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Monday, January 31, 2011

TV Show Review: Panama Canal

Panama Canal: Gateway to the American Century
American Experience Series

90 mins
January 24, 2011

Source: Received for Preview from WGBH

“On August 15th, 1914, the Panama Canal opened, connecting the world’s two largest oceans and signaling America’s emergence as a global superpower. American ingenuity and innovation had succeeded where, fifteen years earlier, the French had failed disastrously. But the U.S. paid a price for victory: a decade of ceaseless, grinding toil, an outlay of more than 350 million dollars -- the largest single federal expenditure in history to that time -- and the loss of more than 5,000 lives. Along the way, Central America witnessed the brazen overthrow of a sovereign government, the influx of over 55,000 workers from around the globe, the removal of hundreds of millions of tons of earth, and engineering innovation on an unprecedented scale. The construction of the Canal was the epitome of man’s mastery over nature and signaled the beginning of America’s domination of world affairs.”
In terms of United States history, the building of the Panama Canal was much more that just finding a way to connect the Atlantic and the Pacific in a quicker fashion; it was a “symbol of arrogance, authority and power”, “the story of inspiration and a story of humanity” and also epitomized “America’s mighty march of progress”. It is a classic example of the triumph of man and his machines over nature. It was a way to show the world that the United States would succeed in a job where others had tried and failed at one of the most difficult tasks. While this episode certainly chronicles the building of the Canal and the people that built it, this episode also looks at what the completion of this Canal did for the United States.

Before watching the episode I knew the basics about the Panama Canal – the Reader’s Digest version. After watching this episode, among other things, I learned how the USA instigated the bloodless revolution in Panama, how one man effective eradicated the threat of Yellow Fever in the area during the construction, the mass amounts of problems that beset the progress of the canal, as well as the rampant racism that enveloped the workers. I never would have known that there were those that were paid in gold and those who were paid in silver and that the facilities were segregated based on their method of payment. I also didn’t know that when President Teddy Roosevelt made a trip down to Panama to check on the progress of the canal, this was the first time a sitting President had left the country. The experience of building the Panama Canal became well-rounded and left me with a more complete picture of the events that unfolded.

One thing that I really liked was the great video clips that they had from the canal working, of boats and men, and Teddy Roosevelt. I love looking at old film footage and it really helps to create a complete visual in your mind. They were also able to show blueprints of the canal plans and you could hear letters that were sent home to family members in the USA from workers at the Canal. These letters were effective at showing what the workers actually thought about working down there (and let me tell you, they weren’t necessarily thrilled about the conditions). I was also very surprised to see interview footage with actual canal workers. It looks like these interviews were done many years after the canal was built because these men looked quite old by then – but it was still great to hear of their experiences in their own words.

All in all I learned a lot about the building of the Panama Canal and feel like I could hold my own in a conversation on the subject, should the need ever arise. A very well done episode.

I am a little late at telling you guys about this one, it aired on the 24th of January, but you can watch the episode online at the American Experience website if you missed it.

Here is a trailer of this show for your enjoyment.

At the American Experience website, there are a great many primary resources and wonderful content for you to explore. One thing that I found particularly interesting is an interactive map of the canal. Among other things to note: a timeline of the canal building, a photo gallery of the building of the canal, and an article about the workforce brought in for the job.

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Mailbox Monday #61

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page and it is now on tour each month. For the month of January it has been hosted by Rose City Reader.

Today’s Mailbox is really an amalgamation of the last three weeks mailboxes. One week I didn’t feel like posting just one book and last week I didn’t want to interrupt YA Hist-Fic week. So here it is…

I received some awesome reads from PaperBackSwap over the last couple of weeks. It really pays to get rid of your boyfriend’s books in return to get some of your own! So here were my PBS finds:

The King’s Daughter by Sandra Worth. After reading Pale Rose of England I just had to get some more of her books. Jane Boleyn: The True Story of the Infamous Lady Rochford by Julia Fox. I have been looking at this one for awhile and have always been interested in seeing more of Jane Boleyn. The Highest Stakes by Emery Lee. This one I have wanted since before it came out and I was so excited to get the notification about this one. The copy I received in the mail is so beautiful and in excellent condition.

