Hope you all are enjoying this day off if you are lucky enough to have it off. I do, but I’m going to be working on my most recent research paper today. However, let’s start the day off by looking at the goodies that arrived in my inbox this week.
All the books I received this week were through Netgalley – I just couldn’t resist these!
- Junius and Albert's Adventures in the Confederacy by Peter Carlson. I couldn’t resist this book when it was described as a Odyssey in the south during the Civil War.
Albert Richardson and Junius Browne, two correspondents for the "New York Tribune," were captured at the Battle of Vicksburg and spent twenty months in horrific Confederate prisons before escaping and making their way to Union territory. Their amazing, long-forgotten odyssey is one of the great escape stories in American history, packed with drama, courage, horrors and heroics, plus many moments of antic comedy. They must endure the Confederacy s most notorious prison; rely on forged passes and the secret signals of a covert pro-Union organization in North Carolina; trust a legendary guerilla leader; be hidden by slaves during the day in plantation slave quarters; and ultimately depend on a mysterious, anonymous woman on a white horse to guide them to safety. They traveled for 340 miles, most of it on foot, much of it through snow, in twenty-six days.This is a marvelous, surreal voyage through the cold mountains, dark prisons, and mysterious bands of misfits living in the shadows of the Civil War.
- Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler. I have been fascinated by Zelda forever and am excited that there are two novels about her coming out this year.
When beautiful, reckless Southern belle Zelda Sayre meets F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in 1918, she is seventeen years old and he is a young army lieutenant stationed in Alabama. Before long, the “ungettable” Zelda has fallen for him despite his unsuitability: Scott isn’t wealthy or prominent or even a Southerner, and keeps insisting, absurdly, that his writing will bring him both fortune and fame. Her father is deeply unimpressed. But after Scott sells his first novel, This Side of Paradise, to Scribner’s, Zelda optimistically boards a train north, to marry him in the vestry of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and take the rest as it comes.
What comes, here at the dawn of the Jazz Age, is unimagined attention and success and celebrity that will make Scott and Zelda legends in their own time. Everyone wants to meet the dashing young author of the scandalous novel—and his witty, perhaps even more scandalous wife. Zelda bobs her hair, adopts daring new fashions, and revels in this wild new world. Each place they go becomes a playground: New York City, Long Island, Hollywood, Paris, and the French Riviera—where they join the endless party of the glamorous, sometimes doomed Lost Generation that includes Ernest Hemingway, Sara and Gerald Murphy, and Gertrude Stein.
Everything seems new and possible. Troubles, at first, seem to fade like morning mist. But not even Jay Gatsby’s parties go on forever. Who isZelda, other than the wife of a famous—sometimes infamous—husband? How can she forge her own identity while fighting her demons and Scott’s, too? With brilliant insight and imagination, Therese Anne Fowler brings us Zelda’s irresistible story as she herself might have told it.
- The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin. I haven’t had the chance to read any of Benjamin’s works yet, although they are on my shelf, but another thing that has fascinated me is the Lindbergh baby kidnapping. So I am interested in seeing more about Anne Lindbergh.
For much of her life, Anne Morrow, the shy daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, has stood in the shadows of those around her, including her millionaire father and vibrant older sister, who often steals the spotlight. Then Anne, a college senior with hidden literary aspirations, travels to Mexico City to spend Christmas with her family. There she meets Colonel Charles Lindbergh, fresh off his celebrated 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic. Enthralled by Charles’s assurance and fame, Anne is certain the celebrated aviator has scarcely noticed her. But she is wrong.
Charles sees in Anne a kindred spirit, a fellow adventurer, and her world will be changed forever. The two marry in a headline-making wedding. Hounded by adoring crowds and hunted by an insatiable press, Charles shields himself and his new bride from prying eyes, leaving Anne to feel her life falling back into the shadows. In the years that follow, despite her own major achievements—she becomes the first licensed female glider pilot in the United States—Anne is viewed merely as the aviator’s wife. The fairy-tale life she once longed for will bring heartbreak and hardships, ultimately pushing her to reconcile her need for love and her desire for independence, and to embrace, at last, life’s infinite possibilities for change and happiness.
Drawing on the rich history of the twentieth century—from the late twenties to the mid-sixties—and featuring cameos from such notable characters as Joseph Kennedy and Amelia Earhart, The Aviator’s Wife is a vividly imagined novel of a complicated marriage—revealing both its dizzying highs and its devastating lows. With stunning power and grace, Melanie Benjamin provides new insight into what made this remarkable relationship endure.
- Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell. I didn’t realize at first that this book features Queen Emma and the Saxons before the Conquering. This is one of my favorite time periods, so of course once I realized the above, this was a shoe in.
In 1002, fifteen-year-old Emma of Normandy crosses the Narrow Sea to wed the much older King Athelred of England, whom she meets for the first time at the church door. Thrust into an unfamiliar and treacherous court, with a husband who mistrusts her, stepsons who resent her and a bewitching rival who covets her crown, Emma must defend herself against her enemies and secure her status as queen by bearing a son.
Determined to outmaneuver her adversaries, Emma forges alliances with influential men at court and wins the affection of the English people. But her growing love for a man who is not her husband and the imminent threat of a Viking invasion jeopardize both her crown and her life.
Based on real events recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Shadow on the Crown introduces readers to a fascinating, overlooked period of history and an unforgettable heroine whose quest to find her place in the world will resonate with modern readers
Most of these books haven’t been released yet, but are you planning on reading any of them or which ones sound interesting to you?
Mailbox Monday is on a monthly blog tour and for the month of January it is being hosted by Lori’s Reading Corner.
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