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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Interview with Cinsearae S, Author of Boleyn Tudor Vampire

I have the pleasure today to host an interview with Cinsearae S, the author of BOLEYN Tudor Vampire. This story is an interesting twist to the story that everyone knows about Anne Boleyn and is in a similar vein to Pride & Prejudice & Zombies.

Here is a synopsis of the book before we begin-

"Just the slightest tweak in history makes all the difference in its outcome...

Tudor England. It is during the reign of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. As her time in power nears an end, Anne is greatly disheartened by the false accusations of adultery, high treason and incest she is arrested for, and the cold-heartedness of her father for his lack of defense in her honor. Upon her death, she vows revenge on those who have wronged her, and the simple change of her death sentence from beheading to hanging grants her the opportunity to execute her wish on those who betrayed her.

Unknown forces of inconceivable dark magic abounds. Anne discovers she has risen from her grave because of her denouncement of God just moments before her hanging, and resurrects two others from their untimely, wrongful deaths--her brother, George, and her favorite court musician and dear friend, Mark Smeaton. This unlikely trio will drive Whitehall Palace to madness, bringing those closest to Anne to their knees, begging for mercy and forgiveness.

Once Anne executes her justice among those who have failed her, the last and final question will be whether Anne will finally have peace, or find comfort in haunting England forever"
(from author's website).
It seems that everywhere you turn these days we are hearing about a new sci-fi/fantasy adaptation of a classic novel or historical characters. Why do you think that there has been this sudden explosion in the popularity of these types of books?

Perhaps its a curiosity of sorts, more or less a "let's see what happens if we do this..." type of thinking with authors, and then comes the curiosity of the readers in wanting to see what the authors did with such well known and popular characters. But it's like a fad; a sudden explosion of it for a couple months, it runs crazy for a while, and then it dies down. It's the same way with a lot of the movies we see today, as well. I wrote BOLEYN Tudor Vampire out of sheer fun, first starting it back in December. I have a great interest in Tudor history, not to mention Showtime's The Tudors, and it became a huge inspiration. After watching the series a couple of times, my muse wanted me to write a horrific 'revenge' tale for Anne Boleyn. I WANTED her to have some sort of vengeance for all those wrongful accusations she was charged for--hell hath no fury like a woman scorned! Then I tweaked Anne's execution so she'd be able to come back to get said revenge, then from there it became a dark, horrific romp. I don't want the book to be put in a 'mash-up' category, because that wasn't my intent. I simply love vampires, and having Anne Boleyn become one sounded like a really interesting idea. But considering the current events of the popularity of other mash-ups out there right now, I can easily see why BOLEYN could get thrown into that category, if it hasn't already. Bad timing, I guess, lol.

I imagine that many people who read these new adaptations have not read the classic that they are based on. Do you think that with all of these new spins on old classics more people will be intrigued to pick up the classic version as well?

I would hope so! Books that are based on classic novels are a bit of a double-edged sword. Yes, they're getting people to read, and yes, they're a source of literary entertaimnent...but the idea that someone's classic novel has been revamped by another author makes me feel uneasy. I would hope that after reading a revamped classic, that a reader would want to pick up the first book that started it all. It could also help create more reader groups and get people to socialize more and talk about the classics and their tweaked versions.

In your book, Boleyn: Tudor Vampire, the main characters are Anne, her brother George, and one of the other accused, Mark Smeaton. Why did you pick these particular characters for your story? And why vampires?

Well, for Anne it was easy. Being tried for so many heinous crimes---adultery, incest, treason, being called a 'witch'--- I think that's more than enough to get any woman's blood boiling, lol. And since she considered her brother George her best friend, plus knowing he died because of her, it seemed a logical choice. Mark was another victim of circumstance, but also another good friend to Anne. When Anne awakens as a vampire, she resurrects her brother as one of the undead. She does the same to Mark, who refuses to be part of her shambling horde at first, so she returns him to his grave. He joins a bit later as a ghost instead, knowing how much Anne has a dark sense of humor, and wants to help her with her horrific plans for Henry and his followers. Having Anne as a vampire felt sensual, and I could do a lot with that, as her and Thomas Wyatt have a very strained relationship in the story. I couldn't see her as any other type of creature!