My most exciting item in the mail is a new episode of American ExperienceTriangle Fire. I am so excited for this one because I worked on a major project on this subject in college and even though it was the worst workplace disaster in NYC prior to the 9/11 tragedy, not enough people know about it. I cannot wait to watch this one. Here is the blurb:

“It was the deadliest workplace accident in New York City’s history. A
dropped cigarette on the 8th floor of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory sparked a
fire that killed over a hundred innocent people trapped inside. The private
industry of the American factory would never be the same.”
The final thing that I received in my mailbox is for a blog tour being organized by Premier Virtual Author Book Tour for India Black by Carol Carr. I have heard a great many good things about this book and cannot wait to get into reading it. Stay tuned in March for the review and guest post.

What goods came in your mailbox this week (or the last few!)?

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Suddenly Sunday - YA Week Wrap Up

Gooooood Morning everyone! This is going to be a short and sweet post - I'm not feeling too well as I'm writing this :(.

This week was YA Hist Fic Week here at The Maiden's Court. There were a couple of guest posts by some of the fabulous YA authors. If you missed them, I provided the links below:

Also, we learned that there are a lot of awesome YA historical fiction out there, that I for one, cannot wait to read. Here are some of the listings:

One giveaway has been announced so far - you can enter the giveaway for several books in the Dear America series until February 9th. I will be announcing another awesome giveaway (for several Lisa Klein books thanks to the publisher!) in the coming days. Keep your eyes open for that.
Also, this week will kick off the February event for the Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table - featuring Pale Rose of England by Sandra Worth. Keep your eye out for the schedule and great upcoming content.

Suddenly Sunday is hosted by Svea at Confessions and Ramblings of a Muse in the Fog.

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Books By Susanne Dunlap

Susanne Dunlap is the author of 3 (including the one to be released in April) historical YA novels. I have not had the opportunity to read any of her works yet, but I saw Anastasia’s Secret going around the blogs when it came out). And the covers are just gorgeous! Susanne has also written 2 adult historical fiction novels, which I won’t go into here but if you are interested, Liszt’s Kiss and Emilie’s Voice.


Anastasia’s Secret
"For Anastasia Romanov, life as the privileged daughter of Russia's last tsar is about to be torn apart by the bloodshed of revolution. Ousted from the imperial palace when the Bolsheviks seize control of the government, Anastasia and her family are exiled to Siberia. But even while the rebels debate the family's future with agonizing slowness and the threat to their lives grows more menacing, romance quietly blooms between Anastasia and Sasha, a sympathetic young guard she has known since childhood. But will the strength of their love be enough to save Anastasia from a violent death? Inspired by the mysteries that have long surrounded the last days of the Romanov family, Susanne Dunlap's new novel is a haunting vision of the life-and love story-of Russia's last princess.”

The Musician’s Daughter
“Murder and love—from the halls of Vienna’s imperial family to a perilous gypsy camp

Amid the glamour of Prince Nicholas Esterhazy’s court in 18th-century Vienna, murder is afoot. Or so fifteen-year-old Theresa Maria is convinced when her musician father turns up dead on Christmas Eve, his valuable violin missing, and the only clue to his death a strange gold pendant around his neck. Then her father’s mentor, the acclaimed composer Franz Joseph Haydn, helps her through a difficult time by making her his copyist and giving her insight in to her father’s secret life. It’s there that Theresa begins to uncover a trail of blackmail and extortion, even as she discovers honor—and the possibility of a first, tentative love. Thrumming with the weeping strains of violins, as well as danger and deception, this is an engrossing tale of murder, romance, and music that readers will find hard to forget.”

In the Shadow of the Lamp (coming in April 2011)
“To flee an impossible situation in her job as a London parlormaid, Molly stows away and journeys with Florence Nightingale and her nurses to tend to the wounded and dying British soldiers in the Crimea. While there, she falls in love, with a brave young soldier—and with a dashing doctor. Can she decide between them? Or will the winds of war sweep away all chance of love?”

You can read reviews of these awesome books at these blogs:
Anastasia’s Secret – By Michelle at The True Book Addict
The Musician’s Daughter – By Irena at This Miss Loves to Read

You can find out more about Susanne and her books by checking out her website. I can’t wait to hear more about In the Shadow of the Lamp.

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Friday, January 28, 2011

Books By Lisa Klein

Lisa Klein is the author of 4 historical YA novels. Two of these stories take on girls from fiction (Shakespeare particularly) and the other two are focused on historical events in the United States. (Gettysburg and Roanoke).


“Shakespeare’s Ophelia as you’ve never seen her before in an inspiring tale of love and loss.

