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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Reading Stats

I know that some people have said lately that they don’t feel the desire to do a year end summary.  I am not one of those people.  I actually like taking a look back to see how my reading stacked up against previous years and seeing what I can learn about myself from it.  So here are some raw reading stats from this year:



PAGES READ: 10,727


TYPE OF BOOK: (some may overlap)

  • Hardcover: 2
  • Paperback: 18
  • ARC: 32
  • Audio: 23
  • E-Book: 10

GENRE: (may overlap)

  • Historical Fiction: 39
  • Young Adult: 4
  • Contemporary Fiction: 4
  • Romance: 4
  • Non-fiction: 10
  • Mystery: 3
  • Fantasy: 2

SETTING: (may overlap)

  • England: 8
  • France: 3
  • Italy: 1
  • Scotland: 2
  • Ireland: 1
  • Spain: 1
  • Germany: 2
  • America: 28
  • Ancient Greece: 2
  • Ancient Egypt: 1
  • Fantasy: 1
  • Middle East/Africa: 2
  • China: 1
  • Japan: 1
  • Russia: 1
  • Open Ocean: 2




Janet Evanovich (2)

Well, I read fewer books this year and fell dreadfully short of my goal of 70.  I don’t know what it is about 70 but I can’t hit it no matter what I do.  The closest I have come was 67 and 68 three years in a row.  This year I didn’t hit 60.  So I thought that even if I hadn’t read as many books, it was because I had read longer books, especially on audiobook.  But that was simply not true too.  I read on average 3,000 less pages than any year since I began keeping track, and my listening hours were virtually equivalent.  I will just have to chalk it up to taking a little more time for family and friends since getting engaged.

In terms of what I have actually read though – I read much more widely in terms of settings.  I finally crossed that invisible Asia barrier that has held me back previously and read a couple.  I also thought I read a lot more President/First Lady and non-fiction than I actually did.  I am guessing that because they were VERY long reads they felt like I read more of them.

And authors most read was sort of a wasted category this year.  There was only one author that I read more than one of their books, and that was Janet Evanovich (with two books), who has been on this list each year.

Ok, so what were my favorite reads this year?  Well I don’t have a top 10, but here are some of my favorites in no particular order:

  • Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
  • Turncoat by Donna Thorland
  • Roses by Leila Meacham
  • The Secret History by Stephanie Thornton
  • The Queen’s Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle
  • Tatiana and Alexander by Paullina Simons

And here is what I am looking forward to most in 2014 – that I know of at least so far:

  • Somerset by Leila Meacham
  • The Rebel Pirate by Donna Thorland
  • The Traitor’s Wife by Allison Pataki
  • The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott
  • Daughter of the Gods by Stephanie Thornton
  • The Girl on the Golden Coin by Marci Jefferson

I also have put together a Pinterest board with a complete list of books I’m looking forward to in 2014.

To change up the year-end summary a little bit this year, I found a few survey questions from The Perpetual Page Turner that I wanted to address to round out my reading experience.

Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?

Well, the books I recommended most often this year, I didn’t read this year (that honor would go to The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak to any and every one that asks me for a recommendation). However, if pressed, I did recommend The Turncoat by Donna Thorland.

Best series you discovered in 2013?

The Northwest Passage series by John A. Heldt. So far the series comprises of: The Mine, The Journey, The Show, and The Fire (I have only read the first two books so far).

Favorite new-to-me author discovered in 2013?

Michelle Diener. I have read Banquet of Lies but have a couple more to read now!

Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?


The Secret History by Stephanie Thornton. This cover is SO atmospheric and fits the story perfectly!

Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read?

A little bit of a toss-up. The book I read this year that I waited the longest to read was The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. I started to read the book over 10 years ago and I only got around to actually reading the whole book this year. I am surprised that I let it remain outstanding for so long. However, the book that I was most excited about reading and I can’t believe I put it off because it was so good – was Roses by Leila Meacham. The one good thing is I didn’t end up having to wait long for the prequel!

Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously?

The Tudor Conspiracy by C. W. Gortner! Hands down!  Love anything he writes!

Best 2013 debut you read?

Queen’s Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle. Great book!

I’m looking forward to 2014.  Hoping for a little more on the reading front than 2013, however I have a feeling it might end up being very similar.  What was 2013 like for you in terms of reading?