What sort of research did you conduct in the writing of this book?

I have books in my own collection, as well as doing some research online. I also had excellent visuals, considering I have The Tudors and The Other Boleyn Girl on DVD.

Do you have any other plans in the works for future books in this style or other works in progress?

I definitely have other works in progress, involving my ongoing urban vampire series, ABRAXAS, and another 'period' story, set in the early 1900's, but I have no intention of creating any more 'mash-ups', lol. BOLEYN, again, was written for fun, and was just a side-project. As long as BOLEYN entertains the readers, and sparks interest in those wanting to investigate Tudor history further, or encourages an inspiring author to get their pen out and start writing themselves, then I've done my job.

Thanks to the author for this wonderful interview. If you want to read an excerpt of the book or to check out more about this book and author, please visit the website.

Copyright © 2010 by The Maiden’s Court

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mailbox Monday #40

Another Monday, another mailbox. And this one was pretty full.

Several books came in from Swaptree and PaperBackSwap. Two of the three are by authors who we previously hosted at the Round Table.
  • The Courtier's Secret by Donna Russo Morin
  • Mistress of the Revolution by Catherine Delors
  • In the Company of Courtesan by Sarah Dunant

From Rowenna at the fabulous Hyaline Prosaic blog, I recieved my giveaway win of The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchannan. I'm so excited about this book.

I also receiving another book for review from DoubleDay - Dracula in Love by Karen Essex. Nick (my boyfriend - blogger at Lions and Men) and I are planning on a cross blog event featuring Essex's book and the original Dracula by Bram Stoker. So keep on the lookout for that in August.

How successful was your mailbox?

Copyright © 2010 by The Maiden’s Court

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Book Review: For the King by Catherine Delors

For the King by Catherine Delors
ARC, Hardcover, 329 pages
Dutton Adult
July 8, 2010
goodreads button

Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: Received from the publisher for HFBRT June Event
"The Reign of Terror has ended six years earlier, and Napoléon Bonaparte has seized power, but shifting political loyalties still tear apart families and lovers. 
On Christmas Eve 1800, a bomb explores along Bonaparte’s route, narrowly missing him but striking dozens of bystanders. Chief Inspector Roch Miquel, a young policeman with a bright future and a beautiful mistress, must arrest the assassins before they attack again. Complicating Miquel’s investigation are the maneuverings of his superior, the redoubtable Fouché, the indiscretions of his own father, a former Jacobin, and two intriguing women. 
For the King takes readers through the dark alleys and glittering salons of post-revolutionary Paris. It is a romantic thriller, a tale of love, betrayal and redemption” .
On the surface For the King tells the story of the investigation into the attack on Napoleon Bonaparte, but deep down it tells a tale about the politics of Paris after the Revolution. There was constant speculation as to who had carried out the bombing and which side was to blame. There were also the internal political games that were played within the police department – who owed a favor to who and what they could hold over the heads of someone to make them do what they want. The political aspect was very interesting to me because I had not read anything set during the reign of Napoleon and really didn’t have much knowledge of the period either.

I did enjoy how this was similar to a police procedural. I always enjoy watching these types of shows on t.v. and I was a criminal justice major in college, which made it that much more interesting to me. I had not really thought about how crimes were investigated in the past – especially with the limited technology that was available at that time. I would classify this as more of a procedural rather than a mystery because you get to see the perspective of both the bad guys and the good guys. The reader is aware of who the perpetrators are and their motives, while the police are out of the loop – you are able to watch the investigation start to come together while knowing what is going on. That isn’t to say that there are not some secrets kept from the reader and twists along the way.

My complaint with this book comes with the ending. While I really liked the main character, Roch, I didn’t really feel connected enough with the other characters to really care what happened with them in the ending. I also felt that the ending was a little abrupt. As a whole bunch of things happened, it then just ended – I would have liked to have a little bit more in the end.