She is young, beautiful, and desperately in love with a man who cannot return her affections without arousing suspicion. And so they meet in secret—embracing in stairwells and castle turrets, murmuring each other’s names in hushed voices, reaching passionately for each other under the cover of darkness. His name is Hamlet; her name is Ophelia. And if you think you know their story, think again. Because when bloody deeds turn the court of Elsinore into a place of treachery and madness, the young lovers will devise a plan for revenge—and for escape. Part of their plan calls for Ophelia to cast herself into dark waters. But instead of drowning, she will flee with nothing more than the clothes on her back…and one very dangerous secret.

What if Ophelia, the tragic young waif of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, didn’t die? Using this tantalizing premise as her leaping off point, Lisa Klein’s gorgeous reimagining of the bard’s great tragedy places the ephemeral Ophelia at its centerpiece. At once revisionist and true to its origins, her story offers readers a spellbinding page-turner with twists so startling it will leave them wanting more long after the final, heart-rending page is reached.”

Lady Macbeth’s Daughter
“Albia has grown up with no knowledge of her father, the powerful thane Macbeth, and her mother, the grief-wracked Grelach. Instead she knows the dark lure of the Wychelm Wood and the moors, where she’s been raised by three strange sisters. The ambitious Macbeth seeks to know his fate,and Albia’s life becomes tangled with that of the man who leaves in his wake nothing but bloodshed. When Albia learns that she has the second sight, she must decide whether to ignore the terrible future she foresees—or to change it.

With only the shepherd Colum to aid her, Albia sets out on a journey fraught with peril. Will she be able to save the man she loves from her murderous father? Can she forgive her parents their wrongs, or must she destroy them?”

Cate of the Lost Colony
“Lady Catherine is one of Queen Elizabeth's favorite court maidens—until her forbidden romance with Sir Walter Ralegh is discovered. In a bitter twist of irony, the jealous queen banishes Cate to Ralegh's colony of Roanoke, in the New World. Ralegh pledges to come for Cate, but as the months stretch out, Cate begins to doubt his promise and his love. Instead it is Manteo, a Croatoan Indian, whom the colonists—and Cate—increasingly turn to. Yet just as Cate's longings for England and Ralegh fade and she discovers a new love in Manteo, Ralegh will finally set sail for the New World.

Seamlessly weaving together fact with fiction, Lisa Klein's newest historical drama is an engrossing tale of adventure and forbidden love—kindled by one of the most famous mysteries in American history: the fate of the settlers at Roanoke, who disappeared without a trace forty years before the Pilgrims would set foot in Plymouth.”

Two Girls of Gettysburg
“When the Civil War breaks out, two cousins, Lizzie and Rosanna, find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict until the war reunites them in the town of Gettysburg.”

You can find reviews of these books at these fine blogs:
Cate of the Lost Colony – By Holly at Bippity Boppity Book
Two Girls of Gettysburg – By Julie at YAthenaeum
Ophelia – By Desilula at Paperback Dolls
Lady Macbeth’s Daughter – By D Swizzle at Opinionated? Me?

You can visit Lisa’s website for more information on her books.

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Guest Post by Lisa Klein

Today I have the oppotunity to host Lisa Klein here at The Maiden's Court. She has written several wonderful books that I can't wait to get my hands on and if you can't either, stay tuned for an awesome giveaway - thanks to Bloomsbury USA!

Why I Write YA Fiction

Guest Post by Lisa Klein, author of
Cate of the Lost Colony

To tell you the truth, I didn’t start out to write YA fiction. When I wrote Ophelia I thought of it as literary fiction for adults because of connection to Shakespeare’s Hamlet. When an agent agreed to represent me, she said, “What you really have here is young adult fiction—because of the age of Ophelia.” At first I was offended! What? My book is a kid’s book? It’s not good enough for grownups? But I wanted to get published, so I said, “OK, teen fiction it will be.”

Of course, I was an ignorant snob then. I didn’t know anything at all about YA fiction. There wasn’t any when I was growing up; I went right from Beezus and Ramona to Pride and Prejudice. So I began to devour the stuff, from The Chocolate War to Speak to Looking for Alaska. And I realized what a paradise it is these days for teen readers! So now I’m proud to be writing YA fiction. It makes me feel young. It makes my teenage sons popular with the girls. (“Omigod, your mom wrote Ophelia?”) Hey, boys, anything I can do to help you.