Copyright © 2013 by The Maiden’s Court

Friday, December 27, 2013

2013 Challenge Wrap Up

Well, since I know I’m not going to have any more challenge updates this year, I feel safe in doing the wrap-up early.

First, lets look at the challenges I entered and what my success was:

2013 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge Hosted by Historical Tapestry.  No surprise here, I completed this one, way early.  I needed 25 for the Ancient History level and ended up with 36.

Nicholas Sparks 2013 Reading Challenge Hosted by The Book Vixen.  Well, I completed it, but just barely.  I entered the First Date level and needed to read 1-4 books.  I completed just one, and that was in January 2013.  I didn’t read any more after that.  So technically a success.

2013 Ebook Challenge Hosted by Workaday Reads.  I set myself a goal of 10 books (CD level) which I figured would be some amount of a challenge since I don’t read a whole lot on my Kindle yet.  However, I did read exactly 10 books this year on my Kindle, so success!

War Through the Generations: American Revolution Hosted by War Through the Generations.  The American Revolution is my favorite war to read about.  So I picked the Dip level to read 1-3 books.  I successfully read 3 books set during the American Revolution period.

2013 Audio Book Challenge Hosted by Teresa’s Reading Corner.  This one was the big surprise for me.  I only managed 23 (and a half) – the goal was 25.  I think this is the first year I haven’t finished this challenge.  I think the difference this year is that the books I chose to listen to on audiobook were much longer than previous years.

I also participated in The Four Month Challenges hosted by Book Drunkard.  I never anticipate finishing these, and I didn’t, so I’m not too concerned about that one.

Overall, I did MUCH better at the challenges than I had thought I did.  I have been really bad this year at updating anything related to challenges, whether on my own challenge pages or on the actual hosted websites.  I have just been SO busy at working on all the other aspects of my blog that I haven’t had the time to keep on top of it.  I think that 2014 is going to be the year of much fewer (or no) challenges.  I hesitate to eliminate challenges all together, but I might pick just one or two next year.  If there is a good topic for the War Through the Generations I might sign up for that one, we will see. 

2014 is going to be VERY busy for me.  We have my fiancé's veterinary school graduation is May and then starting a new job, we are getting married in June, and then moving etc.  So I need to keep the commitment level low in the challenge category.

What was your challenge success this year?  How do you handle reading challenges?



Copyright © 2013 by The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Book Review: By Royal Command by Laura Navarre


By Royal Command by Laura Navarre
ARC, E-book, 274 pages
Carina Press
July 2, 2012

Genre: Historical Romance

Source: Received for review via Netgalley

“Two brothers. One woman. Three hearts at war.

Katrin of Courtenay's husband is dead--and she doesn't mourn him. He was cruel and controlling, and she doesn't need a husband to hold her northern keep. But her vengeful uncle, the King of England, has other ideas: intent on marrying her off, he's ordered his Viking-bred warrior to return her to court.

On the journey, the Viking captures her interest, and for the first time Katrin understands passion. But her guard is honor-bound to deliver her to the king, and so it is settled--she must wed the mysterious Rafael le Senay, the Baron of Belmaine.

A forced marriage to a stranger slowly becomes something more, and Katrin realizes she is in love with Rafael. But with the shadow of her former lover hanging over her, and Rafael's powerful brother making dangerous plans, can Katrin negotiate the delicate balance between survival and happiness?”

This was one of the few truly historical romances that I have read, and based on previous experiences I expected to find a lack of real character development, lots of sex/passionate embraces, and the historical aspect only as the setting. Well, I was truly surprised with this novel, even though the 274 pages felt like 500.

The novel is set prior to the Norman Conquest of England with the Vikings raiding the shores and the countryside in turmoil. Historical events were peppered throughout as well as historical personages. Beyond this, there is a true feel for the atmosphere and way of life.

The characters were well crafted and had defined personalities. Despite the opening line of the book blurb, it really wasn’t the stereotypical two brothers and the woman caught in the middle unable to choose between two equally great men. There was an issue between two brothers, and she was torn between two men, but that doesn’t exactly go together. I was actually happy with the way the story progressed and wasn’t the cookie cutter storyline. In terms of dialogue, some of the lines that the characters came out with were repetitive and annoying.

In reference to my above comment about how the short novel felt at least twice the length – it wasn’t that the plot dragged or that it was not exciting. I think it was more of the fact that there was really a lot going on that made it feel much longer in the reading of it.