You can read an excerpt of the book to get a taste of what this book is like. You can also check out the author’s blog for some very interesting posts about France.  Or you can watch this beautiful book trailer.

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia

Also by Catherine Delors:

mistress of the revolution
Mistress of the Revolution

Find Catherine Delors: Website | Blog

Other HFBRT events going on today:



Copyright © 2010 by The Maiden’s Court

Friday, June 25, 2010

Caught on Tape: Napoleon

As part of the HFBRT June event for upcoming release For the King by Catherine Delors, I thought it was time for another installment of Caught on Tape. Napoleon is not an active character in For the King. The story is very much set around an attack on his life, but he doesn’t appear for a long period of the book. I wanted to take a look at how he has been portrayed on film, thus Caught on Tape. Finding movies that were actually movies rather than documentaries was a little difficult, but I think I might have found some gems. We will look at the movies in chronological order of his life.

The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)

“In this beautifully photographed rekindling of the classic Alexandre Dumas story. Edmond Dantés's (Jim Caviezel) life and plans to marry the beautiful Mercedes (Dagmara Dominczyk) are shattered when his best friend, Fernand (Guy Pearce), deceives him. After spending 13 miserable years in prison, Dantés escapes with the help of a fellow inmate (Richard Harris) and plots his revenge, cleverly insinuating himself into the French nobility” (from Netflix)

My boyfriend has been trying to convince me to see this for awhile, and finally, as “research”, I assented. It is actually a very enjoyable movie and I loved the part when he was in prison with the character played by Richard Harris. Napoleon figures into this movie for about the first 10 minutes and then he is never seen from again – but his presence sets off a lot of happenings for Dantés. This movie is set after the events of For the King; Napoleon has already been exiled on the island of Elba. Played by Alex Norton, Napoleon acted as I would expect from him – he tricks the stranded boys and tries to get one of them to smuggle out letters to aide his escape.
You can watch the first 10 minutes of the film on YouTube – this is the part featuring Napoleon – and if you get the chance, I would recommend you watch the rest. It is currently an instant movie on Netflix – that’s how I watched it.

Waterloo (1970)

“Shortly after he is forced to abdicate the emperorship and retire to Elba, Napoleon (Rod Steiger) roars back to the front in defiance of King Louis XVIII (Orson Welles). Wellington (Christopher Plummer) readies an international coalition to battle the dictator at Waterloo” (from Netflix)

I haven’t seen this one and Netflix describes it as “a box office flop” – any of you seen it and care to post an opinion? This movie takes place after Napoleon escapes from Elba and effectively ends his return to power for 100 days. This movie focuses entirely on events at the end of Napoleon’s reign. After Waterloo he is again exiled – this time to the island of St. Helena. Napoleon is played by Rod Steiger. The trailer makes the movie look very visually appealing.

Monsieur N (2003) - French Foreign Film

“Exiled French dictator Napoleon Bonaparte (Philippe Torreton), aided by an American pirate and a former general in his Grand Army, is hatching a plot to escape the confines of his prison island, St. Helena. Meanwhile, a young English officer arrives on the island to keep a close watch on the military genius … who also happens to be his idol. Co-stars Jay Rodan and Richard E. Grant” (from Netflix).

I watched this one this past week, specifically for this event, and it was an instant watch on Netflix as well (if you are interested). This is a foreign film in parts – the French characters speak French and the English speak English. It is narrated in English and has subtitles for the French. I really enjoyed this movie – it was beautiful to look at and very well acted and put together. A little romance, a little mystery, and there was a great twist at the end too. The story bounces back and forth between the present (20 years after the death of Napoleon) and when Napoleon was exiled on St. Helena. I really enjoyed this movie – and one of the lead characters, Lieutenant Heathcote (Jay Rodan) was easy on the eyes. Napoleon is portrayed by Philippe Torrenton and did a phenomenal job. A definite recommendation!

The Emperor’s New Clothes (2002)

“In this whimsical tale based on Simon Leys's novel The Death of Napoleon, the exiled Napoleon Bonaparte (Ian Holm) trades places with a look-alike -- a common drunk -- and makes his way back to Paris in disguise, intent on reclaiming his throne. During his travels, he discovers that France has changed in many humorous ways -- and finds love with a melon-selling widow named Pumpkin (Iben Hjejle)” (from Netflix).