I was miserable for most of my high school years, mostly from insecurity, and books were my refuge. Now I am writing the kinds of books I longed to read when I was a teenager, books that would have helped me understand that young women throughout history have had it tough (much tougher than I ever did!) and survived and found love, and grown strong. In Two Girls of Gettysburg, Lizzie and Rosanna watch their friendship and their entire country come apart during the Civil War, but they emerge stronger for having been tested. In Cate of the Lost Colony the orphan Cate loses the favor of the queen, is separated from her love, Sir Walter Ralegh, and sent to wild, dangerous Virginia—the “lost colony” of Roanoke. Just when you think all is truly lost, the future opens up in an unexpected way for her.

So by writing, I revisit my teen years and make the journey again with my readers, offering them adventure, romance, near-tragedy, and in the end, hope.

Finally, I write YA fiction because of the demands it makes on me as a writer. My book has to grab teens away from their smart phones and iPods and friends and say “Read me instead.” I have to measure out my words carefully, wasting none of them, move my plot along without lagging, write vivid dialog that is also historical. I refuse to “write down” to teens. You read my books, you get literary fiction! Written for adults who happen to still be young. We older adults can become lazy readers; teens are smart, complicated, and demanding and deserve the best books I can possibly write.
You can visit Lisa at her website for more information on her books.

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Books By Ann Rinaldi

Ann Rinaldi is a prolific YA historical fiction author whose books are among my favorites read as a young reader. Her books focus mostly on American events and she has also written a couple of the Dear America and My Name is America books that I mentioned a few days ago. You would not be remiss to introduce a young reader to these books. Several of the books have won awards. I have placed stars next to the ones that I have read – and I would recommend them all! I must warn you, this is a marathon post – and I didn’t even include ALL of her books, just the most historical based ones!

Great Episodes Series

A Ride Into Morning* A novel of Tempe Wick
“The Revolutionary War is raging. General Wayne's soldiers are freezing, underpaid, and resentful. Whispers of mutiny abound.

A stone's throw from the restless camp, Tempe Wick wages her own battle for survival. Despite her efforts, she fears she won't be able to feed her family, care for her ailing mother, or maintain her farm for long.

As the whispers get louder, the soldiers get bolder. Mutiny is imminent. And Tempe faces a gut-wrenching decision: Should she join the revolt?"

A Break with Charity* A novel of the Salem Witch Trials.
“Why, in 1692, did Salem execute 22 citizens accused by hysterical girls? Susanna English, ancestor of Nathaniel Hawthorne, is a fascinated, horrified observer whos told, early on, by ringleader Ann Putnam that the girls are deliberately seeking attention and power; Susanna keeps silent lest her own family be accused.”

The Fifth of March* A novel of the Boston Massacre.
“Rachel Marsh is a servant in the Boston household of John Adams. But her loyalty to the Adams family is tested by her friendship with Matthew Kilroy, a British private who leads his soldiers in firing upon a mob of Boston citizens.”

Finishing Becca A novel of Peggy Shippen and Benedict Arnold
“Peggy Shippen is everything Becca is not--a beautiful, rich, and horribly spoiled Quaker daughter whose life revolves around the whirlwind society of Philadelphia in 1778. Becca's family has fallen on hard times, and she is sent to the Shippen household to be Peggy's personal maid and to receive a finishing education. But working for Peggy, Becca gets an education in deceit and treachery, as Peggy sets her sights first on British Captain John Andre and then on American General Benedict Arnold.

As Becca fervently tries to find the "missing pieces" of herself, she watches in horror as Peggy Shippen manipulates General Benedict Arnold to turn traitor and join forces with the Crown against the revolutionary Americans.”

The Secret of Sarah Revere*
"What really matters? The truth? Or what people think? This question plagues thirteen-year-old Sarah Revere, daughter of the famous patriot Paul Revere. Who fired the first shot at Lexington does Paul Revere know? Sarah struggles with these questions and looks back at all that has happened since her father began his series of rides for the patriots. Dr. Joseph Warren, a friend of her fathers becomes a part of the family watching over them during Paul Revere's frequent absences. But Sarah fears that Warren's best interest is in her step mother. As Sarah is left with her own personal war."

Keep Smiling Through
“For young Kay, growing up in middle class America during World War II is a confusing and sometimes painful experience. Her stepmother, Amazing Grace, is a selfish woman who takes her unhappiness out on those around her. And for a little girl so concerned with pleasing others and doing the honorable thing, life with Amazing Grace is nearly unbearable. But Kay is also a believer. She’s determined to “keep smiling through,” as the song says, knowing that one day she will do something extraordinary.”