The romance was well done – there were sex scenes and passionate chaste scenes. However, they didn’t just fall into each other’s arms every second; there was a build-up of drama and passion which felt very natural. Overall I was very happy with this read and I would consider reading her other novels – although, truthfully, the reason I chose this one was because it was set in Saxon England and I LOVE that time period.

Author Laura Navarre also has written a couple other historical romances including: The Devil’s Mistress, The Devil’s Temptress, Magick by Moonrise, and Midsummer Magick. You can visit Laura’s website or blog for additional information about the books. If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out this excerpt of the book?

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Here are some choices for purchasing the book: Amazon, B&N, RJ Julia (my fav indie bookstore).


Copyright © 2013 by The Maiden’s Court

Monday, December 23, 2013

Mailbox Monday #161


The second to last scheduled Mailbox Monday of 2013 – and I went a little Netgalley crazy this week (all 4 are from Netgalley).


This weeks selections are primarily set in the United States and evenly split between fiction and non-fiction.

  • Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival by Jennifer Chiaverini – this is the sequel to Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker.  I’m very interested in this one, because I didn’t realize that she had a rival.
  • Revolutionary by Alex Myers – this is the one that I actually began my Netgalley search for (which resulted in all these books).  This novel focuses on Deborah Sampson, a woman who posed as a man to fight in the American Revolution.  I remember reading about her in school and when I heard about this book on Reading the Past, I had to get it.
  • War and Gold by Kwasi Kwarteng – This is a non-fiction.  War and gold have pretty much gone hand in hand throughout time.  I look forward to what this book puts forth.
  • Sex and the Founding Fathers by Thomas A. Foster – Another non-fiction, looking at the romantic and familial relationships of America’s Founding Fathers.

And now that is it for me, what about you?


Copyright © 2013 by The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Very Belated Giveaway Winner Announcement!


First, my apologies for this very belated giveaway winner announcement.  I guess I just totally spaced it. 

Anyway, the winner of The Divided Inheritance by Deborah Swift is …. Kim Cree!!!  Congrats!

I have already emailed the winner, if there is no response within 5 days, a new winner will be selected.

Thanks to everyone that entered the giveaway!


Copyright © 2013 by The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Book Review: Founding Rivals by Chris DeRose

founding rivals

Founding Rivals by Chris DeRose
Unabridged, 9 hr. 41 min.
Tantor Audio
Adam Verner (Narrator)
April 23, 2012

Genre: Non-Fiction, Biography

Source: Downloaded audiobook from Audible

“In 1789, James Madison and James Monroe ran against each other for Congress—the only time that two future presidents have contested a congressional seat.

But what was at stake, as author Chris DeRose reveals in Founding Rivals: Madison vs. Monroe, the Bill of Rights, and the Election That Saved a Nation, was more than personal ambition. This was a race that determined the future of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the very definition of the United States of America.

Friends and political allies for most of their lives, Madison was the Constitution’s principal author, Monroe one of its leading opponents. Monroe thought the Constitution gave the federal government too much power and failed to guarantee fundamental rights. Madison believed that without the Constitution, the United States would not survive.

It was the most important congressional race in American history, more important than all but a few presidential elections, and yet it is one that historians have virtually ignored. In Founding Rivals, DeRose, himself a political strategist who has fought campaigns in Madison and Monroe’s district, relives the campaign, retraces the candidates’ footsteps, and offers the first insightful, comprehensive history of this high-stakes political battle.”

While I know a lot about James Madison, I know comparatively virtually nothing about James Monroe prior to his presidency. In Founding Rivals, DeRose takes a look at these two figures in the lead up to their presidencies and how they truly became rivals in politics. These two men were Founding Fathers of the Constitution and the formation of the early government of the United States.

These men were not always rivals; early on they were colleagues until their political ideologies began to differ. This would ultimately lead to their competition with each other for the same Congressional seat. It was interesting to get into the mindset of politics of the time and see how different politicking is today.

This book just barely touches upon their presidencies – the primary focus is their early days in politics and military. It is designed to give you a build up to their Congressional competition and place these men in their respective situations. While not a presidential biography, read in association with a strict presidential biography this book lends a lot to the discussion and understanding of these men.