I have not seen this movie either, but I’m not expecting too much, although it got decent customer reviews surprisingly. It sounds like another version of The Prince and the Pauper – creating a fantasy life for Napoleon. Napoleon is portrayed by Ian Holm. A rom/com take on the story of Napoleon.

I hope you have all enjoyed this installment of Caught on Tape. Please let me know if you have seen any of the above and what you thought – I would love to hear it.

Copyright © 2010 by The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Giveaway - For the King by Catherine Delors

In association with the Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table event for June, I have a treat for you! I have 1 copy of For the King by Catherine Delors to offer for a giveaway to followers from the USA and Canada.

To enter:

Leave a comment with your email address - you have to be a follower to enter

Get an extra +1 entry for each: tweeting, blogging, sidebar posting, etc about the giveaway (and leaving a link here)
The last day to enter is Wednesday July 7th.

If you are interested in the other events going on at HFBRT, check out the site!

Copyright © 2010 by The Maiden’s Court

Monday, June 21, 2010

Guest Post with Catherine Delors

In association with this month's Historical Fiction Blogger Round Table event, I have the pleasure of welcoming Catherine Delors to The Maiden's Court with a fabulous post about one of the antagonists in her new work For the King.

"The perfect villain: Joseph Fouché, Napoléon’s Minister of Police"

All thrillers, and indeed most novels, require a good villain to balance the protagonist and add tension to the plot. Historicals are no exception.

When I began writing FOR THE KING, which recounts an attempt to assassinate Napoléon Bonaparte in 1800, I imagined that the perpetrators would be the obvious choice. Their crime was heinous enough: Bonaparte himself escaped without a scratch, but dozens of bystanders, ordinary Parisians, were killed or maimed by the bomb, detonated in a busy street on Christmas Eve.

One of the most interesting things about writing, though, is that the author can never guess where her story will take her. As I followed in the footsteps of the real investigators, and the plot of the novel unfolded, I discovered much about the assassins. But I found another villain I had not anticipated.

That was Fouché, the Minister of Police at the time of the bombing. A defrocked monk, he had organized anti-religious masquerades during the Revolution. But much more sinister deeds lurk in his record: in the south-eastern city of Lyons, he organized the wholesale massacre of political opponents. Those were rounded up in front of huge ditches, and shot to death with canons and musketry. This foreshadows some Nazi atrocities during World War II. Robespierre, horrified, recalled him to Paris, but Fouché was the ultimate survivor: he conspired to eliminate Robespierre, and then wisely kept a low profile for several years.

Fouché was canny. He spent several years away from politics, and waited until the memory of the Lyons atrocities had now somewhat faded. During that time, he became an army supplier, and made a fortune.

Then in 1799 he was offered the position of Minister of Police, just in time to do nothing to impede Bonaparte’s coup a few months later. As my protagonist, Roch Miquel notes, “doing nothing was already a great deal for a Minister of Police, when he had to know of Bonaparte’s projects.” Bonaparte was duly appreciative: he rewarded Fouché’s benevolent neutrality by leaving him in place as Minister of Police. Was it the right decision?

Publishers Weekly mentions in its review of FOR THE KING that Fouché appears as “stridently unsavoury” in my novel. Yet I don’t believe I unfairly darken his character, and I provide a detailed explanation of his role in my historical note. It will be up to my readers to make their own opinion of the man . . .


Catherine Delors is the author of For the King, to be released July 8, 2010, and Mistress of the Revolution. You can visit her website for additional information.

Also on HFBRT today:

Review of For the King by Lucy at Enchanted by Josephine

A Creative Post by Lizzy at Historically Obsessed

Copyright © 2010 by The Maiden’s Court

Mailbox Monday #39

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page.

This week only one thing arrived in the mailbox - another slow week, but I have sp much to read right now anyway - so it's ok.