Hang a Thousand Trees with Ribbons A novel of Phillis Wheatley.
“Kidnapped from her home in Senegal and sold as a slave in 1761, a young girl is purchased by the wealthy Wheatley family in Boston. Phillis Wheatley--as she comes to be known--has an eager mind and it leads her on an unusual path for a slave--she becomes America’s first published black poet”.

An Acquaintance with Darkness
“Chaos reigns in Washington, D.C., after President Lincoln's assassination. But for 14-year-old Emily Pigbush, the Union's turmoil is nothing compared to her own struggle. Sent to live with her uncle Valentine after her mother's untimely death, Emily realizes that her best friend's mother was one of John Wilkes Booth's accomplices. And even worse, she suspects that her uncle is breaking the law.”

Cast Two Shadows The American Revolution in the South
“A young girl living in South Carolina during the American Revolution discovers the duplicity within herself and others. It's 1780, and war has come to Camden, South Carolina. Caroline Whitaker's father is in prison for refusing to pledge allegiance to the king; her brother, Johnny, is away fighting for the Loyalists; and she, her mother, and her sister are confined to an upstairs chamber as British colonel Lord Francis Rawdon occupies their spacious plantation house.

Caroline soon learns that Johnny is injured and needs her help to get home. Caroline receives permission from Rawdon to fetch Johnny, but she is not to make this journey alone. Her black grandmother, a slave on the plantation, accompanies her...on a trip that turns Caroline's already tumultuous world upside down and forces her to question all that she holds dear.”

The Coffin Quilt* The Feud Between the Hatfields and the McCoys
“Teenager Fanny McCoy grows up in the midst of a longstanding neighborhood war in this novel that brings to life the archetypal American family feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys — a legendary episode in history.”

The Staircase*
“Who really built the miraculous staircase in the Chapel of Loretto in Santa Fe?

How could Lizzy Enders's father leave her in a girls school run by the Sisters of Loretto in Santa Fe? She's surrounded by Catholics, who pray to Saint Joseph and whose saints keep watch over her-and she's Methodist! Taunted by the other boarders, Lizzy befriends a wandering carpenter named Jose, who with just three tools--and his unflagging faith--builds a staircase to the choir loft of the new chapel. Through their friendship, Lizzy discovers the inner strength to forgive and to trust.

Working from the legend of the "miraculous" staircase in the Chapel of Loretto in Santa Fe, Ann Rinaldi skillfully blends the mystery surrounding the builder of the staircase with the daily trials of a young girl growing up in the 1870s.”

Or Give Me Death A Novel of Patrick Henry’s Family
“With their father away most of the time advocating independence for the American colonies, the children of Patrick Henry try to raise themselves, manage the family plantation, and care for their mentally ill mother.”

An Unlikely Friendship A Novel of Mary Todd Lincoln and Elizabeth Keckley
“On the night of President Abraham Lincoln's assassination, his frantic wife, Mary, calls for her best friend and confidante, Elizabeth Keckley, but the woman is mistakenly kept from her side by guards who were unaware of Mary Todd Lincoln's close friendship with the black seamstress. How did these two women--one who grew up in a wealthy Southern home and became the wife of the president of the United States, the other who was born a slave and eventually purchased her own freedom--come to be such close companions? With vivid detail and emotional power, Ann Rinaldi delves into the childhoods of these two fascinating women who became devoted friends and confidantes amid the turbulent times of the Lincoln administration.”

Come Juneteenth
“Sis Goose is a beloved member of Luli's family, despite the fact that she was born a slave. But the family is harboring a terrible secret. And when Union soldiers arrive on their Texas plantation to announce that slaves have been declared free for nearly two years, Sis Goose is horrified to learn that the people she called family have lied to her for so long. She runs away--but her newly found freedom has tragic consequences. How could the state of Texas keep the news of the Emancipation Proclamation from reaching slaves? In this riveting Great Episodes historical drama, Ann Rinaldi sheds light on the events that led to the creation of Juneteenth, a celebration of freedom that continues today.”

The Ever-After Bird
“Now that her father is dead, CeCe McGill is left to wonder why he risked his life for the ragged slaves who came to their door in the dead of night. When her uncle, an ornithologist, insists she accompany him to Georgia on an expedition in search of the rare scarlet ibis, CeCe is surprised to learn there's a second reason for their journey: Along the way, Uncle Alex secretly points slaves north in the direction of the Underground Railroad.

Set against the backdrop of the tumultuous pre-Civil War South, The Ever-After Bird is the story of a young woman's education about the horrors of slavery and the realization about the kind of person she wants to become.”