This wasn’t a poorly produced audio production, but it was a book that probably would have worked better in print. There were stretches that were a little boring to listen to, tedious details and such. There were two very interesting scenes that stood out in the audio – a stormy night when the Virginia delegates were hearing and discussing the Constitution as well as the campaigning for the Congressional seat.

Author Chris DeRose also has written two other presidential themed books: Congressman Lincoln and The Presidents’ War: Six American Presidents and the Civil War that Divided Them. You can visit the author’s blog for additional information about the books.

It might be interesting to note, there was a little scandal surrounding the publishing of this book. Apparently the author failed to attribute some statistical data to another author who had previously published a similar book. Attributions have since been made, but it made for an interesting read, since we discuss plagiarism in the blog world all the time.

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Here are some choices for purchasing the book: Amazon, B&N, RJ Julia (my fav indie bookstore).


Copyright © 2013 by The Maiden’s Court

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mailbox Monday #160


I have a long mailbox this week, mostly because I absolutely forgot about it last week!  Check out my haul!  Also, FYI, links in titles below go to the Goodreads pages – so you can see the book blurbs etc.


I told you there were a lot!

I purchased a few of these via various discounts over the last couple weeks:

  • Love at any Cost by Julie Lessman (picked up for free via Kindle).  This is the first book in Lessman’s The Heart of San Francisco series.  While I haven’t yet read any of her books, I have a few scattered throughout her 3 series – as they come up on sale I pick up a copy or enter giveaways.  Love the cover.
  • A Light in the Window by Julie Lessman (picked up for $0.99 via Kindle).  This a prequel, Christmas story related to the Daughters of Boston/Winds of Change series’. 
  • Roma by Steven Saylor (audiobook purchased from Audible).  This was technically purchased for my fiancé, but I will likely get a listen to it as well – so you might see two reviews of this one, or a dual review!  The way I perceive this book is this – take Edward Rutherfurd’s style in New York, however place it in Rome.  Looking forward to it.
  • 1812: The Navy’s War by George C. Daughan (audiobook purchased from Audible).  I have always found the War of 1812 to be intriguing, so when I saw this one, I had to get it – especially when it was only $4.99!  This is a non-fiction.

The other three books I received for review – and I’m super excited about one in particular!:

  • The Secret Rooms by Catherine Bailey (received for review from publisher).  I was excited by this one with the subtitle, A True Gothic Mystery.  Ok, I’m game!
  • The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith (received for review from author).  I have a thing for re-imaginings of fairy-tales.  This one has Snow White looking back on things following the death of her husband on the eve of her daughter’s wedding.
  • Somerset by Leila Meacham (received for review via Netgalley request).  OK, I’m super excited about this one!  It took a couple months for the publisher to get back to me regarding my request – and I had essentially given up on receiving it, but I got it and I’m SOOOO excited.  I loved Roses and from some of the other bloggers I have talked to and have similar tastes with, it is even better than Roses!!! Can’t wait to read it!

Ok, so that is it, but it was a pretty awesome haul! Don’t you say?  How was your book haul this week?


Copyright © 2013 by The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Book Review: Pompeii by Robert Harris

Good morning everyone! I have a change from the norm for you today. My fiancé has finally found some time to read again now that he has taken his veterinary boards and has started reading some historical fiction - particularly set in Ancient Rome. Here is a guest review from him today - hope you enjoy it!

Pompeii by Robert Harris
Paperback, 304 pages
Random House
November 8 2005 
★★★★ ½☆

Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: Personal Collection

"Along the Mediterranean coast, the Roman empire's richest citizens are relaxing in their villas, enjoying the last days of summer.  But while the gorgeous weather belies impending doom, only one man is worried.  The young engineer Marcus Attilius Primus has taken charge of the Aqua Augusta, the enormous aqueduct that brings fresh water to the people around the Bay of Naples.  There is a crisis ib Augusta's main line - somewhere north of Pompeii, on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius - and Attilius must repair the aqueduct before the reservoir runs dry.  His plan is to organize an expedition in Pompeii, then head to the place where he believes the fault lies.  But Pompeii proves to be a corrupt, violent town, and Attilius discovers that there are powerful forces at work - natural and otherwise - threatening to destroy him."