I received The Masque of the Black Tulip by Lauren Willig from PaperBackSwap. I haven't read the first in the series yet, but I'm looking forward to reading them all.

How did your mailbox fare?

Copyright © 2010 by The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Book Review: The Revolutionary Paul Revere by Joel J Miller

The Revolutionary Paul Revere by Joel J. Miller
Paperback, 224 pages
Thomas Nelson
April 6, 2010
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Genre: Non-fiction

Source: From publicist for review
“He’s famous for the ride.
He’s essential for so much more.

The story of Paul Revere is the story of the American Revolution. Always smack dab in the thick of things, he was an ordinary citizen living in extraordinarily turbulent times. Revere played key roles in colonial tax fights and riots, the aftermath of the infamous Boston Massacre, the Tea Party, the Battle of Lexington and Concord, and even the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. In this fast-paced, dramatic account, Paul Revere’s life pulses with energy as it explores his family and church life along with his revolutionary contribution as a spy, entrepreneur, express rider, freemason, and commercial visionary.”
I accepted this book for review on a whim. It was about early American history (which I love!) and they seem to be few and far between sometimes – so I jumped on this one…and I was NOT disappointed. This book gives a great in-depth look at the Revere family (formerly Rivoire) from Paul’s father, Apollos, through the end of the great American hero’s life. You get an inside look at events such as the Boston Massacre, Tea Party, battles of Lexington and Concord, the various taxations, etc. Everyone knows about Revere’s midnight ride, but did you know he also was essentially a jack-of-all-trades? Among other things he was: a silversmith, patriot, dentist, ran a copper foundry, ran a shop, was a mason, and a father of 16 children! At the same time you get an intimate look at some of Revere’s contemporaries – which was something I didn’t expect.

The way this book was written, you wouldn’t know it was non-fiction. It was never dry and always full of drama and witticisms. One of my favorite quotes shows brilliantly the humor of the author, “after repeal of the Stamp Act, Parliament was up Debt Creek without a farthing” (Miller 96). Comments like this are numerous and it keeps the reader engaged and you never realize all of the facts and tidbits you are taking in. Another technique that the author uses to his benefit is breaking the fourth wall. The author makes comments such as “recall from the earlier story…” (Miller 21) like you are right there with him while he tells you this story. I also liked the subtitles for each chapter; they came as one sentence previews of the chapter that always began with “in which…”. It was just a nice way to set you up for what was going to happen – but it didn’t give anything away if you know American history at all. All of these things combined made for a very interesting look at early American history. If only all non-fiction could be presented this way!

If you are looking for a unique look at colonial and early American history, this is the book for you.

On the authors website you can find links to many additional resources on Paul Revere and other early American history.
Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia

Also by Joel J. Miller:

the portable patriot
The Portable Patriot

size matters
Size Matters

bad trip
Bad Trip

Copyright © 2010 by The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Virtual Freedom Trail Tour Part 2