Juliet’s Moon
“War is turning Juliet Bradshaw's world upside down. Her brother, Seth, rides with William Quantrill's renegade Confederate army, but he's helpless when the Yankees arrest Juliet along with the wives and sisters of Quantrill's soldiers as spies. Imprisoned in a dilapidated old house in Kansas City, Juliet is one of a handful of survivors after the building collapses, killing most of the young girls inside. When she's reunited with her brother, Juliet finds the life she had previously known is gone. Surrounded by secrets, lies, murder, and chaos, she must determine just how far she will go to protect the people and things she holds dear.”

The Letter Writer
“Eleven-year-old Harriet Whitehead is an outsider in her own family. She feels accepted and important only when she is entrusted to write letters for her blind stepmother. Then Nat Turner, a slave preacher, arrives on her family’s plantation and Harriet befriends him, entranced by his gentle manner and eloquent sermons about an all-forgiving God. When Nat asks Harriet for a map of the county to help him spread the word, she draws it for him—wanting to be part of something important. But the map turns out to be the missing piece that sets Nat’s secret plan in motion and makes Harriet an unwitting accomplice to the bloodiest slave uprising in U.S. history. Award-winning historical novelist Ann Rinaldi has created a bold portrait of an ordinary young girl thrust in to a situation beyond her control.”

Leigh Ann’s Civil War
“Leigh Ann Conners is spunky and determined. Although she often finds herself in trouble, she loves her two older brothers dearly and would do anything to make them proud.
When the Yankees arrive in Roswell, Georgia, Leigh Ann places a French flag upon the family’s mill. She hopes the Yankees will then spare the mill from destruction, but her actions have disastrous results. Sent north with the women and children who worked in the mill—all branded traitors for making fabric for Confederate uniforms—Leigh Ann embarks on a journey that requires her to find her own inner strength. Only then will she be able to rise above the war raging around her.”

Other Novels

Time Enough for Drums
“Sixteen-year-old Jem struggles to maintain the status quo at home in Trenton, New Jersey, when the family men join the war for independence.

There are signs of rebellion in the Emerson household several years before the actual American Revolution hits in 1776! Brought up in a relatively liberal household, Jemima Emerson is quite a challenge for her tutor, John Reid, who is known as a Tory with strong ties to England. How could Jem's parents be friends with a man who opposes American freedom? Jem longs for freedom on every level, in the home and her homeland—and John represents the forces that restrict her.

Jem and her family soon find themselves fighting for freedom in whatever ways they can in the Revolutionary War. Before long, Jem discovers that there is much more to Mr. Reid than she ever imagined. Her feelings about him change when Jem realizes that John shares her love of freedom—and will risk his life to defend it.”

The Last Silk Dress
“Fourteen-year-old Susan chilmark wants to do something to support the Confederacy during the Civil War. She decides to collect silk dresses to create a huge hot-air balloon to spy on the enemy. But at the same time, Susan discovers unsettling family secrets, deals with the death of her father, and falls in love with a Yankee.”

Wolf by the Ears
“Harriet Hemings has always been happy in the comfortable, protected world that is Monticello. She's been well treated there; no one has ever called her a slave. But that is what she is, a slave of a man who wrote the Declaration of Independence. And there are rumors that she might be more than Thomas Jefferson's slave - she might be his daughter.

Now Harriet has to make a choice - to run to freedom or to stay. If she stays, she'll remain a slave. But how can she choose freedom, if it means leaving behind her family, her race, and the only home she's ever known?”

In My Father’s House
“Many of the fiercest battles of the Civil War were fought in the home. Oscie Mason knows this all too well.

The first shots of the war were fired on her front lawn - a sign of things to come. Oscie's a proud daughter of the Old South, but her stepfather, Will McLean, thinks the world of her childhood must change. Oscie won't accept anything he has to say. And the tension between them is about to explode.

To escape the war, Will McLean moves the family to a quiet town called Appomattox. But the war will follow them there, as sure as the hurtful battle will continue in Oscie's home, and in her heart. Can Oscie call a truce - or will all that she cherishes become a casualty of war?”

The Second Bend in the River
“Rebecca Galloway is a busy pioneer girl in the Ohio Territory. Over the years, her friendship with Tecumseh, the respected Shawnee chief, grows into love. Rebecca must choose a future on her family homestead, or with the man she loves.”

Mine Eyes Have Seen
“As antislavery crusader John Brown gathers men and arms at a small farm near Harper's Ferry, 17-year-old Annie Brown must decide: Is her father a visionary or a madman?”