When I first picked up Pompeii, I was unsure if I would enjoy it.  I could imagine the plot already:  volcano erupts, everyone dies, the end.  I figured there wasn't much meat that Harris could put between the covers to hold my attention.  However, I was happily surprised.  Instead of focusing on the obviously impending volcanic eruption, Harris writes a first person account of a new aquarius.  As aquarius, Attilius is tasked with managing and maintaining Rome's expansive systems of aqueducts.  It is a respected profession and one that does not carry much danger, which is how Attilius likes it.  This changes, however, when he discovers a sulfurous smell to the water in the aqueduct.  No one really know what this means.  Most think it is an omen or cause to sacrifice to one god or the other.  In fact, not many people really realize what volcanoes are or why periodic earthquakes are so common in the region.  This is where the tragedy of the story ultimately lies and what serves to build up the tension until the eruption finally occurs.

With the exception of the protagonist, most of the characters in Pompeii don't seem to be completely fleshed out. There is the love interest, the antagonist, and the loyal friend.  Attilius, however, has more depth.  There are many different threads of the story that never seem completely connected until the very end.  Though the set up was interesting, the last forty-five pages or so (when the magma hits the fan) is really where the magic happens.  Harris's depiction of history and science is very exciting to read.

My biggest criticism of the novel was that it gave me an ever present feeling that I read it before.  It took me a little while to realize that it is because the plot seems almost identical to almost any two-star Hollywood disaster movie:

1.  Everyone is oblivious to an inescapable disaster that will destroy them
2.  One man (usually an expert in a related field) holds the key to the future
3.  The people in power do not believe the protagonist until it is too late
4.  The hero gets the girl in the end and everyone who doubted him is destroyed

If you've seen one, you've seen them all

Does this make Pompeii a bad book?  I don't think so.  I like it for all the same reasons I like movies like Volcano and Dante's Peak.  They aren't the cream of their respective crops, but they are a fast paced guilty pleasure that you don't need to think too much about.  For a serious literary masterpiece, you may want to look elsewhere.  However, if you want a fun diversion from the norm, I suggest giving Pompeii a try.

Author Robert Harris also has written Imperium and Conspirata among others. You can visit author’s website for additional information about the book. If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out this excerpt of the book?

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Here are some of my favorite options for purchasing this book: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and R.J. Julia (my favorite Indy bookstore).

Copyright © 2013 by The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Virtual Tour of Historic Wethersfield, Connecticut

historic wethersfield sign

It is always interesting when various parts of life come together. One of the things I had found interesting while reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond was discovering that it took place in Wethersfield, Connecticut, which has never been more than an hour from anywhere I have lived and is about 10 minutes from where I work. Every day on my way home I pass a small sign that says “Welcome to Historic Wethersfield” – and never thought anymore about it. I assumed it was just one of those historic districts that pepper New England where there are a few old houses that have a plaque on them and that are now privately owned. However, Historic Wethersfield is a little bit different – you can actually tour several of the historic houses, visit the historical society, and learn a thing or two. I learned all of this from one of my friends who actually toured the area around Halloween. So, while I haven’t been there yet, here is a little virtual tour of Historic Wethersfield.

Wethersfield is one of the oldest towns in Connecticut – hence the importance of the historic nature of this town. It was settled in 1632, just a few short years after the founding of Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Visitor’s Center

If you plan on visiting Historic Wethersfield you probably should start out at the visitor’s center to gather your bearings. There is a free parking lot here and you can pick up some maps and information before setting out. There is also a gift shop – which might be worth checking out before heading back to your car after you are done with your day.

Historical Homes and Places

  • Open Spaces – Broad Street Green and Cove Park are public open spaces that you can visit at your leisure. The Broad Street Green used to be a grazing place for local animals and the Cove, which is now a public boat launch, used to house various shipyards. If it is a beautiful day you could consider picnicking on the Green or aboard your boat in the cove.
  • Cove Warehouse – this is the current site of the Wethersfield Historical Society maritime exhibit and how appropriate a location. The warehouse was one of likely many that participated in the West Indies trade. This trade is exactly what characters in The Witch of Blackbird Pond engaged in. $1.00 admission for adults and free for children.

cove warehouse

  • First Church – Built in 1764 this beautiful church still holds services every week. If you are interested in architecture, a look around might suffice. If you want the authentic church experience, you may want to sit it on a service. The church is a Congregational Church.