I’m glad you came back for this second part of the virtual Freedom Trail tour. If you are interested in the answer to yesterday’s trivia question – Which of the four (Franklin, Samuel Adams, Hancock, and Robert Paine) signers of the Declaration of Independence did not graduate from the Boston Latin School? – the answer is Benjamin Franklin! Amazing isn’t it? Ok, now onto the tour. Yesterday we left off at the Old Corner Bookstore, let’s pick up from there. The Old South Meeting House is a stop you won’t want to miss. Many of the early revolutionary events started here or occurred here in some capacity - most notably the precursor to the Boston Tea Party. Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and other members of the Sons of Liberty frequently met here. And did you know that the effort to preserve this landmark was one of the first historic landmark efforts in New England?
Now, we saw the New State House near the beginning of our trip, now let’s check out the Old State House. Now serving as a museum, this was once the center or political activities in Boston – from the British before the Revolution to the new government after it. Many great artifacts are currently housed in this museum – including some of Paul Revere’s silver creations. You will need a ticket to enter this museum. Outside of its doors the Boston Massacre took place – and you can visit the commemoration there too (though it doesn’t look like much). In case you didn’t know, Paul Revere engraved the famous illustration of the Boston Massacre that everyone knows about.
Now our next stop, I have actually been to…Faneuil Hall. The first floor was used for shops, and that is still what it is used for today. You can walk though the shops and score some wonderful finds. It was used to hold some heated debates prior to the Revolution. It is quite a walk before we encounter our next destination so feel free to take a look at some of the gorgeous architecture and sample some of the local treats. We have now arrived at the oldest building in Boston, and it happens to be the home of one of our great heroes…Paul Revere. Just a simple wooden house, nothing flashy, it served as the home for Revere and his large family. This is the house that Revere departed from on his famous ride and you can learn more about this historic figure inside his home – which serves as a museum.
The Old North Church is just around the corner and it too holds a special place in American History. This is the famous church of the “One if by Land, Two if by Sea” fame. Two lanterns were hung here to let the people of Charlestown know that the British were indeed advancing by sea. This church is still an active church, so keep that in mind while you are visiting.
For our final burial ground stop, we will visit the largest burying ground in Boston, one that was used for merchants and the working class. Although this is mostly a place where regular North Enders rested for eternity – in Copp's Hill Burying Ground you will find Increase and Cotton Mather – you might recognize those names from the Salem Witch Trials. This area was also very active during the Revolution, particularly the Battle of Bunker Hill – which is precisely where we will head to next – another long trek across the river. See you there!
Bunker Hill is the site of one of the first major battles in the Revolution. It was ultimately a loss for the young rebels but they proved that they were not going to just sit back and take what was being handed to them. A great obelisk is erected on the site in commemoration and was started by war hero the Marquis de Lafayette. There is also a museum at the site where you can take a look at some of the artifacts from the war.
Now we will head to our final destination on this tour as we head back to the harbor. The USS Constitution is the oldest afloat warship and it is still manned by military personnel. This ship was active during the War of 1812 and would you believe that in 1997 is got underway once more to celebrate its 200th anniversary. And wouldn’t you know it, our man Paul Revere constructed the copper fasteners that are used on this ship – he was everywhere!

I hope you all have learned a lot about the significant role that Boston played during the American Revolution and had fun along the way. I also hope you have learned a little bit about Paul Revere and stay tuned for my review of Revolutionary Paul Revere by Joel L. Miller tomorrow.

*If you happen to be planning a trip to walk the Freedom Trail - please visit EveryTrail for a detailed source of information - photos, info, maps, etc*

Copyright © 2010 by The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Virtual Freedom Trail Tour Part 1

I have always been interested in American history, especially the American Revolution. Growing up in New England I have been fortunate to live in a region where so much of our early history as a nation took place. I have taken trips to many of these places (Plymouth Plantation, Sturbridge Village, the Mayflower, Salem), but the one thing that I have been wanting to do for some time now has been to walk the Freedom Trail in Boston, Massachusetts. I am moving to a new apartment that is much closer to Boston and I am making a trip there one of my goals for the next year. In the meantime, for those of you who do not live close by, I thought I would do a virtual tour of the Freedom Trail in collaboration with my review later this week on the non-fiction book Revolutionary Paul Revere by Joel L. Miller. Let me be your tour guide on this virtual tour...does everyone have their tickets?