Taking Liberty A Novel of Oney Judge, George Washington’s Runaway Slave
“Oney Judge is a slave. But on the plantation of Mount Vernon, the beautiful home of George and Martha Washington, she is not called a slave. She is referred to as a servant, and a house servant at that — a position of influence and respect. When she rises to the position of personal servant to Martha Washington, her status among the household staff — black or white — is second to none. She is Lady Washington's closest confidante and for all intents and purposes, a member of the family — or so she thinks.

Slowly, Oney's perception of her life with the Washingtons begins to crack as she realizes the truth: No matter what it's called, it's still slavery and she's still a slave.

Oney must make a choice. Does she stay where she is — comfortable, with this family that has loved her and nourished her and owned her since the day she was born? Or does she take her liberty — her life — into her own hands, and like her father, become one of the Gone?

Told with immense power and compassion, Taking Liberty is the extraordinary true story of one young woman's struggle to take what is rightfully hers.”

Mutiny’s Daughter
“In the most famous mutiny in the world, Fletcher Christian risked imprisonment by leading a rebellion aboard the HMS Bounty in 1789. But what happened to Fletcher Christian after that? There were stories that he survived a vicious massacre in the South Pacific and boarded a ship back to England. We know that he had several children by his Polynesian wife, including a daughter named Mary. Could he and Mary have reunited in England?

Respected writer of historical fiction Ann Rinaldi brings her magic touch to the fascinating prospect “What if?” and weaves an enthralling tale told through the words of Fletcher Christian's fourteen-year-old daughter, Mary. Behind the privileged walls of her new boarding school, Mary struggles to fit in, trying not to reveal the identity of her father, who dishonored his family name.

Rollicking adventures await Mary as she ventures out into London's crowded streets, desperately searching to see her father's loving face one more time.”

Brooklyn Rose
“It's 1900, the dawn of a new century, and fifteen-year-old Rose Frampton is beginning a new life. She's left her family in South Carolina to live with her handsome and wealthy husband in Brooklyn, New York -- a move that is both scary and exciting. As mistress of the large Victorian estate on Dorchester Road, she must learn to make decisions, establish her independence, and run an efficient household. These tasks are difficult enough without the added complication of barely knowing her husband. As romance blossoms and Rose begins to find her place, she discovers that strength of character does not come easily but is essential for happiness.

Writing in diary form, Ann Rinaldi paints a sensual picture of time and place--and gives readers an intimate glimpse into the heart of a child as she becomes a woman.”

Nine Days a Queen The Short Life and Reign of Lady Jane Grey
“I had freckles.
I had sandy hair.
I was too short.
Would my feet even touch the ground if I sat on the throne?

These are the words of lady Jane Grey, as imagined by celebrated author Ann Rinaldi. Jane would become Queen of England for only nine days before being beheaded at the age of sixteen.

Here is a breathtaking story of English royalty with its pageantry, privilege, and surprising cruelty. As she did in her previous novel Mutiny's Daughter, Ms. Rinaldi uses powerful, evocative writing to bring to life a teenage girl caught in the grip of stirring times.”

The Redheaded Princess
“Growing up, Elizabeth fears she can never be Queen. Although she is the King's daughter, no woman can ever hope to rule over men in England, especially when her mother has been executed for treason.

For all her royal blood, Elizabeth's life is fraught with danger and uncertainty. Sometimes she is welcome in the royal court; other times she is cast out into the countryside. With her position constantly changing, the Princess must navigate a sea of shifting loyalties and dangerous affections. At stake is her life—for beheading is not uncommon among the factions that war for the Crown.

With the vivid human touch that has made her one of the foremost writers of historical fiction, Ann Rinaldi brings to life the heart and soul of the young Elizabeth I. It's a portrait of a great leader as she may have been as she found her way to the glorious destiny that lay before her.”

You can check out a complete list of her books at Ann Rinaldi’s website.

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Books By Esther Friesner

Esther Friesner is the author of 5 YA historical novels as well as many paranormal/fantasy books. Here I am going to cover just the historical novels. The Princesses of Myth series currently has 4 books divided over two sub-series. Two of the books are on Helen of Troy and the other two books are on Nefertiti. I am most interested in reading her stand alone, Threads and Flames, as I had to do a major project in college on the subject of this book. I had the opportunity to meet Esther as a local bookshop last year – it was a small gathering and we were able to chat for a little while.

