized it was evening and I was sitting in a dark room with an uncooked dinner sitting on the bench.  Needless to say the family had to survive off takeaways for dinner that night. Warning – if you’re going to read this book make sure you have 3 or 4 spare hours ahead of you. You’re going to need it. 

This book was such a gem on a dreary Wednesday afternoon. I went into it with no real expectations and left completely blown away. People with Asperger’s are pretty amazing people. This is going straight on my “Faves of 2014” list. Needless to say, I will be stalking Amber L. Johnson (in a nice way) to make sure I never miss another book of hers. 

“There was a time when I believed I wasn’t going to fall in love. But I did.
This was followed by the thought that the boy I fell in love with could never love me back. But he does. 
And he loved me in the very best way he knows how. “

photo credit: Dicemanic via photopin ccphoto credit: clappstar via photopin ccphoto credit: Samantha Forsberg via photopin ccphoto credit: ARACELOTA via photopin cc