First, before we set off on our adventure, some important details. The Freedom Trail takes you through the city of Boston and has 16 stops along the way. You can choose to go to whatever ones you want and in whatever order you like. Be advised it is a 2.5 mile walk (not including the stops along the tour). We will start at the traditional starting point, keep your eyes open for the stop markers and follow the red brick line – feel free to wander off and check out the included links for further information about each stop. Just be sure to rejoin us before we move on.
Our tour starts off at Boston Common. This beautiful park started out as a “common” grazing field for the livestock of the people of Boston. It was later used for drills when the British were camped in Boston just before the beginning of the Revolution. Today it is a beautiful park where many celebrations and festivals are held.
From here we will head to the “new” State House. This is where the members of the state congress and the governor currently meet for business on a day to day basis. This building was built by Charles Bullfinch (who is also known for designing the US Capitol building). The signature gold dome was at one point made of copper – put there by our friend Paul Revere. If you look to your left you will see Park Street Church which was built in 1809. This landmark is significant for more than it being a church; it was a hot spot for reform efforts. Groups met here to work for the abolition of slavery, women’s right to vote, prison reform, and many other efforts. If you walk practically right across the street from Park Street Church you will come to the Granary Burying Ground. This may be one of the most interesting stops along the way as you can seek out the markers of many of history’s greatest heroes: John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Paul Revere (whose grave is shown above), and those Bostonians who were killed in the Boston Massacre. I always love looking at the symbols that are engraved on markers as well as some of the sayings – you will definitely find those here.
As we head further down the street we come to another church/burying ground combination. King’s Chapel was built in 1688. It was built for the British soldiers and others employed by the Crown. Situated on the same piece of land is the King’s Chapel Burying Ground. This was the first burying ground in Boston and also housed some famous people in their afterlife, one of these being John Winthrop. Another lesser known person buried there is William Dawes – one of the other two riders who rode with Revere on his famous ride to Lexington and Concord.
Right nearby is the oldest public school in America – where four of the original signers of the Declaration of Independence attended: Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Robert Paine. Of the four, only three graduated. Can you guess who didn’t graduate? (The answer will appear in tomorrow's post.) This school was built in 1635 and was called the Boston Latin School. At the site of the original school, a gorgeous statue of Franklin has been erected. This school is still working today – though at a different location.
The next stop on the tour is one that is right up our alley – the Old Corner Bookstore! In 1828 the bookstore opened and also served as a printing shop. Many well known American authors were published here, among them: Nathaniel Hawthorn, Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emmerson. Many great book conversations started here. But be advised, don't go in there looking for books today, it is now a jewelry store! What a travesty! This will be our final stop for today, come back tomorrow for the second half of this tour.

If you have been on the Freedom Trail tour before or been to any of these stops - please share your comments with us!
*If you happen to be planning a trip to walk the Freedom Trail - please visit EveryTrail for a detailed source of information - photos, info, maps, etc*

Copyright © 2010 by The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Movie Review: Robin Hood (2010)

Robin Hood
Universal Pictures
140 mins
May 14, 2010
Rated: PG-13

This is NOT the Robin Hood that you know! You can take almost everything that you have ever learned about this tale and throw it out the window. It is probably in your best interest to go into the movie without any preconceptions on the story in order to enjoy it to the fullest. This is the story of Robin Hood before he was Robin Hood…literally. The movie follows the life of Robin Longstride as he fights in King Richard’s army and makes his way back home.

There were some great moments in this movie. I did enjoy the relationship that was building between Robin and Marion. They are certainly not your traditional love at first sight couple. They brought some of the most humorous moments to the movie. As for historically accurate…it didn’t do too badly. They featured William Marshall, Prince John, King Richard and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Out of these four, I thought that Prince John was presented the best – he was scary mean. William Marshall was underused and not how I really pictured him. Eleanor had her moments – my favorite was when she walked in on John and his latest mistress and read him the riot act!

All of your favorite Robin Hood friends and foes are there too – Friar Tuck, Little John, Will Scarlet, Allan A’Dayle, Sherriff of Nottingham, Maid Marion. The Robin Hood gang had great chemistry together.

There was one scene that really felt out of place for me – this came near the end of the movie when the French were landing and Robin’s men were lined up on the shore waiting for them. My boyfriend leans over to me and says “I didn’t know that D-Day happened in the 12th century!” These scenes were so reminescent of Saving Private Ryan (and you can check out what I mean, thanks to my boyfriend's diligent effort)

^Dead body in water (RH)^                        ^Dead body in water (SPR)^

^Arrows in water (RH)^                                 ^Missile in water (SPR)^

^Boats on the water (RH)^                             ^Boats on the water (SPR)^

^Amphibious landing (RH)^                          ^Amphibious landing (SPR)^
My biggest problem with the movie overall was the age of the characters and actors. If this is supposed to be the story of Robin before he takes the name Hood, I would expect them to be younger. I went into this movie with the expectation that I wasn’t going to enjoy it – that it would be like Gladiator but in England – and it kinda was, but it wasn’t as bad as I expected. I would watch it again.