Princesses of Myth Series

Nobody’s Princess
Book 1
”She is beautiful, she is a princess, and Aphrodite is her favorite goddess, but something in Helen of Sparta just itches for more out of life. Not one to count on the gods—or her looks—to take care of her, Helen sets out to get what she wants with steely determination and a sassy attitude. That same attitude makes Helen a few enemies—such as the self-proclaimed "son of Zeus" Theseus—but it also intrigues, charms, and amuses those who become her friends, from the famed huntress Atalanta to the young priestess who is the Oracle of Delphi.

In Nobody's Princess, author Esther Friesner deftly weaves together history and myth as she takes a new look at the girl who will become Helen of Troy. The resulting story offers up adventure, humor, and a fresh and engaging heroine you cannot help but root for.”

Nobody’s Prize Book 2
“In this rousing sequel to Nobody’s Princess, young Helen of Sparta is not about to be left behind when her older brothers head off to join the quest for the Golden Fleece. Accompanied by her friend Milo, and disguised as a boy herself, Helen sets out to join the crew of heroes aboard the massive ship known as The Argo.

Helen quickly faces all sorts of danger. There are battles to be fought, as well as an encounter with a terrifying murderous princess. With her beauty blossoming, Helen’s journey takes her beyond the mythology of the Golden Fleece to Athens, where her very future as Queen of Sparta is threatened.”

Sphinx’s Princess Book 1
“Nefertiti was far more than just a pretty face.

Nefertiti may be the dutiful daughter of a commoner, but her inquisitive mind often gets her into situations that are far from ordinary, like receiving secret lessons from a scribe. And she’s the kind of girl who acts first, and apologizes later whenever she witnesses injustice or cruelty. But she is also extraordinarily beautiful. And news of her striking beauty and impulsive behavior attracts the attention of her aunt, the manipulative Queen Tiye, who sees Nefertiti as an ideal pawn in her desire for power. Even though Nefertiti is taken from her beloved family and forced into a life filled with courtly intrigue and danger, her spirit and mind will not rest. She continues to challenge herself and the boundaries of ancient Egyptian society.

Esther Friesner offers readers another fresh new look at an iconic figure—blending historical fiction and mythology in a thrilling concoction.”

Sphinx’s Queen Book 2
“Ancient Egypt springs to life in this enthralling sequel to Sphinx’s Princess. As she did in Nobody’s Princess and Nobody’s Prize, author Esther Friesner offers readers a fresh look at an iconic figure, blending historical fiction and mythology in a heady concoction.

Hunted . . . Overnight, every aspect of Nefertiti’s life has changed. She is no longer living at the royal palace as the intended bride of the crown prince. Instead, she is being chased by the prince and his soldiers for a crime she did not commit.

Hidden . . . Traveling with two of her dearest friends, including the crown prince’s brother, who helped her escape, Nefertiti takes shelter in the wild hills along the Nile’s west bank. She must rely on her own resourcefulness and skills (all those secret archery lessons prove very useful) as the fugitives fight to survive.

Haunted . . . But the need for justice gnaws at Nefertiti. She is determined to plead her case to the Pharaoh and set things right. As she begins to question long-held sacred beliefs—a questioning that could alter the fabric of Egyptian society—her extraordinary journey from commoner to royalty brings adventure, intrigue, and romance.”

Stand Alone Novel

Threads and Flames
“It’s 1910, and thirteen-year-old Raisa has just traveled alone from a small Polish shtetl all the way to New York City. It’s overwhelming, awe-inspiring, and even dangerous, especially when she discovers that her sister has disappeared and she must now fend for herself. She finds work in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory sewing bodices on the popular shirtwaists. Raisa makes friends and even, dare she admit it?, falls in love. But then 1911 dawns, and one March day a spark ignites in the factory. One of the city’s most harrowing tragedies unfolds, and Raisa’s life is forever changed. . . .

One hundred years after the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, this moving young adult novel gives life to the tragedy and hope of this transformative event in American history.”

You can visit these blogs for great reviews of these novels:
Sphinx’s Princess – By Vanessa at Book Geek Reviews
Sphinx’s Queen – By Vanessa at Book Geek Reviews
Nobody’s Princess – By Becky at Becky’s Book Reviews
Nobody’s Prize – By Stephanie at Juiciliciousss Reviews
Threads and Flames – By Kari at A Good Addiction

You can check out Esther’s website for more information about her books (including her other non-YA work). For excerpts from the Princesses of Myth series, please visit Random House. For more information on Threads and Flames please visit Penguin.

Here is a video where Esther discusses what has led to her writing of YA historicals.

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court