  • Burying Ground – One of the areas that I always find most interesting is burial grounds. The old tombstones can be so beautiful. Tours of this location are available, especially during the Halloween season. There is an online digitization project of the burial ground which you can check out even if you can’t visit the site. Among other things, there is an interactive map with index of burials.
  • Houses to Tour – The Hurlbut Dunham House, Buttolph-Williams House, Webb Deane Stevens Houses, and the Francis House are all open at various times for touring. Each have their own nominal fees. They are all stellar examples of colonial homes. However the one of most interest to literary fans is the Buttolph-Williams House, because this house was the home where Kit resided in The Witch of Blackbird Pond. They actually speak about the book during tours of the house. Many of these homes host events based on seasonal activities etc. – currently several are dressed for the Christmas season.

wethersfield houses

From L to R: Francis House, Hurlbut Dunham House, Buttolph-Williams House, Webb Deane and Stevens Houses

Don’t want to actually go to any of the museums? That’s ok – take a stroll down the main street and just “window shop” the old buildings and actually shop in some of the local stores (here is a list of some of the stores). Or take in a meal at a restaurant.

You can read more about Historic Wethersfield or plan your trip by visiting their website. If you want to set up a walking tour for your group/family or find one to join up with you can check out the various tours they offer. Yankee Magazine put together a visually beautiful photo collection of the historical district you might be interested in checking out.

This is one of those places that I have to visit, especially because it is so local. Have any of you been to this location?


Copyright © 2013 by The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Book Review: The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

witch of blackbird pond

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
Unabridged, 6 hr. 24 min.
Listening Library
Mary Beth Hurt (Narrator)
November 7, 2003

Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult

Source: Downloaded the Audio from my Local Library

“Orphaned Kit Tyler knows, as she gazes for the first time at the cold, bleak shores of Connecticut Colony, that her new home will never be like the shimmering Caribbean island she left behind. In her relatives' stern Puritan community, she feels like a tropical bird that has flown to the wrong part of the world, a bird that is now caged and lonely. The only place where Kit feels completely free is in the meadows, where she enjoys the company of the old Quaker woman known as the Witch of Blackbird Pond, and on occasion, her young sailor friend Nat. But when Kit's friendship with the "witch" is discovered, Kit is faced with suspicion, fear, and anger. She herself is accused of witchcraft!”

I remember starting to read this book several times when I was a kid; however I never made it very far because something else would come up and I would put it down and forget about it. The next time I picked it up I would start at the beginning again…you can see where this is going. So I finally decided I was going to actually read this book this time – and since I didn’t remember anything about the book, I’m glad that I started at the beginning again.

The other really cool thing, which, again, I didn’t realize the first times I tried to read it, is that the book is set literally less than 3 miles from where I work. Reading about historic Wethersfield, CT lead me to find out that there is actually a historic district that you can go visit and tour etc. More to come on that later. I never realized that this area I drive through almost daily was a historic area that people actually came to visit – a new outlook on life!

The plot of this book was very intriguing. It is set a few years prior to the witch trials of Salem that everyone thinks of, but you can certainly see how the panic could come to a head. I think that the novel is really, at its heart, about the fear of those who were different, and not necessarily because they performed witchcraft – although that was certainly the case in some instances. Kit was a very distinct example of how this fear of those who are different could escalate and become quite dangerous. Nowadays we realize (sometimes) that people from different places bring different ways with them. In Blackbird Pond, Kit comes to Connecticut from Barbados, and it is a starkly different life that the local Puritans do not understand. She gets herself into a lot of sticky situations by just trying to be herself.

The characters were ones that I could really like. No one was truly bad, everyone had their flaws. There were some times that I found Kit very idealistic and a little annoying, but I think that was just the overemphasis of how different she was from those around her.

The plot was fast paced, with something always happening. Like I said, Kit gets herself in a bunch of tight spots. The climax and resolution were well done. It was a fun read really showing the dynamic difference between life in Puritan New England and island Barbados.



The narration of this book was well done. The narrator provided distinctly different voice styles for the local Puritans of New England and Kit with her Barbados style. It was very easy to know who was speaking at any one time.

Author Elizabeth George Speare also has written The Sign of the Beaver, The Bronze Bow, and Calico Captive, among others. If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out this excerpt of the book?

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Here are some choices for purchasing the book: Amazon, B&N, RJ Julia (my fav indie bookstore).


Copyright © 2013 by The Maiden’s Court