I think the recent BBC television version of Robin Hood is still my favorite.

3 out of 5 stars.

Copyright © 2010 by The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Audiobook Review: The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier

The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier
Unabridged, 8 hr.
Sound Library
Robert Blumenfeld & Terry Donnelly (narrators)
December 29, 2003
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Genre: Art Historical Fiction

Source: Borrowed Audiobook from Library
“Two families, two cities, one rogue go-between, and a set of gorgeous tapestries, all in a late medieval setting.

Nicolas des Innocents, a handsome, lascivious artist, is summoned to the Paris home of Jean Le Viste, a nobleman who wants Nicolas to design a series of battle tapestries for his house. Jean’s wife, Geneviève, persuades Nicolas to talk her husband into a softer subject: the taming of a unicorn by a noblewoman. Nicolas shapes the tapestries with his own vision, dedicating five of the six to the senses and using the images of Geneviève and her daughter, Claude, with whom Nicolas is smitten, for two of the ladies in the tapestries.

Nicolas takes the finished designs to Brussels, where master weaver Georges de la Chapelle will make them. At first Nicolas is scornful of Georges, but gradually comes to respect him and his wife Christine, and to take an interest in his daughter Aliénor. Nicolas models two more of the ladies in the tapestries after Christine and Aliénor, but his heart lies with the unattainable Claude.

Several story strands are woven together through the design and making of these complex, seductive tapestries” 
While the title of this novel relates directly to the tapestries, this story was as much about who these characters are and how they change, as it is about the making of the tapestries. We are first introduced to Nicolas, the artist who is to make the designs for the tapestries. He is one of those types of people who like to surround himself with those who are better than he is. He becomes the go-between in this story between the Le Viste family (who the tapestries are being made for) and the Chapelle family (the weavers who are making the tapestry). These two worlds couldn’t be more different. The Le Viste’s live in France and are wealthy, while the Chapelle’s live in Brussels and are artisans (though their shop does pretty well). One thing that the author did well was to illustrate the differences between these two classes of people.

A decent amount of time is spent in describing what the tapestries look like, what they represent, and the process of making them. I have never made a tapestry before, nor have I seen one made, so this was a very interesting portion of the book. For a stretch of time the tapestries become almost another character. I definitely recommend taking a look at them online before or during reading this as the visual will really enhance the reading experience.

Each chapter in this novel is narrated by a different character (from both families). Sometimes you would be able to see the same event from the perspective of the different characters – which enabled there to be a well rounded view of the events that transpired. I found myself being more interested in the chapters that we narrated by the female characters. I found the main character, Nicolas, to be whiney and mostly just chasing after the young girls. The female chapters just seemed to have more energy put into them by the author and felt more real.

Overall, I thought this book was good, not excellent like A Girl With a Pearl Earring. There was a very different energy to this book, and I felt that it moved a lot slower. I can’t even say that it was because it was more focused on the characters, because Pearl Earring was very focused on the development of the characters. I can’t exactly put my finger on why but I just wasn’t as thrilled with the story – it didn’t leave me dying to get back to the book the next time I was in the car. I think that I am still going to read some of her other books, but this one doesn’t exactly land on the top of my list.

You can also read the first chapter to get a taste of the writer’s style.


I really liked having both a male and female narrator to read the different characters - although I preferred the female roles much better - it was just easier on my ear. I also appreciated listening to this one because there were a lot of French terms that made it sound more realistic.

You can listen to a small sample of the audiobook (links to Audible)
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Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Buy the Book:
 Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia

Also by Tracy Chevalier:

at the edge of the orchard
At the Edge of the Orchard

falling angels
Falling Angels

remarkable creatures
Remarkable Creatures

the last runaway
The Last Runaway

virgin blue
Virgin Blue

girl with a pearl earring
Girl With a Pearl Earring
[My Review]

Find Tracy Chevalier: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Goodreads

Copyright © 2010 by The Maiden’s Court